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MultiChoice confident hefty World Cup decoder spend will pay off in 'football-mad' continent

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MultiChoice wants to use FIFA World Cup to woo viewers.
MultiChoice wants to use FIFA World Cup to woo viewers.
Photo: iStock

DStv owner MultiChoice is confident it will score from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite profits coming under pressure after it poured cash into decoder subsidies in anticipation of an influx of viewers in "football-mad" Africa.

SuperSport, the company's sports platform, will be the only broadcaster across its 50 African markets with rights to air all the live matches of the tournament, which begin in Qatar on 20 November. According to FIFA, a record 3.57 billion viewers had tuned in for the last tournament in Russia, more than half of the population aged four and over. A little less than a fifth of viewers were in Africa and the Middle East, with audiences across this region growing almost two-thirds from the previous contest in Brazil.

MultiChoice reported on Thursday that its earnings and cash flows were hit in its half-year to end-September by an outsized investment in decoders ahead of the World Cup, with its trading profit dipping by R700 million as a result. Despite this, group trading profit still picked up 2% to R6.1 billion to end-September, when the group's subscriber base grew 5% to 22.1 million, while also reported a "solid" rise in advertising revenue.

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