Africa Pay-TV Subs to Hit 30 Million in 2021


PARIS: The number of pay-TV subscribers in Africa is forecast to reach 30 million in 2021, up from 16 million in 2015, according to the latest figures published by Dataxis.

Digital satellite pay-TV subscribers for 2021 is expected to arrive at 20 million compared to 8 million for digital terrestrial pay-TV subscribers. Dataxis estimates that TV households, which stood at 114 million in 2015, will reach 159 million in 2021. The low TV-penetration rate is attributed to various socio and economic factors that hinder the adoption of television.

Dataxis predicts that English-speaking African countries will continue to add pay-TV subscribers, compared to Francophone Africa. Total pay-TV subscribers in Anglophone countries, which was estimated at 10 million in 2015, will double in 2021—compared to 3.5 million subscribers in 2015 for French-speaking countries and is expected to reach 6 million in 2021.

Total pay-TV revenue was estimated to be $4 billion in 2015 and is expected to climb to $6 billion in 2021, with pay-DTH revenue contributing up to $5 billion. Digital migration, competition and cheaper DTT packages will bring ARPU down in most African countries.

Priscilla Tirvengadum, research analyst at Dataxis Africa, said: “Despite advances, statistics show that Africa still has a long way to go in terms of household TV penetration. This low rate is explained mainly by lack of basic economic infrastructures like electricity. Moreover, poverty in developing African countries make it impossible for its citizens to afford television sets.”

Tirvengadum added, “The satellite operator MultiChoice, owned by Naspers Limited, has been the key player in Anglophone Africa pay-TV market since its launch in 1995. Despite facing competition from StarTimes and Zuku, MultiChoice continues to add new content and innovative services to maintain its appeal.

“The rollout of digital terrestrial TV in Africa will increase competition in the digital pay-TV landscape. In this context, both subscriber numbers and pay-TV revenues will continue to grow at an impressive rate in the next five years. In addition, to cater for low-income TV households, MultiChoice offers a low-cost digital terrestrial services via its GOtv brand.”