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Amapiano undoubtedly continues to be one of Africa’s most prolific genres. Rooted in the Kwaito era the genre is seeing exciting cross-regional and diaspora experiments and collaborations, which have sprung up from Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, London and New York signalling this genre is far from over. Rather it seems to be on the cusp of even more diverse and exciting global expressions in the future.

The rise of the genre is evident, with Amapiano hit makers Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa taking the top spots as the Most Streamed Artists in South Africa on Spotify in 2019. Amapiano was also the most streamed local genre on Spotify in South Africa, with a phenomenal 145% increase in global streams in the first half of 2020 to the previous year.

To explore the DNA of the Yanos sound, its impact locally and its international ascent, Spotify recently hosted an Amapiano virtual panel featuring key industry players including pioneers of the genre, artists, deejays and producers. Moderated by music journalist Helen Herimbi, Amapiano Keys featured Sha Sha, Focalistic, Don Laka, Semi Tee, Mfr Souls, Njelic as well as music and culture journalist Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi.

 

Where it all started

Legendary musician, composer and co-founder of Kalawa Jazme, Don Laka, kicked off the session by emphasizing that Amapiano is not a departure from Kwaito, but rather forms another branch of it. While Kwaito was born to ring in a new culture for the youth of the (then) new democracy,  Amapiano has done the same for its generation, giving today’s youth a voice and a sense of belonging that subsequently formed into one of the biggest music communities in South Africa.

 

Amapiano started to dominate the streets from as early as 2016 and has been claimed by several different players in the industry from various townships across South Africa.  While it’s challenging to pinpoint exactly when the sound began to dominate local dance floors, according to Setumo the pivotal moment came when Amapiano received radio airtime.  Nowadays with audio streaming platforms like Spotify amplifying the genre from the township streets where it began to a global audience, the reach is endless.

 

The Rise of the genre

Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi, who has been at the forefront of documenting the genre by immersing himself in its culture, supports the belief that Amapiano is not just a genre but a movement.  A common misconception is that Amapiano took off overnight, however East Rand based musical duo Mfr Souls are testament to the hard work that happened behind the scenes to launch and position the genre to where it is today and the ongoing work to grow it even further. Reminiscing on how they got started back in 2013 demonstrates in part the evolution of the genre – from layering Kwaito tracks with an instrumental sound including piano solos to now featuring more vocals.

 

 

 

Enhanced storytelling with an introduction of vocals 

According to ‘Ke Star’ hit maker Focalistic the introduction of vocals extended the narrative journey for listeners around what he was experiencing when the track was made.   Semi Tee agrees that lyrics are a way to showcase the culture through storytelling. Referring to his popular yet controversial track Labantwana AmaUber’, he explained how the lyrics were meant to tell a story that there is more to life for township youth.  Setumo summed up the idea perfectly by adding that  Amapiano represents real-life elements that form part of the youth’s lives – the socio-economic climate of the country and high unemployment rate that has caused the youth to look for an escape and outlet from their day-to-day existence and ‘’Amapiano is it.”

 

From South Africa to the World

The growth of audio streaming has also been pivotal to the expansion of the genre. Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Artist and Label Partnerships Manager, examined how through the power of data, Spotify was able to identify a demand for the tracks that were already popular on the streets but were not yet available for streaming. In response Spotify curated its flagship Amapiano playlist titled ‘AmaPiano Grooves’ – providing a space for artists and producers to connect and drive the genre on a global platform. AmaPiano Grooves was not only the most streamed playlist in South Africa by June 2020, but it transcended borders and was also popular with audiences in the UK and the US amongst others, with Njelic’s hit ‘Shesha’ featuring on the tracklist for the British comedy-drama series, I May Destroy You.

 

British-Ghanian producer Juls, who was first introduced to Amapiano when he heard ‘Love You Tonight’ by Mfr Souls, believes that the reason Amapiano has been able to garner international attention is because of the familiarity of the sound – the drums, percussion and house music to which music lovers gravitate towards.  ‘’The sounds of house music from across the world can be traced back to Africa this can also be a reason why sound has crossed over and been adopted so freely.’’

 

Creating a global movement

There was a time when South African and African music in general was enjoyed almost in isolation. Now with access to a global stage, the influences of Afrobeats and genres such as Amapiano are taking Africa to the world while also creating a space for African artists to influence and be influenced by one another.

 

As the Amapiano genre continues to reach different parts of the world it will need to be supported, as more of a Glocal movement with different collaborations and influences continuing to shape and broaden the genre. Phiona concluded by sharing Spotify’s vision for continued support of African artists and helping to grow Africa-centric sounds to its global audience of over 299 million active users.

 

“We believe in being a true partner to artists. We support artists, amplify their story and connect them to their fans across the globe. This is just the beginning, when we launched Amapiano Grooves last year, we visited the artists and producers who were immersed in the culture to showcase how Spotify could support them. We believe in staying close to the community and maintaining our drive to educate them on how the platform can help them connect and broaden their audience base, driving discovery and collaboration down the line.’’

