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DStv adds Amazon Prime Video to its Explora Ultra

Posted by radio On January - 18 - 2021 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Video joins an impressive list of streaming services and apps available on the Explora Ultra, including Showmax, Box Office, Netflix and Joox.

 

DStv has added global streaming service Amazon Prime Video to its recently launched DStv Explora Ultra decoder. DStv customers with a Prime Video membership can now access the entertainment service, ranging from movies and TV series, including Amazon Originals with a click of a button on the Explora Ultra.

Prime Video joins an impressive list of streaming services and apps available on the Explora Ultra, including Showmax, Box Office, Netflix and Joox.

 

Prime Video’s award-winning TV shows and movies includes leading Amazon Originals such as The Wilds S1, Homecoming which starred Julia Roberts in Season 1 and Janelle Monáe in Season 2. Other Amazon Originals include The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Hanna and Upload.

Nyiko Shiburi, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa says, “The Explora Ultra is a one-stop-shop for entertainment fans looking to access a catalogue of dynamic entertainment from multiple content providers.

“We are excited to add Amazon Prime Video to the DStv Explora Ultra’s pot of exceptional content. This opportunity unlocks access to more quality global content for our customers and is another way to access Amazon Prime Video content, whilst complementing DStv’s promise to offer the very best in local content.”

DStv currently hosts more than 140 channels that offer a wide selection of content ranging from sports, news, lifestyle and education.

How to access Amazon Prime Video on an Explora Ultra

Existing Amazon Prime Video Customers: DStv customers who already have a Prime Video account simply open the app on the Explora Ultra’s homepage, sign in with their account details and start viewing.

New Customers: Customers who wish to access Prime Video can open the app on the Explora Ultra’s homepage, and they will be directed to sign up for an account on the Amazon site. They will be billed directly by Amazon.

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On Saturday 28th of November 2020, ayoba (www.Ayoba.me) was awarded the Africa Digital Award for Best Mobile Application (https://AfricaDigitalAwards.com) in Accra, Ghana.  The Awards were held by the Africa Digital Festival to honour Africa’s Digital Champions and ayoba features amongst many prestigious winners.  Accepting at a virtual award ceremony, ayoba thanked the millions of users whose support has helped to realise the dream of bringing content and connectivity to Africa.

 

The Award is a result of many achievements during the course of the year.  This can be seen in the sharp rise in user numbers in the fourth quarter, as users respond positively to the many significant updates to the app.  The application is now available in 22 languages of which many are from Africa such as Xhosa, Zulu, Ibo, Arabic and more, all contributing to the unique hyper local focus for ayoba.  Ayoba also offers the possibility for its users to send and receive money via our partner’s MTN Mobile Money (MoMo).  This functionality is available in Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda.

 

 

Having started the year as an instant messaging app with a small offering of content channels, ayoba has ended the year with 124 content channels – including news and official COVId-19 updates, music and music news, full gaming offering, lifestyle updates and education across 7 languages.  Users and artists have reacted well to the addition of a music player via MusicTime® in ayoba which provides 200 new tracks every week.  Gaming has also been well received  and today the application has more than 120 free games.

 

 

The newest version of the app also sees the inclusion of MicroApps.  MicroApps are lightweight web apps, developed by third parties to address a specific community need, and are accessed from within the ayoba app.  Like the ayoba app itself, MicroApps are zero-rated for MTN customers, which means they can be used even when the user has zero data balance.

 

 

We are so proud to launch MicroApps,’ says Nolan Wolff, Head of ayoba.  ‘One of our key goals for ayoba is to build a platform that brings opportunity for African developers.  MicroApps will allow local developers to create apps that reflect local culture and values, and solve local challenges.  It’s an incredibly exciting community development platform.

 

For developers in Africa, where app adoption is a common difficulty, MicroApps in ayoba present seamless access to our existing user base, and offer the benefit of a zero-rated infrastructure that would be too complex and costly for developers to implement themselves.

Wolff continues:  ‘Developers are also able to leverage ayoba APIs to create a more personalised and relevant experience.  An interesting element is that developers can leverage ayoba’s messaging interface for interaction with users in a safe and convenient manner.’’

