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    HomeNewsMultichoice Cites Nigeria’s Economy for Decline in DStv Subscribers

    Multichoice Cites Nigeria’s Economy for Decline in DStv Subscribers

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    By Milcah Tanimu

    African Pay-TV operator Multichoice Group has attributed a significant decline in its DStv active subscribers in Nigeria to the country’s economic challenges. According to the company’s financial results for the year ending March 31, 2024, DStv subscribers in Nigeria decreased by 18%, adversely affecting the overall subscriber database and leading to a 9% decline for the year.

    The exact number of DStv subscribers in Nigeria was not specified, as it was grouped with other operations outside South Africa under the category ‘Rest of Africa’ (RoA). The 18% decline in Nigeria contributed to a 13% reduction in RoA’s total active subscribers, dropping from 9.3 million in 2023 to 8.1 million in 2024.

    Multichoice explained that the 9% drop in active subscribers was primarily driven by the 13% decline in the RoA business, as customers in mass-market segments, particularly in Nigeria, prioritized basic necessities over entertainment. In contrast, the South African market showed more resilience, experiencing only a 5% decline.

    The company highlighted several economic issues in Nigeria that impacted subscriber numbers, including the removal of fuel subsidies, sharp currency depreciation, inflation surpassing 30%, and increased emigration among the middle and upper class. These factors collectively led to an 18% year-on-year decrease in active subscribers in Nigeria.

    As a result of these economic pressures, Nigeria’s contribution to RoA revenues fell from 44% to 35%. Similar subscriber trends were observed in Ghana, where the inflation rate remains above 20%.

    In response to these challenging market conditions, Multichoice shifted its short-term focus for the RoA business, which includes Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Ghana, and Zimbabwe, from subscriber growth to maintaining profitability and cash flow. The company implemented several cost-saving measures, including reducing decoder subsidies by 46% year-on-year (saving ZAR1.3 billion) and cutting selling, general, and administrative costs by ZAR500 million. These efforts increased the RoA business’s trading profit by 48% year-on-year to ZAR1.3 billion.

    In a related development, Multichoice faced legal challenges in Nigeria. Ahead of the implementation of new subscription prices on May 1, a Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) in Abuja issued an order restraining the company from enacting the new prices. Despite this, Multichoice proceeded with the price changes, leading the Tribunal to impose a N150 million fine on the company for challenging the court’s jurisdiction. Additionally, the Tribunal ordered Multichoice to provide Nigerian customers with a one-month free subscription on DStv and GOtv.

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