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    Monday, July 8, 2024

    South Africans are Discontinuing their DStv Subscriptions

    South African consumers and their African counterparts are discontinuing their DStv subscriptions in favor of more cost-effective streaming services.

    MultiChoice’s financial report for the fiscal year concluded on March 31, 2024, revealed a concerning decline in its subscriber base. Specifically, the company experienced a 9% reduction in the number of active subscribers over the past year.

    The decrease In active subscribers was primarily attributed to a 13% reduction in the Rest of Africa operations, as a significant number of mass-market clients discontinued their DStv subscriptions.

    MultiChoice attributed the decline to challenging economic circumstances, where households prioritize essential necessities over entertainment.

    In South Africa, DStv experienced a 5% decrease in the number of subscribers. The company attributed this decline to challenging market conditions.

    “The South African economy continues to endure severe economic pressure, with consumers under financial distress due to high inflation and interest rates,” it said.

    “Consistent load-shedding through the year has created an environment where customers without backup power were reluctant to subscribe.”

    Households were hesitant to invest in DStv due to concerns about the reliability of electricity supply and their ability to access the service during power outages.

    “The net effect was increased pressure on subscriber numbers, activity and viewership, with active subscribers down 5% to 7.6 million at year-end,” it said.

    The report Indicated an 8% decrease in both the Premium and Compact Plus DStv packages. While the Premium bouquets demonstrated greater stability, the Compact Plus offering experienced a more significant decline.

    This was the result of concentrated retention initiatives and the evolution of the Premium subscriber base toward a more consistent and dedicated group of customers.

    The Compact base, similar to the Compact Plus base, was significantly impacted by the macroeconomic challenges. Consequently, it experienced a decline of 9%.

    The mass market segment, which has historically exhibited robust growth, experienced a 2% decline as a result of competitive pressures within the Family category.

    In the current economic climate, many South African and African households are finding that the cost of DStv is no longer a feasible expense.

    There are numerous cost-effective entertainment options available, such as Netflix, YouTube, Showmax, and Disney+.

    With the rise in broadband penetration and reduced data costs, South African consumers are transitioning from DStv to streaming services.

    The attached chart, provided by The Outlier, illustrates the decrease in DStv subscribers during the previous fiscal year.

    The financial results indicate a reduction in the number of subscribers.

    The reduction in DStv subscribers, who are the primary source of revenue for the company, had a negative impact on MultiChoice’s financial performance.

    The company's recent financial report indicates a substantial loss of R4.1 billion, resulting in a state of technical insolvency.

    A combination of adverse foreign exchange movements and a reduced subscriber base led to a 5% decrease in the group’s overall revenue, which amounted to R56 billion.

    Subscriber trends and foreign exchange pressures negatively impacted group trading profit, resulting in a 21% decline to R7.9 billion.

    MultiChoice’s annual financial performance experienced a significant downturn, with a notable increase in its loss from R2.9 billion to R4.1 billion, representing a concerning 42% decline. This marks the company’s weakest financial performance on record.

    It Is particularly concerning that the DStv owner is now technically insolvent. Total assets have decreased from R47.6 billion to R43.9 billion, while liabilities have increased to approximately R45 billion.

    The financial standing of MultiChoice is currently in a state of negative equity, amounting to R1.068 billion. This situation indicates that the company is technically insolvent.

    In essence, MultiChoice is facing a severe financial predicament, as its current assets are insufficient to cover all of its outstanding liabilities. This situation poses significant challenges for the company’s long-term viability and stability.

    MultiChoice’s recent financial performance, as characterized by Wayne McCurrie of FNB Wealth and Investments, has been profoundly disappointing.

    The sole positive aspect influencing MultiChoice’s share value was Canal+’s R125 per share acquisition offer.

    Nevertheless, industry experts cautioned that the agreement would encounter numerous obstacles, including gaining approval from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the Competition Commission.

    Consequently, the deal’s completion is uncertain, presenting a substantial downside risk for current shareholders.

    Shane Watkins, an expert from All Weather Capital, anticipates a potential decline in the share price below R60 in the absence of the proposed transaction.

    McCurrie is even more pessimistic, stating that the share price could potentially decline to R40 or even R30 in the absence of a Canal+ transaction.

    Watkins further stated that unless MultiChoice is acquired by Canal+ or significantly enhances its operational efficiency, it will be necessary to secure additional capital through a rights offering.


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