Multichoice, the company behind DStv, has published its interim results. To our surprise, revenue is up 7% – bringing it up to R28.65 billion for the six-month period ending 30 September. Operating profits are up too, to the tune of R6.2 billion (6%).
Despite those numbers trending up, Multichoice noted a decline of R248 million – due to losses of R0.6 per share. Overall, however, the group’s core headline earnings increased by 2% to R2 billion. It cites lower losses in the rest of Africa for the increase in the grand scheme of things.
Investing big in the World Cup
These figures were heavily impacted by Multichoice’s huge investment in decoders. Why the sudden upsurge of decoders? To prepare for the FIFA World Cup, of course. The company often notices growth in subscribers and decoder purchases every four years. And it hopes to keep that streak alive for the 2022 season.
“This investment supports the anticipated subscriber growth opportunity around the FIFA World Cup while at the same time mitigating the growing risk of supply chain disruptions from global silicon chip shortages,” it said.
“SuperSport will be the only platform where customers across the group’s 50 markets can watch all 64 matches live and in a suitable time zone for African viewers. This working capital investment increased decoder subsidies and reduced group trading profit by R700 million and free cash flow by R800 million, primarily in the Rest of Africa,” the group continued.
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Premium subscribers are up (in South Africa)
DStv’s South African department saw an increase in the mass-market and premium segments for the first time in years. The rise in these segments is to the detriment of its premium and middle-of-the-road subscribers. Compared to the same period last year, subscriber counts are up 3%, bringing the number of 90-day active subscribers up to 9.1 million.
It also said that subscribers in the middle market were under pressure, as these subscribers often feel the hardest impact of unemployment, inflation and interest fees.
“Frequent load-shedding negatively impacted active subscriber numbers towards the end of September,” it said. This led to a loss in premium subscribers in the six-month period. Though it said it noticed a slight increase in the recent quarter.
“In South Africa, growth rates recovered during the second half of the reporting period despite evidence of rising consumer pressure,” it said.
Despite the subscriber growth in the premium and mass market, South African revenue was down 2%. “South Africa (sic) revenue decreased 2% to R17.4-billion due to a weaker-than-normal first quarter when the impact of the football off-season was exacerbated by an extremely challenging consumer climate,” the group said.
Multichoice said it wants to continue placing focus on value-added services like insurance and DStv Internet.