Thursday, October 26, 2017

Where a mobile phone is easier to get than electricity and Big Brother is the most watched TV show

The fourth in a series of 7 reports I wrote on international media markets was released this week, this one focusing on select markets in English and Francophone Africa.

The publication of this report coincides with Discop, the trade show being held right now in Johannesburg, billed as “the world’s number one destination to acquire and co-produce content 'Made in Africa' and sell international film, television and digital content, adaptation rights and packaged TV channels into Sub-Saharan Africa.”

But what do we know about the media and technology landscape in Africa? Probably not a lot, which is a big part of why these reports were commissioned. Let’s start by taking a closer look at some key issues related to infrastructure and demographics in Africa:
  • The African continent is the fastest-growing market in the world for mobile phones, and though most on the continent use mobile devices to access the internet, rates of internet penetration vary greatly from one country to the next.
  • Is Africa and ‘internet first’ market? Yes and No.
    • Internet penetration on the continent ranges from about 80% for Kenya to around 50% for Morocco and Nigeria and 2 to 5% for countries such as Burundi, Niger, and Sierra Leone
    • Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal report mobile internet penetration of over 100%, meaning there are more phones than people
But before we get too carried thinking mobile connectivity will bring the 1.2 billion people of Africa into the world of digital content, it’s worth noting that over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa alone lack access to electricity, making the present, not the future, extremely unevenly distributed on
this continent expected to double in size to 2.5 billion by 2040.

What about language distribution in Africa? 


  • Two dozen African countries have English as one of their official languages.

But here's the big startling statistic: It is estimated that number of French speakers in the world will reach 700 million 2050, of which 80% are anticipated to be in Africa.

In terms of broadcast media, TV content in most African countries is a mix of programming produced regionally, foreign movies, and localized versions of reality TV franchises known around the world. Switch on a TV in Africa and chances are you’ll find shows such as Big Brother Africa and The Voice Africa in prime time alongside an assortment of regionally produced soap operas and talk shows.

To read the full report on Africa's media and entertainment landscape in 2017 click here.

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