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DStv Compact overtakes Premium

2012-06-20 17:10
Cape Town – South Africa's TV audience is steadily growing with a massive increase in pay TV uptake thanks to huge growth in MultiChoice's DStv Compact offering and the popularity of the cheaper bouquet.

"DStv has made large increases and from viewing figures it's very clear that MultiChoice is selling the DStv Compact bouquet like there is no tomorrow," Craig Johnson from Nielsen South Africa told ad planners, media buyers and media specialists at the quarterly industry update of the South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf).

The TV audience measurement company is also seeing not just increases in the overall number of TV households and TV viewers in South Africa, but also households owning and using a personal video recorder (PVR).

"M-Net is the only broadcaster where its viewership is steadily decreasing - but it's got to do with M-Net not being able to switch-over to digital terrestrial broadcasting yet and the phasing out of its analogue decoders.

"Once digital terrestrial television (DTT) starts in South Africa, M-Net will get there," Johnson said.

South Africa's TV universe – the pivotal number ad buyers, planners, broadcasters and media strategists use to allocate and make advertising campaign decisions – has grown by more thousands of people.

DStv Compact overtakes DStv Premium

"The interesting thing is that DStv Compact households in South Africa has now firmly overtaken DStv Premium households," said Johnson.

DStv Premium households within the TV universe are estimated at 1.75 million and DStv Compact at 1.85 million in South Africa.

On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV has also shown growth and is estimated at 205 797 households after two years since it started.

The latest viewership data for April 2012 shows for instance not just a total TV viewership increase for South Africa, but also a huge increase for DStv viewership.

SABC viewership is increasing as well, largely attributed to SABC1.

SABC2 however is down (-4.3%) while SABC3, M-Net and remain flat.

Time-shifted viewing growing

Time-shifted viewing (TSV) under South African TV viewers thanks to DStv's PVR is also growing. TopTV doesn't have a PVR in the market yet.

Between January and May 2012, viewership data shows about 25 000 people who are watching time-shifted programming daily (live plus viewing on the same day as live (VOSDAL) viewing).

It increases over a seven day period. Although the bulk of added time-shifted viewing happens with the first three days of a recording, significant TV viewing happens up to seven days after a broadcast.

"Even though the number is still small compared to the rest of the world, South Africa's time-shifted viewing pattern follows exactly the international trend where significant viewing gains are being made for programming up to seven days later with cumulative time-shifted viewing," said Johnson.

DStv BoxOffice and DStv's video On Demand programming and offerings are not measured yet.


Meanwhile, MultiChoice is in the process of installing a "boosted HD PVR panel" of 170 households into South Africa's TV universe also getting the TVM5 series meter with UNITAM technology.

Whilst it won't affect TV audience measurement in terms of ratings, it will help to provide a much clearer picture in future of what exactly DStv subscribers are watching, and to measure time-shifted viewing more accurately.

Nine additional HD PVR households out of the to-be-installed 170 have already been added, with about 20 to 25 scheduled to be done per week. About 100 will have been installed by the start of the 2012 Olympic Games at the end of July.

Johnson warned that the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games to be broadcast on multiple SuperSport TV channels as well as SABC2 from the end of July and in August will lead to viewership disruption as broadcasters alter their TV schedule and viewers alter their viewing patterns.

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