DStv winning Netflix battle

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MultiChoice, the South African entertainment company, is about to see itself spun off from parent Naspers, and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on February 27th.

This week, the company held an investor roadshow presentation in Johannesburg and the message from the broadcaster’s senior executives is that its DTH service, DStv, is doing far better in Africa generally than Netflix.

The presentation showed that overall Group subscriber numbers in 50 African countries – despite currency challenges in some markets – have grown consistently over the past 4 years. It produces content in 17 languages over 22 proprietary channels and this equates to 4500 hours of local productions annually.

Multichoice stated that with almost 14 million subscribers, it has “four times more” than all of its various rivals. MultiChoice listed StarTimes, Canal+Afrique and Netflix as its main rivals.

Netflix specifically, said Multichoice, has less than 10 per cent of that total.

The team also stressed that MultiChoice has access to the studio output a massive content library from the likes of NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Disney and Viacom as well as Discovery, CBS, HBO and hulu with first window access and exclusive distribution rights.

Last year, the non-South Africa efforts recorded a trading loss of R4.6 billion (€0.3bn), down from the previous year’s R4.9 billion. MultiChoice says the company expects annual reductions in trading losses from the rest of Africa, with that unit returning to profitability “in the medium term”.

The South African trading position is much healthier and showed a trading profit of R10.4 billion in financial year 2018, from R9.8 billion previously.

Multichoice is targeting – by 2022 – an “addressable” pay-TV market of about 46 million homes.


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