Strategic and operational review

Develop and deliver video-entertainment services to delight our customers

MultiChoice operates video-entertainment, media platforms and channels as well as internet and mobile platforms in South Africa. Our customers and our people define our product offerings, they provide us with the best ideas and make sure we keep delivering great products and services.

  • We focus on customer service and by improving the ease with which customers can access services.
  • By acquiring the best international content to keep our customers delighted.
  • By developing the best local content across Africa (encompassing genres and languages that satisfy our customers).
  • Enhancing our technological advantage by delivering products and services that customers want.
  • Delivering innovative and evolving content across various platforms.
Focusing on our customers

Our customer numbers grew by 573 000 (2014: 556 000), including EasyView, with the base closing at just over 5,4m households at 31 March 2015. At the beginning of 2014 the DStv Easy Access package (a non-billable product) was discontinued, reducing the customer base by close to 175 000.

Social media

MultiChoice uses social media as a platform to help connect with and understand our customers. We also use it as an early-alert system for issues with our products and services. Through our presence on social media, we have become more accountable to our customers, we are able to educate them about our products and services and improve our understanding of where there is room for improvement in the business.

Our main services on social media at present are customer care and content discovery. Offering customer-care services (such as technical and account queries) through @DStvCare means that we save our customers time and money by deflecting calls to social media, and educate customers about self-service options that explain the benefits of our products and services.

Through our content-discovery services, we aim to connect with our customers individually and, in turn, increase our perceived brand value. DStv is among the top South African brands on social media because we listen to our customers and ensure their voices are heard throughout the business.

Through social media we have been able to understand what our customers like, what they think of us, where we need to change and improve, and how they consume content. Most importantly, we have been able to build real and sustainable relationships with our customers, who are central to everything we do.

Customer care

We are passionate about customer experience and delivering exceptional service at every point of interaction. Clarity, transparency and openness are part of the MultiChoice customer experience.

A crucial part of our customer-care strategy is to improve customers’ use of our self-service platforms so they can resolve basic problems without having to call us. During the year we made significant strides in fixing the basics in our contact centres. Our service levels (the percentage of calls answered within 30 seconds) have increased from 65% to 85%.

We review and update our customer interactions in line with the best-of-breed internationally and will continue to innovate and improve customer experiences in the coming year. Looking forward, we remain focused on customer satisfaction and will continue to improve our customer-service levels, specifically our self-service growth and call-reduction initiatives.

Decoder payment plan

The decoder-payment plan was launched in April 2014 to provide an affordable alternative to customers wanting a DStv Explora. The plan allows customers to purchase the DStv Explora over a 24-month period with monthly instalments of R99. In December 2014 we enhanced the plan by allowing customers to bundle the Explora with their monthly DStv Premium subscription and access fee for R799 over a 24-month period.

Investing in international and local content
General entertainment
Nicktoons and Nick Jr)

Providing content that resonates with our customers is a key strategic advantage for the group and 11 new channels were added to the DStv platform in the financial year, five of these in the general entertainment and lifestyle genre.

M-Net launched two new high-definition (HD) channels in October 2014 for the DStv Premium package, namely M-Net EDGE (showcasing award-winning, critically acclaimed, cutting-edge drama) and VUZU Amp (with a strong focus on international, first-run drama and reality programming that resonates with this market).

Glow, Zee World, and EVA were added in November 2014, February and March 2015 respectively to various packages.

New channel launches included Lifetime, Ebony Life TV, BET International and Lesotho TV, as well as two new
24-hour kids channels (Nicktoons and Nick Jr). In addition to the new HD channels launched by M-Net, the existing kykNET and SuperSport 7 channels were also made available in HD, bringing the total to 21 HD channels available to customers on the DStv platform.

Customers were delighted by Express from the US, launched by M-Net in July 2014, which gives DStv Premium customers access to award-winning and acclaimed series such as Gotham (season 1), Girls (season 4), Looking (season 2) and Vikings (season 5). All these shows aired very soon after the US release. A first for South Africa was broadcasting Game of Thrones (season 5) at exactly the same time as in the USA.

 Express from the US
Local content

The group continues to make significant investments in featuring local content from across Africa. Stellar performances continue from Isibaya (Mzansi Magic’s weekday telenovela about taxi wars set in rural KwaZulu-Natal), Zabalaza (a soap opera set in Dube, Soweto) and Rockville (Mzansi Magic’s first local drama). These are all in their third seasons and have been rated well in their respective time slots. New offerings such as Saints and Sinners are also performing well.

Mzansi Bioskop, M-Net’s movie channel that showcases locally produced South African movies, continues to resonate with audiences. This year 100 titles were produced by both new and more established companies. The Mzansi family of channels (Mzansi Magic, Mzansi Bioskop, Mzansi Wethu and Mzansi Magic Music) continues to perform well on the various packages.

