Total Number of TV Subscribers Throughout Africa to Reach 30 Million by 2021

Man in living room watching television

According to information published by Dataxis, the total number of paying TV subscribers throughout Africa is expected to reach 30 million by 2021, almost double of what it is currently, which is about 16 million. Digital satellite Pay TV subscribers are expected to reach 20 million, and Digital terrestrial pay TV subscribers, 8 million by 2021.


The difference between a Digital terrestrial television (DTTV) and Digital satellite television is that a DTTV is digital television broadcast entirely over earthbound circuits. A satellite is not used for any part of the link between the broadcaster and the end user.


It’s also estimated that there are currently 114 million households that own a TV, this number is set to reach 159 million by 2021. As much of an improvement as that is, it’s still an incredibly low number considering it accounts for all TV households throughout Africa. Obvious reasons for this low number attribute to various socio and economic factors that deter further embracement of television. Poverty, lack of basic amenities such as electricity, and relatively poor signals affecting rural areas, create barriers disallowing various households the enjoyment of television.


Further research suggests that English speaking African countries gain more paid TV subscribers as compared to French speaking African nations. Anglophone countries currently have 10 million TV pay subscribers; this is expected to double in number in 5 years, while only 3.5 million Fracophone subscribers enjoy television, with an expected growth of 2.5 million subscribers by 2021. Satellite pay TV subscribers in Anglophone countries stand at 8 million and will reach 12 million by 2021, while only 2 million have Satellite TV in Francophone countries with a gain of 4.5 million in 5 years.


MultiChoice remain the dominant pay TV operator for English speaking countries followed by StarTimes and Zuku.“The satellite operator MultiChoice, owned by Naspers Limited has been the key player in Anglophone Africa pay TV market since its launch in 1995. Despite facing competition from StarTimes and Zuku, MultiChoice continues to add new content and innovative services to maintain its appeal”, declared Priscilla Tirvengadum from Dataxis’ research team. However, the majority of TV subscribers in French speaking countries prefer Canal Plus Overseas, which acts as the dominant operator in that category.


After witnessing these numbers, it’s not surprising to see how substantial revenue streams obtained from TV pay subscriptions can be. Total revenue is estimated to be US $4 billion (Kes 405,334,000,000), this is expected to climb up to US $6 billion (Kes 608,001,000,000) by 2021 as demands for home entertainment skyrocket throughout Africa.