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Ayoba (https://ayoba.me/) and MusicTime® (https://www.MusicTime.co.za/) are proud to announce their partnership to bring free music listening to ayoba users, with the launch of a new feature in the ayoba app titled MusicTime in ayoba.

 

MusicTime® in ayoba [or MTiA] is now live in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Guinee, Guinee Bissau, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

 

 

Each territory offers users free access to 10 playlists with 20 songs in each. In addition, the app has a new mini player that allows you to listen to music while you chat to your contacts with no interruption. Playlists are curated specifically for each territory, and always include music from the region as well. Users can subscribe [free] to the channel as per all ayoba channels, and numbers are rising quickly as users discover the new feature.

 

 

An important feature of MTiA is the ability to listen to music with no data costs. Ayoba is zero rated for data in most of its markets via its partnership with MTN allowing MTN users to listen to a limited amount of music with no data costs.

The MusicTime® channels also include editorial content, music video clips and artist polls. A major feature will be channels in partnership with artists, such as the newly launched Sark Nation channel, featuring top Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie; currently available across Africa. Many more artist partnerships will be launched in the coming weeks.

 

 

Ayoba has evolved significantly since its launch in 2019 as an instant messaging app. Users can now enjoy content in more than 50 channels covering topics from Coronavirus news to education to cooking tips, football, Formula 1, music news and more. In 2020, ayoba has also added gaming, and offer users free access to top mobile games. In some markets (Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda) the integration with MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) allows users to send and receive money on ayoba.

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The nation is in mourning after the passing of one of its sons Bob “The Jammer” Mabena. Mabena died on monday the 10th of August 2020. He was 51,  he spent 30 of those years in the broadcasting industry.

 

Listen to the below clips of the tribute from his friends, colleagues, associates and the public at large. Power FM the station where he hosted the Power Breakfast Show ran the tribute for the most part of tuesday the 11th August celebrating the life and times of this colourful son of the soil.

 

Mabena had a colourful  broadcasting career from Radio BOP to Metro FM, to Highveld 94.7 to Kaya FM to Gagasi FM and Power 98.7FM

 

 

 

Rest in peace Bob “The Jammer” Mabena, you have played a very crucial role in building black and modern radio in South Africa. You continouosly challenged yourself out of your comfort zone and walked roads less travelled. You left Metro FM at your peak to join Highveld stereo in 1997 a move which took the industry by surprise, but that was Bob Mabena allowing himself to grow. History has proven you right as the likes of Dj Fresh followed the same trend when he left Y-FM to join 5FM in 2006.

 

 

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How to keep kids edutained during load shedding

Posted by radio On August - 6 - 2020 ADD COMMENTS

Lights out doesn’t have to mean the fun’s out. With DStv Now, kids can watch a wide range of edutaining shows on their favourite devices, at no additional cost to you.

 

We’re all too familiar with the famous cry of the little ones when the electricity goes out. Unable to entertain themselves as they normally would, they can become antsy – particularly when the power is out for long than expected.

It’s moments like these that DStv’s School of Laughter was created for. Committed to supporting customers navigating the journey of parenting, DStv partnered with some of the best kids channels in the world to collate a comprehensive viewing environment that is both entertaining and educational.

This offering, which we like to call our School of Laughter, delivers exciting content for children of all ages. In particular, nursery and primary school learners are spoiled for choice when it comes to the wide variety of ‘edutainment’ on offer via the DStv platform.

So, the next time the lights go out and you’re looking for an efficient way to keep the kids ‘edutained’, look no further than the DStv School of Laughter. The School of Laughter webpage is filled with awesome activities for kids to do on their tablets or mobile phones. And when the lights come back on, ensure your child’s favourite School of Laughter shows have been downloaded to your mobile devices so they can watch them during load shedding.

How to download and watch with DStv Now

  1. Make sure you’re registered for DStv Now.
  2. Download the DStv Now app (Apple or Android)
  3. Log in, and search for a series or movie to download.
  4. Tap the cloud-shaped icon.
  5. Select the quality of video file being downloaded (Highest, High, Medium or Low). Tip: the lower the quality selected, the smaller the file size and the less storage space it takes up on the device.
  6. Once the selection is made, the download will begin.
  7. Happy watching!
  8. Important: After clicking ‘play’, watch the content within 48 hours, before it expires and it has to be downloaded again. If you don’t click ‘play’ right away, the content stays on the device for a while before it expires.
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  • The show will focus on bringing about change and driving solutions through conversations.

  • The first and second episodes will unpack the triggers and trauma of rape through the stories of three incredible young women.

  • The first two shows will interrogate the idea that South Africans do not understand consent.

  • Perspective on Y will explore legal structures available for victims of rape, the criminal justice system’s resources and shortcomings.

  • The conversation will end with a discussion on the way in which boy children are being raised.