Lokshin Bioskop, local films produced by up-and-coming producers, is another of M-Net’s successful local investments. Local versions of reality shows Clash of the Choirs (second season), MasterChef South Africa (third season), Big Brother Africa (ninth season) and the top singing contest, Idols SA (tenth season), continued to engage customers. Vallei van Sluiers, a drama series about farming, family intrigues and conflicts set against the backdrop of the Ceres valley in the Western Cape, is popular with our Afrikaans audience.

In August 2014 kykNET’s film festival, Silwerskermfees, boosted the South African and Afrikaans film industry, bringing together young, established and veteran producers to share ideas, watch and discuss the latest shorts, documentaries and feature films. M-Net also presented the fifth Fiëstas awards, giving kykNET the opportunity to elevate and celebrate Afrikaans art festivals, theatre and television industries. M-Net launched a successful Afrikaans movie pop-up channel, fliekNET, with 24 hours of uninterrupted Afrikaans movies during the summer holidays.

 Fifa Soccer World Cup in Brazil

SuperSport strengthened its position as arguably the best sport broadcasting platform globally and entertained customers with significant investment in local and international content on all platforms and in all languages throughout our broadcast territories.

In the dynamic arena of sport entertainment, SuperSport again proved that it is in a league of its own by bringing sport fans even closer to the action. Sport enthusiasts enjoyed the production and broadcast of a number of top events, including the Commonwealth Games in Scotland, the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) soccer tournament in Equatorial Guinea and the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. For the Fifa Soccer World Cup in Brazil, SuperSport excelled with a state-of-the-art studio, unsurpassed on-air and online coverage with live streaming, highlights, expert commentary and an international line-up of studio guests.

SuperSport runs one of the largest and most advanced television broadcast infrastructures, driven by leading technology, and remains the biggest funder of sport in Africa. It continues to invest in local leagues at all levels by paying broadcast licence fees, upskilling local administrators and production crews, improving facilities, helping to professionalise local leagues and helping federations obtain sponsorships.

Investing in new technologies and platforms

MultiChoice is committed to staying at the forefront of technology and maintaining focus on new ways of connecting our customers to their entertainment, a world of information and each other.

The DStv Explora personal video recorder (PVR) is proving to be a significant differentiator for the group. In November 2014 the software was enhanced to allow the DStv Explora to be connected to the internet, allowing customers access to a deeper library of DStv Catch Up content. Our range of decoders was standardised to high definition (HD) in August 2014. Our PVR technology overcomes the challenge of low bandwidth in Africa and makes on-demand television a reality while making our video content accessible to customers on as many platforms as possible.

The DStv Now app (launched in November 2014 on the Android and iOS platforms) gives DStv Premium customers access to content via their mobile devices in the form of 17 linear channels and over 750 DStv Catch Up titles. We also introduced an enhanced kids catalogue, DStv Kids, on PVR and through the DStv Now app.

DStv Digital Media launched BoxOffice in 11 additional African countries – Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. Our BoxOffice home-movie rental service was extended to all our customers who own a PVR, irrespective of package. BoxOffice’s average rentals were 600 000 a month, an increase of 12% from the prior year. The catalogue was expanded to 20 titles on the DStv Explora and 68 titles online.

The DStv Catch Up service, available through the DStv Explora and our other PVR decoders, provides an expanded catalogue of over 470 hours of content, featuring series, movies, sport highlights and kids content.

In the past year we continued to develop SuperSport’s applications for Android, Windows and iOS platforms, adding match, team and score notifications. The SuperSport app now has 992 000 active monthly users, and live streaming on the SuperSport website averages 722 000 video streams per month. The SuperSport iOS application was also nominated as a finalist in the best use of technology across the multiple sports category of the Sports Technology Awards held in London.

Our focus on delivering content across a variety of platforms was enhanced during the year with MWEB reaching over 46 000 active Wi-Fi-enabled hotspots, up more than 60% on the previous year. MWEB launched fibre-to-the-home over two commercial fibre networks, with capped and uncapped offerings and will continue its consumer-focused initiatives in providing greater synergy between our businesses by enabling customers to access our content and services.

Focusing on the future

As part of our strategy to delight our customers by providing access to a world of video entertainment, anywhere, anytime and on any platform, we will focus our business objectives on continuing our investments in local and international content to bring our customers the very best in entertainment.

We will deepen our investment in new technologies and build on the success of DStv Now and the connected DStv Explora.

Our top priority is to give customers what they want and we will focus on developments in video content on new platforms, including broadband and mobile, to offer customers a wider range of products and services.

We remain focused on customer satisfaction and will continue to improve our customer-service levels, specifically our self-service and call-reduction initiatives.

DStv Explora