Why Half a Million South African Subscribers Bid Farewell to DStv

Recent reports reveal that MultiChoice, the pay-TV giant, faced a substantial setback in South Africa, losing nearly half a million DStv subscribers in the past year, as per the company’s latest interim results for the first half of 2023.

As of September 2023, the number of active subscribers in the country plummeted to 8.629 million, marking a staggering decline of 486,000 from the same period in 2022, reports

In response to these losses, MultiChoice Nigeria announced a second price increase for its DStv and GOtv packages in the same year, potentially impacting subscriber numbers in Africa’s most populous nation.

MultiChoice attributed a significant portion of its subscriber drop in South Africa to the termination of pricing promotions initiated in 2022, which aimed to alleviate financial strain on customers amid load-shedding challenges.

The removal of 311,000 non-revenue generating customers from DStv’s 90-day active subscriber base, who were part of the temporary “Surprise and Delight” offers, contributed to a 3 percent decline, forming part of the total 5 percent reduction.

Additionally, factors like increased load-shedding also played a role in the decline, affecting the active customer base, which decreased by 382,000 from 8.204 million to 7.822 million, including subscribers with valid packages by the end of September 2023.

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MultiChoice mentioned “more stable” trends in mid and upper customer segments, alongside inflation-linked price increases, which helped limit the decline in monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) to 2 percent.

The company divides its subscriber base into three categories: premium, mid-market, and mass market segments, each experiencing varying degrees of change. While the Premium package witnessed a temporary 5 percent increase, the overall Premium segment, including Compact Plus, faced a 5 percent decline.

The mid-market segment suffered a substantial 14 percent drop, shrinking from 2.7 million to 2.3 million subscribers, while the mass market experienced a more modest 1 percent decline.

Looking beyond South Africa, MultiChoice saw a slight increase of 70,000 in its 90-day active subscriber base in the Rest of Africa (RoA). However, the overall RoA subscriber numbers decreased by 25,000, settling just above 13 million.

In total, DStv’s subscribers across all markets declined from 17.110 million to 16.703 million, with the blended ARPU also experiencing a 3 percent decrease, dropping from R235 to R229.

The comprehensive review of DStv’s subscriber base trends from H1 FY2022 to H1 FY2023 illustrates the shifts in South Africa and the RoA markets.

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