AFRICA'S largest media group, Naspers, has reported a 6% increase in revenue to R13.5-billion for the six months ended September, driven by a strong performance from its pay-TV and Internet segments, writes Adele Shevel in The Times.

Operating profit grew 19% to R2.8-billion, reflecting a net improvement in operating margins.

Naspers now reaches 3.7-million homes across the 50 African countries in which it operates, up 11% over the last six months.

Pay-television businesses grew by 352000 gross subscribers, increasing revenue in this division by 15% to R8-billion. The Compact bouquet, giving a restricted and more affordable offering, grew by 132000 subscribers in South Africa, but advertising revenues decreased in line with consumer spending.

The base grew by 114000 to just over 1-million in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, with the lower-priced Compact bouquets reaching 391 000 homes.

Naspers's share of income from associates, including Tencent in China, in Russia and Abril in Brazil, amounted to R872-million.

Print media in South Africa gained market share, but advertising was weak. Cost-cutting remains a focus.

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