Advanced Television

Africa attracts global TV players

February 6, 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa’s household totals (148 million at end-2011, rising by 20 million over the next six years) are fast approaching similar levels to Western Europe, according to a new report from Digital TV Research. However, the region’s TV household total (38 million at end-2011 – or a quarter of homes) is only equal to the total for Germany. Sub-Saharan Africa will have 50 million TV households by 2017 – or 30 per cent of total homes.

According to the Digital TV Sub-Saharan Africa report, Nigeria will account for about a quarter of the region’s TV households (for the 42 countries covered in the report) in 2017, with South Africa contributing a further 15 per cent.

Three-quarters of the region’s TV households still received analog terrestrial signals by end-2011, though this proportion will drop to 46 per cent (23 million TV households) in 2017.

About a quarter of TV homes (9.2 million) received digital signals at end-2011, and this digital TV penetration will rocket to 54 per cent by 2017 – with household numbers tripling to 27.3 million. South Africa, the market leader by far, will have achieved 100 per cent digital migration by 2017 (or 7.9 million homes). Proportions in the other countries will be much lower, though Nigeria will have 7.0 million digital homes by 2017 (up from 1.9 million in 2011).

Pay TV penetration of TV households will grow from 19 per cent in 2011 to 28 per cent in 2017. Of the 7.2 million pay TV subscribers at end-2011, 6.1 million were pay DTH. The pay TV total will double to 14.1 million by 2017, with DTH contributing 8.2 million and pay DTT chiming in with 5.2 million. South Africa supplied 4.0 million of the 2011 total, and will grow to 5.1 million in 2017. Nigeria will climb from 1.2 million in 2011 to 3.1 million in 2017.

A third of homes will take DTT (pay and FTA combined) in 2017, up from only 4 per cent at end-2011. Sub-Saharan Africa will have 16.4 million DTT homes by 2017 – 11.2 million FTA and 5.2 million pay – up tenfold from 2011. Nigeria will be the largest DTT nation in 2017, both for FTA (3.2 million) and for pay (1.7 million).

Digital pay DTH penetration will remain at just over 16 per cent of TV households. However, this is distorted by South Africa where penetration is nudging 60 per cent. The next highest penetration will be 12 per cent in 2017 – in Tanzania and Uganda.

Only a small proportion of African homes can afford premium DTH packages. There were 6.1 million pay DTH subscribers by end-2011, with the total expected to rise to 8.2 million in 2017. South Africa accounted for 4.0 million of the 2011 total, rising to 4.7 million in 2017.

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