Faced with power shortages, hyperinflation Zimbabweans ditch DSTV

In its solid financial results report for the year ended 31 March 2020, Multichoice said the pay TV had 98 000 active subscribers while it had lost 41 percent of its total base subscribers in the country.

“In Zimbabwe, the current hyperinflationary economic environment and lack of (United States) US dollar liquidity caused significant pressure on consumers, while severe drought-related electricity shortages (of up to 18 hours per day) in countries like Zambia negatively impacted on the demand for pay TV services,” reads part of the report. 

“98k subscribers (are) still active and contributing to Return on Assets fixed cost base. Lost 92k subscribers Year over Year mainly due to general economic collapse-hyperinflation, loss of liquidity and power outages.”

From March to September 2019, Multichoice lost 230 000 subscribers in Zimbabwe.

The southern African nation is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades with an annual inflation rate above 800 percent as of March this year, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The local currency has been losing value against its benchmark the USD since its introduction in 2019.

At black market the Z$ is trading at 70:1 against the USD. In Zimbabwe, DSTV subscription fees are paid in USD.

According to the Multichoice report, R115m cash is in the country. For the first time in four years, in May this year, Multichoice reviewed subscription fees upwards in a bid to push the Value Added Tax to customers.

Since early last year Zimbabweans have been enduring 18 hour load shedding which was introduced by power utility company, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, due to low water levels in Lake Kariba-the country’s main source of power.

The low water levels at the hydro power plant were a result of prolonged droughts. As a result some Zimbabweans ditched paying DSTV but the power outages are getting back to normalcy due to recent rains.

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