Multi-Choice records a 26 percent increase in subscriber base

December 2, 2008 • Top Stories

multichoice.jpgGOOD times are rolling for MultiChoice Africa’, after the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Eben Greyling, revealed that its subscriber base leaped by 26 per cent to reach an amazing 830 000.

Greyling attributed this phenomenal growth to the company’s focus on producing local content.

“There has been a substantial growth in local content across the board. We’ve also increased our investment in African leagues in Angola, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana,” said the CEO, adding that during the past 18 months, the company has benefited from more liberal regulatory environments than in SA, as well as continued economic growth on the continent.

Multichoice achieved this increase despite growth in competition across the continent, provided by start-up satellite services, which include GTV – with services in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, which have provided competition in the satellite TV broadcasting field.

With more players in the market, and increased regulation by some African countries, the company now has to contend with the possibility of increased operations and content costs.

“For the future, we are looking at ways of increasing the penetration of pay-TV across the continent,” Greyling says.

“One of the biggest challenges we face is around infrastructure. Electricity is a problem in some African countries and it’s obviously essential for us. Another challenge is piracy. There is a lot of stealing of content and rebroadcasting going on,” added Greyling.

High-definition (HD) is another hurdle the company will soon have to cross, as the service is currently not available outside of Southern Africa. Greyling comments that the service might be available around September next year – once the company has migrated to a new satellite which supports the HD format.

MultiChoice is facing an ever more complex market locally, and it is looking at various new technologies to enhance the traditional broadcasting model.

Richard Fyffe, MultiChoice’s General Manager for new media, said that traditional broadcasters are being hit with a wave of new media.

“Things like YouTube and WebTV are having a large impact on the broadcasting model.”

Fyffe added that high-definition is also having a global impact on television providers. “HD is gaining traction and becoming important. It’s like going from black-and-white TV to colour broadcasting. Once you’ve seen it, you won’t go back.”

However, he said the company has a few tricks up its sleeve to combat the emerging online trends. “One new feature that will come out next year will be push video-on-demand (VOD). We will take a TV show and push it to the hard drive on the set-top box,” explained Fyffe.

While the company’s VOD service will initially be limited to push from the satellite, it is hoping to make use of increasingly affordable broadband options to link set-top boxes to the Internet and allow subscribers to download TV shows and movies in a pull service.

Allowing the decoders to connect to the Internet, and network to other devices in the home is what Fyffe called “closing the circle on the restrictions that MultiChoice can provide”. Taking advantage of Internet access could allow the company to respond to Internet “fashion trends”, he added.

“People could connect to online personal media content like YouTube and other third-party applications. We can start offering connected gaming and transactional services. Not to mention another advertising platform.”

MultiChoice says these services will make it hard for any local IPTV entrant to make a mark. “These services are being offered online internationally by IPTV providers, but locally you would need fibre to the home for the last mile. We have access to satellite, which makes our last mile a good option.”

The satellite TV provider is in the process of testing TV to the mobile phone, and is also participating in government’s digital terrestrial migration trials. It is testing between six and 12 channels on government’s trial set-top boxes., Johannesburg

  • roger Cocks

    still no reply to my emails now for more than a month

    I have sent this email every day to multi choice enquiries and web master without reply why????

    I find the prompt go to scheduled recording less than helpful the question is how where is there a manual that shows the details of recording deleting timed recording. This is rediculous the attached manual sent to me is less than useful in this respect. Am tearing my hair out. I was trying to delete a timed recording and the prompt says go to scheduled recordings how for gods sake what a dumb prompt. Then I couldn’t avoid conflict recordings because I could’t switch off the time base recordings where is the manual not the technical stuff just navigating around every day use. Why does it take 15 min to fast forward from one end of a rugby match to another. In Eng with sky I can fastforward x2 x4 x6 x12 x24 x36
    I am very disappointed user the hd box it is expensive and yet there is no user support. The one reply I got did not read my email carefully I did not say I was disappointed with the programs these are world class but the user interface is absolutely the most unfriendly and supportless software on earth. If you receive this and don’t understand the word interface then show your supervisor. The attached manual you sent me the HD PVR decoder menu is hopeless for the problems I am reporting
    pleas dear god give me intelligent support
    roger cocks
    None of the manuals show me how to access scheduled recordings. Th prompt on the screen says recoding conflict go to scheduled recordins great but HOW!!!!!!!
    I also want to stop an existing time based daily recording nowhere does it say how.
    I want to fast forward quickly so that I can find a place in a rugby match without waiting for 15 min How
    I will be contacting you each day with these three questions until I die or get an answer hope the second comes first

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