 

YFM 99.2, Gauteng’s number one youth station is launching a one-of-a-kind talk show – Perspective on Y. The hard-hitting show will air between 7pm and 9pm every second Thursday, starting on 9 July.

The first two episodes of Perspective on Y will focus on the prevalent and very serious issue of rape, its consequences, victims and the people behind the laws that are meant to protect. The Perspective on Y, rape episodes, will be hosted by guest presenter and YFM news editor, Mfundo Mabalane.

 

“There are several burning issues in our country that need honest conversations but, more importantly, solution-driven conversations. Perspective on Y will be that platform. This generation must play its part in the deconstruction of a society, which has enabled a culture of violence against women and children, corruption, and injustice against the marginalised,” says Mabalane.

The Perspective project is a concept created by YFM’s weekday producers, who are also at the helm of their respective daytime shows. This is the team behind Y Mornings, Krunch with Khutso, The Shakedown, The Best Drive, Anathi’s Nights on Y and Y Talks. The group has teamed up to share their talents and editorial skills on this latest addition to the YFM programming lineup.

 

Taking the reins as senior producer of the first Perspective episodes is Lumko Johnson, who also produces Anathi’s Nights on Y.

Johnson is a Wits University-trained creative content specialist, who over a career spanning close to 10 years, has conceptualised content solutions in the urban youth space, for television, digital advertising as well as radio.

 

Episode one

Expect a raw and frank discussion about rape and the subjects that underline it. Mabalane will be joined by three experts who have worked extensively in the space of gender-based violence and the show will address multiple talking points such as rape culture, structures and resources available for victims, trauma and triggers, toxic masculinity as well as the psyche and/or pathology of South African men that incite violent behaviour towards women.

 

Date and time: Thursday, 9 July 2020, 7pm–9pm.

 

Episode two

Here, the topic of gender-based violence will remain front-and-centre, with the focus on consent. Joining Mabalane in the studio will be a panel of guests sharing their stories, including the devastating and traumatic impact the abuse has had on their personal lives and the experience of someone refusing to hear the word no. Accompanying them will be credible voices from the legal, justice, and psychology fraternities to explore the topic even further. There will be a discussion on the Sex Offenders Register, its purpose in our society, and ways in which the general public can gain access to it.

 

Date and time: Thursday, 23 July 2020, 7pm– 9pm.

Says YFM’s MD, Haseena Cassim: “The effects of gender-based violence can be life-long. We want to use our platform to create a safe space to provide some kind of guidance about how to deal with the horrors of this type of violence. This show is one that we are very proud of at YFM and hope that we can make a difference in our listeners’ lives by offering a voice to those who need it most.”

 

In the following months, many other topics and themes will be tackled and produced by YFM’s top brains behind some of the great content that is heard on YFM.

 

The show plans to educate listeners by tackling a wide range of social issues affecting the South African youth by having frank and honest discussions on air. Each episode will feature well-informed guests, thought leaders and credible experts to discuss the issues and solutions.

 

Listeners are encouraged to join in the conversation by sending any questions, comments, or relevant stories on the YFM app or YFM’s social media channels.

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Showmax launches new live-streaming service

Posted by radio On July - 8 - 2020 ADD COMMENTS

Showmax is launching a new service, Showmax Pro, which bundles the existing Showmax entertainment service with music channels, news, and live sport streaming from SuperSport.


Showmax Pro features all Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and PSL games, as well as a wide range of other live sport events. The service will initially roll out in Nigeria and Kenya, with additional countries following shortly after.

Showmax Pro will begin to roll out in Kenya and Nigeria from 7 July. Additional countries will go live in the following weeks. The entire process is expected to be completed within 6-8 weeks with coverage across sub-Saharan Africa. This table gives details of the new Showmax Pro service in Nigeria and Kenya:

Showmax Showmax Pro
Showmax Showmax Mobile Showmax Pro Showmax Pro Mobile
Series, movies, kids’ shows, documentaries
IAAF Athletics, pro boxing, major international marathons, & more
Music channels Trace Urban, Trace Gospel
News channels Africa News, Euronews, Newzroom Afrika
Football: all Premier League, Serie A, PSL and La Liga games
Number of concurrent streams 2 1 2 1
Smartphone and tablet apps
Smart TV, laptop, Android TV, Apple TV apps ✓*
Maximum video resolution HD SD HD SD
14-day trial
*Supported smart TVs: Samsung Tizen (2017-2020), LG WebOS (2014-2020)

Showmax originally launched in August 2015 and is available across sub-Saharan Africa. Speaking about Showmax’s history and what sets it apart, Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice, said:

 

“Showmax is an African video on demand service with many years’ experience operating on this continent. We’re local-first, which means listening to our customers and delivering African stories told in familiar voices as well as the best that Hollywood has to offer. Our local-first strategy is an advantage because it allows us to tailor our content, apps, packages, and partnerships specifically to what’s most important in Africa.”

