According to a recent analysis of Netflix's revenue by Comparitech, South Africa is the only African country on the platform’s top 50 countries by subscriber base as at 2018 with 152, 588 subscribers.
The 50th country on the list is Luxembourg with 52, 151 subscribers, which puts every other African country at less than 52, 000 subscribers each. With this, it can be assumed that the video-on-demand (VoD) market in Africa is still relatively small.
In spite of this, MultiChoice -- owners of Digital Satellite Television (DStv) and GOtv -- has revealed plans to make DStv Now a stand-alone service by March 2020.
At the moment, DStv Now is an add-on for subscribers of Premium, Compact Plus, or Compact plans that allows subscribers to access content on mobile or web platforms. But by March 2020, owning a DStv decoder would no longer be a prerequisite for DStv Now.
MultiChoice’s first attempt at the VoD market was the launch of Showmax in its home country in 2015. And earlier in the year, it launched a localised version in Nigeria as well as a mobile-only version in Kenya and Nigeria.
At the moment, DStv Now is a streaming platform that also allows downloads if a subscriber is using the Catch Up feature; just like Netflix, it allows up to four devices on a single account.
South Africa remains MultiChoice’s biggest market
According to MultiChoice Group’s figures (PDF) for the first half of the year, a total of 18.9 million people subscribed to its services with South Africa accounting for 8.2 million and the rest of the African market sharing 10.7 million subscribers.
This is in spite of the fact that South Africa’s population is less than 5% of the continent’s and less than 30% of the population of Nigeria.
And as the only African country on Netflix’s top 50 countries by subscriber base, it appears MultiChoice is banking on its home country to power DStv Now as a stand-alone platform.
Figures from MultiChoice Group and Netflix also point to the fact that DStv Now is likely going to have South Africa as its major market.
The place of Nigeria
Nigeria is the most populous African country but there are concerns about its relatively low addressable market on the Internet. Nigeria didn’t even make Netflix’s top 50 markets list.
Nevertheless, it appears Nigeria is a relatively big market for MultiChoice.
In terms of subscription revenue for MultiChoice Group in Rest of Africa (RoA) -- other African markets aside from South Africa -- Nigeria has the highest share with 38% for the first half of the year. Kenya follows with 10%, and Zambia, 9%. Other African countries accounted for the remaining 42%.
Nigeria can be considered a promising market for MultiChoice. In the first half of 2018, Nigeria contributed 33% of the total subscription revenue for RoA. Kenya and Zambia both contributed 12% each while other markets contributed 43%.