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 sub-Saharan 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.

Read the original story, with tables and illustrations where appropriate.


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