Streaming services boom in Africa


AFRICA’S young population is helping to drive video subscription business revenue for streaming services as content on the go shakes the African media market.

Digital TV Research’s figures now show the continent will have 13.64 million paying Subscription-Video-on-Demand (SVOD) by 2027, up from 4.90 million at end-2021.

Household SVOD subscriptions will still remain low compared to more mature markets like Europe.

Digital TV Research further shows some 6.6 per cent of TV households will pay for at least one subscription by 2027 – up from 3.9 per cent at end-2021.

Netflix will be the market leader in the region, with 6.41 million subscribers by 2027 – or 48 per cent of the region’s total, with Amazon clocking in second.

In the period under review, the e-commerce giant will boost its current total of 579,000 to 2.63 million as a result of expansions to Nigeria and South Africa in 2023.

Disney, which recently overtook Netflix as the world’s largest streaming operator, will be slow to expand Disney+ into Africa and hit 1.03 million subscriptions by 2027.

Showmax will be the third-largest player with 2.07 million – up from 867,000 in 2021 – while the ‘others category’ will grow from 698,000 to 1.31 million.

Simon Murray, the principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “As well as low broadband penetration and low disposable incomes, limited rollout by several global platforms restricts growth.

Disney+ will only launch in South Africa and Nigeria. Paramount+ is only likely to start in South Africa. HBO Max will not be a standalone platform in Africa.”

According to the Mobile Economy Report, 615 million people in Africa will subscribe to mobile services by 2025, equivalent to 50 people of its population.

Africa is also expected to see an increase in sports streaming mobile applications, with the surge in smartphone penetration fueling a dramatic shift in viewing behaviour on the continent.

In the AppsFlyer and Google research, Nigeria showed the highest growth in app installs, with a 43 per cent uplift, followed by 37 per cent in South Africa, and 29 per cent in Kenya, in the one-year period under review.

Streaming services like Netflix and Showmax are providing film producers with Africa-wide or even international audiences, where traditional distribution networks can prove more difficult to crack.

This is amid growing demand for local content, which has in part forced Netflix and its peers to partner with African filmmakers to produce content that resonates with the populace.

Rapid smartphone penetration in Africa, coupled with fast internet is also facilitating streaming services outside homes and into buses, offices and trains, on the phone.

According to Global Index by Ookla, a mobile and broadband network intelligence firm, South Africa has the fastest mean mobile internet speed in Africa, at 58.55 Mbps.

Mauritius (48 Mbps) and Morocco (45.24 Mbps) were ranked second and third in Africa, allowing their mobile audiences to seamlessly stream video content.

Togo (43.31Mbps), Botswana (35.81Mbps), Tunisia (34.27 Mbps), Ethiopia (34.15Mbps), Angola (33.28Mbps), Egypt (29.15Mbps) and Mozambique (28.81 Mbps) top the list of the ten countries with the fastest mobile internet speeds in Africa.

The global average download speed for mobile is 74.87 Mbps, meaning Africa’s best performers still lag the rest of the world. However, there are indications that show the continent’s mobile internet speeds are rising faster than elsewhere.

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