The SvoD industry in Africa is enjoying steady growth. A recent survey found that Netflix, which is the most popular SvoD platform in Africa, is currently edging towards 3.5 million subscribers, and this number is expected to double by 2027.
Showmax, which is another SvoD platform operating in Africa, is also making great strides. The network currently boasts some 861,0000, and the number is bound to increase. Then there is VideoPlay by Vodacom, which has over 1 million subscribers, and Disney+, which only just joined the African market but already has the highest growth projection.
Even mobile network operators are now scaling up their services to include SvoD product offerings. The likes of MTN, Globacom, and Safaricom are all coming on board with content services of their own.
This solid SvoD growth has, without a doubt, been spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, which compelled populations to retreat indoors.
Recent advances in network coverage have accelerated this growth even further. Today, parts like Morocco have an internet penetration rate of up to 84.1%, a significant increase over the previous years.
All in all, SvoD is enjoying a decent run in Africa. But what are the challenges it faces?
Challenges facing SvoD in Africa
Like every thriving industry, the SvoD market has had its fair share of challenges. Here are a few of them:
Connectivity and digital inclusion
While Africa has made some good progress in connecting itself, there is still a long road ahead. Over 50% of people on the continent still have zero access to the internet. The cost of connectivity coupled with a lack of digital skills and literacy has aggravated this problem.
For the SvoD industry in Africa to grow further, connectivity on the continent must witness a considerable scale. There is an urgent need for projects, policy considerations, and market analyses designed to lower the cost of connectivity and boost access.
As more and more of Africa gets connected, more and more industries make their move on the continent. Nearly every major social media company has now opened an office in Africa. Establishing a physical presence in Africa means these companies are reinforcing their position in the local industry.
In fact, by offering both entertainment and social interaction, social media presents a stiff challenge to the SvoD industry. Africa’s young population, which happens to be the majority of the population, cannot seem to get enough of social networking and user-generated content.
A recent survey found that up to 56% of people in North Africa are logged in to at least one social media platform — and this figure is ever increasing.
All the same, though, if SvoD keeps introducing features and functionalities to make its services and product offerings more attractive, it may actually make the boldest statement yet.
What this means for operators
The SvoD industry in Africa has a very good future outlook.
There are more successes to actualize and more growth to achieve.
It is in the best interest of SvoD operators to work harder and introduce more innovative products and services — and ones that are perfectly attuned to the innate tastes of the end customer
By so doing, the industry may actually meet and exceed its growth projections.