Naspers grows its African pay TV subscriber base; still small compared to SA

South African media company Naspers grew its sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) pay television subscriber base by 135,000 to a total of 1.2 million homes during the six months ended 30 September 2010.

Naspers offers multichannel digital satellite television services across the African continent through its MultiChoice subsidiary on the DStv platform.

Nearly half of DStv’s sub-Saharan African customers subscribe to the lower-priced Compact/Family bouquets.

Naspers said that during the six months operating margins in sub-Saharan Africa were reduced due to higher investment in local content, increased competition and additional satellite capacity.

“Increased regulation and new broadband technologies are adding to the challenge,” the company said.

In South Africa, the gross subscriber base expanded by 363,000 to 3.2 million households. The cheaper Compact bouquet accounted for most of the growth, adding 242,000 homes.

The company said that it recently also commenced with the roll-out of mobile television services in South Africa. “This is still an experimental service that will incur losses for many years. However, this technical advancement benefits domestic research and development in South Africa and helps our engineers engage with the future.”