Stakeholders in the African Internet entrepreneurship space often reiterate mobile technology’s importance to Africans by saying that the continent is a mobile-first market. And local and foreign businesses are building their products with that in mind.

Sectors like eCommerce, payment, education, and transportation, among others, ride on technology. And despite the high cost of Internet subscription on the continent, pay-TV also requires technology to reach people.

In the last decade, a change in consumer behaviour—the adoption of mobile technology—has ushered in a wave of disruption in the pay-TV space. Expectedly, players in the space are adopting relevant technology to serve their customers where they are. 

If you come across a millennial with their phone in landscape mode during your daily commute in the populous city of Lagos, Nigeria, chances are that they are on a video streaming platform enjoying Hollywood, Nollywood, or Bollywood content.

Interestingly, this is not particular to Lagos. Statista puts the number of smartphones in Nigeria at 23.3 million as of 2019, a figure that the GSM Association (GSMA) expects to hit 154 million by 2025.

While others have tried fitting in the market, DStv via its DStv app, Netflix and Showmax are at the forefront of the video streaming space in Africa.

Without technology, these platforms can’t serve a market segment that spends most of their time commuting. To keep up with market segment evolution, businesses intensify their efforts to serve them using technology.

Over the years, MultiChoice, for instance, has had DStv—it’s direct broadcast satellite service—as its major product. But the company has since added others like the DStv app and Showmax to serve the market segment with a preference for round-the-clock video-on-demand (VoD) content.

In July 2020, Showmax Pro was launched, which is best described as a hybrid of the regular Showmax VoD platform with additional live music channels, news, and sports.

MultiChoice is making more use of technology to boost its presence in Nigeria and its other African markets by following the continent’s mobile space trend. The company is embracing the technology trends by joining the app-based streaming space, thereby having the willpower to compete stronger.

According to The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2020, nearly half a billion people will be using the mobile Internet in the region by 2025, with a third of the new subscribers coming from Nigeria and Ethiopia. By the same time, smartphone penetration is expected to hit 154 million in Nigeria alone. These highlight the pay-TV space’s potential because as more people get on the Internet, pay-TV’s market will keep growing.

The video entertainment giant seems prepared to collaborate with other service providers and customers to deliver quality service across board. Despite having the likes of Netflix as a competitor, MultiChoice signed an agreement with Netflix and Amazon to have their services integrated into the DStv Explora decoder in June 2020. 

MultiChoice’s DStv app and Showmax, as well as Netflix and other players, have taken advantage of a key feature in the VoD space: the ability to download content onto smartphones to be consumed on the go or later. 

Subscribers also get to choose the quality of the videos they watch or download, thus conserving their Internet bandwidth at will, a smart move considering that quality Internet connectivity is still a concern in Nigeria and, by extension, Africa.

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