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Africa’s MultiChoice reveals revenue dip, prepares to relaunch streamer Showmax

Children’s 2D animation Twende

African broadcasting giant MultiChoice Group (MCG) has revealed that revenue fell by 1% to ZAR28.3bn (US$1.54bn) during the six months ending September 30 this year, as the group battled local and global economic headwinds.

MCG said that factors contributing to the slight fall in profitability included the ongoing South African load-shedding energy crisis, cost of living pressures and sharp depreciation in local currencies against the local dollar.

Calvo Mawela

However, the group maintained a trading profit margin of 3% in the rest of Africa (ROA) – a ZAR2.2bn improvement year on year – and delivered a 31% trading margin in South Africa.

Group trading profit increased 18% on an organic and like-for-like basis, though that drops to a 10% improvement when MSG’s recent investment in its streamer Showmax is considered.

Active in 50 markets across sub-Saharan Africa, the company operates dozens of channels and entertainment platforms, including pay TV service M-Net, the DStv satellite offering and Showmax.

Subscription revenues were reported as 3% higher, attributed to strong growth in ROA (+14%) and Showmax (+25%), offset by pressure on the South African business.

MCG increased its spending on local content by 16% year on year, boosting its library to almost 80,000 hours with new series such as M-Net series launch 1802: Love Defies time, and Shaka iLembe on Mzansi Magic.

Marc Jury

The investment in local programming drove up content costs by 10%. MCG’s SuperSport service performed strongly after broadcasting the Rugby World Cup, Netball World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Calvo Mawela, Group CEO said: “We delivered a resilient performance in a challenging macro and consumer environment by implementing various initiatives to protect the economics of the business.

“We remain focused on developing our leading entertainment platform that caters for consumer needs across sub-Saharan Africa, on leveraging our footprint to build a differentiated ecosystem and on developing additional revenue streams.”

In related news, MultiChoice has revealed ambitions for Showmax to become the number one streaming service in Africa.

The SVoD service will be relaunched in February of 2024 with a new look, app and product suite. The rollout comes after the announcement of the partnership between Showmax and Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky earlier this year.

The new Showmax will have three core offerings: Showmax Entertainment, Showmax Entertainment Mobile and Showmax Premier League. Powered by SuperSport and made for mobile users, Showmax Premier League is the first standalone Premier League mobile streaming service to launch in Africa, according to MCG.

Showmax was launched in 2015 and is available in more than 40 markets across the continent. It offers original African content, international series, movies, documentaries and kids’ shows.

In preparation for the relaunch, the streamer is ramping up its content slate in December. Programming will include the platform’s first 2D animation, Twende, as well as second seasons of Adulting, and reality series Kwa Mam’Mkhize.

“We can’t wait to share the new Showmax,” said Showmax CEO Marc Jury. “We have an incredibly powerful new technology platform, a bold brand that truly represents our driving spirit and a content slate that is unmatched. No other streaming service in Africa can offer what Showmax is bringing to the table in the new year.

“Streaming in Africa is about to take off and we’re ready to change the game. We have all the ingredients in place to become the number one streaming service for Africa.”

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