South Africa based MultiChoice, owned by Naspers remains the biggest pay-TV operator.
South Africa based MultiChoice, owned by Naspers remains the biggest pay-TV operator.

According to new research, the number of pay-television subscribers in Africa will reach 30 million by 2021, almost double 2015’s 16 million.

Data published by Dataxis suggests digital satellite pay-TV subscribers will reach 20 million in five years’ time, compared to 8 million for digital terrestrial services.

The company estimates that TV households, which stand at 114 million in 2015, will reach 159 million in 2021, still far below penetration rates elsewhere in the world.

“The low TV penetration rate is attributed to various socioeconomic factors that hinder adoption,” said Dataxis Africa research analyst Priscilla Tirvengadum.

“Despite advances, statistics show that Africa still has a long way to go in terms of household TV penetration,” she said. “This low rate is explained mainly by lack of basic economic infrastructure like electricity. Moreover, poverty in developing African countries make it impossible for its citizens to afford for television sets.”

English-speaking Africa is forecast to drive much of the growth over the next five years. Total pay TV subscribers in Anglophone countries is expected to double from 10 million in 2015, while Francophone Africa will grow from 3.5 million subscribers in 2015 to reach 6 million in 2021.

Satellite pay-TV subscribers in English-speaking countries reached 8 million in 2015, and will grow to 12 million five years from now. South Africa-headquartered MultiChoice, which is owned by Naspers, remains the biggest pay-TV operator, followed by StarTimes and Zuku.

“MultiChoice has been the key player in the Anglophone African pay-TV market since its launch in 1995. Despite facing competition from StarTimes and Zuku, MultiChoice continues to add new content and innovative services to maintain its appeal,” said Tirvengadum.

In French-speaking Africa, France’s Canal Plus Overseas is the dominant player.

Total pay-TV revenue was about 4 billion USD in 2015 and is expected to climb to 6 billion USD in 2021, with satellite contributing up to 5 billion USD.

Digital migration, competition and cheaper terrestrial pay-TV packages will bring average revenue per user for broadcasters down in most African countries, Dataxis said.

Credit: Tech Central