African broadcasting giant MultiChoice Group (MCG) has revealed that its revenue fell 1% to ZAR28.3 billion ($1.54 billion) in the six months ended September 30 this year, as the group was battling local and global economic headwinds.
MCG said factors contributing to the slight decline in profitability included South Africa’s ongoing energy crisis, cost of living pressures and the sharp depreciation of local currencies against the local dollar.
However, the group maintained a 3% trading profit margin in the Rest of Africa (ROA) – an improvement of ZAR 2.2 billion year-on-year – and achieved a 31% trading margin in South Africa.
The group’s trading profit increased by 18% on an organic and comparable basis, although this improvement falls to 10% when considering MSG’s recent investment in its streamer Showmax.
Active in 50 markets in sub-Saharan Africa, the company operates dozens of entertainment channels and platforms, including pay TV service M-Net, satellite offering DStv and Showmax.
Subscription revenues increased by 3%, driven by 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, taking its library to almost 80,000 hours with new series such as the launch of M-Net series 1802: Love Defies time and Shaka iLembe on Mzansi Magic.
Investment in local programming increased content costs by 10%. MCG’s SuperSport service achieved excellent results following the broadcast of 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 macroeconomic and consumer environment by implementing various initiatives to protect the business economics.
“We remain focused on growing our leading entertainment platform that meets the needs of consumers across sub-Saharan Africa, leveraging our footprint to build a differentiated ecosystem, and developing additional revenue streams. »
In related news, MultiChoice revealed its ambitions for Showmax to become the number one streaming service in Africa.
The SVoD service will relaunch in February 2024 with a new look, new app and new product suite. The rollout comes after Showmax announced its partnership with NBCUniversal and Comcast’s Sky earlier this year.
The new Showmax will have three main offerings: Showmax Entertainment, Showmax Entertainment Mobile and Showmax Premier League. Powered by SuperSport and designed 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 over 40 markets across the continent. It offers original African content, international series, films, documentaries and children’s shows.
In preparation for the relaunch, the streamer is increasing its content slate in December. The programming will include the platform’s first 2D animation, Twende, as well as the second season of Adulting and reality TV series Kwa Mam’Mkhize.
“We can’t wait to share the new Showmax,” said Marc Jury, CEO of Showmax. “We have an incredibly powerful new technology platform, a bold brand that truly represents our driving spirit, and an unrivaled range of content. No other streaming service in Africa can offer what Showmax brings in the new year.
“Streaming in Africa is about to take off and we are ready to change the game. We have all the ingredients in place to become the number one streaming service in Africa. »