MultiChoice: More news is good news, but cash is tight


MultiChoice: More news is good news, but cash is tight

Newzroom Afrika joins pay-TV operator's portfolio of news channels, all battling with reduced adspend

Mudiwa Gavaza

Africa’s largest pay-TV operator, MultiChoice, this month welcomed a new addition to its portfolio of news channels – Newzroom Afrika, founded by Thokozani Nkosi and Thabile Ngwato. The company said the addition will add further news diversity to MultiChoice platforms.
MultiChoice is paying for the local news channels on its DStv platform but analysts complain the process is not transparent. With the pay-TV operator now listed on the JSE, analysts hope for better clarity in future.
Broadcasters, including the SABC, are battling to make enough money because many companies have reduced their spending on advertising in the past 24 months.
The most-watched 24-hour news channel in SA, eNCA, has struggled financially in recent years. In its latest financial results, JSE-listed eMedia Holdings (EMH) – which owns eTV, eNCA and Open View – acknowledged that reduced spending by MultiChoice had forced it to cut costs as licence fee revenue was reduced substantially.
In 2018, EMH made R1.573bn in advertising revenue, while incurring an overall R1.6bn loss.
The introduction of Newzroom Afrika has brought more competition to the SA broadcast news market, but it will be interesting to see how much MultiChoice spends on the 24-hour news shows on its platform.

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