DStv: Explora sales up, premium subscriptions down

2016-12-03 13:01

Cape Town – While the uptake of MultiChoice’s DStv Explora decoders remains strong, the subscriber numbers of its top-end product, DStv Premium, is declining.

While MultiChoice is adding DStv subscribers, the African pay-TV operator is now losing one specific type of subscriber, with one of its products that is no longer resonating as strongly with consumers: DStv Premium.

MultiChoice has released its results for the six months until the end of September 2016 that shows an increase in revenue and subscribers but also that the percentage of DStv Premium subscribers as part of the whole is contracting.

After a previous slump of losing 164 300 pay-TV subscribers, MultiChoice bounced back by adding almost 600 000 subscribers (591 968 subscribers to be specific) during the reported six month period. GOtv added 150 000 subscribers across Africa compared to the previous year.

Interestingly, this growth is not coming at the high-end of its offering range, represented by its DStv Premium product.

MultiChoice's results for the six months until the end of September 2016 shows that while the lower end of the pay-TV customer base remains stable, the top end is contracting. Naspers says net subscriber additions now come from mainly middle and lower tiers.

While lower-end subscriptions remain stable at 52%, the subscriber mix is changing, with DStv Compact growing from 26% to 30% of the total, while DStv Premium is sliding from 22% to 18% (2.24 million subscribers to 2.005 million).

In November, M-Net CEO, Yolisa Phahle, in an interview, alluded to the decline in the popularity of DStv Premium. She said the DStv Premium market could be reaching saturation point, but that the future still offers significant growth opportunities for subscription television.

Uptake of DStv Explora decoder remains strong

Naspers' video entertainment division that comprises MultiChoice running services like DStv and GOtv in South Africa and across the African continent says in its six months' report that it has come under pressure due to sliding African currencies, since TV content is procured in dollar.

At the end of September 2016, MultiChoice now has 11 million pay-TV subscribers across Africa.

MultiChoice says that the "contraction in the South African economy continues to impact our customers" while "increased competition and the rand depreciation contributed to rising international dollar-based content costs".

"Despite the current environment, we have not compromised on delivering unrivaled local and international content, demonstrated by our dedicated coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics on 7 HD channels, the coverage of the Euro 2016 football and the best local and international shows such as Isibaya and Suits."

In a statement Naspers says "the focus remains on giving subscribers the very best local and international content, while managing costs, improving customer service and retaining customers in an environment where there is intensifying competition from global players such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple and Google".

"ShowMax, the subscription video-on-demand service, is growing steadily".

Naspers says "DStv Catch Up was made available to DStv Compact customers, as well as a decoder payment plan, which boosted the uptake of our personal video recorders (PVRs)".

MultiChoice says that uptake of the DStv Explora decoder "remains strong and customers who make use of the Explora continue to report high levels of satisfaction".

Read more on:    dstv  |  multichoice  |  tv

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