In one of the most comprehensive research on Tv viewing habits in the continent, Africans are apparently spending more time watching conventional television than they did a year ago thanks to more and more Tv channels streaming their content online and as a result viewers using internet-connected devices to complement their viewing of television and other video. The study covered ten African countries of Ghana, South Africa,Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Angola and Cameroon.On the other hand, the same figures suggests there has been a significant reduction in viewing in just a year, particularly among younger viewers, with those aged 24-35 watching 4 hours 19 minutes less television a month. The apparent decline over a period of five years is even more dramatic, only partly compensated by an increase in online viewing across computers, phones and tablets.An estimated 5% of Africa urban homes now have a tablet, while 11% of Africans aged over 18 now own a smartphone.Amid the steady adoption of new technologies, Africans of all ages use their traditional television sets for the overwhelming majority of time they spend watching television and other video programmes. The report suggests that people are using additional screens to complement, rather than replace, the time they spend watching traditional television. Even with extensive new screen and platform options, Africans are viewing as much broadcast television as they have in years. In the first quarter of 2016, African Tv audience in urban areas watched an average of 22 hours and 14 minutes of broadcast television each month on their home television, a rise of 2 hour and 13 minutes since Quarter four of 2015.Watching online video on a tablet increased from 22 minutes a month to 46 minutes, while watching online video on a mobile phone rose from 59 minutes to 1 hour 4 minutes.However, teens watched 1 hour and 49 minutes a month on a tablet and 6 hours and 27 minutes on a mobile. The 18-24 age group, being the lowest viewers of television, also watched 9 hours 25 minutes a month on a computer, 2 hours 51 minutes on a mobile and 1 hour 14 minutes on a tablet.
Now, television viewing is seasonal and can be expected to be lower in the first quarter, which is summer in Africa in terms of weather condition. When I read the report,I did a little more analysis, and looked at figures for over the three calendar years, averaging the four quarters to give an annual total for each year.What I discovered is that overall television viewing in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Ghana homes actually fell by 1 hours 22 minutes a month between 2013 and 2016. Furthermore, it fell for each age group. Among teens it fell by 3 hours and 26 minutes, while the 18-24 group watched 2 hours 33 minutes a month less, and those aged 25-34 watched 2 hours 18 minutes a month less television. Even those aged over 65 watched over 1 hour less television a month in 2015 than in 2014.By any analysis that represents a significant decline in traditional television viewing among younger viewers.It’s no accident that reality programs are dominating African television and whether you like it or not, its time to get used to it. They will be screening continuously through out the year.Not only can reality shows seamlessly, they are also the programs viewers are least likely to record and watch later according to a report that focused on Africa’s leading pay Tv company DSTV that offers unrivalled content. A recent report found more than one in 10 people time shift or watch a program after it has aired in South Africa.According to the television networks in South Africa, the programs most time shifted tend to be dramas. And the networks say they are not worried. But for advertisers, time-shifting means expensive messages may be lost to the fast-forward button, or seen at a time when they are less relevant.One of the media company i spoke to recently, agreed with my view that time-shifting is a positive innovation, as it offers more opportunity to view free-to-air television. Time shifting has affected scheduling. The most time shifted programs, popular dramas, are being screened later to make space for the networks’ solution to time sensitive retail advertising.Overall, the losers of changing habits are Tv networks’ and the gainers are advertiser who have an array of medium of advertising to chose from.