Africans favour mobile devices for media consumption

Posted on February 24, 2017 12:00 am

African consumers prefer mobile devices like smartphones and Tablets over Television set when it comes to media consumption.Undoubtedly, a digital entertainment revolution is occurring in Africa as consumers take increased control of how they use media and entertainment devices. Consumption of TV, film, music and video games is changing as African consumer expectations increase. For example, on demand content, interactivity and mobility, Internet social networks as well as user generated content are also competing for consumer mindshare as they integrate into the media consumption experience.However, a lack of broad diversity in the African media, advertising and entertainment sector is limiting the ability to take advantage of the digital growth opportunities.It’s clear that Africa need to get better at finding new opportunities. In fact, this needs to be considered a strategic imperative in the search for growth.However, this broad lack of diversity in the African media, advertising and entertainment sector workforce means the African opportunity is passing by and the industry is not as well equipped for growth as it could be. In particular, online video technologies, advertising on mobile platforms, and digital out-of-home advertising all show signs of strong growth through to 2018. As a whole, the industry is projected to grow by 15% over the next three years.In Nigeria, for example, the film industry is now the biggest in Africa. Your blogger predicts Nigeria’s box office will overtake all other film industries in Africa combined this year. At the same time the funding for African content is under pressure.African entertainment and media businesses are also not immune to digital innovators tearing their business models apart.

Whilst to date, Nigeria’s biggest internet players have been occupied at home, this is changing and Nigerian businesses cannot afford to be complacent. Technology is smashing down old barriers, like geography, that have protected African businesses from competition. No doubt new players in this game are well capitalised, they bring enormous scale and they are customer focussed and fast moving like Netflix is doing.On the other hand, the growing use of digital devices has ended television’s unrivalled dominance of African entertainment, a media consumption study conducted in Africa’s 20 biggest media markets has found. According to the data in my possession, the vast majority of respondents said they owned a laptop, smart phone or tablet device. But there has been a rapid increase in the number who now own all three, increasing from 10 per cent to 23 per cent in the past two years. The increase is driving internet-based entertainment across Africa.Whilst watching television is definitely still Africans number one past-time, more than three quarters of the respondents have ranked it in their top three entertainment preferences, it’s only just hanging in there. This year for the first time, using the internet for social or personal reasons is running it a really close second at 70 per cent. The digital tipping points that Africans much anticipated and been talking about for a while is actually here. In one sense the dominance of traditional live broadcast television has already ended, because the study results for that category include viewers who stream programs through the internet or record them to watch later. African millennials in particular, which are one of the younger age groups, are more likely to be watching their favourite television shows through formats other than live television.

Most viewers are happy to mix their new media devices with the traditional television though, with nearly seven out of 10 people multi-tasking. The growing use of internet-reliant devices is feeding frustration with connection speeds, with less than 25 per cent satisfied, though most are not willing to pay more to fix the problem.The power of social media hardly seems a new phenomenon but the researchers found its reach into everyday lives is still rapidly expanding.More than half of respondents reported using social media at least once a day, a nearly threefold increase on the prior year.Social media is crossing generation gaps, albeit being used in different ways. Some of the Africa’s older generations tend to use social networks to share links or stories with their network, whereas younger age groups are very much more about expressing themselves. We are reaching a point where there will soon be 70 per cent of Africa population who will have grown up with this sort of technology and they will be used to interacting with media in the way we are now seeing. The study also confirmed that hard-copy newspapers are no longer part of Africans daily lives. While 40 per cent of people always prefer their news in a digital format, another 20 per cent only seek out a printed paper on the weekend. The number of respondents with a traditional newspaper subscription fell 9 per cent from 2015. There are also worrying signs for the pay-walls adopted by Kenyan and South Africa’s mastheads.More than 95 per cent respondents say they are not willing to pay for online news, with a third saying news was a major reason for their engagement with social media.

Contador Harrison