Recently, we wanted to quickly refer to pay TV and Video on Demand (VOD) providers in Africa for an article we were working on, and found that we couldn’t find the information we needed in one place. So we just decided to start putting the information we’re coming across here in this article.
The list is by no means exhaustive, so if you know a provider we have excluded here, please go ahead and let us know in the comments, and if we agree they belong on the list then we’ll add them. Some we already know but left out for one reason or the other. Check below the list for some of the reasons.
Africa's Pay TV & Internet TV providers
|Multichoice||Satellite, Terrestrial, VOD||Subscription, Rental||South Africa||The largest Pay TV provider on the continent, Multichoice has terresrial Digital TV, Satellite and Internet TV via their DSTV Box Office service.
While the set-top box BoxOffice movie rental service is available to more countries now, the online one remains available just in South Africa.
Multichoice also has a service called Africa Magic Go, which is essentially African content targeted at the African diaspora.Update: Africa Magic Go was shut down in November 2015.
Another service the company offers if DSTV Catchup which is a VOD catch-up service for pay TV premium subscribers.
|iROKOtv||VOD||Subscription||Nigeria||Probably the second largest Internet TV provider on the continent after Multichoice. Most content is Nollywood (its home) but it also has Bollywood, Hollywood and Korean and Telenovela content.|
|Buni.tv||VOD||Advertising, Subscription (Buni+)||Kenya||Buni have been referred to as "standout" platform along with iROKOtv
Buni also creates its own shows such as the XYZ show, a political satire.
A key difference from the other providers is that Buni was funded by ACP Cultures and the European Union , making it somewhat not as commercial as the rest.
|Wabona||VOD||Subscription||South Africa||Southern African content. mostly South African|
|Wura.tv||Mobile app based VOD||Subscription||Nigeria||Launched in May 2014, Wura's main content is Nollywood but claims to have Latin America as well.
Their strategy seems to be aggressively price based selling of subscriptions. Their monthly subscriptions are $3.99 compared to iROKOtv's $9 or Africa Magic Go's $8.
Whether this will work or not remains to be seen.
|Aflix||Mobile app based VOD||Subscription, Rental||Nigeria & US||Available via mobile app only, Aflix launched in August 2014. The service is funded by Nigerian and American investors and already has quite an impressive collection of movies and shows from Hollywood, Bollywood and Telenovela.
An executive of the company said when they launched that they were more in direct competition with Multichoice than iROKOtv which, he said, was "rather responding to our plan"
|VIDI||VOD||Subscription, Rental||South Africa||Owned by Times Media, VIDI was launched in September 2014. mes Media owns a range of media assets, including newspapers such as the Sunday Times, Business Day and the Sowetan, and broadcasters such as Business Day TV and Rise FM. More here.
Strangely, all their content seems to be Hollywood. For a service just launched however, having recent hit American TV shows like Breaking Bad is quite impressive. They however still don't come close to the inventory bigger players like iROKOtv and Multichoice have.
|Zuku TV||Cable TV, Satellite, Plans to do VOD||Subscription||Kenya||Kenya is their home and this is where they offer TV as part of a triple play service. Company has extensive fibre network from its ISP roots in the country.
In other countries in the region like Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia Zuku offers service via Satellite. The company has said it plans to enter VOD in the near future.
|ipidi||not clear yet||Ipidi is a service that the Econet Wireless Group spoke about at AfricaCom 2013 and was supposed to launch this year. It's not clear yet when it will launch, but its one of the most anticipated services as the group looks to be gunning for a Zuku TV like service.|
|Dobox||VOD||Rental||Nigeria||Doox provide Nollywood movies, music and other Nigerian content for rental and also through MTN Dobox (a licesning of their content through the MNO. Initially the deal with MTN was mistaken for an acquisition by MTN.|
|Airtel Live||VOD||US 3c per download. MNO Bundled Service||Nigeria||Launched this year by Airtel the global MNO, Airtel Live in Nigeria has Nollywood movies, Hollywood, local music videos, Premier soccer league content and other video.
Referred to as the Naira 5 Entertainment Store, all video traffic for the service is zero rated so Airtel subscribers only pay 5 Naira for the each movie downloaded.
|StarSat||Satellite||Subscription||South Africa||StarSat, South Africa is a subsidiary of the Chinese satellite television provider, StarTimes, operating in South Africa that began broadcasting on 1 May 2010. StarSat is owned by On Digital Media, who were granted a pay-TV license by ICASA in September 2007. On Digital Media is 20% owned by TV satellite operator SES and 20% owned by China’s StarTimes. Until 31 October 2013, the service was known as TopTV.|
|Altech Node||Satellite Set-top box that delivers “push VOD” content.||Subscription||South Africa||Announced in September 2014, this is not launched yet.|
|OpenView HD||free-to-air satellite||Free||South Africa||Owend by a South African company called company Platco Digital, a sister company to South African terrestrial broadcaster E.tv. was launched in October 2013.
OpenView HD technical details here.
|AfricaFilms.tv||VOD||Rental, Download||France||Like, Buni.tv, AfricaFilms is supported by European donor funds and there somewhat different from the other pure commercial plays. Though based in France, their content is purely African.
They are rich with current and old African titles (most produced with NGO assistance) from across the continent. An example is Zimbabwean film JIT.
|iBAKATV||VOD||Advertising, Rental||Nigeria||Owned by Ibaka Entertainment this service is actually based on YouTube, but it looks large enough we had to include it.
The company claims they get 500,000 hits (pageviews we're guessing) daily.
Unlike other Nigeria VOD services that now have content from all over the world (Hollywood, Bollywood) iBAKATV focuses on Nollywood.
|Un1ty.tv||VOD||Subscription||UK||Though based in London, Un1ty TV provides content via mobile apps, or a PC app. They also have aUn1ty Smart Stick, which, if connected to a TV and WiFi network, streams Un1ty content on TV .
Their focus of content is Africa and Caribbean. We couldn't determine how much content they have.
|PANA TV||VOD||Subscription||USA||Introduced in 2013, and launched officially in July 2014, compared to other VOD services, Pana TV visibly has a lot of content. Subscription is $4.99 a month.
Pana TV has been in the news for signing up big brands like Samsung, Mercedes Benz.
Pana TV produces its own content in addition to buying.
|AzamTV||Satellite||Subscription||Tanzania||The have claimed to have more than 130,000 subscribers in Tanzania.|
- We generally excluded Zero rated MNO powered services as those we saw were not serious standalone TV plays. Examples are Globalcom’s Glo Total Entertainment (we didn’t see movies or TV shows there, just trailers, celebrity pictures etc… promised), MTN Dobox, which is really just Dobox repackaged as part of what seems like a licensing deal, MTN Play (again music videos, wallpapers etc…)
- We excluded services that are using YouTube content. For the reason that at the end of the day, YouTube is actually the internet TV provider and the startup is just a channel or a site of curated YouTube content. Examples include Afrinolly, TV Yangu, and ReelAfrican. We did break the rule though with the Nigerian service iBakaTV because of their size.