MultiChoice Group (MCG, or the group), Africa’s leading entertainment company, delivered steady margins for the year ended 31 March 2022 (FY22).
“Reduced losses in the Rest of Africa (RoA), a rebound in advertising revenues and a continued focus on cost containment enabled us to absorb the R1.1bn impact of a normalisation in content costs as live sport returned and we resumed our local content production post the COVID-19 lockdowns,” says Calvo Mawela, Chief Executive Officer.
“We continued to enhance our video entertainment offering and expanded the variety of services offered to our customers as we grow our entertainment ecosystem,” he added.
The group’s linear pay-TV subscriber base (measured on a 90-day active basis) increased by 0.9m to reach 21.8m households, comprising 9m in South Africa and 12.8m in the RoA.
The 5% growth year-on-year (YoY) is subdued due to the tough economic environment and elevated subscriber growth during COVID-19 related lockdowns in the previous year.
MCG continued to pursue its differentiation strategy through local content, stepping up its local content production by 32% YoY to 6 028 hours and bringing its local content library close to 70 000 hours. Local content accounted for 47% of total general entertainment content spend and the group remains on track to achieve a target of 50% by 2024.
Seven major new channels launched, including two Portuguese-focused channels in Angola and Mozambique. In South Africa, the group’s co-productions such as Reyka and Recipes for Love and Murder were broadcast to critical acclaim and international interest.
SuperSport delivered world class productions given a bumper calendar of major sporting events. A record number of viewers tuned into Euro 2020, the British and Irish Lions rugby tour and the Tokyo Olympics.
Growth in Connected Video users on the DStv app and Showmax service is outpacing the market. Paying Showmax subscribers were up 68% YoY, whilst overall monthly online users of the group’s connected video services increased 28% YoY.
The South African business faced an increasingly difficult consumer climate, with FY22 growth rates impacted by rising unemployment levels, intermittent loadshedding and a disruption caused by the July riots in Durban and Johannesburg.
Revenue increased 4% to ZAR35.6bn, supported by the rebound in advertising revenue and a 1% increase in subscription revenues, driven by subscriber growth in the mass market and the uplift from annual price increases. The return of live sport and other value adding initiatives contributed to reducing churn in the Premium base relative to the prior year. Trading profit declined 1% to ZAR11.0bn as the ongoing cost-optimisation programme only partially offset consumer pressure in the middle market and the normalisation of content costs and sales and marketing expenses.
Rest of Africa (RoA)
The Rest of Africa business benefited from the popularity of local content such as Big Brother Naija and live sporting events. Whilst revenue of ZAR17.9bn reflects a strong 14% organic increase, it is only 4% higher than the prior year due to the impact of translating Rest of Africa’s USD revenues at a stronger ZAR for reporting purposes. Trading losses amounted to ZAR1.2bn, which is a 24% improvement YoY on an organic basis. Local currencies held up better against the USD than prior years, resulting in an overall headwind on reported results of only ZAR0.1bn
In the year ahead, the group will continue to drive penetration of its video entertainment services across the African continent by offering customers an array of unique and rich media content delivered in a convenient and cost effective way. Local content and select sporting events such as the English Premier league, UEFA Champions League and the 2022 FIFA World Cup will contribute to the growth in linear and streaming services.
Returning the Rest of Africa business to profitability in FY23, maintaining strong cash flows to support a healthy balance sheet and pursuing innovative products and services remain key pillars for long term value creation.
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