Africa: The final frontier for investors?

Laurence Chausson & Keld Nielsen (Global Business Development Director, Kantar Media Audiences) were invited to speak at the annual All-Africa Media Research Conference held in Uganda last Autumn. Some of the findings from their presentation are included in the article below.

The way Africa is commonly perceived is not entirely accurate. For example: did you know that over the past decade, six of the world's ten fastest-growing economies were African? What's more, Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to keep growing on average above 5% over the 2013-2015 period, making it one of the largest emerging markets in
the world.

Fast-evolving technology and behavioural changes, coupled with unique infrastructural and cultural context, represent opportunity and challenges for media content providers, advertisers and media researchers.

Unifying African data

The Pan African Media Research Organisation (PAMRO) is trying to harness this growth. It's their mission to create a uniform research infrastructure across the continent. This would allow local and international media owners, marketers and advertising agencies to compare results in different countries and make informed decisions about how to reach and communicate with target markets.

With half of the continent's population under 18, Africa is home to 54 countries and almost one billion people. This means uptake of services is fast. Thanks to the development of the undersea cable infrastructure, access to internet has been accelerated relatively recently (especially for East Africa). As mobile phone devices have been a realleapfrog in Africa for using internet, no wonder cell phones' penetration of most of African countries caught-up these last few years.

Different continent, same trends

Sub-Saharan Africa's more affluent population, with its increase in TV households, is great news for established audience measurement companies. Like more developed
markets, media consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa is becoming increasingly complex as its residents interact with new and social media. Therefore, more sophisticated measurement solutions will soon be required.

In terms of pay-TV subscription, we're already seeing increased freedom and flexibility. While the OTT offers aren't yet at Northern European levels, innovation is occurring - including a pre-payment system via mobile phones.

Due diligence required

In order to thrive in emerging markets such as Sub-Sahara African countries, media content providers and researchers must meet the challenges provided by local infrastructures and cultures. This requires them to develop a detailed understanding of their audience. After all, no two territories are the same.

Win, win

The development of internet infrastructure is a big positive for the Sub-Saharan economy. And the ensuing development of media audience measurement will be too. Why? Because a reliable currency will trigger increased media trading including programme rights and acquisitions, a jump in advertising expenditure and welcome revenue from satellite operator's fees. With the expertise to propose bespoke technological and research approaches for each emerging market's need, we are well positioned to work with investors in this important region.

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