HIGHLIGHTS ON OVERALL PERFORMANCE
- active subscribers15.1m
- trading profit margin14%
- cost savings achievedR1.3bn
- core headline earningsR1.8bn
- free cash flowR3.3bn
- hours of new indigenous
content commissioned4 600
- fulltime permanent employees7 053
OUR BUSINESS UNITS
South Africa is one of the most attractive video markets on the continent due to factors such as the size of the country's economy, the rising middle class, well-developed satellite television infrastructure, and the size of the addressable market. MultiChoice caters for the entire spectrum of the video-entertainment market, from the mass to premium segments, including multiple-genre viewing preferences. Our customer-centric approach ensures that we operate a comprehensive video-entertainment ecosystem that comprises traditional pay-TV, OTT and other products such as movie rentals and music streaming.
South Africa constitutes 67.3% of group revenue, with a customer base of 7.4m in FY2019. Despite a challenging economic climate in South Africa, we achieved growth of 511 500 subscribers, which is in line with historic averages. Our DStv brand is a household name in South Africa and enjoys considerable customer support. We measure this through customer surveys, culminating in our customer satisfaction score (CSAT), which improved to 76% in FY2019.
Currently, our customer base is concentrated in the middle- and mass-market segments. The trend of sustained growth in the mass market continues, while our middle-tier has stabilised with low percentage growth figures and our premium tier showed a single-digit decline. We continue to focus on growing our share of the mass market and retaining our existing subscribers through delighting our customers with quality entertainment content and value-added services. We also aim to maintain operational excellence and agility, while optimising our cost base and delivering strong returns for our shareholders.
For a detailed review on the South African operations, refer to the MultiChoice South Africa integrated annual report on the South African page of our website:
|(1)||Refers to active subscribers, ie all subscribers that were active on the measurement day. Note: from FY2020 our primary metric for reporting subscribers will change from active subscribers to 90-day active subscribers.|
|(2)||Premium includes Premium and Compact Plus bouquets; middle market includes Compact and Commercial bouquets and mass market includes Family, Access and Easyview bouquets.|
OTT is a growing trend in the video-entertainment market globally with more and more consumers shifting to on-demand viewing on multiple devices. A key driver is the convenience for the viewer to choose what and when to watch, which in turn is enabled through faster and more affordable broadband in combination with an increased number of connected devices such as smart TVs, game consoles and smartphones. MultiChoice is observing these same developments in a few African countries. However, these trends are not prominent across Africa yet, largely due to low penetration of fixed broadband. While fixed broadband penetration is projected to remain low compared to the rest of the world, connected smartphone and mobile broadband penetration is increasing rapidly. So, while the OTT market is gaining traction especially over mobile networks, and opens up new revenue streams for the group, the traditional pay-TV market will continue to grow across our markets, particularly in the mid- and mass-market segments.
To capture the growing OTT market, we have over the past few years built a compelling offering in response. This includes DStv Now, a complimentary service for DTH subscribers, and Showmax, our standalone subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service. We also established the Connected Video business unit with the aim of consolidating our digital assets (Showmax and DStv Now) and executing on our strategic objective to be the leading online viewing destination in Africa. During FY2019, we strengthened our OTT catalogue through closer partnership with our traditional pay-TV business, and the introduction of more first-run, exclusive-to-Showmax titles such as The Girl from St Agnes. Our online platforms are gaining traction and during the year we doubled the number of monthly active subscribers across our online offerings.
Investing in new technologies and platforms
MultiChoice South Africa is a technology pioneer with numerous technology 'firsts' over the past 30 years. Our competitive landscape continues to grow with global players such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Facebook and iFlix offering alternatives in our territories. In addition, local streaming players like Cell C black and Vodacom VideoPlay have emerged. A significant differentiator for MultiChoice South Africa is the advanced functionality of the DStv Explora. The latest Explora model supports better video-encoding technology and enhances convenience. Our Showmax service is also available via an internet-connected Explora at no charge for Premium subscribers, while all other customers can add the monthly Showmax subscription to their DStv bills.
Our contributions to South Africa
- R6.9bn total tax contribution (direct R2.8bn and indirect R4.1bn)
- R90m spent on CSI projects
MultiChoice is the largest funder of sport in South Africa. Through Let's Play, we reach over 1m children annually and encourage them to be more active by participating in sport, and to gain benefit from associated life skills. This initiative includes the:
- Let's Play Physical Education Challenge
- Let's Play Field Project
- Let's Play Schools' Rugby Project
Through the MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC), we support development in both football and broadcasting. It includes a football challenge for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) reserve teams, broadcast internships, leadership training for coaches, and the opportunity for community channels on DStv to air the matches for free. The Magic in Motion (MiM) Alumni Network hosts scriptwriting workshops, teaching learners how to turn great ideas into credible stories.
Rest of Africa
The Rest of Africa constitutes 29.6% of group revenue, with 7.7m active subscribers. Despite a challenging economic climate, we achieved growth of 1.1m active subscribers, well above historic averages.
We are the most established pay-TV operator in Africa with a diversified presence across 49 geographies. The demand for pay-TV DTH and OTT in the Rest of Africa is currently under-developed compared with other markets or regions. The primary reason is affordability, driven by low disposable consumer income, lack of banking facilities and lagging infrastructure. MultiChoice anticipates that traditional pay-TV and OTT demand will continue to grow in future, largely as a result of demographic and macroeconomic factors such as population growth, increased urbanisation, higher income levels and technological advancements.
We target the full spectrum of the market with our products, including the premium, middle and mass market. Our diverse offering allows us greater flexibility to tailor localised viewing packages. Our long-term partnerships across multiple geographies enable on-the-ground access and hands-on management of the complexities in these diverse markets. It enhances our capability to cater to the localised needs of our customers while managing the socio-political requirements of each country.
