The over-the-top (OTT) services market in Africa is poised for explosive growth over the coming years, with revenue increasing by well over US$1-billion from 2020, ITWeb reports.
The article references Digital TV Research which claims that the continent’s collective OTT revenue was only US$392-million at the end of 2020 – which indicates there is significant room for growth.
And there has been a response from telecommunication firms in Sub-Saharan Africa, writes ITWeb, including from the likes of Vodacom, MTN, Airtel, Globacom, Orange and Safaricom – all of whom are reportedly bolstering their OTT services.
According to market analysis firm Dataxis, Africa’s OTT streaming market continues to grow and featured 30% more subscribers between 2020 and 2021.
ITWeb reports: “It notes that Video Play, the third-largest streaming platform in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of subscribers behind Netflix and Showmax, with a 17% market share, is a service launched by South African mobile operator Vodacom. In 2021, Dataxis says, mobile operators’ streaming platforms accounted for 26% of OTT and subscription video-on-demand subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
OTT service regulation
Several governments in Africa, including Kenya and Nigeria, have struggled over the past few years with OTT service regulation.
While there is acknowledgement of advantages linked to OTT, including economies of scale and enabling local and long-haul voice communications at no direct cost to end users, there is also an awareness of challenges – including how OTT services should be taxed.
In October last year ITWeb Africa reported that in addition to international streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer, local music streaming platforms such as Buddie Beatz and Gateway Music App were offering struggling Zimbabwean artists some respite in terms of revenue generation.
COVID-19 put a stop to live performances, a key revenue earner for African musicians whose income is also under threat from piracy.
While some artists have switched to online video performances utilising Facebook Live and YouTube, others have sought to try virtual music streaming platforms.
Econet Wireless’ Buddie Beatz music streaming application has generated almost US$500 000 in revenue.