Video On Demand market is taking shape in Africa with the uptake of subscription video on demand services delivered over the Internet growing fast with more than 5 million million active subscriptions expected by the end of June 2017, representing a growth rate of 102 per cent over the same period in 2016, according to new research.The Video Market Study 2016 whose copy I have found 57 per cent of Africa urban households are willing to subscribe to either pay TV or subscription video on demand services as long as they can get the content they want, a 7 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. The average number of subscription video on demand subscriptions per subscribing household has increased from 1.1 to 1.3 during the same period. The total number of paid excluding trial users subscription video on demand subscriptions is on track to more than double from 4 million in May 2016 to 14 million in May 2018, when it will exceed the total number of pay TV subscriptions in Africa. As of June 2016 pay TV has a total of 6.2 million subscribers and will continue to enjoy a healthy revenue lead over subscription video on demand.Africans insatiable appetite for streaming content opens the door for third party players to consider their content service strategies. Researchers believes the ability to universally search across multiple service providers, including on smartphones and smart TVs, will be a compelling way for people to access subscription video on demand content in the future.The research also shows that subscription video on demand now takes up 26 per cent of subscriber’s mobile data allowance and mobile subscription video on demand subscribers typically have a 72 per cent larger net data cap than those who do not stream subscription video on demand on mobile.Researchers estimates subscription video on demand subscriptions will have grown by almost 400,000 during the twelve months to the end of December 2016.
Through high conversions from free or trial usage to fee paying subscriptions, subscription video on demand services are also generating around 29 per cent more revenue than twelve months ago.Research shows Africa subscription video on demand market has entered a new phase whereby the top competitors are much more aggressively seeking exclusive content rights deals. Despite Netflix exploding onto the scene, local players have been growing faster than Netflix in the past three months as appetite for more content drives people to adopt a second or third provider. One in ten Netflix customers in Africa has more than one subscription video on demand service according to research.Virtual reality and 4K content eyed by subscription video on demand subscribers Current subscription video on demand subscribers are at the leading edge of display technology with 1 in 6 indicating an interest in video content delivered through virtual reality headsets. In the living room subscription video on demand users are twice as likely to own a 4K TV and 10 per cent have already shown interest in streaming 4K content over the broadband networks that have been laid across major cities in Africa. New services such as Virtual Reality and 4K streaming could redefine subscription video on demand services, especially for sports related content and have the potential to lift monthly spend.Research across industries has shown that consumers are prepared to pay more for entertainment content such as movies, interactive games and streaming sports provided in Virtual Reality.So what will the future of television look like in Africa?Will the future of these services rest with the current traditional broadcasters, free-to-air and pay-TV? Or will ISPs play a larger role in this space in the future?There is no doubt that 2017 will be an interesting year for TV.We will see how VoD might force old players to adapt to the changing media landscape.Kenya’s Nation Media Group and Multi Choice in South Africa already involved with new technology services, while others are yet to make a move in this space.There will also be interest around any new players that may appear as the race continues to establish some structured approach to a changing media distribution environment. In this we might see ISPs take a greater role as media outlets.