Ask anyone where the next frontier for the digital economy will be, and the answer is likely to be Africa. Once ignored by industry hawks, the continent is now at the forefront of digital growth across a wide variety of industries. In 2012, there were only 78 million smartphone devices across the continent. By 2018, that number had risen to 421 million units.
By 2020, a full 800 million Africans own a mobile device. Meanwhile, internet access in Africa has more than tripled over the past decade, with almost 40% of Africa’s 1.2 billion people now having regular internet access. When one looks at high-growth and increasingly digital African economies such as Kenya, where internet access stands at 87.2%, the breakneck pace of change is even more apparent.
With such dramatic growth in the access and availability of digital technology across Africa, the market for online entertainment is about to enter an unprecedented boom. Here’s what Africa’s digital boom means for online entertainment.
Streaming in Africa
One of the most high-growth markets in Africa’s digital economy right now concerns streaming services. If one was to look at the market for streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services across the continent, the figures are stunning.
According to an analysis by Digital TV Research, the number of subscribers to video streaming services across 35 Sub-Saharan African countries is set to quintuple by 2023, without around 60% of new subscribers hailing from South Africa and Nigeria. Netflix is estimated to be the largest market player, accounting for about 40% of all revenues. However, home-grown streaming giants such as Kwese Play and iRoko are increasingly catching up.
The music streaming market in Africa is also exploding, with music streaming revenues set to double on average across the continent by 2023, partly the result of increasingly affordable data plans.
Online Gaming in Africa
Another major growth market within Africa’s digital economy is the gaming market. The vast majority of gaming revenue in Africa stems from mobile gaming, with smartphone apps and mobile browser games in the region accounting for a whopping $90 billion in revenue last year.
However, that’s not the full story. Thanks to increasing internet penetration and changing legislation, real-money online casino gaming is also experiencing significant growth across the continent. One major market for online casino gaming in South Africa, which is already home to some of the largest land-based casinos in Africa.
Consulting the South Africa online casino guide by Casino Market can give you an idea of how well-developed the real-money gaming market is in the country. It explains that there are dozens of e-casino operators offering slots, blackjack, poker, and even live-stream casino games across the country. Such a situation would have difficult to imagine just a decade ago.
Other high-growth online gaming markets in Africa include game streaming, thanks to the spread of platforms such as Twitch. As a result, video gaming eSports tournaments are becoming big business in Africa, with major events now being broadcast on TV channels such as South Africa’s DStv.
These stats present just a small snapshot of South Africa’s booming online entertainment economy. Watch this space for more updates in the future.