To support developers who are interested in building MicroApps on ayoba, ayoba has launched the ayoba Developers Portal at https://developer.ayoba.me/, where Developers can view the API documentation, have their queries answered, and submit their MicroApps for publication on the ayoba app.

The ayoba application remains unique with its SMS continuity functionality, allowing users to send messages to another even if the receiver does not have the application or does not have a smartphone.

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AST SpaceMobile, in partnership with Vodafone Group, today unveiled plans to launch the first phase of its space-based commercial mobile communications service in 2023. The company has secured the necessary funding to take the venture to this next stage, which will cover the 49 largest countries in the equatorial regions.

 

Vodafone wants to ensure that our customers are always connected and everyone benefits from a digital society. This is why we are a lead, strategic partner of AST SpaceMobile, which is uniquely positioned to provide universal mobile coverage to rural areas in Africa, and in the future, Europe, further extending our leading network. The space-based mobile network will also enable us to provide instant communications in the event of a natural or humanitarian disaster.

 

 

AST SpaceMobile will be the first service of its kind to connect standard mobile phones at 4G and 5G speeds using AST SpaceMobile’s patented space-based network. Today, more than five billion mobile subscribers constantly move in and out of wireless coverage, and AST SpaceMobile’s solution will fill these coverage gaps to enable people to stay connected whilst on the move. This is a significant breakthrough in helping to bring affordable mobile connectivity to more than half of the world’s population that do not have internet on their phone. Traditional satellite systems require expensive specialized satellite phones or ground antenna systems, which is different to AST SpaceMobile’s patented technology, where all that is needed is the phone in your pocket.

 

 

The first tranche of AST SpaceMobile’s launch plans will involve the use of 20 satellites to offer seamless, low-latency mobile connectivity that can be accessed by approximately 1.6 billion people across a vast geographical region. The initial service will target an area North and South of the equator, including rural and remote areas of a number of markets where Vodafone will integrate the technology into the services provided by its Vodacom, Safaricom and Vodafone brands. Subject to regulatory approval in each market, these will include DRC; Ghana; Mozambique; Kenya; and Tanzania. AST SpaceMobile will also apply for regulatory approval to launch the service in India.

 

 

Shameel Joosub, the CEO of Vodacom Group, said: “Providing affordable mobile coverage for everyone requires a blend of technologies and infrastructure, from traditional masts to small cells, balloons and satellites at the edge of space. While we have been adding deep rural network sites to connect remote communities without any coverage, the lack of power in some areas creates insurmountable obstacles. AST SpaceMobile will ensure that remote communities in many sub-Saharan African countries can have access to the latest digital services.”

 

 

“We are thrilled to move forward in executing on phase one of our commercial launch in conjunction with Vodafone,” said Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AST SpaceMobile.  “Our high-speed, low latency platform represents the world’s first venture aimed at massively closing the digital divide by bringing affordable and accessible connectivity to the regions that need it most. We believe our game-changing solution will serve to drive universal and global connectivity, allowing societies to utilize digital technology to gain greater access to knowledge and information.”

In order to support the phase one commercial launch of its network, AST SpaceMobile has secured up to US$462 million in gross proceeds in additional financing. This will come from existing investors in the company including Vodafone, Rakuten and American Tower as well as new financial investors including UBS O’Connor and a broad base of financial institutions.

 

 

AST SpaceMobile today also announced that it entered into a business combination agreement with New Providence Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: NPA, NPAUU and NPAWW), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, assuming no redemptions of New Providence’s existing public stockholders, including the private placement backed by strategic partners, existing investors and a broad base of financial institutions. Upon closing of the transaction, AST SpaceMobile will become a publicly traded company, and it is expected that its common stock will be listed on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol “ASTS”. All AST SpaceMobile shareholders are retaining 100% of their equity in the combined company. The cash proceeds are expected to be used to fund phase one of the commercial launch of AST SpaceMobile’s space assets.

 

 

Backed by an extensive IP and patent portfolio, AST SpaceMobile will enable global seamless roaming to and from terrestrial cellular networks, filling mobile coverage gaps around the world. With initial access to 1.3 billion subscribers from a group of the world’s largest wireless communications companies, AST SpaceMobile’s services will ultimately aim to meet the needs of the five billion mobile subscribers who face broadband connectivity issues when moving in and out of terrestrial cellular range and enable mobility access to more than half of the world population that does not have access to internet on their phone.