 

In June 2019, Showmax began testing sport live-streaming, and the new Showmax Pro service is based on the results of this. Ekdahl said about sport streaming:

“The live sport test we ran on Showmax in conjunction with SuperSport has been well received, so that’s forming an integral part of our new Showmax Pro service.”

 

Another key development for African markets has been adapting the service for the data connectivity constraints on the continent and focusing on the most-used viewing devices. In November last year, Showmax launched a mobile-only service for smartphones and tablets featuring all of the Showmax content but at half the cost of the standard Showmax service and consuming less data. This service has also proven popular, so in addition to the standard version of Showmax Pro there will also be a mobile-only version at half the price.

 

Talking about the role of a mobile-only option, Ekdahl said:

“What else have we learned about operating an internet video service in Africa? Mobile usage is mainstream, so having a one-size-fits-all big screen service may not be the best solution here. With the mobile-only version of Showmax Pro, anyone with a smartphone in sub-Saharan Africa will be able to get the best African content, the best of Hollywood, and all of the best sporting action. This is something no other service is doing and we think it’s a game changer.”

 

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Legacy – coming soon to M-Net

Posted by radio On June - 15 - 2020 ADD COMMENTS

First, M-Net took authentic South African story-telling to the next level with Trackers, the action-packed adaptation of Deon Meyer’s crime novel, which is taking the world by storm on HBO’s sister channel Cinemax. Hot on its heels came the beautiful family saga Still Breathing. Now, M-Net is expanding its slate of world-class series with more dynamite drama– this time in the form of a classy, first-of-its-kind South African telenovela called Legacy.

 

 

With startling storylines set in the fast-lane world of investment billionaires and a sterling, diverse cast, this new daily, designed for DStv’s Premium audience, is destined to become the talk of the town when it launches in September 2020.

 

“Imagine the machiavellian mega-rich characters living dysfunctional lives in the award-winning HBO series Succession in a fresh, distinctly South African context,” says Jan du Plessis, Director: M-Net Channels. “Add a daily dose of The Bold and The Beautiful, colour the concoction with pure escapism in the topical and aspirational style of the best Brazilian telenovelas, and you have Legacy in a nutshell.”

A new frontier

This is the first time in many years that M-Net viewers can come home to the magic of a daily local drama. Legacy is M-Net 101’s very first telenovela.

“Moving into this popular genre is an exciting step for the channel,” du Plessis adds. “ We managed to sign up the most acclaimed production company currently working in this field as well as a cast that combines top-flight established soap stars and hottest up-and-coming talent. We’re also pulling out all the stops to ensure that Legacy will be remembered for its arresting plots and new ways of filming. Expect all kinds of innovation to cement M-Net and MultiChoice’s reputation as Africa’s most loved storyteller.”

Web of intrigue

Legacy’s locus of conflict is an upmarket investment empire that was established by Sebastian Price, the patriarch of the super-wealthy Price family, decades ago, when he was in his early twenties. Now he is a silver fox approaching retirement and it is clear that a family member will soon have to take over the reins. But who will it be? And, at what cost? Sebastian’s bitter ex-wife and ruthless first-born daughter will do whatever it takes to ensure that Sebastian’s second wife, Dineo, does not push her playboy son into the position of CEO.

Of course the power struggle turns nasty. A witches’ brew of betrayal, secrets, lies and revenge.

Expect the best

Stepping into the roles of the current Mrs Price, Dineo, and Sebastian’s ex-wife, Angelique, a former lawyer who is now a woman of leisure, are two of South Africa’s most formidable leading ladies: Kgomotso Christopher and Michelle Botes, both known for creating unforgettable soap characters. After a long stint on Isidingo, Kgomotso this year clinched a SAFTA award (her third) for her performance in Scandal. She is cut out for the role of Dineo, a beautiful yet tragic second wife with a heart of gold beneath all the Gucci. Michelle rose to fame in the eighties with star turns in series like Arende and Konings, and ruffled the feathers as At Koster’s wife in Binnelanders. And who will ever forget how she called the shots as Isidingo’s super-bitch, Cherel de Villiers?

 

 

In Legacy, Mary-anne Barlow will be the villain everybody loves to hate – Felicity, Sebastian’s eldest daughter. Mary-anne has proved her mettle in shows like Egoli, the British drama Wild At Heart and 1 Magic’s The River, for which she scooped a Best Supporting Actress SAFTA award.

 

 

Seasoned film, television and theatre actor Deon Lotz is Legacy’s Sebastian. Deon had a starring role in Skoonheid – South Africa’s Academy Award entry for 2011, and the first Afrikaans film to be shown at the Cannes film festival, where it won the Queer Palm Award. He also played government kingpin Kobie Coetsee in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and boasts a long list of accolades for his work in kykNET films.

 

 

The charming stud who will set the hearts aflutter with his dazzling good looks is Sebastian’s wastrel son, SJ. The role fits Anton David Jeftha like a glove. He has made international inroads in US series filmed in South Africa – most notably Strike Back, Homeland and Dominion.

