Strong Gains Projected for Sub-Saharan African Pay TV


LONDON: The major players in the Sub-Saharan pay-TV sector all saw strong subscriber gains in 2016 as they dropped their prices in order to remain competitive, according to a Digital TV Research study.

The total number of pay-TV subs in the region is forecast to reach 36.7 million by 2022, up from 19.5 million at the end of last year. Revenues will reach $6.6 billion in 2022, up from $4.2 billion in 2016.

As at the end of 2016, Multichoice had 11.6 subs across its DStv and GOtv platforms. Digital TV Research estimates this number will hit 17.7 million in 2022. Canal Plus and Easy TV, operated by Vivendi, are expected to see subs rise to 4.3 million in 2022, up from 2.3 million in 2016. StarTimes/StarSat will see the biggest gains, from 4.2 million customers at end-2016 to 10.6 million by 2022. These three groups account for 90 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s pay-TV subscribers.

“With a limited number of DTT licenses on offer, StarTimes is focusing more on its satellite TV operations, which is disrupting the sector,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. “StarSat is much cheaper than DStv and Canal Plus and not that much more expensive than pay DTT.”

South Africa remains the biggest pay-TV market with 6.4 million subs, rising to 9.1 million by 2022. By then, Nigeria will come close in size at 8.4 million, up from 4.5 million last year. These two markets will contribute nearly half of the region’s pay-TV revenues by 2022.