Multichoice Group has appointed top Sky executive, Andrea Zappia, as the Chairman of its streaming platform, Showmax.
This appointment followed MultiChoice’s recent deal with Comcast, as it seeks to rival the likes of Netflix Inc. and significantly grow its revenue on the continent. Zappia, who was the chief executive officer of Sky’s new markets and businesses, became chairman this month after joining the board of MultiChoice in September.
Showmax, which already operates in 50 African countries, re-launched its service on Monday with Comcast’s backing and technology. MultiChoice CEO, Calvo Mawela, recently told investors that the streaming service plans to generate $1 billion in revenue in five years.
MultiChoice and Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky formed a partnership in March to grow audiences on the African continent that is home to the fastest-growing population in the world. MultiChoice currently holds 70% of Showmax, and Comcast the balance – with the right to expand its holding, Mawela said.
The venture also sees an opportunity to grow its audience in categories such as football and local shows as young and tech-savvy Africans are turning to their phones for services ranging from banking to entertainment. The new offering will operate on the Peacock streaming platform and show the English Premier League as part of its offering.
“The benefit of the partnership between Comcast and MultiChoice is to take international experience and combine that with our African experience – and that makes us very competitive on the continent. The plan is to significantly scale the business,” Showmax CEO, Marc Jury, said in an interview.
Push for more revenue
Multichoice is hoping to leverage the revamped Showmax to earn more revenue amid recent losses. sources recently reported the Group posted a net loss of 1.32 billion rand ($72.4 million) for the six months ending September 30, 2023.
That came as the third consecutive semi-annual loss, which the company attributed to foreign exchange difficulties in Nigeria and persistent power outages in South Africa.
The challenges in Nigeria stemmed from the mid-June decision to allow the Naira to trade more freely against the dollar, resulting in a 40% devaluation. This compelled MultiChoice to revalue inter-group loans, leading to foreign exchange losses.
In addition to the currency woes, South Africa experienced rolling blackouts, contributing to a 5% decline in the number of active days per subscriber. This exacerbation further impacted MultiChoice’s financial performance during the specified period