Television entertainment has been at the core of home entertainment for families across the world for generations. Since the first electronic television was invented in 1927, families have gathered round to receive news, information and entertainment together.

    However, due to the constraints, limitations and remoteness of some parts of the world, this phenomenon was not universally acknowledged. Sub-Saharan Africa was one such region, only receiving their first television broadcast signal on October 31st 1959 - 32 years after the technology was established overseas. Since then, Africa boasts of over 600 television stations and has utilised technology that tackles its historic challenges effectively.

    Due to this, the Sub-Saharan African region has developed into a major market for broadcasters, expected to reach over 75 million homes by 2021. This  growing market is something that should be watched closely for broadcasters, providers and creators alike, and presents an untapped potential for those in the entertainment and television industry.

    The 2019 edition of Eutelsat’s TV Observatory, conducted by the independent market research firm, Kantar, analysed TV access and viewing trends in four countries across the continent: Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. In this blog post we examine 6 TV viewing trends in this growing TV market.

    Satellite TV continues to grow

    In the growing markets of Ethiopia and Tanzania, Satellite TV is the primary mode of reception, with 56% of TV homes in Tanzania equipped with a dish, and 86% in Ethiopia. In the more dynamic markets of Nigeria and Kenya, satellite remains the second most used means of reception after terrestrial, representing  1.1 million satellite homes in Kenya and 7.1 million homes in Nigeria (TV Observatory 2019).

    These figures make it clear that satellite TV is quickly becoming the primary mode of reception throughout the region, and the most important infrastructure for multi-channel delivery.


    Eutelsat is the satellite operator of choice

    When it comes to providers and market choice, Eutelsat offers better quality  and further reach.

    Eutelsat is the leading operator in the region, reaching more than 12 million homes. The leading satellite provider currently reaches 70% of the total market share in the region from four key orbital locations: 7° East, 16° East, 36° East and 7/8° West.

    In a recent survey of the region, Eutelsat's TV channel line-up was stated as the most valued in the Sub-Saharan African region, achieving over 90% satisfaction in every country in the survey (TV Observatory 2019).


    Nigeria is the largest consumer in the region

    Out of all the Sub-Saharan African countries, Nigeria shows the most promise in terms of growth, reach, establishment and access. Nigeria is one of the biggest TV markets in Africa, and consistently shows strong signs of growth.

    70% of homes have a TV set, representing 27.5M households across the country. This figure shows no signs of slowing down and is expected to grow as TV penetration is still under 50% in rural areas but is expanding rapidly. Satellite is the second most used mode of reception after terrestrial with 26% of all TV homes equipped for it. (TV Observatory 2019).


    Sub-Saharan Africa set to be the world’s fastest-growing TV market

    According to Research And Markets, growth of 35.7% is forecasted in the Africa/Middle East region’s television and video market between 2018 and 2023, taking it from 10.9 billion to 14.8 billion EUR. The biggest driver will be Sub-Saharan Africa with 6.7% annual growth, to reach 10 billion EUR in 2023.

    According to a region report by IABM The TV market – representing revenues for broadcasters and media companies – is expected to grow significantly towards 2021, mostly driven by Sub-Saharan Africa, which is set to be the world’s fastest-growing TV market in the next five years.

    The penetration is expected to continue on an upwards trajectory as the region gradually becomes more HDTV accessible and prosperous.


    HDTV is in high demand

    According to study findings, the need for HD is rising in Sub-Saharan Africa with a growing demand for HD content.

    The number of HDTV enabled households rises year on year, and already has an influence in major Sub-Saharan countries. In Nigeria, more than 8 million households (or 30%) were identified to be HDTV compatible homes, 0.9 million (18%) in Cameroon and 0.5 million (22%) in Ivory Coast. Ethiopian HD enabled homes are expected to rise with 32% of TV homes intending to buy an HD TV in 2020. In Kenya, HD is already well established, with almost half of TV homes, 44%, equipped to watch HD channels, and 27% having a smart TV.


    Local content is the most popular

    Content demand is varied per country, but all express a strong interest in locally produced content.

    Kenya and Nigeria share a strong appetite for movies and TV series while in Tanzania, and Ethiopia, religious channels are the #1 category. Viewers in all countries would like to see more international news channels, and share a strong desire for more channels in local languages such as Swahili in the Great Lakes region or Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba in Nigeria.


    Connect with Eutelsat

    Eutelsat is making a difference across Africa by providing access to reliable, fast and cost-effective connectivity solutions, and we will continue to monitor and support the growing video market of Sub-Saharan Africa through our fleet of satellites.

    You can find more statistics and trends in our datasheets available here.

    Contact us today and access a world of broadcasting possibilities without limitation.