Bright outlook for African, Middle East pay-TV operators


Rebecca Hawkes

| 16 September 2015

Pay-TV platforms across both sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab world look set to boom, according to Digital TV Research.

In sub-Saharan Africa, MultiChoice's fee-based digital terrestrial TV (DTT) platform GOtv is predicted to attract 5.84 million new subscribers between 2014 and 2020 to reach 7.5 million more than quadruple the number from 2014. This will result in a revenue hike of US$545 million.

Chinese-owned StarTimes platform rival to GOtv is set to expand at a similar rate and serve 4.39 million subscribers come 2020. While GOtv's sophisticated sister, the satellite TV platform DStv, will gain 4.32 million subscribers and increase revenues by US$1,246 million according to the research. Canal Plus' African satellite operation is predicted to attract another 1.34 million paying viewers from 2014 and 2020, helping to raise revenues by $484 million.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), OSN is on course to add 630,000 subscribers in the period, while fellow pan-Arab pay-TV operator beIN Sports will up its viewer base by 768,000, and increase its revenues by $443 million, claims the Eastern Europe Middle East & Africa Pay TV Operator Forecasts report.

In Eastern Europe, Russia is forecast to make "big strides" with Tricolor attracting 2,473,000 more subscribers, Orion's subscriber base rising by 910,000 and Rostelcom's by 873,000. Liberty Global will add 869,000 subs in Central and Eastern Europe.

"Tricolor, Russia's low-cost satellite TV platform, will remain the largest pay-TV operator by subscribers. Pan-African DStv will climb to second place; rocketing by 56% to 12.06 million subs. Sister company GOtv will occupy fourth place by 2020. Rival StarTimes will also show strong growth," said Simon Murray, Digital TV Research .

Not all the operators analysed in the report are set for growth, however with 14 expected to decrease during the six-year period. Romania's RCS-RDS is forecast to drop 477,000 TV subscriptions, pan-Arab ART is expected to shed 293,000 customers, and Hungary's Digi TV will lose 88,000 subscribers, according to Digital TV Research.

Total subscription and video-on-demand (VOD) revenues for the 112 operators studied across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa are forecast to almost double between 2010 and 2020 to almost $15 billion.