Digital terrestrial television (DTT), and pay DTT in particular, made “huge gains” in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 and will challenge satellite as the top pay TV platform by 2021, according to new research.
The Digital TV Research report said that of the 16.91 million pay TV subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa at end 2015, 10.66 million were pay satellite TV and 5.64 million pay DTT.
However, satellite TV is tipped to grow only slightly from 19.3% of TV households in 2015 to 21.2% by 2021, whereas pay DTT is expected to “rocket” from 10.2% to 19.9% over the same period.
The research claimed that pay satellite TV subscribers climbed by a relatively low 7.4% in 2015 – partly because of more platform choice created by DTT and partly due to “economic woes” in some countries.
“About two-thirds (50.95 million) of TV households will take DTT (pay and free-to- air combined) as their primary TV signal in 2021, up from only 1.4% (0.59 million) at end-2010. By 2021, 14.85 million – nearly a fifth of TV households – will be primary pay DTT and 36.10 million free-to-air DTT (or 48.3% of TV homes),” according to the report.
Digital TV Research said that 36.2 million Sub-Saharan African TV homes took digital signals by the end of 2015, up from 7.9 million in 2010.
While “most countries” on the continent missed the ITU’s analogue switch-off deadline of June 2015, complete digital transition was achieved in Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda by the end of last year.
“This count will increase from six countries at end-2015 to 11 by end-2016,” said the report. “Digital TV penetration will reach 99.9% in 35 forecast countries by 2021 – or 74.7 million homes.”