Opportunities and risks

    MultiChoice committed resources to realise the following material opportunities, which are broad and strategic in nature:

Large and growing addressable market

We estimate our countries of operation across sub-Saharan Africa represent an addressable market of 43m subscribers (32% average household penetration; 52% in South Africa; 25% in the Rest of Africa) growing to 47m by 2023 (+11%).


  • We take a long-term view of our opportunity set and we are comfortable with supporting our businesses through the cycle.
  • We have pursued a strategy that has been increasingly focused on growing penetration in the mid and mass market segments. A clear example is our value strategy in the Rest of Africa where we lowered pricing, increased upfront set-top box subsidies and improved the content value proposition across packages to reposition the business for longer-term sustainable growth.
Sizeable subscriber base

We have a base of 19.5m 90-day active subscribers as of 31 March 2020 but we engaged with 22.8m unique subscribers (not all active at measurement date) through FY20.


  • This base provides economies of scale that allow us to continuously enhance our value proposition to our customers.
  • It also creates scope to develop a broader ecosystem of services by leveraging our established brands and customer relationships.
  • We monitor trends in offshore markets regarding vertical integration, converged service offerings and aggregator distribution partnerships. While our markets require a nuanced and often different approach, we selectively apply principles if and when relevant.
Deep understanding of customer needs

With 35 years of experience in intimately understanding the needs and preferences of our subscribers across an extremely diverse base (language, culture and economic status, among others) means that we are well placed to meet their ongoing requirements.


  • We aim to offer our customers a full-service content mix with appropriate tiering to suit their circumstances. Our strong international entertainment offering complements our key points of differentiation, ie local content and sport.
  • Our investment in local content enables us to tell great stories that our customers love and to develop proprietary intellectual property and formats, which can be leveraged cost-effectively across our platforms.
OTT growth opportunity

Our markets are at far earlier stages of broadband adoption than developed markets (only 4% OTT household penetration in sub-Saharan Africa) but, as technology solves access and cost challenges over time, so the market for OTT services will grow.


  • In the near term, we are accompanying our subscribers on their journey into an increasingly online environment. Our connected Exploras, DStv Now and Showmax services are aimed at either extending our linear service online or introducing new components such as box sets or streaming VOD.
  • This creates a foundation for us to scale our OTT offerings and launch innovative services.
Returning Rest of Africa to profitability

A sustained turnaround in the Rest of Africa business will alleviate market concerns while improving our overall group margins and cash flows, which can be reinvested in the business and/or returned to shareholders.


  • Scaling our subscriber base effectively while managing our largely fixed-cost base carefully (including targeted cost reductions) will support our path back to profitability.
  • In the interim, we have to navigate a challenging economic and FX environment. We have hedging programmes in place (where available and cost-effective) to help manage our currency risks.
  • Significant and/or extended headwinds may require additional interventions to mitigate their impact on the group.
Growing in connected industries

The internet of things (IoT) continues expanding at an exponential pace. A general lack of focus on digital security on an industrywide basis presents an opportunity for us to underpin these innovations.


  • The key focus is on industries where security meets safety and the stakes are high (loss of life, extreme brand damage, critical financial impact, etc).
  • Drivers such as cybersecurity regulations (especially in the medical field) open up new areas for growth where we can provide services and solutions to ensure compliance.
  • New services such as e-education and telehealth will require robust security to protect content and sensitive consumer data; an area in which we have extensive expertise.

Our top 10 risks


We operate in a highly regulated industry where changes in regulatory policy and legislative frameworks can have a significant impact on our business and operating model.


  • Our focus remains on full compliance with existing regulations.
  • We continue engaging with regulators and industry bodies proactively.
  • We conduct ongoing regulatory reviews and maintain contact with regulatory authorities and public industry bodies.
  • Our dedicated, experienced teams (internal and external experts) assist with regulatory engagements, responses to inquiries and other projects/submissions.
  • We promote active engagement with management, government and regulatory authorities about the impact on the industry of proposed regulations.


Macroeconomic challenges, such as currency depreciation and volatility, the commodity slowdown, electricity shortages (and more recently the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic) place pressure on the economies of the countries in which we operate.

Consumers are affected by the consequent pressure on disposable income, which potentially affects our addressable market, and growth and retention prospects.


