Generation Z behind increased mobile VoD consumption in Africa

Africa's growing youth market will be the catalyst for widespread consumption of mobile video content in the coming years says Joseph Hundah, CEO of Econet Media.

"Africa is an extremely young market. Most kids today spend their time on smartphones and they will continue to own these devices, which mean they will consume more video content," said Hundah.

He added that there are approximately 200 million smartphones currently in Africa and this will increase to 1 billion in the next five years, signalling a major opportunity for industry players.

According to a research by Liquid Telecom titled Gen-Z Report, Generation Z (15 to 24-year olds) will change the way television content will be consumed - generally through mobile streaming.

"First and foremost they want to be able to interact on social media, and secondly they want to access video. Content providers therefore have to think carefully about how they can design their products to accommodate this," the report said.

Hundah said that the company opted to drop their VoD product and partner with already established players in order to capture the youth market.

In February 2018, Kwese acquired a majority stake in iflix Africa, which Hundah described as a strategic move that enabled the company to offer a comprehensive service with VoD and live television.

"Video on demand will go the way social media has gone, that there will be two or three players who will dominate the market," he said. "Today there are a handful of successful social media platforms as opposed to in the beginning where there were many social media platforms."

4G opportunity

"Telecom companies have seen that for them to push wide use of their 4G networks the consumption of video should be increased," Hundah said. "With some of our partners across the continent, they are actually providing bundles for our services. We are actually beginning to see traction because of mobile network operators who are willing to charge less."

He believes that in the next five years or so, the cost of data will be reduced to a level where the consumption of video will be easy, like making a phone call.

"But if the telecoms don't drop their data rates there will be no growth in this sector," he cautioned.

Kwese has partnerships with various telcos across Africa to make it easier to stream video content through zero rating Kwese sites and apps.

Original, relevant content was another way to up the consumption of mobile video in Africa, said Hundah.

Kwese is said to be developing original local content in Zimbabwe and will then explore opportunities in the rest of Africa.