TV to reach 50mn homes in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2017

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 06-02-2012

A television now features in 38 million households of Sub-Saharan Africa, or a quarter of its population, with that proportion set to rise to 30% by 2017, according to a new Digital TV report.

A quarter of Sub-Saharan African’s TV households will be found in the populous nation of Nigeria come 2017, with 15% more located in South Africa, says the study.
Three-quarters of the region’s TV households still received analogue terrestrial signals at the end of 2011, though this will drop to 46%, or 23 million TV households, in the coming five years as digital migration takes hold.
“Governments are opening up to investment, which involves several pioneering foreign TV players. Populations are growing fast and incomes per capita are on the rise, creating a burgeoning number of middle class consumers,” said the report’s author, Simon Murray.
Digital signals were received by 9.2 million (about a quarter) of the region’s TV homes at the end of last year, though digital TV penetration is predicted to escalate to 27.3 million, or 54%, by 2017.
South Africa is currently leading the way by some distance in terms of digital TV infiltration, and is expected to achieve 100% digital migration by 2017, with digital signals reaching the country’s 7.9 million homes. This is unlikely to be achieved so soon by other Sub-Saharan African nations, though Nigeria’s digital penetration is expected to rise to 7 million by 2017 from the 1.9 million mark at the end of 2011.
At the end of last year, 7.2 million Sub-Saharan African homes received pay TV services, which included 6.1 million who received subscription-based direct to home (DTH) satellite TV. The combined pay TV total is set to double to 14.1 million in the coming five years, with subscription services delivered by digital terrestrial television (DTT) contributing 5.2 million of these.
Premium direct to home (DTH) services such as the top DStv packages are currently affordable for just a fraction of African homes, mostly in South Africa, which accounted for 4 million DTH subscribers at the end of last year. By 2017, the report estimates the overall total number of premium DTH subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will reach 8.2 million, with 4.7 million located in South Africa.
Tanzania and Uganda are also recording growth in digital penetration, through DStv, Zuku TV, and StarTimes pay DTT platform, with this expected to reach 12% in 2017 – compared to 60% in South Africa.
DTT, carrying both free to air and pay channels, will be available to a third of Sub-Saharan African households in 2017, amounting to 16.4 million homes. Free to air DTT channels will reach 11.2 million, while 5.2 million will also have subscription channels delivered by DTT, says the report.
With an optimistic analogue switch off date currently set for the end of 2012, and great take up of both StarTimes and MultiChoice GoTV services, Nigeria is expected to become the largest DTT market in Sub-Saharan Africa come 2017 - for both free to air (3.2 million homes) and for pay channels (1.7 million).