The pay-TV market in South Africa remains hot with strong growth despite tough economic conditions with Naspers' pay-TV division MultiChoice which grew with an additional 342 000 DStv subscribers in the first half of the financial year and with DStv BoxOffice rentals now topping a massive 600 000 movies a month.
While South African consumers are experiencing belt-tightening and with a lackluster offering from the struggling public broadcaster, they're not willing to forfeit their television, with pay-TV which not only remains a must-keep expense but keeps adding subscribers willing to pay for more and better TV content.
MultiChoice's PVR base - subscribers who have and use its DStv digital personal video recorder - has expanded to 1.2 million subscribers.
In the 6 months to 30 September, MultiChoice has grown its DStv subscribers to 8.4 million households and recorded an 18% year-on-year growth, with revenue of R20.2 billion.
"Pay-TV benefited from a 16% increase in DStv subscribers year-on-year, and a 5% increase in subscription rates in South Africa," Naspers said. MultiChoice has spent R642 million during the 6 months on developing digital terrestrial television (DTT) and online video initiatives.
"Customers rent 600 000 movies per month on our DStv BoxOffice service and we will soon expand this service into sub-Saharan Africa," said Naspers.
MultiChoice now operates DTT in 11 countries - but not yet in South Africa - and has around 873 000 subscribers. it is also investing heavily in growing and expanding its TV production capacity in Nigeria in West Africa and Kenya in East Africa.
MultiChoice owns and runs GOtv as its DTT platform which it offers in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia, covering 112 cities.
"We continue to scale our transmission platform and place decoders in markets where we expect analogue switch-offs in the foreseeable future. These switch-offs, once implemented, should provide momentum for further subscriber growth," said Naspers.