TV streaming trends in South Africa


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A long, long time ago, a marketer once said of streaming TV that “South Africans won’t watch TV online”.  That was the year 2005 and the year 2006, several times again and possibly many times today.  It just isn’t the case anymore.

Despite it being fair to say that data costs reduce further, they have come down.  Smartphone usage is increasing rapidly and African-based digital TV services like Tuluntulu, Showmax and Kewse are growing rapidly.  With more and more consumers engaging with video content online, Youtube and other shorter-duration video services are delivering more and more ads in the market.

So how do the numbers look now?  In a recent set of surveys (total sample over 3,000) in to the media consumption of digitally-connected adults in SA (that’s anyone with a cellphone or a home internet connection), the outcomes show a swing toward digital TV:

  • 17% stream TV
  • 16% admit to downloading torrents
  • 38% watch Youtube
  • 34% watch ETV or SABC and 64% watch DSTV

Usually, a “TV” question in media research gives consumer a laundry list of terrestrial and satellite TV broadcasters to choose from.  That’s just not the way people think about TV.  We ask, openly, “How do you watch TV” and the results opened up a much more honest set of results.

Bar chart showing Streaming TV versus terrestrial TV