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New Nigeria: Africas booming pay-TV market - 14-April-2009, 09:20

Nigeria: Africas booming pay-TV market

Chris Forrester

A report from Pyramid Research predicts that Nigerias pay-TV subscription levels will increase at a CAGR of 13% while total regional pay TV revenue will almost double 2008 levels by year-end 2013.

The report is bullish, especially considering the recent demise of Gateways DTH operation. The outlook, it says, is encouraging. Growth will accelerate significantly as regulatory changes and rising incomes enable new pay-TV entrants to begin tapping the region's very under-penetrated pay-TV market.

Another recent report from Screen Digest, underlines Nigeria's fundamental position in the sub-Saharan market with the size of the market giving rise to Multichoice challenger Hi-TV. While South Africa-based Multichoice and its DSTV service remains the dominant pay-TV platform in sub-Saharan Africa, numbering 700,000 subscribers in the region, Nigerian newcomer Hi-TV managed to grow its subscriber base to some 200,000 by the end of last year, reports Business Trends, a local publication.

Data from Screen Digest shows that MultiChoice subscribers in Nigeria stand at some 205,000. This is from a population of 140m and just over six million TV households. However, Nigeria also boasts the largest MMDS network in sub-Saharan Africa, run by Communications Trends. Richard Broughton, senior analyst at Screen Digest points out that TV penetration of the Nigerian market is quite high for Africa, with nearly a third of households possessing televisions. He added that it is unsurprising that Nigeria is also the biggest market for pay-TV content. "At the end of 2008, in excess of 430,000 households took some form of paid-for TV content."

Broughton puts the rapid rise of Hi-TV down to two factors: the platform's acquisition of key UEFA football rights, such as the Champions League, the Super Cup and the UEFA Cup, as well as the English Premier League. Hi-TV's deal for these rights effectively excluded ill-fated pay platform GTV from entering Nigeria. The second factor is pricing, with Hi-TV services starting from 20 a month compared with DSTV's 45.

He added: "Despite the accusations of poor quality, customer service and transmission levelled at Hi-TV, it is unsurprising that the company has attracted a substantial number of customers. And Hi-TV isn't targeting only Nigerians in Nigeria."
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