Nigeria set to tap into $57bn IPTV market

by Editor

September 26, 2013 | 12:30 am
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Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service, with global revenue expected to grow from $29 billion in 2012 to $56.8 billion in 2016, is taking root in Nigeria. This figure, according to Research&Research, represents a compound growth rate of 18.2 percent.

Industry analysts told BusinessDay that many telecoms operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria are already planning to roll out IPTV services soon. This is even as they look to grow data revenues. According to the analysts, IPTV would challenge the dominance of satellite TV in sub-Saharan Africa as broadband internet service becomes pervasive and much more affordable.

IPTV refers to a system through which television (TV) services are delivered using the IP suite over a packet-switched network such as the internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable TV formats.

However, the absence of requisite in-land broadband infrastructure needed to take advantage of huge bandwidth capacity emanating from the underwater cable systems could slow down the adoption of IPTV, according to analysts.

ipNX Nigeria Limited, leading wireless broadband service provider, on Wednesday announced it would soon begin to offer IPTV services to Nigerians consumers as part of its new fibre optic offering. The innovative service, according to the company, offers a wide selection of Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) channels covering different genres such as news, movies, music, sports, and general entertainment.

“I think there is a huge market potential for IPTV in Nigeria. This is considering efforts by government and private sector to improve broadband infrastructure,” Ifeanyi Amah, group executive director at ipNX, said at a media briefing on Wednesday.

“We recently acquired a TV licence to provide IPTV services in Nigeria. When the service fully comes on stream, and with on-demand, catch-up and multi-screen features, customers can now watch what they want, when they want and with any device (e.g., TV, PC, laptop, tablet) of their choice.”

He said ipNX was not in direct competition with cable and satellite operators, but offered a veritable distribution platform for content creators.

HiBand Wireless Limited, another indigenous firm, is also putting Nigeria on the world’s IPTV map through the deployment of IPTV service in Lagos State. The company is also planning to subsequently roll out services in other parts of the nation. The beauty in the service to the Nigerian market, according to the firm, is that it guarantees choice and Pay-As-You-Watch opportunity to the subscribers.

MTN Group, Africa’s largest telco with revenues of $14.8 million in 2012, will launch South Africa’s first commercial IPTV service later in 2013, according to its managing director, Karel Pienaar. Informed sources say Nigeria will be the next market to launch MTN’s IPTV service.

G. N. Ezeh of the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, (FUTO), in a paper entitled ‘Deployment of IPTV: How ready is Nigeria?’, urged Nigerian ISPs and telecommunications operators to step up investment in IPTV infrastructure in view of the huge revenue opportunity. “If this advice is heeded, it will ensure a smooth transition to IPTV technology and reaping of the abundant benefits,” he said.

With IPTV technology, according to him, service providers could offer rich interactivity and services such as television commerce (shopping and payment of bills), Voice-Over-IP (Teleconversation), video conferencing and gaming.

Gelfrand Kausiyo, chief executive officer, Turbo Worx, believes IPTV will not take off in Africa unless it is part of a tripartite affordable service offering on the part of operators, given the high costs of internet data access on the continent.

“A triple play formula is needed to implement IPTV across Africa,” Kausiyo said at a digital TV summit. “It will take a long time, a lot of effort and some innovation in product offerings to get Africans to respond more positively to the IPTV phenomenon.”

Pat McDonough, Nielsen’s SVP, Insights Analysis and Policy, said IPTV is gaining traction globally. “IPTV has grown dramatically over the course of the last year. People talk about ‘the TV is dead, or that it’s dying’, but it doesn’t look like it yet,” he added.

As of February 2012, 10.4 percent of homes had an IPTV, compared to just 4.7 percent that same month a year prior, according to a recent Nielsen study.

By: Ben Uzor Jr

by Editor

September 26, 2013 | 12:30 am
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