‘Cordless’ video-on-demand (VOD) leaps in Sub-Saharan Africa
Delivering VOD without broadband
VOD has reached maturity in the hundreds of millions of homes around the world that have sufficiently fast broadband speeds. However Sub-Saharan Africa has not participated in the wave of VOD adoption, largely due to the lack of fixed broadband infrastructure. In the SSA region, VOD content will play back from digital video recorders (DVRs) and the files will have been distributed principally via satellite links. Users will select movies, TV programs and short clips from a catalog of hundreds of titles, which will then play on-demand, typically to television sets.
We have predicted a million additional users of this service in 2014, which is equivalent to about 250,000 homes. This might sound like a modest target for a region with over 900 million people. But the SSA region has just 39 million television households, implying about 30 percent penetration of homes. For the rest of the region, television sets are too expensive, or are difficult to power due to unreliable sources and a paucity of homes connected to the electrical grid.
In the long-term broadband will likely roll-out in SSA, and when that has happened, more traditional VOD services should flourish. However, even then VOD is likely to remain focused only on mainstream content and a narrow selection of the continent’s several thousand languages.