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  • MultiChoice sends shockwaves across Africa as it announces exit from Malawi TV market

    MultiChoice sends shockwaves across Africa as it announces exit from Malawi TV market
    Author
  • Farai Mudzingwa
  • Staff Writer
  • posted 6 months ago
  • A shock wave hit the web earlier today as news started circulating that Multichoice is discontinuing operations in Malawi after local regulators blocked a price increase. 

    Multichoice Malawi was prohibited from changing DStv tariffs last month and that decision was held up by the high court of Malawi on the 8th of August. This was followed by the broadcaster terminating it’s offering in Malawi.

    As part of their explosive exit, MultiChoice said:

    Given the impact on Multichoice Malawi and an increasingly adverse regulatory environment, Multichoice is therefore left with no option but to terminate DStv services indefinitely.
    Interestingly this issue has been brewing for a while now. DStv has been reviewing pricing of their service in multiple territories since February. South African customers got their price adjustment in February, Zambia and Uganda followed in March, and Nigeria got theirs in April

    Malawi was set to get one such increase which was noted in DStv’s Full Year (FY) 23 results which were published in June. That was the first time Multichoice made it clear there were tensions within those financial results under the critical issues for regulators section of the report:

    We are pursuing legal redress in court following MACRA’s ruling that MultiChoice Malawi was in breach of its licence and the law in not seeking approval of DStv tariff adjustments. We also continue to engage with the authorities on MultiChoice Malawi’s business model and licensing arrangements, in light of recent findings and recommendations published by MACRA following a market analysis study.
    In that same report there weren’t many other positive mentions of Malawi with massive power outages along with Cyclone Freddy being highlighted as some of the reasons why growth in the Southern African territory (excluding Zambia and South Africa) was muted.

    Interestingly Malawi wasn’t mentioned at all in the FY22 or FY21 results respectively (for context Zimbabwe which has a smaller population than Malawi was mentioned in both). This could be outcome bias on my part but this absence could suggest that the Malawi as a market already wasn’t considered highly by MultiChoice which makes a move like exiting the market in the face of tough times more plausible. This is all conjecture here but what else do we have to go by?

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