The rest of the cast will be announced in due course.

 

 

Get ready

Legacy is the brainchild of Phathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon from the multiple-award-winning production company Tshedza Pictures. Their latest feat, The River, made a clean sweep at this year’s SAFTA awards with ten Golden Horns. Johnny Barbuzano (Still Breathing) shares director’s duties with Catharine Cooke and Krijay Govender. Trevor Brown is the director of photography.

 

 

Legacy will be screened in September 2020 on M-Net Channel 101. DStv Premium viewers can also catch the series on Catch Up, or stream the episodes live via their mobile devices on DStv Now. Follow all the breaking news around the show on the M-Net Website , and join the conversation with #LegacySA on Twitter (@MNet), Instagram (@mnettv) and Facebook (@MNet).

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Africa’s leading video entertainment company, MultiChoice Group (MCG, or the Group) delivered solid financial results for the year ended 31 March 2020 (FY20). Highlights include 38% growth in core headline earnings to R2.5bn, with consolidated free cash flow increasing by 59% to R5.2bn, driven mainly by an improvement in the trading results from the Rest of Africa (RoA), a focus on cost containment and a reduction in working capital.

“We are certainly facing unprecedented times but are pleased with our performance and the resilience we have demonstrated this year,” says Calvo Mawela, Chief Executive Officer. “Our healthy balance sheet positions us well to weather the uncertainties in our markets going forward. We have also honoured our commitment to shareholders by declaring a maiden dividend of R2.5bn, on top of some R1.7bn in share buy-backs executed during the year.”

Despite global and country-specific macro-economic challenges, the Group added 0.9m 90-day active subscribers, representing 5% growth year-on-year (YoY). This took the overall subscriber base to 19.5m households, split between 8.4m households in South Africa (SA) and 11.1m households in the RoA.

Revenue was up 3% to R51.4bn and included R42.8bn in subscription revenue which increased 4% YoY. Top line momentum was affected by modest subscriber growth due to rising consumer pressure, a decision not to increase prices of its Premium package in South Africa, and the fact that last year’s growth benefitted from specific once-off events. Nonetheless, a strong focus on cost containment underpinned a 14% increase in trading profit to R8.0bn (29% organic), with some R1.4bn in cost savings generated during the year and a R800m (R1.8bn organic) reduction in losses in RoA.

 

 

The like-for-like core headline earnings increase, which excludes the impact of the additional 5% allocated to the Phuthuma Nathi (PN) shareholders in March 2019, was 57%. The Group reported R9.1bn in cash and cash equivalents, which combined with R5bn in undrawn facilities provides R14.1bn in financial flexibility.

 

 

MCG continues to position itself as Africa’s leading video entertainment platform, both now and into the future. Local content remains a strategic differentiator, with a sizeable 3 850 hours produced this year to bring the Group’s total local content library to nearly 57 000 hours. This focus on local content and innovative production models is yielding results, with MCG’s first local co-production Trackers becoming M-Net’s top performing series for the year, outperforming established global shows such as Game of Thrones.

 

 

In addition to compelling local stories, MCG continues to broadcast the best of sport and international content and will now be integrating third party streaming services onto its DStv platform. The recently signed distribution agreements with two major international Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) providers will ensure that customers have access to a wider variety of content, all in a single place.

 

 

“We have long been a content aggregator, and this is proof of our aggregator model at work – providing simplicity, choice and convenience for our customers,” Mawela explains. “As our industry evolves, we believe that we are well positioned to benefit from both worlds – a large, growing pay-TV market in Africa, as well as an emerging over-the-top (OTT) opportunity, where our own OTT services and aggregation capabilities can drive success.”

 

 

The Group also has an exciting product line-up that will launch during the year, including the much-anticipated DStv streaming product.

FINANCIAL REVIEW

The Group achieved its target of generating positive operating leverage by keeping revenue growth ahead of growth in costs. Organic revenue growth of 2% compared to a 3% reduction in operating costs on an organic basis resulted in improved operating leverage of 5%. A focus on tight cost controls and the early implementation of cost cutting initiatives underpinned an expansion in the Group’s trading margin from 14% to 16%. Cost savings included a reduction in variable costs such as decoder subsidies due to supply chain consolidation and lower unit costs, as well as close to R1bn in fixed costs savings through a broad range of initiatives across multiple areas of the business.

 

 

Capital expenditure (capex) of R0.8bn was slightly down on the prior year and included a R0.2bn investment as part of a multi-year programme to futureproof the Group’s customer service, billing and data capabilities. As one of the largest taxpayers in Africa, MCG paid direct cash taxes of R4.0bn, slightly higher than the prior year driven by higher Group profitability.

 

 

The Group’s strong balance sheet has supported the repurchase of 15.6m ordinary shares over the course of the year, to the value of R1.7bn. R1bn was executed as part of a general share buy-back programme between September 2019 and March 2020 at an average price of R96. These shares are currently held as treasury shares. The remaining R0.7bn related to the funding of the Group’s restricted share plan.

