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Opportunities and risks

How we identify and pursue opportunities

We actively evaluate and cultivate a pipeline of opportunities aligned to our purpose and broad strategic priorities and that serve to enhance our customer experience. This approach has allowed our group to grow through organic reinvestment in our businesses and periodic shifts in focus through greenfield projects such as the launch of various new services in the past (e.g. our digital DTH satellite business in 1995, DTT business in 2010 and OTT business in 2015). Going forward, we will also consider targeted investments and other strategic partnerships as illustrated by our minority investment in BetKing.

OUR TOP 10 OPPORTUNITIES

1
Large and growing addressable market

We see an opportunity to drive subscriber growth in our core business as we target an addressable market of 49m households in sub-Saharan Africa, growing to 56m by 2025 (+12%).
  • We take a long-term view and are comfortable with supporting our businesses through the cycle.
  • We have increasingly focused on growing penetration in the mid and mass market segments, e.g. through our value strategy in the Rest of Africa where we lowered pricing, increased upfront set-top box subsidies, and improved the content value proposition across packages to reposition the business for longer-term sustainable growth.

2
Fast growing OTT market

We see an ongoing OTT growth opportunity as technology resolves access and cost barriers.
  • We are accompanying our subscribers on their journey into an increasingly online environment. Our connected Explora Ultra device and DStv streaming and Showmax services, are aimed at either extending our traditional linear service online or introducing new user experiences such as our third-party SVOD partnerships.
  • This creates a foundation for us to scale our OTT offerings and launch innovative services.

3
Sizeable and engaged subscriber base

We had a base of 20.9m 90-day active subscribers as at 31 March 2021 (2020: 19.5m). This creates an opportunity to roll out complementary services.
  • Our subscriber base provides economies of scale that allow us to continuously enhance our customer value proposition by developing a broader ecosystem of video entertainment and related products and services. Our scale and reach also allow us to invest in adjacent industries (e.g. sports betting) to provide an even wider array of entertainment options.
  • We monitor trends in offshore markets regarding vertical integration, converged service offerings and aggregator distribution partnerships. While our markets require a nuanced and often different approach, we selectively apply these principles if and when relevant.

4
Deep understanding of customer entertainment needs

With 36 years’ experience in understanding the needs and preferences of our subscribers across an extremely diverse base (nationality, language, culture, economic status, age and gender), we are well placed to meet their evolving entertainment needs.
  • We aim to offer our customers a full service content mix with appropriate tiering to suit their circumstances. Our strong international entertainment offering and SVOD relationships complement our points of differentiation, i.e. local content and sport.
  • Our increasing investment in local content enables us to tell great stories that our customers love and develop proprietary intellectual property and formats. Our ongoing focus on sport enables us to maintain a best-in-class offering by global standards.

5
Deep understanding of the customer journey

Given that we provide an uninterrupted 24/7, 365-days-a-year service, we have numerous touchpoints with our customers beyond our broadcast and streaming signals. This creates an opportunity for us to seek continual improvements in customer satisfaction.
  • We aim to continuously improve each touchpoint in the customer journey, including direct experiences such as customer onboarding, billing and technical support, as well as indirect experiences through partners like our installer network or payment service providers.
  • The benefits that accrue from such an approach are reflected in retention/churn rates, upgrade/ downgrade pathways, customer satisfaction scores and customer acquisition costs (word of mouth).

 

6
Clear path to returning Rest of Africa to profitability

A sustained turnaround in the Rest of Africa business will alleviate market concerns. It will also improve our overall group margins and enhance cash flows, which can then be reinvested in the business and/or returned to shareholders.
  • Scaling our subscriber base while managing our largely fixed-cost base (including targeted cost reductions) supports our path back to profitability.
  • In the interim, we have to navigate a challenging economic and foreign exchange environment using hedging programmes (where available and cost effective) and close liquidity management to help manage our cash flow risks.

7
Ability to make strategic investments

Our historic growth has been mainly organic rather than acquisitive, but with the unbundling from our previous parent, the Naspers Group, a robust balance sheet, capacity for prudent gearing as and when circumstances warrant, and strong free cash flow generation, we have an opportunity to explore value-accretive investments to further our strategic ambitions.
  • Our ambition is not to become an investment holding company, but rather to source, evaluate and potentially execute on investment opportunities that (a) add value to our ecosystem and customer experience, and (b) create explicit value through expected returns that exceed our cost of capital.