  • We understand the pressure our customers face and remain focused on customer-centricity and affordability.
  • We continue focusing on reducing costs and improving efficiencies.
  • We offer customers various options suited to their circumstances, supporting value for money with the flexibility to adjust to their own unique and changing circumstances.


The landscape remains increasingly competitive with strong global and local competitors, and new entrants. Consumers have credible alternatives from multiple sources in terms of video entertainment. Furthermore, there is aggressive competition for content rights when contracts are up for renewal and content providers may choose to go directly to consumer, withdrawing rights from us.


  • We understand entertainment and technology are evolving as are consumption habits. As such, we continuously invest in product and service innovations, focusing on better products, value and customer service.
  • Retaining attractive content rights is a priority, as is investing in our partnerships to maximise mutual benefits.
  • We continue exploring opportunities for partnerships with telcos and other platforms.


The security of our information assets, including content, customer and employee information, is critical, and failure to protect these assets poses a legal and reputational risk.


  • Ongoing investment in systems and technology to identify vulnerabilities and prioritise the remediation thereof to enhance systems security and reduce business interruptions.
  • We employ a chief information security officer and chief data officer to ensure appropriate management attention to this critical risk.
  • Controls over information assets are continuously tested, focusing on the content value chain and protection of customer and employee information.
  • International studios undertake security assessments from time to time in support of their agreements with us.
  • An international certification outlining how we protect our content is in the process of being completed.


Access to quality content at the right price is a major business consideration. Content rights, both general entertainment and sport, are highly sought after. Furthermore, currency fluctuations and renewals can lead to increased costs.


  • Rights are reviewed regularly with due consideration for the economic value of each set of rights and bids are tabled accordingly.
  • We bid for and secure sporting rights for three to five-year periods according to rights cycles as determined by sport rights owners.
  • We continue to increase our investment in local content.
  • We invest in and maintain our partnerships with rights owners to maximise mutual benefits.
  • We offer customers various options suited to their circumstances, supporting value for money with the flexibility to adjust to their own unique and changing circumstances.


Technology is integral to our strategy and operations. For example, the availability and stability of the billing system is critical to the achievement of strategic objectives. In addition, the stability and scalability of the DStv Now platform is imperative to drive OTT initiatives.


  • We invest in improving our existing systems and monitoring, innovating and collaborating to offer increased value to customers, which are all a key part of our business plan.
  • Our IT controls framework was developed and is being implemented throughout the group and robustness is reviewed regularly.
  • Significant improvements to simplify billing and business rules were implemented during the year, and we have standardised our billing system across all African markets.
  • Rigorous testing programmes are implemented for all software rollouts.
  • Redundancy in key equipment and platforms was built at the disaster recovery site at our Samrand and Isando operational facilities.
  • We have expanded our MultiChoice Africa European technical facility and redundancy by adding a secondary business continuity technical site.


We work with many third parties and weaknesses and inadequacies in their own management could potentially expose our business to a wide range of risks, such as reputational, information security, legal compliance, business interruption and other operational risks.


  • Significant progress is being made regarding the management of third parties. A detailed third-party risk management (TPRM) framework was approved in FY20 and is being implemented.
  • All third parties we do business with will be subject to this risk management framework, which will result in a firm foundation for their effective management.
  • Annual ongoing monitoring of all third parties with which we do business is a key part of the TPRM framework.


The group must be able to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover an appropriate level of service in the event of an interruption. This includes technology failures in broadcasting/digital playout, customer service, billing/payment systems and payroll. The business continuity management programme is focused on people, processes, systems and information.


  • Business continuity management is well established in the group and is improved continuously. All operational and functional areas in the group have documented business continuity plans, which have been tested.
  • The business continuity management programme is well governed with regular reporting to the board and subcommittees.


The illegal retransmission and piracy of content, including file sharing, illegal internet streaming of sporting content and the piracy of local content remain a key risk to the business.


  • We continually invest in our leading platform and application security division, Irdeto, which offers cybersecurity and anti-piracy in media and gaming.
  • During the year, illegal entertainment services to 0.9m households were disconnected.


To move into the next generation of media services, we require talent and competence to operate in a data-driven world of big data, machine learning and AI, which struggle with skills shortages globally.


  • We identify the scarce skills and competencies required.
  • Focused recruitment of scarce skills remains a priority.
  • This is supported by programmes designed to develop a pipeline of talent.
  • We partner with vendors for skills transfer and programmes.