 

 

The Group remains fully dedicated to broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) and transformation. In line with prior commitment, the Group’s offer to PN shareholders to exchange up to 20% of their PN shares for MCG shares was finalised on 28 October 2019 and resulted in 3.7m shares being issued to PN shareholders, while MCG acquired 3.8m shares in PN in return. Following the conclusion of this share swap, the Group’s overall interest in MultiChoice South Africa increased from 75.0% to 76.4%, with PN owning the rest.

SEGMENTAL REVIEW

South Africa

The SA business held up well in a tough consumer climate, delivering subscriber growth of 6% YoY or 0.5m subscribers on a 90-day active basis. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in South Africa and associated lockdown saw an uplift in subscribers towards the end of March. Revenue growth of 1% to R34.2bn was muted as healthy subscriber growth in the mass market was negated by the strategic decision not to increase prices on the Premium bouquet. Trading profit increased only 1% YoY to R10.3bn due to modest revenue growth and the cost impact of broadcasting three major sport events in the reporting period, but the trading margin remained stable at 30%.

The business continues to focus on growth, retention, strategic upselling of bouquets and operational efficiencies to support margins. Digital platforms saw strong uptake during the year, with self-service channels now handling 66% of all customer interactions. This follows the restructuring of the customer care division during the first half of the year.

The year saw strong, ongoing growth in Connected Video users on both the DStv Now and Showmax platforms as online consumption increases. Showmax, the Group’s standalone OTT service, gained solid traction this year following the launch of a mobile-only offering, improved marketing and further enhancements to the user interface and the content slate. The platform now boasts more than 50% local content.

Rest of Africa

The RoA business grew its 90-day active subscriber base by 4% YoY or 0.4m subscribers, to reach in excess of 11m subscribers for the first time. Growth was affected by non-recurring sport events in the prior year and some country-specific challenges. In Zimbabwe, the current hyperinflationary economic environment and lack of US dollar liquidity caused significant pressure on consumers, while severe drought-related electricity shortages of up to 18 hours per day in countries like Zambia impacted demand for services like pay-TV. Similar to SA, a slight increase in subscriber numbers was seen in March 2020 as lockdowns were initiated in various markets across the continent.

Revenue was up 4% (3% organic) to R15.5bn, with subscription revenue growing at a similar rate and contributing R14.3bn. While material currency depreciation in the Angolan

kwanza (47%) and the Zambian kwacha (25%) affected the segment’s financial results, the business continues to make progress towards its medium-term breakeven target. Trading losses narrowed 22% (47% organic) or by R0.8bn (R1.8bn organic) to R2.9bn, representing a 7% improvement in trading margin.

Despite challenging conditions, the RoA business still enjoyed several operational successes. Across many markets the Festive Season campaigns achieved higher growth than in any of the preceding 8 years, and the popular #DStvStepUp campaign served well to win back customers and increase engagement. The roll out of digital products to enhance customer service is now complete in all major markets, with the MyDStv and MyGOtv apps servicing 1.3m monthly users.

Technology segment

The Technology segment, Irdeto, delivered positive results, despite being the business segment most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the last quarter of FY20. It contributed R1.8bn in revenues, an increase of 12% YoY (4% organic). This momentum combined with cost efficiencies, resulted in a 25% (40% organic) increase in trading profit to R0.7bn.

Irdeto continues to gain market share in its media security segment, while also investing in connected industries as part of its strategy to diversify its reliance on traditional broadcasting revenues. New services such as security solutions for online video, online gaming and the Internet of Things (especially connected vehicles) are gaining traction. In the current year, the first vehicles incorporating Irdeto security technology were manufactured and a second long-term customer win with one of the world’s largest automotive groups was secured.

 

 

COVID-19 AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact across the world, adversely affecting the lives of the Group’s customers and its employees.

“Our absolute priority has been the health and safety of our employees and moving swiftly to implement business continuity plans well ahead of the forced lockdowns. Content line ups were adjusted, including making news channels more widely available across the continent, as well as adding more kids’ shows, movies and curated sports content,” Mawela explains.

The aftermath of the virus and low oil price, although uncertain in quantum, will likely have a negative impact on the economies of many of the Group’s markets, with weaker currencies and higher levels of unemployment expected. The impact of this on the Group’s performance is not yet known.

“While macro-economic implications are largely uncontrollable, we are taking steps wherever we can to counter potential future headwinds. These include implementing further cost savings initiatives across the organization and continuing to do what we do best – provide our customers with great entertainment,” says Mawela.

Going forward, subject to a stable regulatory environment and the unknown impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the Group will be looking to continue scaling its video entertainment services across the continent, focusing on the mass- market for pay-TV services, as well as on OTT. In addition, it plans to further increase its investment in local content and adjust its cost base to deliver acceptable returns.

