• 1bn Africans to have a mobile by 2020, but price point prohibitive to OTT adoption
  • People in Rwanda pay 50c per GB but in Zimbabwe it costs $75 per GB
  • Bundling content with data can help overcome SVoD challenges

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Lounge Talks: Kandola on Africa for broadcast

How do you crack the burgeoning Sub Saharan African TV market? By making it accessible and affordable, according to Clare Kandola, chief executive of content consultancy the Vidya Collective.

Kandola shared some of the findings from Vidya, which has researched Africa for broadcast, VOD clients and OTT players, during Monday morning’s Tech Talk at IBC2019.

While one billion Africans are expected to have a mobile SIM connection by 2020, Kandola warned that price points for data vary hugely from country to country, which is limiting the growth of OTT services.

“In Rwanda people pay half a dollar for a gigabyte while in Zimbabwe the same data will cost $75 dollars - meaning it would cost $350 to download a movie on Netflix,” Kandola noted.

She added that French Pan-African Urban music OTT operator Trace has overcome this issue by bundling content in with a data plan .

While subscriptions for SVoD services are expected to reach 10m by 2023, only 10% of households currently have access to such services a Kandola said.

The majority of streaming subscribers are based in South Africa (40%) and Nigeria (20%) although Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania have also been identified as key markets which are forecast to generate a combined total of $10m in SVoD income by 2023.

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The stats: OTT and SVOD consumption across Africa

Source: Vidya Collective

Kandola believes that if services require a larger footprint, free-to-air satellite channels supported by advertising are still the best way to reach the majority of homes – although an unregulated advertising industry with no audience measurement system is slowing things down.

And if operators want to add Pay TV elements to free to air services then she adds that flexible price points are crucial.

“One price does not fit all. While something may seem affordable, everyday incomes makes them unrealistic so you need create bundles that work in different markets - dice, slice and then price your content,” she advised.

She adds that international players wanting to produce content in the region are advised to partner up with local production companies, as BBC Studios did with local producer Rapid Blue to bring Bake Off to South Africa.