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Streaming is gaining traction in Africa with big potential for the future

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The African streaming market is one to watch: as data from analyst firm Digital TV Research reports, the market is set to grow five-fold by 2025. With entertainment undergoing a major shift over the last year, streaming of content has been on the rise while more Africans tune into Over-The-Top (OTT) channels. Subscription-based video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Showmax account for the bulk of this. Wider and cheaper internet accessibility and the increased use of mobile phones boost the trend further while streaming is becoming an ever-present format in the world of entertainment.  

An industry on the rise

Streaming is making headway and is taking over the entertainment industry as we know it. Africa’s streaming market is forecast to increase from 2.75 million subscribers in 2019 to 12.96 million in 2025 as the report by Digital TV Research shows. South Africa will account for the biggest market, adding 3 million subscribers to reach a total of 4.3 million by 2025. These numbers show how streaming has massive potential that’s changing the entertainment and media landscape significantly.

OTT services allow users to tune in whenever and wherever they want to watch whichever content they like. This in turn has caused an insatiable thirst for more content to be viewed at the users’ fingertips. Netflix unsurprisingly holds the largest market share with a total of 5.7 million subscribers expected by 2025. The local streaming provider Showmax, which sets itself apart with a large library of local content, is estimated to become the third-largest provider after Netflix and Disney+ (expected to launch in Africa by 2022) with 1.65 million subscribers by 2025.

Users are getting used to streaming content

With the easy accessibility and availability of content, users are getting more used to streaming. This doesn’t only include video on demand but also many other forms of content provided via streaming online. For instance, the social media platform TikTok which allows users to upload and watch short videos for entertainment has become widely popular in Africa in a significantly short amount of time. Furthermore, an increasing number of events are being broadcast online to be watched and experienced from the comfort of people’s homes. At the same time gyms have made their way on the web, offering fitness classes via streams and videos online to exercise from home.

One of the classic forms of entertainment has also made it into the realm of streaming with online casinos making use of live streaming. They offer a wide variety of games such as roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and slots which are available to easily be played online. With the help of live streaming technology, online casinos make live dealers appear on the players’ screens for them to have a lifelike casino experience from home. With the rise of all these options of content streamed online, users are more comfortable with and used to this type of content which further boosts the trend.

Mobile phones show great potential

With the internet becoming more widespread and mobile data slowly but surely getting cheaper, the mobile phone proves to be a preferred platform to access content. In South Africa, there are approximately 14 million TV households while the use of mobile devices is far more widespread with roughly 53 million smartphones in the country. This proves to offer massive potential for the streaming market. Smartphones are constantly improving while the price range for devices offers something for every bracket of income. Africa is said to be one of the fastest-growing mobile telecommunication markets which shows massive potential for the future. Streaming provider Showmax is already dipping into this and recently released a cheaper plan for mobile users which has been adopted by other services to reach the mobile users. Additionally, some mobile companies such as MTN and Cell C have introduced their own content packages to offer their customers.

The world of entertainment and media is seeing a massive change with streaming services taking over. The streaming market in Africa is estimated to grow five-fold over the next years while more and more consumers are using the streaming services to access content whenever and wherever they like. With streaming services changing the way Africans consume entertainment, the streaming market is certainly one to watch.

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