Monday, June 29, 2015

BREAKING. Naspers' MultiChoice lifts satellite pay-TV subscriber base to almost 8 million DStv subscribers; pay-TV growth 'remains robust'.

Naspers' MultiChoice, though its pay-TV platform DStv and ancillary assets and divisions M-Net and SuperSport, generated annual revenues of R42,4 billion - 17% more than a year ago and is touching 8 the number of almost 8 million DStv subscribers, Naspers said in a summary of its annual financial results for the year ending 31 March 2015.

For the first time in its annual results Naspers is now also referring to its pay-TV business as its "video entertainment segment".

Naspers says it is continuing with considerable investment in its pay-TV and video entertainment segment, in preparation for global online video subscription providers like Netflix which are coming, and with Netflix for instance confirming earlier this year that it will be starting its video-on-demand (VOD) service in South Africa before the end of 2016.

"The video-entertainment business made solid progress with the total base closing at some 10.2 million households across Africa," says Naspers.

"This comprises 2.2 million digital terrestrial television (DTT) subscribers and almost 8 million direct-to-home (DTH) satellite service subscribers."

MultiChoice added 727 000 satellite pay-TV subscribers across the African continent bringing the DStv subscriber base to almost 8 million, with Naspers saying that "subscriber growth across the African content remained robust".

DStv BoxOffice rentals, MultiChoice's video-on-demand service which is now available in 11 African countries including South Africa, now average around 600 000 monthly.

"The smartphone is becoming the primary internet device in many of our markets, and we are dedicating considerable resources to advancing our mobile products," says Naspers.

"Given ongoing delays in analogue television switch offs, we decided to invest incrementally in the second half of the year to continue to drive DTT growth, which resulted in 1.4 million African homes being added to the base, to close the year at 2.2 million subscribers,” says Naspers.

"Increased development spend, plus capital expenditure to build our DTT footprint and TV production facilities in East and West Africa, resulted in free cash outflow of R515 million (2014: outflow of R349 million).

Naspers says R2 billion was spent in South Africa on local sports as well as securing and producing other local TV content.

Naspers, which now has a digital terrestrial television (DTT) network in place across Africa and already operates DTT in 11 countreis in 114 cities across Africa, has doubled its DTT base.

"The DTT base more than doubled, closing at 2,2 million customers. Kenya is one of the first African countries to make the transition to digital as the analogue switch-off roll-out began in January 2015."

"MultiChoice is investing in its online offering, expanding its delivery platforms and improving products and services. The DStv Explora personal video recorder is a significant differentiator and became internet-connected in November 2014," says Naspers in its annual financial report.

"Our 'TV everywhere' strategy gained traction with the launch of DStv Now. Connected services allow customers access to a greater selection of entertainment on their tablet or smartphone - anywhere, anytime."

"Home movie rentals were made available to all DStv customers through BoxOffice, the video-on-demand service, which is now available in 11 African countries. Average monthly rentals tally around 600 000."

MultiChoice signed contracts with Eutelsat and Intelsat to increase its backup satellite capacity and also created a second. It also invested in a second broadcast site to ensure uninterrupted viewing — for example, to deal with inclement weather conditions at its Randburg, Johannesburg headquarters that can affect broadcasts.