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With iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2, Apple Watch users can view their cardio fitness level in the Health app on iPhone, and receive a notification on Apple Watch if it falls within the low range. Breakthrough technology released in watchOS 7 allows Apple Watch to easily measure low cardio fitness, and today cardio fitness notifications empower users to be more active for dramatic long-term health benefits.
Cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by VO2 max, is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise, and it can be increased through physical activity. Apple Watch already estimates average and higher levels of VO2 max during vigorous outdoor walks, runs, or hikes, which many runners and other athletes monitor to improve performance.
Now, with watchOS 7, Apple Watch uses multiple sensors, including the optical heart sensor, GPS, and the accelerometer, to estimate lower levels, too. This is significant because direct measurement of VO2 max typically requires a rigorous clinical test with specialised equipment that is not readily accessible to most people. watchOS 7 also allows Apple Watch to take cardio fitness measurements as users walk throughout the day, whether or not they are tracking a workout. With this innovation, Apple Watch is better able to measure VO2 max for users with low cardio fitness, who may not complete high-intensity workouts.
In a 2016 scientific statement, the American Heart Association recognised a growing link between low cardio fitness and a higher risk of significant health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, later in life. Research even suggests cardio fitness is a stronger predictor of mortality risk than common risk factors like smoking, diabetes, and hypertension.
“Cardio fitness is increasingly recognised as a powerful predictor of overall health, and with today’s update to watchOS 7, we are making it even more accessible to more people,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Using its advanced sensors, Apple Watch now brings estimation of low cardio fitness levels from clinics directly to a user’s wrist, so people have more insight into how they can improve their long-term health through daily activity.”
“American Heart Association science associates low cardiorespiratory fitness levels with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The American Heart Association is focused on helping all people equitably achieve longer, healthier lives, and we believe that emerging technology solutions can empower individuals to manage their own health,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO.
Today iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 enable Apple Watch users to visit the Cardio Fitness category in the Health app on iPhone to review whether their cardio fitness level is classified as high, above average, below average, or low, relative to people in their same age group and of the same sex, according to data from the Fitness Registry and Importance of Exercise National Database (FRIEND). They can also see how their cardio fitness level has changed over the past week, month, or year. If a user’s level falls within the low range, they can receive a notification on Apple Watch, along with guidance on improving it over time and having a conversation with their doctor.
Apple Watch users can visit the Health app on iPhone to set up the Cardio Fitness Levels feature and turn on cardio fitness notifications.
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DStv Adds Amazon Prime Video to its Explora Ultra

Posted by radio On December - 15 - 2020 ADD COMMENTS

DStv has added global streaming service Amazon Prime Video to its recently launched DStv Explora Ultra decoder. DStv customers with a Prime Video membership can now access the entertainment service, ranging from movies and TV series, including Amazon Originals with a click of a button on the Explora Ultra.

Prime Video joins an impressive list of streaming services and apps available on the Explora Ultra, including Showmax, Box Office, Netflix and Joox.

 

Prime Video’s award-winning TV shows and movies includes leading Amazon Originals such as The Wilds S1, Homecoming which starred Julia Roberts in Season 1 and Janelle Monáe in Season 2. Other Amazon Originals include The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Hanna and Upload.

 

Nyiko Shiburi, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa says, “The Explora Ultra is a one-stop-shop for entertainment fans looking to access a catalogue of dynamic entertainment from multiple content providers.

 

“We are excited to add Amazon Prime Video to the DStv Explora Ultra’s pot of exceptional content. This opportunity unlocks access to more quality global content for our customers and is another way to access Amazon Prime Video content, whilst complementing DStv’s promise to offer the very best in local content.”

 

DStv currently hosts more than 140 channels that offer a wide selection of content ranging from sports, news, lifestyle and education.

 

How to access Amazon Prime Video on an Explora Ultra

 

Existing Amazon Prime Video Customers: DStv customers who already have a Prime Video account simply open the app on the Explora Ultra’s homepage, sign in with their account details and start viewing.

 

New Customers: Customers who wish to access Prime Video can open the app on the Explora Ultra’s homepage, and they will be directed to sign up for an account on the Amazon site. They will be billed directly by Amazon.

