Feature: Is Africa ready for Sky Glass?

After the launch of Sky Glass Smart television in various European countries (United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland), it is now the turn of South African MultiChoice Groupwhich announced the launch of its connected televisions in 2023.

The aim is to bolster its streaming offering by providing access to third-party TV channels, streaming platforms and apps on the same device, Dataxis reports. DStv Glass will be equipped with a 4K flat screen and sold in partnership with Sky. With household television penetration below 50% in sub-Saharan Africa in 2021, Dataxis believes the South African company could have a hand in combining the large equipment needs of households with the purchase of its services, provided that the client groups converge. Could African countries be the most suitable markets for these fully integrated pay-TV services?

Of the 117 million TVs installed in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 14% were smart TVs in 2021. Most TVs installed in the region are basic SD CRTS, which accounts for around 60% of the total. For potential end users, DStv Glass would have the advantage of bringing together the most advanced features, especially in terms of navigation, recommendation and voice control, to bring together all the desired OTT services on a single source and combined with the device. final. Through this offer, DStv retains control of the entire environment of its pay television offer, in a context of increased competition from suppliers of Smart TVs and multimedia streaming devices, which provide access to content services video, aggregate platforms and charge customers in a manner similar to pay-TV operators.

Beyond the evolution of distribution that could threaten the role of set-top boxes as key distribution devices in homes, smart TVs also represent an important strategic advantage for tracking additional consumer data and implementing targeted advertising options. Dataxis suggests this could represent a promising opportunity for operators to generate additional revenue.

However, in sub-Saharan Africa, Dataxis notes that the development of fully integrated television services faces two major obstacles: the relative cost of equipment and the lack of connectivity. The low purchasing power of households in the region weighs on the target clientele, with unequipped households having to buy cheaper devices. The connection needed to take full advantage of the Smart TV proposition represents an additional barrier since less than 5% of households are connected to fixed broadband in the entire region in 2022.

Although it is expected to gradually fade in the coming years, these limitations will make it difficult for DStv Glass to find a mass market across the region in the near term. The television eldorado envisaged for DStv may not lie in the significant equipment needs recorded in African homes but in the expected transformation of the most advanced markets in the region, starting with South Africa.

In the region’s second largest economy, recording the highest household equipment (85% household TV penetration in 2021) and where DStv has established its dominance for years, the potential for upgrading services is not negligible. By 2027, the number of fiber subscriptions should be multiplied by approximately 2.5. The number of Smart TVs will more than double, from 2.9 million devices installed in 2021 to more than 6.5 million in 2027.

DStv, market leader in South African pay-TV with 90% of total subscribers, seeks to maintain its leadership by providing the most relevant new technologies. At a time when the objective is to bring together a maximum of services (OTT, SVoD, social networks, internet services) in the same device, Smart TVs meet all the criteria while keeping viewers in the environment of the ‘operator. However, a decisive aspect of the future of operators will lie in their ability to adapt the capabilities of their devices to the constantly changing needs of viewers. Control of TV operating systems will become increasingly crucial as the limitations of smart TV devices lie in their shorter life cycles versus the rapid innovations seen in features and services offered to end users. .

This is an aspect that Sky, Multichoice and future operators also attracted by the integration of their offer directly into Smart TV devices will have to solve in the years to come, specifies Dataxis.

DStv Streama, Multichoice’s media streaming TV box which launched on October 1 in South Africa, could provide a timely solution. This media streaming TV box allows direct access to content from a number of providers such as DStv, Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and Youtube as well as Amazon’s FireStick or Google’s Chromecast. Dataxis concludes that combining Multichoice’s Connected TV with Multichoice’s streaming box would allow users to stay up to date with the latest innovations without having to change television sets… or pay-TV providers.

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