CAPE TOWN - In 2015 African media will reach even greater corners of the world, market researcher International Data Corporation predicts. This comes at a time defined by a considerable uptake in the appetite for content from Africa and the Middle East.
Once a year, the IDC gives a detailed overview of the year ahead based on research and analysis from its global network of analysts. Below are some of their predictions that could potentially see a drastic change in Africa’s media landscape over the next 12 months.
1. Increased Netflix-like offerings will create competition
In 2015 we’ll see considerable growth in over-the-top (OTT) delivery of television programming, music and other forms of media. OTT is the type of technology utilised by international companies such as Netflix to delivering video content over the Internet. Pay-media company Multichoice has pre-empted competition in Africa by announcing late last year that the DStv’s Explora can now receive additional content over the internet. Through an additional Wi-Fi connector, subscribers to its DStv platform are no longer limited to scheduled programming and the storage capacity of their decoders.
Although Netflix hasn’t indicated whether they are in fact interested in expanding into Africa, the IDC expects that the video-on-demand subscription service is “well on its way to global dominance”. A huge asset to Netflix would be Africa’s original programming. Similar to how Netflix has made use of British programming outside of Britain, African content could reach new markets thanks to OTT. The threat of new OTT entrants should thus be especially troublesome to regional players who don’t operate outside of their domestic markets.
2. Expanding copyright protection
You could imagine that if someone as well-known as Taylor Swift has issues with receiving appropriate royalties for her work, far less obscure artists in African languages could be even more disadvantaged by new forms of music distribution.
Many African countries don’t have copyright collection agencies (Kenya, SA and Nigeria do). In some cases the United Nations offer a blanket cover for countries where no specific copyright regulations exists. But as African content bleeds into new markets, governments will come under increased pressure from especially its local music industry to protect local talent from copyright infringements.
Copyright protection is obviously not only a headache for the music industry. Due to an increase in movie piracy, the Broadcast Satellite Anti-Piracy Coalition was established in 2014. The coalition already shut down some broadcasters broadcasting content illegally. This is a trend that is said to continue that needs protection.
3. Consumer interaction through gaming experiences
According to the IDC, Africa and the Middle East accounts for the world’s most active gamers. Consequently 2015 will be a year of increased gamification for businesses. Marketing departments typically use this as a business strategy to apply game design techniques to non-game contexts.
A typical example is Money for Jam (M4JAM), a South African initiative requiring you to perform tasks in exchange for money. The practice is sometimes referred to as gamification because it’s seen as a form of playing games and in return being rewarded for interacting with a brand or service.
Although uptake in this type of consumer interaction is still low, the IDC expects it to increase this year.
4. Enhanced content delivery
Think back to what Facebook looked like just a few years back, or to how much the iOS interface has changed over a short period of time. As times change, companies should increasingly take note of the consumer experience it sells instead of solely focusing on its product. As broadband technology improves in Africa, consumers will be spoiled for choice. Keeping them focused on local content means creating attractive offerings.
The IDC predicts that content and distribution will remain essential. But the easier it is becomes to obtain access to media, the more consumers will be drawn to content.
5. Capitalising on millennials
The IDC’s predictions for media and broadcasting in 2015 are influenced by a rapid change in consumption patterns driven by millennials. This cohort of young people born between the 1980s and 2000s, see little value in pay-media subscriptions like that offered by Multichoice and others.
Thanks to millennials, considerable growth in mobile video streaming is anticipated as well as a rush to find new models of media access, advertising and content delivery.