 

 

 

  • The device offers built-in WiFi capabilities and supports Ultra 4K and Dolby Atmos for a clearer, more defined picture and sound quality.

 

  • The completely redesigned interface makes it easy to surf and choose content.

 

  • It offers integration of app-based streaming services including Showmax and now Amazon Prime Video.

 

  • The DStv Explora Ultra is priced at the recommended retail price of R2499 for the standalone device and R3699 including installation, available to purchase at participating retail stores, online, and on dstv.co.za.

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Cassper Nyovest knows a hit when he sees one. He is usually the one creating them but this time it’s the Samsung and Galaxy fans that are also taking centre stage with the Galaxy S20 FE. Samsung introduced the powerful Galaxy S20 series earlier this year and its innovations became instantly popular with South Africans. However, Samsung decided to make the technology available to even more consumers, so they listened to fan feedback and created the Galaxy S20 FE – a smartphone with Samsung’s leading flagship features at an affordable price. It’s now the talk of 2020 –  a device that includes first-in-category innovations such as a 120Hz display, prograde cameras and immense battery life – that’s also accessible to more people. Cassper Nyovest as a rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur and record producer is perfectly positioned to know what fans love so he shared his thoughts on the Galaxy S20 FE.

“So it starts with a mic-check. The Galaxy S20 FE works well with Galaxy Buds Live, which I love, as well as the Galaxy Fit2. I’m always on the move so the massive all-day battery with fast charging is a must. On the first view, it looks premium and I love the 4 bold colours. The 6.5” screen is dynamic and it has that super-smooth scrolling from the S20 so there’s another big plus. When I first tried it out I realised my fans are going to love what the Galaxy Fans chose here. It’s difficult to believe that this phone, which is equipped with prograde, triple-lens camera and 128GB of storage, is so affordable. It’s even got expandable memory so you can download as much as you want. I also look forward to seeing people use the 30X Space Zoom at a concert so they can capture awesome moments as if they in the front row and then edit and share with ease. The Galaxy S20 FE is definitely going to be one of the biggest phones this year. Is it a hit? Yes, it is!”

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Excitement is building over Canon sharing testimony from two leading African film directors who applauded the latest Cinema EOS range after exclusive use in their latest movies of Canon’s EOS C500 Mark II; Canon is also launching 42 pro-video webinar program called Canon Tech Talk Series in three languages to share the knowledge of industry leaders with the African filmmaking community

 

Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA) (www.Canon-CNA.com) a leader in imaging solutions, proudly showcased the compact and versatile 5.9K CCNA next-generation professional Cinema EOS System cameras. Leading African directors, including Kunle Afolayan and Merzak Allouache, hailed the EOS C500 Mark II with elevating their latest productions. Alongside the inauguration, Canon unveiled a knowledge-sharing initiative for the African filmmaking community.

This is the Future of Filmmaking

The latest model in Canon’s Cinema EOS Camera range features Canon’s newly developed Super 35mm 4K CMOS sensor and comes with 16+ stops of dynamic range, professional codecs in a compact, modular body. Created with the expertise and technical knowledge at the heart of Canon’s innovative products, the latest in the EOS range offers a customisable full-frame cinema camera experience that is built for creative freedom.

Canon’s Cinema EOS Camera range new features include a full-frame sensor powered by Canon’s new DIGIC DV 7 processor. The sensor’s expansive native cinema gamut goes beyond current standards to help the Cameras in the EOS range achieve more natural tones, which allow for greater colour-grading freedom in both SDR and HDR productions.

At the pinnacle of the offering is the first camera in the range with the ability to record 5.9K Cinema RAW Light onto new, faster storage media – CF express cards. Providing professionals with greater flexibility and efficiency plus simultaneous recording of the same file format is also possible due to dual CF express card slots.

“Canon’s continuous relationship with empowering the African creative market via innovative technology has supported the rise of Africa’s content. Our focus is on offering leading industry know-how and award-winning cameras and lenses built for enthusiast and professional level creatives,” says Amine Djouhara, Sales and Marketing Director at Canon Central and North Africa. “The Cinema EOS range is the perfect expression of form and function, exceptionally adaptable to virtually any production with its modular design, and we are excited to see what Africa’s talented filmmakers create.”

