MTN Nigeria recently launched a converged digital TV and over-the-top (OTT) video on demand (VoD) service in the city of Jos, according to media reports in the region.
It’s understood the service is providing viewers with a mix of local and international content, accessible traditionally or over VoD. An MTN spokesman told South African publication TechCentral that the service will yield around 40 channels over two DTT multiplexers.
There were nearly 16m pay-TV subscriptions across Africa as of Q2 2015, according to research from Dataxis, which was a year on year increase of 18%. Nigeria is the second biggest pay TV market in Africa after South Africa, according to Dataxis. Research also showed that there were nearly 18m total TV households across Nigeria by the end of 2014, meaning a TV penetration of 56%. In October 2015, almost 85% of Nigerian TV households only had access Free-To-Air (FTA) terrestrial services.
The transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting is ongoing in Nigeria and is being supported by pay-TV subscriber management company Paywizard. At the end of 2015, the vendor announced that it was to work with broadcast and OTT software provider Inview and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of Nigeria to support the digital switchover in the country.
Paywizard’s platform was to be integrated with Inview’s set-top boxes (STB) and Nagra’s conditional access (CA) system to allow subscribers to sign up to and access the content of their choice. Paywizard’s tailored services were also to be selected to provide Inview with contact centre support, service automation, DTT and digital switchover insight.
“While the pay-TV market across Africa is growing rapidly and demand is high, the switchover process is challenging,” said Emeka Mba, Director General of NBC Nigeria at the time. “We were looking to work with proven partners who have lots of experience and industry knowledge to guide us as we move towards going digital.”
With NBC introducing a digital access fee, a key challenge was to consider how customers could subscribe to the service in a market where traditional payment mechanisms are not widely adopted.
“Vouchers were the obvious route of pre-payment for NBC Nigeria subscribers, allowing them to sign up, pay, and enjoy their new digital TV service seamlessly,” said Nick Markham, chairman at Inview.