“We remain well positioned with a sought-after product offering, significant scale, a diversified footprint across the African continent and a robust business model with a low reliance on advertising revenue. Importantly, we have hedging programmes in place to offset some of the currency pressures we’re exposed to and a healthy balance sheet, which includes R9.1 billion in cash. These organisational strengths provide us with confidence that we can withstand the impending macro-challenges and demands and continue to enrich lives through our video entertainment services,” Mawela concludes.

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It’s almost time for Fire Starters from across the world to gather around the fire once again for the MTN Bushfire #KeepTheFireBurning Digital Festival!

Inspired by the festival’s #BRINGYOURFIRE call to action for positive change, the #KeepTheFireBurning digital festival is part of MTN Bushfire’s COVID-19 response to support our beneficiaries, Young Heroes and boMake Rural Projects.

 

Instead of gathering in person our traditional festival weekend, on Saturday May 30th, MTN Bushfire fans can still enjoy a wide and diverse array of music and related programming via an immersive two-way virtual experience.

 

Immerse yourself in our renowned authentically African and globally-infused programme as we recreate the unique atmosphere of the MTN Bushfire festival including some of your favourite artists performing from home, along with highlights from previous festivals, and other MTN Bushfire festival experiences including the KidZone, Bring Your Fire Zone, House on Fire and Firefly stages.

 

With Howler’s innovative technology, we’ll be sharing the festival’s multi-dimensional experiences through exciting themed Zoom Rooms, all for a worthy cause.

 

Register now for free access to the online festival here: https://mtnbushfire.howler.co.za/keepthefireburning

 

ARTIST APPEARANCES

In keeping with the kind of globally diverse and stylistically eclectic range of music that is synonymous with MTN Bushfire, a range of artists from across Africa and the globe will be bringing their fire to this exciting digital festival.  Stay tuned throughout the week as more artists will be added to the various stages.

 

Some of the initial confirmed artists for the MTN Bushfire #KeepTheFIreBurning Digital Festival include:

 

Oki Dub Ainu Band (Japan) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KmYF2RmCzc

This act that nearly burned down the House on Fire stage when they performed. All the way from Japan, The Oki Ainu Dub Band plays mostly traditional Ainu songs in an electric style which mixes dub rhythms with tonkori playing.

 

Ain the Machine (Germany) https://www.ainthemachine.com/video/musica-biotronica-live/

Ain the Machine, hailing from Brazil and Germany is an AudioVisual storyteller with a clear goal, Ain aims to transform the way we interact with music. It is music without instruments. A concept he calls, Musica Biotronica. Musica Biotronica takes sounds from the body, voice & everyday objects, and with the help of technology, transforms them into music.

 

Bholoja (Eswatini) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0eDrPdFyDg

Eswatini’s own Bholoja has wowed MTN Bushfire audiences many times over with his multi-colored, intrepid voice and a talent for writing songs that reflect on the daily life and unique culture of the people of his homeland.

 

Habib Koite (Mali) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnFae6JSYlE 

Habib Koite is a Malian musician, singer, songwriter and griot and member of the West African supergroup Bambara. He is an internationally recognised artist and considered a treasure of African music.

 

Dizraeli(UK) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMdJ4-5aN90

Hailing from the UK, Dizraeli is Dizraeli is a rapper, multi-instrumentalist and sometime singer taking hiphop to new terrains.

 

Mokoomba (Zimbabwe) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHLxtppcrR0

One of the most exciting bands to come out of Africa in recent times, Zimbabwe’s Mokoomba play infectious and irresistible dance music.

 

Alune Wade  (Senegal)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yqk9iW10wIM  –

Senegal’s Alune Wade brings a deep-rooted soulfulness to the African jazz scene.  He has collaborated with the likes of Marcus Miller, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Bela Fleck and Bobby McFerrin.

 

Sands (Eswatini) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVMx2Kgdcn4

Eswatini’s own Sands needs no introduction to regulars of the MTN Bushfire Festival. This home-grown talent is one of the country’s most loved exports. Having won multiple awards, he is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist. We are very happy to once again showcase this amazing talent for the global audience he deserves.

 

Donovan Copley (South Africa)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkVITcupQKs

Donovan Copley, perhaps best known as the frontman of Cape Town Afro-pop band Hot Water, has been busy during this lockdown period. He recently released a single, Home, to raise funds for the Covid-19 Feed a Child Coalition.

 

Mehdi Qamoum (Morocco) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxf8GlwyZ3Q

Mehdi Qamoum is a versatile composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Agadir. A traditional gnawa musician, Mehdi has mastered numerous folk instruments including guembri, outar, karbaou, bendir and a custom guembri four-string electric bass which he built himself. Aside from his own compositions, Mehdi is well known for his work as a sideman and band leader, and has performed in the the house band for the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot Center. In addition to his formidable instrumental talents, Mehdi is also an adept songwriter and his original songs often confront pressing social issues like poverty, diaspora and discrimination.

