Half of African TV homes will soon convert to digital

Rebecca Hawkes | 08-01-2014

Digital television penetration will shortly exceed 50% of TV households in Sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to the analogue transmission switchover across the continent.

By 2020, more than two-thirds of TV homes in Sub-Saharan Africa will have access to digital terrestrial television (DTT) signals, according to a new report from Digital TV Research. In addition, around 28% of TV households will have access to either subscription-based or free-to-air satellite TV services.

By 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to have a total of 68 million TV households an increase of 20 million on 2013 figures though 100 million homes will still be without a television set, creating an overall penetration rate of 38.4%.

"This reveals the long-term potential for the region, with plenty of growth expected beyond the forecast period. The construction of next-generation broadband networks will ensure that satellite TV and DTT will not be the only growth areas," said Simon Murray, principal analyst, Digital TV Research.

Pay-TV reached just over 11 million subscribers at the end of 2013, with 8.5 million of these receiving premium satellite bouquets. A large proportion of these pay-TV households (4.84 million) were in the relatively mature market of South Africa, according to the new report. Excluding South Africa home of the MultiChoice DStv pay-TV platform the number of regional pay satellite TV homes will more than double between 2013 and 2020 to 8.17 million.

The total number of Sub-Saharan pay-TV subscribers is expected to double to 25.65 million by 2020, with satellite TV providing 14.34 million and pay DTT a further 8.86 million. The subscriber base in Nigeria will triple from 2.12 million in 2013 to 6.15 million in 2020, says Digital TV Research.

By 2020, sub-Saharan pay-TV revenues are forecast to reach US$5.35 billion a 69% increase on the $3.17 billion recorded in 2013 and triple the $1.8 billion earned in 2010.