African Broadcasting Offers Huge Market to Investors

South African Broadcasting Corporation anchor

The African broadcasting market has been growing rapidly. New players have sprung up in liberalised markets and there is growing international interest from external investors.

Tracking this growth is far from easy but Balancing Act has taken 10 months to produce what is almost certainly the most detailed report on the African broadcast market. Russell Southwood outline what’s in this “monster-size” report.

The 534-page report is split into three sections: industry trends; audience trends (with comparator data and 13 country profiles); and directories. It is illustrated with 203 charts, 101 tables, 8 boxes and 2 maps and the data were collected throughout 2011 and at the start of January 2012. The report will be split into several parts for those who only need specific segment data. Custom research looking at deeper research and analysis can also be commissioned.

It offers the single most detailed data source for the broadcast (TV and radio) and film sector on the African continent across its 55 territories. It took 10 months and 2 analysts to produce the updated report (last issued in 2008) and Balancing Act invested close to US$100 000 in the research project.

The outline findings from the report are as follows:

  • Free to Air analogue terrestrial broadcast and satellite still dominate the African TV market, but new technologies such as online TV, programme streaming, VoD, Mobile TV, cable-fibre, MMDS and IPTV, coupled with the imminent switch to digital (DTT and DTV) means that this emerging broadcasting market will undergo great changes and increased competition in the years to come. The report has a section specifically focused on the fragmentation of audiences.
  • Research for the report has identified 1,600+ TV, of which 596 are free-to-air terrestrial channels aimed at around 100 million TV households with a total population of around 1 billion people.
  • With a total of more than 50 pay TV stations, only nine major pay TV players have emerged and gone over the 100,000 subscriber mark. The market leader – DStv MultiChoice – has almost gained 5 million paid subscribers in equatorial Africa only. In November 2011, Balancing Act estimated the Pay TV market in Africa at over 7 million subscribers. Paid IPTV bouquets only accounts for about 175,000 customers but could develop as FTTH and multi-play solutions get rolled out. 2012 promises to be exciting since three new entrants plan on launching international pay TV bouquets for the lower end of the African market.
  • The future seems to be set for a multi-screen hybrid model. New mobile content platform can be used to develop personalised mobile, tablet and TV apps that could allow consumers to customise their TV experience. Recent indicators show that YouTube and social networks such as Facebook have already reached the top of the traffic ranking lists among most visited websites across the continent despite the fact that broadband internet is not yet widely available.
  • Africa is a huge and compelling market for potential investors, three times the size of China, home to six out of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies, and home to a billion people, more than half of who have a mobile phone and 40% of who are living in urban areas. A large part of its young population is incredibly adept at figuring out new technologies and eager to use it.

The three different parts of the report contain:

Part 1: Industry Trends

The research includes Balancing Act’s proprietary pay TV subscriber estimates by operator and by country, easy to update excel lists of FTA channels across 55 countries, the number of TV set/1000 inhabitants per country (TV penetration rate), details of nascent VoD and digital archive projects, sections on DTH, Mobile and IPTV broadcast, the switch to digital (DTT), audience trends and the growing advertising market.

A section on African TV programmes and film production reviews the main opportunities and issues of the market. A section dedicated to the ‘new Nollywood’ sector brings fresh insights into its current market development. Financial sources and major audiovisual events are also listed to help support African producers. Distribution channels and piracy issues’ sections are also part of the report.

Responding to the dilemmas posed by increasingly crowded, liberalised markets, the study provides recommendations to help producers and TV-radio broadcasters differentiate themselves from the competition.

Part 2: Audience trends

Audience research data for Radio and TV have been aggregated into 14 country profiles. Countries selected include: Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Data has been drawn from Intermedia (who have been carrying out research in Africa since 2001), Synovate, SAARF and ZARF/RBI. There is a section that makes cross-comparisons of the data drawn from different countries. In the main, the sample survey data provided draws on national samples and identifies the differences between urban and rural audiences.

In the third section, there are directories providing profiles and contact details for: Pay TV players; international TV players involved in the continent; audio-visual content distributors; radio players; VoD players; and international broadcasting organisations.

The result is an unusually rich, single source for data on how Africans are interacting with traditional and emerging broadcasters and platforms, new technologies and modes of mass and inter-personal communication. In particular, it contains information on Internet and SMS that is not available in this form elsewhere.

Data Sources: Balancing Act is regularly involved in the African audio-visual market through custom consultancy and market research. Balancing Act provides a fortnight e-letter focused on this segment (see our news sections below) which is read widely in the industry. Balancing Act’s consultants regularly attend events related to the broadcast and film sector in Africa and are in touch with key market players.

“One of the most difficult was to identify the number of pay TV subscribers by broadcaster and by country across Africa. Except for Naspers’DStv/Mnet, most of the data is not officially released so we have had to cross-check numbers highlighted in press articles and directly from channel’s executives against our own estimates”.

Another difficulty was to identify recent media audience data available across Africa. Most of the data included in this report is not available on the web, ” said Balancing Act’s Senior Analyst Sylvain Beletre.

To order the new market report – ‘African Broadcast and Film Markets’ (2nd edition – February 2012) click heremarketing(@)