SVOD in Africa has empowered consumers 

October 8, 2017

Subscription video on demand services delivered over the Internet continue to cater for Africans’ appetite for entertainment with subscriptions reaching more than 13.4 million at the end of July 2017, a year on year increase of more than 47 per cent, according to a new study whose copy your blogger has obtained.The study found around a quarter of South African and Nigerian households currently subscribe to either Pay TV or Subscription video on demand services, an increase from 10 percent in 2016. Only 9 percent of households currently have both Pay TV and Subscription video on demand.Study predicts the phenomenon of paid Subscription video on demand subscriptions will continue as consumers increasingly consume content on-demand, and across multiple devices. Popularity of exclusive and original content, as well as live streaming, is expected to continue to the drive the market.  Study authors believes consumers will consider multiple providers, leaving room for services from SHOWMAXX of South Africa, YouTube Red and a long list of others to encroach on Netflix’s market popularity.Study estimates that Netflix had more subscriptions at the end of first half of 2017 in whole of Africa, with SHOWMAXX in second and others making up the rest of the market.The research shows that Subscription video on demand services are putting pressure on Free to Air TV rivals and traditional Pay TV, with around a third of Pay TV subscribers in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco also having at least one Subscription video on demand subscription, and 39 per cent of Subscription video on demand subscribers claiming to rarely watch FTA TV. The research shows that the average Subscription video on demand subscriber watches nearly 22 hours of video content a week across FTA TV, Pay TV, SVOD, Catch up TV and live streaming TV, and other video content sources including non-streaming videos, compared to around 15 hours for the average African.Subscription video on demand adoption in Africa has started to reach a scale which has strategic significance to media and telecoms companies alike and recently MTN in Zambia a subscription based Live Tv streaming app.The popularity of data services on the African market and increases in mobile data caps is fuelling greater Subscription video on demand adoption according to the study. On average, the results show Subscription video on demand subscribers typically use 70 per cent more mobile data over 3G and 4G than those who do not stream Subscription video on demand on smartphones. At the end of first half of 2017, the rate of uptake of Subscription video on demand by broadband users was 32 per cent higher than non broadband users in South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya. This shows how subscription video on demand bundling is an important loyalty driver when mobile and broadband prices are under pressure.SHOWMAXX, the subscription video on demand service mainly focused on African market, recently released an all-new revamped and improved user experience, along with new features. The upgrade represents the latest shift in SHOWMAXX services with an all-new focus on individual customer experience, including features that enable significantly deeper personalised experiences and intuitive ways of discovering new content. And with additional improvements to speed and performance. Subscription video on demand trends and how SHOWMAXX and others have rapidly established a leadership position in African markets since going live is an indication the service is gaining popularity and empowering consumers.

Subscription video on demand puts consumers in the driver seat, giving them total freedom and control over their viewing experience. And it gives its subscribers an entertainment experience that’s completely unscheduled and on their terms. In contrast to linear channels, which by nature provide audiences limited access to content through scheduling constraints, over-the-top content offers users unlimited access to an extensive combination of local, regional and international content whenever, wherever. All content has an audience. Service providers like SHOWMAXX are not competing with platforms that specialize in short form and user-generated content. Most of them have ongoing discussions with producers and creators of such content to potentially make those formats available on their Subscription video on demand and are committed to offering users the content they want, which currently is predominantly top Nollywood, international, African regional, South African, and popular local TV shows and movies although most will continue to expand and evolve in accordance to what users demand.As more Africans grow connected, so does their appetite for world-class entertainment. Your blogger expect accelerated growth in both existing markets like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, as well as new ones like Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania to continue to expand. Also local service providers will emerge to compete with foreign service providers who have local content teams in each market that focus every day on acquiring and ensuring they have the content that local customers want which has seen exponential growth both in users and viewing habits and minutes.Unique key features that give service providers like Netflix, SHOWMAXX a competitive advantage over other entertainment providers include unlimited access to vast library of thousands of first-run exclusive shows, award-winning TV series, blockbuster movies, popular local and regional content, children’s programs and much more.Access to the two on up to five devices at once, including phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs and other connected devices, while streaming on two devices simultaneously. Netflix for example offers the ability to download TV shows and movies to any phone, tablet or mobile device to binge-watch offline when not connected to the Internet. Also Netflix subscription means access to many of the world’s best and most exciting entertainment studios and brands along with users’ favourite content genres in a dynamic, engaging and easy to navigate channel interface.The ability to add TV shows, movies and channels to the Netflix homepage, and to follow playlists curated by hundreds of their favourite influencers and celebrities.A completely personalised, unique user experience for each individual user that further allows them to surface more content in line with their interests from Neflix’s vast library accessible in African countries.In your blogger’s view, leveraging several strategies and tools like data driven marketing, a strong focus on local content acquisition, deep telco integration, strategic retail partnerships and celebrity driven marketing among others will continue to drive subscription video on demand in Africa.It is a relatively new concept in Africa, making the biggest challenge education but those who engage in multiple, highly personalized strategies through a variety of channels, ranging from traditional out of home marketing, to data-driven marketing and programmatic content to ensure that consumers understand their product offering will win the market share. In Africa, however, communications and channels vary from country to country, given limitations in language and local preferences as well as cultural, religion traditions.

Contador Harrison