|Contribution to headline earnings
eMedia Investments has a range of media interests, of which e.tv is the most significant. eMedia Investments is the only independent free-to-air television broadcaster in South Africa.
31 March 2023
Remgro has an effective interest of 32.3% in eMedia Investments that has a range of media interests, which include South Africa’s only private free-to-air television channels (e.tv, eMovies, eMovies Extra, eExtra, eToonz, eReality, eXposed, ePlesier and eVOD), eNews Channel Africa (eNCA), free-to-air satellite platform Openview, Gauteng based radio station, Yfm, and various studio facilities and production businesses.
eMedia Investments has a March year-end and, therefore, its results for the year to 31 March 2023 were included in Remgro’s results for the year under review. eMedia Investments’ contribution to Remgro’s headline earnings for the period under review amounted to R130 million (2022: R145 million).
eMedia Investments had a market share of 32.0% (March 2022: 31.3%). During prime time, eMedia Investments’ share is 34.5% (March 2022: 34.1%), making eMedia Investments the largest broadcaster in both 06:00 to 24:00 and prime time. This is the second year in a row that eMedia Investments has beaten the SABC in prime time. Its financial year saw the removal of Imbewu and Durban General from the schedule and replaced with Smoke & Mirrors and Nikiwe. This, together with a remodelling of The Black Door, renaming it to Isitha – The Enemy, thereby anticipating an increase in market share.
After 18 months of delay and successful court action to ensure that more than 4 million South African households are not cut off from analogue broadcast of television prematurely, eMedia Investments’ initial plan of the most feasible way to undertake analogue switch-off had been accepted and implemented by the new Minister of Communications. This means that the release of telecommunication spectrum, has been realised on 31 July 2023 and that the rest of analogue services below 694Mhz will continue until December 2024. eMedia Investments is committed to working closely with the Department of Communications to achieve the analogue switch-off by the set date. The alternative to analogue television, which is free-to-air, is eMedia Investments’ Openview and to that end, the business is ready and will ensure that its Openview set-top boxes are available in all areas served by transmitters that will be gradually switched off by December 2024.
eMedia Investments has consistently, four or five of its channels in the top ten of all satellite channels in the country. These channels have become a bone of contention between DStv and eMedia Investments. In May 2022, DStv removed four of eMedia Investments’ very popular channels from their platform. Subsequently, the Competition Appeal Court granted eMedia Investments an interdict, ordering the channels to be reinstated on the DStv platform pending an investigation by the Competition Commission. The Competition Commission’s finding was that eMedia Investments suffered no harm and DStv’s behaviour is not anti-competitive, thus opening the way to remove those channels from DStv. eMedia Investments is challenging these findings.
The Openview platform has increased the number of activated set-top boxes to 3 166 461 on 31 March 2023 (31 March 2022: 2 774 454), with approximately 1 074 daily activations following the announcement of the SABC partnership and the launch of the SABC sports channel together with the SABC switching off its analogue signal.
eNCA is the most-watched news channel in the country among the LSM 8 to 10 viewers and the second most-watched news channel among all adults, even though it’s not offered on all tiers of the DStv bouquet. A further five-year agreement with MultiChoice for the exclusive carriage of eNCA has been secured.
The eVOD platform is now more than 12 months old and has been well accepted in its target market. The number of registered viewers to date has been very encouraging, with the average daily minutes viewed in excess of 1 500 000. The eOriginals offering together with the Afrikaans Turkish telenovelas on eVOD is the leading audience generator, favouring a further R100 million per annum investment in local original content.
eMedia Investments focuses on technological advancements and premium local content. The initiatives are eVOD, Ultraview and Snapeee. eVOD, the OTT platform, filled mainly with e.tv’s local content in a video-on-demand format is growing steadily. Ultraview is the pay-TV, which started in April 2023. Snapeee is to transcend linear television to a digital experience for the audience through the use of the TV screen and mobile phone realising the opportunity that television viewing has morphed into a double-screen experience.
The construction of the state-of-the-art VFX studio in Hyde Park is underway and will be ready by the end of March 2024. Other developments include an enhanced set-top box.