MultiChoice bolsters investment to combat Netflix, Amazon and Disney

By Joseph Ekeng
In a strategic move to fend off competition from global streaming giants Netflix, Amazon, and Disney, MultiChoice, the South African media group, has significantly ramped up its investment in local content. The company’s latest financial report reveals a noteworthy 16% year-on-year increase in spending on local content, emphasizing its commitment to securing a robust market position.
To fortify its standing, MultiChoice-owned streaming service, Showmax, has undertaken a bold initiative by allocating a staggering $1 billion towards content production and acquisition in Africa. The focus is squarely on enhancing the platform’s local content offerings, a tactic that has propelled Showmax to prominence. Despite entering the African market as recently as 2016 with only a modest subscriber base, Showmax has successfully carved out a niche for Itself through a targeted and aggressive local content strategy.
While Netflix has added 1.2 million subscribers over the past four years, it faces formidable challenges from both local and global competitors. Showmax’s regional focus and robust local content strategy have been instrumental in its impressive growth, positioning it as a noteworthy contender in the competitive African streaming landscape.
The African streaming market, poised for a projected annual growth of 10.4%, presents a lucrative opportunity. However, challenges such as high broadband costs, unstable internet connectivity, and lower incomes have impeded the sector’s expansion across the continent.
MultiChoice, foreseeing the need for innovative strategies, revealed that Showmax’s partnership with US media conglomerate Comcast is gearing up to launch a new platform later in the financial year. The company expressed confidence that this collaboration would not only double its customer base but also contribute an additional $1 billion in revenue over the medium term.
Showmax has witnessed a commendable 13% increase in its active subscriber base, resulting in a remarkable 46% surge in revenues. However, these gains were tempered by higher operating costs attributable to strategic investments, leading to trading losses.
In a statement, the company acknowledged the challenges and expressed optimism about the upcoming service, saying, “This service… will enable MultiChoice to double its customer base and deliver an additional $1 billion revenue in the medium term.” With the battle for streaming supremacy intensifying, MultiChoice’s concerted efforts underscore the evolving dynamics of the industry as it strives to stay ahead in the fiercely contested streaming market.


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