South Africa’s MultiChoice Expands Digital Terrestrial Television Across sub-Saharan Africa
MultiChoice of South Africa is aggressively expanding its digital terrestrial television (DTT) footprint across sub-Saharan Africa under its Gotv brand. This is contributing to rapid growth in the number of pay-TV subscribers on its books outside its home market of South Africa.
For the year ended March 31, 2014, the Naspers-owned company added 1.3 million new subscribers, driven by growth from the rest of the continent. Naspers says it hopes to “capture the growth opportunity in DTT across Africa”.
Subscriber numbers for GOtv, MultiChoice’s DTT offering, have leapt by almost 50% in the past 12 months, to reach 817 000.
GOtv is now available in 92 cities in eight countries, including key markets such as Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda and Ghana.
As governments and regulators across the region are busy with projects to migrate their terrestrial broadcast networks from analogue to digital, this is opening up opportunities for new players to enter these markets with content offerings.
MultiChoice is investing heavily in building DTT infrastructure in these countries. Capital expenditure rose by 83% in the 2014 financial year to reach ZAR3,7 billion, of which more than ZAR1.3 billion went into DTT roll-out programmes.
Meanwhile, Naspers says that programming costs have also jumped in the past year, climbing by 18% to ZAR8.2 billion. Over the past five years, these costs have risen by a compound annual 18%.
Naspers further says MultiChoice has increased the number of personal video recorder (PVR) users to 1.1 million, up by 15% on a year ago. Among other things, PVRs allow subscribers to record and pause live television. The company’s satellite-based movie rental service, BoxOffice, is now leasing an average of 529 000 movies per month.
Lower-cost programming bouquets are driving demand from customers, with DStv Premium subscribers making up 28% of the total, down from 34% in 2013. Compact has remained stable at 37% of the mix, while lower-end bouquets now make up 35% of the total, from 29% previously.
Fully, 80% of MultiChoice’s revenues now come from subscription fees, with just 7% coming from advertising. Hardware sales (6%), online/broadband (4%) and other revenue sources (3%) make up the rest.
A NewsCentral Media article by By Duncan McLeod.