The number of premium DStv subscribers on MultiChoice Group’s books in South Africa fell by 4% in the year to end-March 2022, but the base is “gradually approaching the point of stability” after years of declines, it said.
MultiChoice said in slides with its annual results, published on Thursday, that the 4% reduction in premium subscribers is a marked slowdown in attrition from the 8% decline reported in the previous financial year.
The premium segment has been squeezed in recent years by the weak economy, reduced consumer spending power and the arrival on South African shores of international streaming competitors such as Netflix, BritBox, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video — and, more recently, Disney+.
Despite the change in the mix of subscribers – lower-tier bouquets have performed well for years – MultiChoice said it has managed to maintain its trading profit margins in South Africa.
A strong focus by the broadcaster on local content appears to be paying dividends, with demand for South African programming proving to be strong across all the tiers, including premium.
MultiChoice South Africa reported a 5% increase in 90-day active subscribers over the past year to nine million (the rest of Africa grew by 7% to reach 12.8 million).
The 90-day active average revenue per user (Arpu is a key metric in both telecommunications and broadcasting) fell by 3% in South Africa to R269.
MultiChoice has actively been introducing new products and services to support Arpu. These include the launch of DStv Internet (fixed-LTE bundles), a movie bolt-on service called ADD Movies (which grew its subscriber base by 121% year on year), DStv Insurance (offering decoder insurance), and DStv Rewards (a rewards programme).
For the full year, MultiChoice reported revenue up 3% to R55.1-billion. Headline earnings per share (Heps) fell by 23% to R3.81, though core Heps, which the group prefers to use as it reflects underlying operational performance, rose by 6% to R8.14.
The group declared a dividend of R5.65/share. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media