 

 

Collaborating for World-Class African Film Production

In Nigeria, award-winning actor, producer and director, Kunle Afolayan, knows how independent filmmakers can be empowered by technology to share their stories with a global audience. Afolayan’s films are part of a growing number of African contributions to the global online platform Netflix. His latest creation, Citation, explores the important issue of sexual exploitation of young female Nigerian students by their professors. For this gritty, hard-hitting movie, Afolayan chose the new EOS C500 Mark II from Canon.

 

 

“I first saw the Canon EOS C500 Mark II at IBC 2019 and I was amazed at its capabilities.  Normally it’s not a director’s place to tell a director of photography (DOP) what kit to use, but I always wanted to shoot in 4K full-frame, and I knew that this camera would make it to the Netflix approved list, which was vital for this production,” said Nigerian actor, producer and director, Kunle Afolayan. “Thankfully Jonathan Kovel, the DOP working on my new film, loved the camera, therefore, we were able to shoot Citation with the Canon EOS C500 Mark II, which gave us another level of authenticity and creative freedom.”

 

 

In Algeria, legendary director Merzak Allouache also selected the Canon EOS C500 Mark II for his latest film, as part of a technical partnership with Baya Productions. Following a glittering 40-year, 22 film career, which included 1994 Cannes Film Festival award-winning production, Le Repenti. 86-year-old Allouache marks his come back with a new cinematographic masterpiece UNE FAMILLE, that plunges the audience deep into an intensely real political and family drama.

 

 

“The film benefited from the technology provided by Canon. The production team was provided with a Canon EOS C500 Mark II camera and a range of Cine Lenses and accessories so that the film could be shot entirely in 5.9K at 24 fps. The EOS 5D Mark IV and EOSR were also used throughout, to shoot the film and to photograph the behind-the-scenes footage,” said Hamoudi Laggoune, the gifted Algerian cinematographer chosen to work alongside Allouache on the new film. “The camera provides complete flexibility and freedom to choose the image formats, bokeh effects and lenses that are best suited to the filming conditions,” he added.

 

 

Sharing the Best Industry Knowledge

The Canon EOS cameras are more than just the choice for the established leaders in the film industry. Their agile imaging solution is well suited to a wide range of tasks and experience levels. Canon’s cinema cameras, EOS DSLRs and lenses continue to be adopted by the movie industry for their high quality and dependable design. They are also the first choice with professional filmmakers, as evidenced by the 2020 Academy Award nominees and winners.

 

 

To help support all aspiring and established filmmakers during these challenging times, Canon will begin a three-month knowledge-sharing initiative with over 42 pro-video webinars called Canon Tech Talk Series for the film market in Africa. On August 11th, the first webinar will feature Canon’s Amine Djouhara, alongside African film legends Hamoudi Laggoune and Kunle Afolayan. The opening session will explore the features of the Canon C500 Mark II, sharing their experience with the camera during their recent high-profile productions. Fans of these talented directors will get an exclusive behind the scenes perspective on their work and the equipment they trust.

 

 

After this special first webinar, the CCNA team will continue with a series of Canon Tech Talk webinars on changing the face of filmmaking, covering vlogging, streaming, colour science, post-production, and a range of other film-making classes. The remaining 18 webinars divided between beginner and professional courses in three different languages (English, French and Arabic), ensuring everyone can continue to learn and grow during these strange times.

 

 

“Now more than ever, we must come together to ensure that the global standstill does not set us back in our careers or our passion-projects,” says Amine Djouhara, Sales and Marketing Director at Canon Central and North Africa. “During these challenging times, this series of webinars offer a virtual developmental tool to maintain the evolution of critical skills for continued and sustainable growth of the film industry,”

 

 

To register for the first Canon Tech Talk Series free webinars starting on August 12th, please click on the relevant links below:

12th August – Kunle Afolayan
Topic – Discover C500 Mark II
Languages – English
Time – 1pm NG|3PM KEN

IG : https://bit.ly/3afYV0P
FB :  https://bit.ly/2DOEvjt
LinkedIN – https://bit.ly/2FdfZZW
Twitter – https://bit.ly/2DTMeMS

13th August – Raul Gabat
Topic – Introduction to 4K Series
Languages – English

FB – https://bit.ly/3abE8eS
IG – https://bit.ly/3alOnxi
LinkedIN – https://bit.ly/3kznhYc
Twitter – https://bit.ly/31HoqEi

