eMedia Holdings, the parent of Openview and e.tv, has decried the “uncontrollable impact” of load shedding, a weak currency, higher fuel prices, inflation, high interest rates and surging unemployment for a weak interim operating performance.
For the six months ended 30 September 2023, eMedia – which also owns the 24-hour news channel eNCA, among other assets – said revenue slipped by 0.8% year on year to R1.51-billion. It reported headline earnings per share down 8.4% to 19.5c and declared a reduced interim dividend of 18c/share, down from 21c in the same period a year ago.
It said the “negative factors” impacting the economy have been “specifically impactful in the broadcasting business”.
“A further impact on the results was the unexpected increase in legal fees, as the attitude of the group is to challenge that which is fair to challenge,” it said.
It recently engaged unsuccessfully in an urgent application against rival MultiChoice Group, the owner of DStv and SuperSport, over the right to carry the 2023 Rugby World Cup on Openview, its free-to-air satellite service. Earlier in the year, it took MultiChoice to the Competition Commission over the removal of four entertainment channels from DStv. It has also filed a complaint with the competition authorities over the World Cup rights.
Despite the power cuts and other external pressures, eMedia said it managed to grow its television advertising revenue by 2% in the face of a slight decline in overall TV ad spend. It said it retained its position as South Africa’s largest broadcaster by audience, with primetime market share of 35% compared to the SABC’s 30.7% and DStv’s 27.6%. Free-to-air channel e.tv remained its biggest source of advertising revenue.
It said Openview’s share of the market increased from 12.1% a year ago to 13.1%, or by 8.3%. Openview now has 3.3 million activations, though eMedia didn’t disclose how many of these are active viewing households.
On eVOD, its relatively new pay-TV offering, eMedia said the business showed “satisfactory growth”.
“The group invested over R160-million in local content for the platform, which has over 5 000 hours of content.” — © 2023 NewsCentral Media