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MultiChoice Nigeria suffers 18% subscriber drop amid economic turmoil



MultiChoice Nigeria suffers 18% subscriber drop amid economic turmoil

MultiChoice Nigeria suffers 18% subscriber drop amid economic turmoil


MultiChoice, the leading entertainment company, has reported a sharp decline in its subscriber base in Nigeria. The company’s financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, reveal an 18% decrease in active subscribers in Nigeria, attributed to severe economic challenges including currency depreciation, removal of fuel subsidies, and soaring inflation. This significant drop underscores the impact of the country’s economic woes on consumer behavior and spending.

Economic Hardships Impact Subscriber Base

MultiChoice attributed the steep decline in its Nigerian subscriber base to the worsening economic conditions that have plagued the country over the past year. “The Nigerian economy and consumers faced persistent challenges through FY24,” the company stated. “The removal of fuel subsidies, sharp currency depreciation with the official naira halving in value, inflation climbing to over 30%, and higher emigration of the middle and upper class drove an 18% YoY decline in active subscribers (FY23: +13%).”

Revenue and Profitability Hit Hard

The financial strain in Nigeria has significantly impacted MultiChoice’s Return on Assets (ROA) from the region, which dropped from 44% to 35%. The decline in the Nigerian subscriber base also contributed to a 9% reduction in the group’s total active subscribers. The company explained, “The group’s 9% decline in active subscribers was mainly due to a 13% decline in the Rest of Africa business as mass-market customers in countries like Nigeria had to prioritize basic necessities over entertainment, while the South African business showed more resilience with a 5% decline.”

Worsening Economic Conditions

The period under review marked one of the toughest sets of macroeconomic conditions for MultiChoice’s Rest of Africa (ROA) business since 2016. High double-digit inflation in many of the group’s core markets exerted immense pressure on customer spending power. The company highlighted the dire situation in Nigeria, stating, “The official and parallel naira exchange rates reached peaks of ₦1600:1USD and ₦1900:USD respectively in February 2024, with several other African markets also experiencing extreme foreign exchange depreciation.”

Strategies for Mitigation

Facing these economic headwinds, MultiChoice has had to reassess its strategies to mitigate the impact on its business. The company has been focusing on cost-cutting measures, pricing adjustments, and innovative content offerings to retain and attract subscribers. However, the challenges remain significant as economic instability continues to affect consumer spending.

Consumer Priorities Shift

The economic difficulties have forced many Nigerian households to reprioritize their spending, with basic necessities taking precedence over entertainment services. This shift has particularly affected the mass-market segment, where discretionary spending on services like MultiChoice has been significantly curtailed. The decline in subscribers reflects the broader trend of reduced consumer confidence and financial constraints.

Regional Disparities

While the decline in Nigeria has been severe, MultiChoice noted a relatively more resilient performance in its South African market, where the subscriber base declined by only 5%. This contrast highlights the varying degrees of economic impact across the African continent, with some regions better able to weather the economic storm than others.

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