Bloomberg News

Naspers Starts Swahili-Language Magic TV Service in East Africa

November 29, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd., Africa’s largest media company, has started a Swahili-language pay-television service to attract more customers in east Africa.

“We now cover most major football leagues and recently added the Africa Magic Kiswahili channel for subscribers in East Africa,” Cape Town-based Naspers said in a statement today.

Naspers added 60,000 pay-TV subscribers in the six months ended Sept. 30 to take its total to 1.5 million in African countries south of the Sahara, excluding its home market of South Africa, where 3.7 million households have the service.

Naspers will expand in pay-television by rolling out a package priced at about $7 a month to add subscribers in underserved African markets, Eben Greyling, chief executive officer for pay TV, said on Sept. 2. The company started rolling out the low-priced packages in Zambia in August.

“Advertising revenues grew on the back of an overall increase in the television industry share of market,” Naspers said in today’s statement.

The five countries that make up the East African Community trade block, which includes Uganda and Kenya, have a total population of 133 million people, according to the body’s website. The region’s gross domestic product was $79 billion in 2010, according to the website.

Naspers said it has started digital terrestrial services under the GOtv brand in Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda.

The expansion of the African pay-TV market may be propelled by 221 million consumers who will advance from poverty to earn annual incomes of $1,000 to $5,000 by 2015, according to McKinsey & Co. estimates.

“Advertising revenues grew on the back of an overall increase in the television industry share of market,” Naspers said in today’s statement.

Pay-TV is Naspers’ biggest source of revenue and contributed 11.6 billion rand ($1.4 billion) to total sales of 18.5 billion rand in the fiscal first half.

--Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Kim McLaughlin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at Kwong11@bloomberg.net


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