Video on demand (VoD) services will be a gamechanger in Africa, and the space presents multiple opportunities for innovation, according to Ericsson.
Speaking at the inaugural AHUB, taking place under the auspices of this year’s AfricaCom conference in Cape Town, Pierre Cloete, head of practice for TV and media at Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, said with smartphone penetration and the amount of video being consumed via mobile internet both rising dramatically, companies should be focusing on providing mobile VoD services.
“In my opinion we’re at a time where there’s a tipping point for video in Africa,” Cloete said.
“There’s incredible growth in mobile subscriptions […] It’s an amazing time to be involved in the digital world. Everything is growing and expanding,” he said.
According to Cloete, data shows significant changes in consumer behaviour are taking place, and consumers are increasingly accessing video content online. By way of example, Cloete pointed to the fact that 133 million hours of YouTube video content are watched each day.
“Africa is no different. This trend is also carrying through in Africa,” he said.
“There’s incredible growth predicted [for video uptake], and that is on the back of smartphones.”
Cloete identified three key areas for innovation in video services.
First, he said the shift from single screen (TV) viewing to multi-screen personalised viewing makes the screen and device space ripe for innovation.
Second, Cloete argued new delivery platforms – such as Spotify – are changing consumer behaviours significantly, and as such innovative delivery platforms have big potential.
Lastly, he said the content market is also calling out for innovation.
“It’s very important, but we sometimes forget how innovative we can be around content,” he said.
With 84 per cent of broadband in Africa accessed via smartphones and tablets, Cloete reiterated the potential of the smartphone-based video space; and said the opportunity to innovate in VoD is immense.
“We believe VoD is the gamechanger,” he said.
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