MultiChoice blames economic conditions for drop in Nigerian subscribers

MultiChoice Group, has blamed Nigeria’s economic condition as active DStv subscribers in the country dropped by 18%.

The company disclosed this in its financial result for the year ended March 31, 2024, and said the decline in Nigeria affected its overall subscriber database leading to a 9% decline for the year.

While the total subscription figure for Nigeria is not stated as it is merged with other operating units outside South Africa tagged as ‘Rest of Africa’ (RoA), Multichoice stated that the 18% decline in Nigeria brought the RoA’s total active subscribers down by 13% to 8.1 million from 9.3 million in 2023.

“The group’s 9% decline in active subscribers was mainly due to a 13%  decline in the Rest of Africa business as mass-market customers in countries like Nigeria had to prioritise basic necessities over entertainment, while the South African business showed more resilience with a 5% decline,” the company stated.

“The Nigerian economy and consumers faced persistent challenges through FY24. The removal of fuel subsidies, sharp currency depreciation with the official naira halving in value, inflation climbing to over 30%, and higher emigration of the middle and upper class drove an 18% YoY decline in active subscribers.”

READ ALSO: MultiChoice subscription declines by 7% on weaker naira

It said this also reduced Nigeria’s contribution to the Rest of Africa revenues from 44% to 35%.

The company added that due to the challenging market dynamics, the short-term focus of its RoA (Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Ghana, and Zimbabwe) business was shifted from subscriber growth to safeguard profitability and cash flows.

“Several cost-saving initiatives were implemented, including scaling back significantly on decoder subsidies (-46% YoY or ZAR1.3 billion), and reducing selling, general, and administrative costs by ZAR500 million. These interventions enabled the Rest of Africa business to increase trading profit by 48% YoY to ZAR1.3 billion.”

MultiChoice had increased its DStv and GOtv bouquet prices three times in the last one year, with the first in April 2023, then another in November the same year. The third increment was announced in April this year which took effect on May 1.

Prior to the implementation of the new prices on May 1, the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) in Abuja issued an order restraining from implementing the new prices based on a case filed by a Nigerian customer of the company.

MultiChoice still implemented the new prices which led to a fine of N150 million for challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

Also, the court ordered MultiChoice to give Nigerians a one-month free subscription on DSTV and GOTV. Multichoice has vowed to appeal the judgement.

Source:

Business News | Guardian Nigeria