MultiChoice competes with several video-entertainment providers in Africa. Pay-TV operators such as StarSat, Zap TV, Zuku TV and Azam TV all have the necessary broadcasting knowledge and experience, business models, existing content, brands and resources to compete with MultiChoice. Improved mobile broadband penetration has facilitated growing competition in the provision of OTT services with the entry of services such as our own Showmax, and Netflix as well as StarSat ON and iRoko.
Our contributions to the Rest of Africa
- R2.6bn total tax contribution (direct R0.9bn and indirect R1.7bn)
- R48.4m spent on CSI projects
Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), 60 participants graduated and 400 people received MTF Masterclass training through our Academy. MTF Masterclass and Portal initiatives are aimed at transforming passionate youth into skilled filmmakers and storytellers.
MultiChoice Africa offers pay-TV through two platforms, namely digital satellite TV under the DStv brand and digital terrestrial TV under the GOtv brand. Its strategy is to reach the broad spectrum of populations by offering its services (bouquets) across high-, middle- and mass-market segments.
MultiChoice Africa does not only provide a variety of platforms to showcase channels but also packages its own general entertainment and sport channels in-house, covering both local and international content. Local content has proven to be very relevant for consumers in the Rest of Africa, with consumers indicating a demand for more local content in nearly every market. MultiChoice Africa responded by offering unique local channels on its platforms. These channels address specific tiers and regional needs while delivering quality content with a high local relevance.
Strong subscriber growth
Subscription revenue by country (%)
Nigerian and West African channels
Our pioneering Africa Magic channel portfolio represents the best of African storytelling. Within the primetime premium market, our Africa Magic Showcase channel demonstrated consistent performance in FY2019. This is as a result of the success of scripted telenovela, drama and comedy series like Battleground, Ajoche, Forbidden, Tinsel, Entrapped, The Johnsons, and Greed and Desire. During FY2019, Compact subscribers enjoyed improvements to our Africa Magic Urban channel with the introduction of a daily movie, while Big Brother Naija remained popular with Access, Compact and Premium viewers.
Local language channels like Africa Magic Yoruba remained popular in the Nigerian DStv Access market, with the primary drivers attributable to the availability of movies on the channel. The introduction of group-owned dubbed content, The Flatmates, boosted the performance of Africa Magic Igbo.
In West Africa, we followed the successful launch of the ROK channel with two new channels from the Nigerian film studio and entertainment brand, ROK2 and ROK3 which are targeted at the DStv mass market (DStv Family and DStv Access). Both are 24-hour movie and series channels – ROK2 offers a mix of Nollywood programming while ROK3 showcases programming of Ghanaian origin and includes music videos.
East African channels
Our East African channel line-up, consisting of Maisha Magic East designed for Kenyan audiences and Maisha Magic Bongo, designed for Tanzanian viewers, continued to perform well. Maisha Magic Bongo's increased viewership is primarily due to the licensed dubbed telenovela Doli Armano Ki and the locally produced drama Huba, which is in its third season. To strengthen the channel further, we launched a new locally produced drama, Kapuni, in January 2019.
In the Kenyan Access market, Maisha Magic East's growth can be attributed to appointment viewing driven by the locally produced daily telenovela Selina, and viewership of reality show OPW Kenya and the comedy Varshita. In October 2018, a new Uganda-skewed channel, Pearl Magic, was introduced to the East Africa market on DStv and GOtv with fresh, authentic Ugandan content. Furthermore, the region also enjoyed a holiday season pop-up channel, East Africa Movie Fest, featuring the best movie titles from Maisha Magic Bongo, Maisha Magic East and Pearl Magic Uganda channels.
Southern African channels
In southern Africa, within the Zambian Compact Market, Zambezi Magic maintained its position. Locally produced telenovelas Zuba and Mpali, which launched in October 2018, are actively driving daily tune-in and appointment viewership. Date My Family Zambia, which launched in December 2018, further strengthened the channel's primetime offering. On GOtv, OneZed showed strong performance by featuring library content that resonated with the Zambian customers. Some of the programmes include Njila: The Phase, ZED Top Ten, Our Perfect Wedding and Kabanana.
To strengthen our local content offering in the lusophone markets, Vida TV, a 24-hour general entertainment channel in Angola, was launched on the DStv Portuguese packages alongside new local shows, such as the magazine show Tudo a Ver, game show A tua Cara Nã o me é Estranha on Mundo Fox, both presented by Angolans, and a telenovela produced and staged by Angolans, called Muxima on Banda TV.
MultiChoice is a technology pioneer in African video entertainment. Our platforms are designed to reach a large population of viewers across a range of consumer devices for the entire spectrum, from premium to mass market. This often requires the bespoke development of innovative solutions to address African market nuances.
We are also at the forefront of anti-piracy techniques to safeguard our business. We continuously explore a variety of new technologies to enhance the customer experience, including voice control, self-service platforms and AI. Other advancements include automated mechanisms that enhance the quality of our broadcast content and improve our production processes. We also take the threat of cybersecurity breaches seriously and have invested in various technology and process improvements.
Irdeto is the world leader in digital platform security, protecting platforms and applications for video entertainment, video games, connected transport and IoT-connected industries. With a presence in 20 countries, and a client base across 90 countries.
Irdeto’s market share has expanded and Irdeto has become the second-largest content protection vendor in the market (by volume).
Irdeto has a strong offering in cybersecurity and anti-piracy in both media and gaming. While deployment has been slower than expected, momentum is starting to build as most of the large US-based SVOD platforms are gradually moving towards this technology.
The Irdeto business has made good traction in the area of connected transport – Irdeto's automotive cybersecurity solution.