Naspers is firmly on the road to providing digital terrestrial television (DTT), according to a summary of its year-end consolidated results released on Monday.
“Some 727 000 DTH [direct-to-home] customers were added, bringing the DTH subscriber base to almost eight million,” said Naspers. “The DTT network is now substantially in place, with MultiChoice operating in 11 countries and 114 cities.”
It said 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 rollout began in January 2015,” it said. “Competition from international online players with global reach, such as Netflix, Amazon and Google, is increasing.”
The DTT block by e.tv’s court case in South Africa ended last week when the North Gauteng High Court brought a halt to its attempt to get conditional access and encryption included with the government-subsidised five million set-top boxes that will be distributed by government to poor TV-owning households.
Jackie Rakitla, MultiChoice’s general manager of corporate affairs, welcomed the court’s ruling on the digital-migration policy. “We can now start the journey of migrating from analogue to digital with all the benefits digital migration will bring,” Rakitla told City Press.
The JSE-listed company said development spend in the video-entertainment (formerly Pay-TV) increased by 31% to R2.4bn as MultiChoice builds out its DTT services, resulting in trading profit contracting by 6% to R8bn, from R8.5bn in 2014. Naspers increased its overall development spend by 33% to R10.7bn year-on-year (y/y), it explained.
The video-entertainment segment produced another consistent performance, however, generating revenues of R42.4bn, up 17% y/y.
Boost in online TV offering
MultiChoice is also investing in its online offering, the year-end summary explained, 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.”
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, the company explained. “Average monthly rentals tally around 600 000.”
The focus on producing home-grown content tailored to specific audience preferences was given a boost in Nigeria and Kenya, with our new local studios stimulating local productions, Naspers said.
In South Africa over R2bn was spent on local sport and content. “SuperSport remains the largest funder by far of sport on the African continent,” it explained.
Naspers core headline earnings, a measure the board considers a reliable indicator of sustainable operating performance, grew 30% to R11.2bn, up from R8.6bn in 2014.