South African TV households to grow 10% by 2018

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 
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Total TV households of 13.28 million end-2018

MAURITIUS — New research from Dataxis shows the total number of South African TV households will grow 10% from end-2015 to end-2018 when they will number almost 13.3 million. Over the same time, however, the percentage of TV households relying on Free-To-Air (FTA) terrestrial television services will fall from 48.2% to 34.5% as pay-DTH continues to grow and new pay services using DTT and IPTV come on stream.

Total South African TV Households

According to a new report from Dataxis – Pay TV / FTA broadcasting in South Africa – approximately 43% of TV households will need FTA digital receivers (STB or TV) by end-2016, equivalent to 5.4 million units, if the country manages to turn off analogue television services by then.

Currently there are two FTA terrestrial stations – SABC and e.tv, but the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) recently held public hearings in respect of four applications for FTA TV broadcast licences from Rubicon Investments, Hola Media (backed by Liquid Telecom, the pan-African fibre telecommunications firm controlled by Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Group), Change Network, and Infinity Media (jointly owned by Essel Media, Oakbay Investments and Mabengela Investments) which controls the African News Network (ANN7).

South Africa will have a total of three DTT multiplexes:

  • Multiplex One – 85% allocated to SABC for the broadcast of 17 channels. SABC will launch with five channels – SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, SABC News and the repeat channel SABC Encore. The remaining 15% allocated to existing community TV channels.
  • Multiplex Two – 55% was allocated to e.tv with a possible 11 channels, and 45% to M-Net with a possible nine channels.
  • Multiplex Three – Up to 55% assigned to one or more commercial FTA broadcaster, and up to 45% to be assigned to one or more commercial pay-TV provider (minimum of 30% ownership held by historically disadvantaged persons and/or a level 4 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment status).

ICASA has already confirmed a pay-DTT license has been issued to Siyaya TV, with conditional licenses awarded to Close TV, Mindset TV and Kagiso TV.