13th August – Andrew Emil
Topic – Introduction to 4K Series
Languages – Arabic

FB – https://bit.ly/3gLTtW3
IG – https://bit.ly/3ad0eNY
LinkedIn – https://bit.ly/33OL9kK
Twitter – https://bit.ly/2PIhZvm

13th August – Jean Mazel
Topic – Introduction to 4K Series
Languages – French

FB – https://bit.ly/3gNlGeO
IG – https://bit.ly/3irxggf
LinkedIN – https://bit.ly/3kxkuPc
Twitter – https://bit.ly/2XPnOvh

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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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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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Making data relevant to the business

Posted by radio On May - 7 - 2020 ADD COMMENTS

It’s true, business intelligence (BI) tools and hype slipped sadly into the Gartner Trough of Disillusionment in 2012. It is also true that BI overpromised and underdelivered in many expensive use cases. However, today what stands true is that BI has withstood the tarnish it earned back in 2012 as it has steadily evolved thanks to industry expertise and emergent technology. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have provided BI with that extra edge that is needed to cut through the data and deliver both relevance and value to the organisation. According to Karien Bornheim, CEO of Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS), it has become critical to invest in solutions that ensure the delivery of relevant data to the business.

“The challenge for most organisations is that they have too much data,” she says. “Everyone does. This is one of the reasons why BI ended up losing traction and value at one point – it was sifting through every last inch of data, even that which had little to no value. This has led to a fundamental change in how people are using and approaching data today.”

 

The truth is that not all data is interesting, valuable or relevant. The lakes and pools of Big Data are not packed full of insights that can transform the organisation or breathe fresh life into ancient products. Some data is just not going to make any difference to the business. However, there are ways of improving how you leverage, store, approach and manage your data to ensure that you do get the relevant insights.

 

“One of the first steps in ensuring that you invest in relevant data is to improve how you collate and collect the data,” says Bornheim. “The methodology you use to collect and store your data is critical to how the data will serve your organisation. This is defined by the type of data you need – identifying the information that your business can use to further its growth and ensure its sustainability.”

 

The type of data your organisation prioritises will depend on the industry. Retail, for example, would rely on data that reveals shopping behaviours, customer preferences, and customer movements; while in the manufacturing industry, the data would track fleet movement or productivity. At this point in the process, the business requires a strategic view of its goals and a realistic understanding of what the data is expected to deliver. Without a solid foundation that comprises strategy, output, goals, and deliverables, the data will do little more than spew information that has minimal value.

 

“Once you know exactly what you expect from the data, then you need to focus on which data you will be collating and where this will be stored,” says Bornheim. “The data has to be stored and managed meticulously, otherwise it just starts to rot. Not in the physical sense, but in terms of the value that it offers. Data has to be timeous as well as relevant. Thorough data storage will also make it easier to analyse and access which will improve how insights are delivered.”

 

Data is also going to arrive in storage looking less than spotless. There will be typos, errors, low-quality information and dodgy data analysis. At this point, data needs to undergo a thorough and regular cleaning that normalises the information, ensures that the information is of high quality, and that removes glaring errors that could affect the analysis. This is also the point at which the business needs to relook its siloed approach to information sharing and gathering. Silos will minimise the reach and relevance of the data considerably.

 

“If you consider how data from finance could potentially impact performance in sales, it makes sense to pull data through all silos to create a holistic view of the business,” says Bornheim. “You want to know how performance in one area of the business could be impacting on performance in another area. How sales can benefit from customer insights in finance or how production can benefit from insights generated by marketing. These pockets of data can offer the organisation remarkable visibility if they are brought together.”

 

These are just some of the steps that the business has to take before data can offer anything more than hit and miss insights. There are, of course, other factors to consider along the road to highly optimised and relevant data delivery, but these are often specific to the business and the industry and would benefit from collaboration with partners that have an in-depth understanding of data nuances and applications.

 

“Consider collaborating with a company that understands your business and how your data can benefit you over the long and the short term,” concludes Bornheim. “Data can become one of your most valuable resources and the processes that surround extracting and analysing it does not have to be prohibitive or excessively complicated. Just start with a reliable partner that will set you on the right path using a methodology that fits your business and your budget and grow from there.”

 

 

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