8
Ability and willingness to partner

Our ultimate objective is to provide a comprehensive entertainment offering to our subscribers, supported by a seamless experience. Given our scaled base, we have an opportunity to pursue partnerships that are mutually beneficial and customer friendly.
  • While we already partner with many service providers across our business, we have an opportunity to focus on optimising current or introducing new partnerships for the benefit of the customer or business.
  • These can take the form of explicit add-on services, as with our recent SVOD partnerships; implicit service points, as with payment service providers; or background partnerships, as with content co-productions.

9
Entrenched position in media security

Irdeto’s technical pedigree, 51 years’ experience and prominent market position in the media security space enable us to sustain our momentum in gaining market share.
  • We focus on gaining new customers and expanding the scope of services with existing customers in our traditional linear broadcasting security business.
  • At the same time, we are expanding our presence in less developed but growing areas of the media entertainment market, such as OTT security services, as well as online and mobile gaming security.

10
Growing set of markets in connected industries

The internet of things (IoT) continues expanding at an exponential pace. A generally limited focus on digital security on an industrywide basis presents an opportunity for us to underpin these innovations.
  • Focusing on industries where security meets safety and the stakes are high (loss of life, sensitive data, extreme brand damage, critical financial impact, etc.), Irdeto sees opportunities for growth in areas such as connected transport, connected home and healthcare, as well as data protection.
  • Cybersecurity regulations also open up new areas for growth where we can provide compliance solutions for our customers.

How we manage and mitigate risks

At MultiChoice, decision-making is supported by a robust risk management process that identifies and seeks to address potential risks. We align our risk management processes to our strategic planning and budgeting cycles. Risk plans are compiled annually and continuously updated to consider changes in the external environment and organisational developments.

The risk profile reflects our risk appetite as determined by the board. The risk committee is responsible for monitoring risk factors and how these are managed. Results from the enterprise-wide risk management process are integrated into the business’s strategic, operational, compliance monitoring and reporting activities. Management is tasked with managing risk and delivering financial and operational performance aligned with our risk tolerance.

OUR TOP 10 RISKS

1
Regulatory and licensing

Description
We operate in a highly regulated industry where changes in regulatory policy and legislative frameworks can have a significant impact on our business and operating model.
Risk mitigation
  • Our focus remains on full compliance with existing regulations.
  • We continue engaging with regulators and industry bodies proactively.
  • We conduct ongoing regulatory reviews and maintain contact with regulatory authorities and public industry bodies.
  • Our dedicated, experienced teams (internal and external experts) assist with regulatory engagements, responses to inquiries and other projects/ submissions.
  • We promote active engagement with management, government and regulatory authorities about how the proposed regulations could impact the industry.

2
Economy

Description
Macro-economic challenges, such as currency depreciation and volatility, the commodity slowdown, electricity shortages and, more recently, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, place pressure on the economies of the countries where we operate.

Consumers are affected by the consequent pressure on disposable income, which potentially affects our addressable market, and growth and retention prospects.
Risk mitigation
  • We understand the pressure our customers face and we remain focused on customer-centricity and affordability. This is reflected in our pricing decisions, which in many cases are below inflation.
  • We continue focusing on reducing costs and improving efficiencies.
  • We hedge our foreign exchange exposures for a minimum of 18 months, up to 36 months in terms of our treasury policy.
  • We continue moving more costs into local currency.
  • We offer customers various options suited to their circumstances, supporting value for money with the flexibility to adjust to their unique and changing circumstances.
  • We continue investing in new products, services and businesses to diversify revenue streams into the future.

3
Disruption and competition

Description
The landscape remains increasingly competitive with strong global and local competitors and new entrants. Consumers have credible alternatives from multiple sources in terms of video entertainment. Further, there is aggressive competition for content rights when contracts are up for renewal and content providers may choose to go directly to consumers, withdrawing rights from us.
Risk mitigation
  • We understand entertainment and technology are evolving, as are consumption habits. As such, we continuously invest in product and service innovations, and we focus on better products, value and customer service.
  • Retaining attractive content rights is a priority, as is investing in our platforms and partnerships to maximise mutual benefits.
  • We are diversifying our product portfolio and service offering by investing in opportunities in areas adjacent to video entertainment to provide a wider array of products and services to our customers.
  • We continue exploring opportunities for relationships with telcos and other platforms to enhance our value proposition.