 

Mario Batkovic (Bosnia) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDJ6tBkvbh4

Mario is a composer who is also well known as a solo accordion player. BATKOVIC’S mission is to explore the sonic possibilities of the accordion, without effects or loops, rather through a mutualist symbiotic relationship between man and instrument. challenging, hypnotic, and grandiose; Batkovic’s single-handed symphonic vision is certainly unique.

 

Albert Frost (South Africa) https://www.facebook.com/neil.frye.71/videos/10156038888532152/

Dubbed the “Jimi Hendrix” of South Africa, Albert Frost has been wowing audiences with his blues guitar talent since he was a child. He has toured around the world and won multiple awards. He has toured with the likes of REM and Simple Minds.

 

Staceyann Chin (Jamaica /USA) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHrYfdK2pW4

Strongly rooted in the activist spoken word tradition, Staceyann Chin s a spoken-word poet, performing artist and LGBT rights political activist whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post. However, it’s her live performances that express her real power- her fire – that she brought in 2017 to MTN Bushfire where her powerful words moved so many people.

 

Red Robyn (South Africa) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnxJqJX0vSQ

Red Robyn excites the alternative music scene as a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and actress – currently based in Cape Town , South Africa where she is also part of Indie Pop band ‘The World Of Birds’.

 

Velemseni (Eswatini) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVMx2Kgdcn4

Coming back home – Eswatini’s own Velemseni is a rising talent whose music reflects an aesthetic of jazz, rock, and neo soul. A singer, songwriter and guitarist she is an artist to keep an eye on as she heads for international success.

 

Register now for FREE by visiting https://mtnbushfire.howler.co.za/keepthefireburning. If you wish to donate, you can do so when you register or during the digital event.

 

Stay tuned to our website www.bush-fire.com and follow us on our social media pages @MTNBushfire for more updates on this unique experience.

 

WHO AM I DONATING TO?

 

The postponement of the 14th Edition of the MTN Bushfire festival has greatly affected our beneficiaries’ ability to keep their doors open and continue serving the Eswatini communities at a time when it is needed the most.

 

With the daily increase in COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom of Eswatini, the threat on our health and livelihoods puts those with already compromised immune systems and inadequate access to potable running water and sanitation facilities at an even higher risk.

 

About 90 per cent of the families supported by Young Heroes are cared for by elderly women who have no source of income. Their needs have been further stretched by the closing of schools, where feeding schemes give the children a meal or two each day.

 

BoMake empowers nearly 800 rural woman artisans, subsequently benefiting their families and their communities. The pandemic has caused a collapse in their traditional sources of income and has put their families at risk.

 

Our donation target is firstly to support MTN Bushfire’s neighbours in the Lobamba Lomdzala Constituency, where the festival is held. Both BoMake and Young Heroes operate nation-wide, so any further support will be used to extend their impact across the country. Last year, we raised R330,000 for our beneficiaries and we hope that this event will ensure that in 2020, with your support, we are able to continue to support these organisations when they need it most.

 

Check out the amazing work that these organisations are doing: www.bomake.org and www.youngheroes.org.sz

                                                                              

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Huawei Enterprise Business Group (EBG) (https://e.huawei.com/) will host the Huawei Southern Africa FSI Summit online 2020 (https://bit.ly/2XwKFL0) on May 29th, from 10.00am – 12.00pm, with the theme of “Accelerating Digital Transformation, Enable Business Growth Again”.

The online summit will include presentations from Chen Lei, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region, and Chen Kun Te, Huawei Chief Digital Transformation Officer. Speaking on Huawei’ experience in working with corporate leaders on their digital transformation, Mr Lei said “The world is still battling against the Coronavirus. The pandemic not only threatens the humanity but the global economy. This transformation is happening when the banking sector is shifting from phase 3.0 to 4.0, where Banking is Everywhere, Never at a Bank. ”

 

Brett King, Author of Bank 4.0, will also speak on “How Mobile will Lead Banks out of COVID-19”. C-suite executives from the African and Chinese banking sector also presenting include Joshua Oigara Group CEO & MD, KCB Bank Group, Chair of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) and Xia Zhiyuan Director of Big Data & AI lab, ICBC, China.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global black swan which has severely impacted the global economy. The banking sector is also undergoing challenges from sharply declined economic activities, decreased deposits and loans, as well as higher unemployment rates and non-performing loan ratios. In the crisis, banks will quickly shift from offline operations modes, such as branches and merchants, to online modes including mobile banking.

 

In this new normal, emerging technologies are used to upgrade business scenarios such as account opening, approval, credit, and risk control. The pandemic will accelerate the digital transformation of the banking sector. When traditional offline services are affected, FinTech becomes prominent. The pandemic prevention and control efforts help move offline services to online platforms. Financial institutions have increased financial IT investment, strengthened mobile banking service capabilities, and accelerated innovation to drive digital transformation. Huawei firmly believes that digitalization will be rapidly and widely used in this process.

Please join us at the Huawei Southern Africa FSI Summit online 2020. (https://bit.ly/2XwKFL0)

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