Connected Video operations
Usage metrics (% YoY growth)
Monthly active users(1)+39%
Average viewing time(3)+14%
|(1)||Measured as at 31 March YoY, relates to Showmax and DStv streaming.|
|(2)||Measured as the total play events (Showmax and DStv streaming) for FY21 versus FY20.|
|(3)||Measured as the three-month moving average at 31 March YoY, relates to Showmax viewership only.|
Our operating performance
Our Connected Video division is responsible for building and operating OTT video services for the group, primarily through our DStv streaming and Showmax products.
DStv streaming is available as a companion product for existing DStv subscribers or as a standalone product for subscribers who want access to the full DStv experience online. Showmax is a paid SVOD service available across 50 markets in Africa. Showmax is offered as a value-added service to DStv Premium subscribers and at a 50% discount to DStv Compact Plus and Compact subscribers. Both connected services are available on a wide variety of platforms, such as smartphones and smart mobile devices, desktop computers and laptops, gaming consoles, smart TVs and the DStv Explora and Explora Ultra decoders.
What sets us apart in the OTT market is our strong content offering that features the best local African content, first and exclusive international series, the best kids' shows, and live sport from SuperSport. Our products are designed for the markets where we operate, featuring customised technology platforms (such as content recommendations, local payment integrations and product features for our markets), local pricing, and strategic integration with local partners such as telcos and banks. We prioritise data privacy as a matter of material concern and monitor our compliance with data privacy legislation such as the General Data Protection (GDPR) legislation and Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) in how we handle customer data.
During FY21, our Connected Video services continued to grow across three major metrics, namely monthly active users, play events and average viewing time. We achieved solid growth in subscribers paying for Showmax, benefiting from targeted marketing campaigns, an increased volume of local content with a focus on fresher titles, and first and exclusive releases created for specific geographies. The local content offering continues to be a strategic differentiator for Showmax in the OTT market, and this is reflected in the percentage of local content viewership on the platform, which grew by as much as 16% YoY. Four of the five most viewed titles on the platform were local productions, and 50% of the top 10 titles overall. Local soaps such as The River, Gomora and The Queen outperformed the international titles on total views by more than double. In FY21, we launched more Showmax originals than in previous years, including our first Kenyan and Nigerian original series. In South Africa, local Showmax originals such as Real Housewives of Durban, Life with Kelly Khumalo, Lebo M Coming Home, Tali's Baby Diary and Dam were some of the hit shows.
The rollout of Showmax beyond South Africa was a key focus area this past year. The launch into Ghana with relevant local content and local payment delivered promising growth. Ghana joins Nigeria and Kenya as the first Rest of Africa markets to have specific localised versions of the product. The launch of Showmax Pro in July 2020 brought the entire live broadcast of EPL football onto our SVOD service. The MultiChoice Group is one of only a few broadcasters globally offering this service to its customers. Two new payment methods were introduced in Nigeria, and promotional partnerships with major telco MTN and credit card networks Visa and Mastercard were launched. Similarly, the Kenyan market saw promotional partnership launches with telco Telkom Kenya and credit card networks Visa and Mastercard.
Two major focus areas for Connected Video for FY21 included the successful delivery of DStv streaming in South Africa, enabling customers to subscribe for DStv as an online-only service, and the launch of Showmax Pro across Africa. Connected Video was integral to developing and launching the DStv Explora Ultra, available in the South African market, and the yet to be released DStv Streama, both of which allow users to add streaming apps like Showmax, Netflix and Amazon Prime to the devices in addition to DStv.
We also have an ongoing focus on enhancing our OTT platforms. This year we took steps to improve content discovery, reduce buffering time, introduce "data saving" streaming quality and improve download reliability. We will continue to drive further product enhancements into the future.
We continue experimenting with live linear channels on the Showmax platform, including FTA channels and MultiChoice channels in selected markets, and additional features for DStv streaming including Early Access, which grants DStv subscribers access to exclusive content online ahead of its linear broadcast.
With a strategy to offer African viewers an SVOD service differentiated by local programming, quality sport, and a good spread of international content, Showmax and DStv streaming are well positioned to transition the group for the digital future.