4
Cybersecurity

Description
The security of our information assets, including content, and customer and employee information, is critical. Failure to protect these assets poses a legal and reputational risk.
Risk mitigation
  • We continuously invest in systems and technology to identify vulnerabilities and prioritise the remediation thereof to enhance systems security and reduce business interruptions.
  • We employ a chief information security officer and chief data officer to ensure appropriate management attention to this critical risk.
  • Controls over information assets are continuously tested, and focus on the content value chain and protection of customer and employee information.
  • International studios undertake security assessments from time to time in support of their agreements with us.
  • We achieved international content protection certification from the Content Delivery and Security Association (CDSA) certification during the year.

5
Securing content

Description
Access to quality content at the right price is a major business consideration. Content rights, for both general entertainment and sport, are highly sought after. Further, currency fluctuations and renewals can lead to increased costs.
Risk mitigation
  • Rights are regularly reviewed with due consideration for the economic value of each set of rights, and bids are tabled accordingly.
  • We bid for and secure sporting rights, according to rights cycles as determined by sport rights owners.
  • We continue to aggressively increase our investment in local content.
  • We maintain our relationships with rights owners to maximise mutual benefits.
  • We offer customers various options suited to their circumstances, and support value for money with the flexibility to adjust to their unique and changing circumstances.

6
Technology

Description
Technology is integral to our strategy and operations. For example, the availability and stability of the billing system is critical to the achievement of our strategic objectives. In addition, the stability and scalability of the DStv streaming and Showmax platforms are imperative to drive our OTT initiatives.
Risk mitigation
  • We invest in improving our existing systems and platforms, and monitoring, innovating and collaborating to offer increased value to customers, which are all a key part of our business plan.
  • Our IT controls framework was developed and is being implemented throughout the group. The framework’s robustness is regularly reviewed.
  • Significant improvements to simplify billing and business rules were implemented during the year, and we have standardised our billing system across all African markets.
  • Rigorous testing programmes are implemented for all software updates and rollouts for our internal systems and platforms.
  • Redundancy in key equipment and platforms was built at the disaster recovery site at our Samrand and Isando operational facilities.
  • We expanded our European technical facility and redundancy for the Rest of Africa business by adding a secondary business continuity technical site.

7
Third-party risk management

Description
We work with many third parties, and weaknesses and inadequacies in their management could potentially expose our business to a wide range of risks, such as reputational, information security, legal compliance, business interruption and other operational risks.
Risk mitigation
  • Significant progress is being made regarding the management of third parties. A detailed third-party risk management (TPRM) framework was approved in FY20 and has been implemented.
  • All third parties with whom we do business are subject to this risk management framework, which results in a firm foundation for their effective management.
  • Annual ongoing monitoring of all third parties with which we do business is a key part of the TPRM framework.
  • In addition, standard anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses are added into third-party contracts wherever possible.

8
Business continuity management

Description
The group must be able to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover an appropriate level of service in the event of an interruption. This includes technology failures in broadcasting/digital playout, customer service, billing/ payment systems and payroll. The business continuity management programme is focused on people, processes, systems and information.
Risk mitigation
  • Business continuity management is well established in the group and continuously improved. All operational and functional areas in the group have documented and tested business continuity plans.
  • The business continuity management programme is well governed through internal executive committees, with regular reporting to the board and its committees.

9
Piracy

Description
The illegal retransmission and piracy of content, including illegal connections, file sharing, illegal internet streaming of sporting content and the piracy of local content remain key risks to the business.
Risk mitigation
  • We continuously invest in our platform and application security division, Irdeto, which offers cybersecurity and anti-piracy solutions in media and gaming.
  • During the year, illegal entertainment services to 0.7m households were disconnected.

10
Talent and skills scarcity

Description
To move into the next generation of media services, we require talent and competence to operate in a data-driven world of big data, machine learning and AI; all areas with skills shortages globally. However, the focus on talent and competence is not limited to these areas.
Risk mitigation
  • The group’s reward structures are aimed at retaining employees in key areas and include bonuses and share schemes.
  • We identify the scarce skills and competencies required.
  • Focused recruitment of scarce skills remains a priority.
  • This is supported by programmes designed to develop a pipeline of talent.
  • We partner with vendors for skills transfer and programmes.