Friday, December 11, 2015

While TV households in South Africa are set to grow, pay-TV and DStv is set for growing its share while the SABC and will continue to lose share.

New research shows that TV households in South Africa will grown by 10% over the next two years to 13,3 million - but although pay-TV subscribers will continue to increase its bad news for the free-to-air broadcasters like the SABC and that will lose share.

According to a new report from research firm Dataxis, South African TV households will not only keep growing robustly - it will largely be fueled through pay-TV with the number of South African TV households relying on free-to-air terresstrial TV services set to decline from 48,2% at the end of 2015 to just 34,5% at the end of 2018.

That is bad news for the South African public broadcaster which is facing growing competition from pay-TV operators like MultiChoice's DStv, StarTimes Media SA's StarSat, as well as a growing number of video-on-demand (VoD) services ranging from ShowMax and to VIDI, MTN's VU and now SAVuka TV. Netflix will launch in South Africa sometime in 2016.

According to Dataxis, about 43% of South African TV households will need digital terrestrial television set-top boxes (STBs) once those are sold and the long-delayed switch from analogue to digital broadcasting in the country really starts.
National terrestrial broadcasters like the SABC and will likely also have to contend with new competition, further cutting into existing viewership share and accelerating audience fragmentation.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) recently held public hearings for 4 possible new free-to-air TV broadcast licences.

Rubicon Investments; Hola Media (backed by Liquid Telecom, the pan-African fibre telecommunications firm controlled by Strive Masiyiwa's Econet Group); Change Network; and Infinity Media (jointly owned by Essel Media, Oakbay Investments and Mabengela Investments) which controls the African News Network, ANN7 (DStv 405) all applied for TV licences.

With DTT the SABC said it will launch with 5 TV channels - SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, SABC News and SABC Encore, the last two of which are currently given to MultiChoice's DStv as part of an exclusive contract. will likely launch with 11 TV channels while M-Net will possibly do 9 TV channels.

Meanwhile pay-TV DTT licences have also already been awarded to SiyayaTV and CloseTV, Mindset TV and and Kagiso TV - the last three of which were granted conditional pay-TV licences.