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Africa, Middle East Pay TV Subs to Triple By 2015

Africa and the Middle East (AME) are finally poised to see some record growth in the next few years, with Pyramid Research predicting that subscriptions should triple by the end of the year 2015 to about 4 million. Africa and many parts of the Middle East have historically been the weakest pay TV markets in the world.

These projections represent an 11 percent annual growth rate, the highest in the world over the next five years, according to a new report from Pyramid Research predicts, though the growth is coming from a very low based.

"Over the next five years, as regulatory changes introduce more competition into the sector and technology platforms advance, Pyramid expects the region to begin to overcome the many obstacles that have inhibited its growth in the past, specifically the high cost and limited reach of pay-TV platforms," argued Mehdi Ben Said, senior analyst at Pyramid in a statement.

Currently, several factors, including "limited competition, lack of content, and a weak platform on which to provide pay-TV services over existing last-mile infrastructure," have limited the success of pay-TV, Ben Said argued.

Improved economic conditions and the rise in per-capita GDP over the next few years are helping change that, boosting the pay-TV market in the region, he added. 

The report also argues that major mobile operators will play a particularly important role in the development of pay TV by forging alliances with DTH providers.

"The lack of fixed infrastructure and the dominance of mobile access in most African countries constitute a huge opportunity for mobile operators to become the main pay-TV providers in Africa in the long term," he indicated. "Although mobile networks in many countries may not be video-ready, we recommend that mobile operators look carefully at launching packages in conjunction with DTH operators in the near term in order to develop brand recognition in the segment."