In the constantly evolving landscape of entertainment and media (E&M), an uncontrollable shift is reshaping how Nigerians consume contents, especially those via Pay TVs and Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVoD) platform. Prior, Pay TVs such as DSTV, GoTv, StarTimes have dominated the Nigerian E&M landscape with impressive number of subscribers and elevated revenue returns. But now, certain dynamics are shifting subscribers to emerging platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showmax and others. These platforms offer viewers a large amount of choice, convenience, and captivating contents right at their fingertips.

According to Research and Markets’ Africa Pay TV 2023 Forecasts, the number of Pay TV subscribers in Africa is projected to be 12 million users. This is a 28% rise from the current 43 million users in 2023 to 55million users by 2029. Nigeria is expected to account for about 10 million of the totals by 2029, from the current 6.1 million users.

The survey by Digital TV Africa projected SVoD subscribers to climb to 15.57million users in 2028 from 6.15million as at year end 2022. Nigeria had 2.61 million SVoD subscribers in 2023. The report further predicted that Nigeria and South Africa are likely to provide about 9.4million (59%) of the subscribers by 2028. In Nigeria, the streaming platform is witnessing a surge in local content production, catering for the diverse cultural preferences.

● Digital TV Africa report came out in December, 2023

However, the steep rise in the cost-of-living crisis occasioned by the spiralling inflation, string budgets, and epileptic power supply has caused consumers to re-examine their discretionary spending on subscription-based entertainment.
In terms of content and other service offerings, pay TVs still have plenty of potentials to offer Africans. According to Simon Murray, the Principal analyst at Digital TV research, “despite recent slowdown in new subscription, Africa still has plenty pay TV potentials. Between 2023 and 2027, 27 million TV households are to be added – taking the total to 130 million”. However, despite the potential subscribers’ growth, pay TV revenues will only rise by 31% due to intense competition from SVoDs.

SVoDs are powered by cutting-edge technology and a growing thirst for authentic storytelling. The platforms are revolutionizing the entertainment landscape across the continent. They serve not only as a gateway for consumption of expanding diverse voices and narratives but also allow for flexibility of choice, convenience and content offered. The rise of SVoD platforms has been nothing short of remarkable, with an explosive growth in subscribers and an unwavering commitment to delivering personalized experiences and tailored content recommendations.

Factors inhibiting Pay TV Growth

Against the rise of SVoD, Pay TV appears to be facing a daunting challenge of maintaining their market grip with their market share facing mounting pressures from the emergent platforms. Globally since 2013, they are experiencing loss of subscribers to emerging media like the SVoDs who are supplanting them, thereby putting them at a critical crossroad. Factors such as incessant increase in subscription rate; content piracy, linear oft-repeated programming schedules, infrastructural challenges, and intense competition from the OTT services.


On the other hand, a recent news emerged from Nigeria about the government’s plan to unveil an indigenous satellite pay television: Silver Lake Television (SLT) which promises to offer value for money and serve as an alternative to existing options. The new satellite TV is set to rival the existing ones, which include DStv, GOtv ad StarTimes among others and streaming platforms. Could this innovative venture and pocket-friendly offer mark a resurgence in cable TV usage in the Nigerian market? The anticipation is building as Nigerians eagerly await the outcome of this initiative.

Regardless of whether SVoDs are making strides in the African market, one thing stands out about them which is the fact that they’re all about delivering tailored experiences. They make use of advanced algorithms to understand users’ preferences, allowing them to recommend shows and movies that resonate with each individual’s taste. This approach not only delights viewers but also keeps them engaged, encouraging a stronger connection to the content they love. It’s this level of customization that sets SVoD platforms apart and makes them a compelling choice for both consumers and industry stakeholders.

Overall, both of them are likely to offer a compelling package of convenience, variety, quality and personalization which will likely make them an attractive choice for Nigerians seeking entertainment options in today’s changing digital mediascape.

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