South Africa’s public broadcaster says the number of registered users of its over-the-top (OTT) streaming service — SABC+ — has grown to over 600,000 a year after it took over the service.
The SABC inherited its video streaming platform from Telkom in mid-November 2022.
Previously called TelkomOne, the service had already amassed 135,00 subscribers thanks to its live streaming of the SABC’s free-to-air channels and radio stations.
It also boasted a small catalogue of paid-for movies and TV shows under its paid-for plan, Telkom Amp.
The relaunched SABC+ streaming service did away with the latter and focused solely on the SABC’s live TV channels, radio channels, and popular catchup content like its soapies.
In the early days after its takeover, the public broadcaster said the service was growing its subscriber base by about 15,000 registrations every week.
If it could sustain that momentum, it would have added another 780,000 subscribers in a year — putting its total registration at 915,000.
However, it had a far more ambitious target of 2 million subscribers by “late 2023”, 1.4 million more than reached by November 2023.
Despite failing to achieve anywhere near its target and losing some momentum from its initial uptake, the broadcaster said SABC+ is the fastest-growing OTT platform in the country.
While a lack of official data from rival streaming services makes that difficult to confirm, some industry estimates suggest the broadcaster’s claim rings true.
Digital TV Research has forecasted that South Africa’s most popular streaming service — Netflix —will have about 4.15 million subscribers across all African markets by the end of 2023.
South Africa’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster, MultiChoice, previously estimated that Netflix added between 300,000 and 400,000 subscribers in the first two and a half years after its launch.
Taking the above estimations into account, the SABC+ uptake seems rather impressive.
However, one must consider that the SABC+ service is free, while Netflix and many of its rival streaming services are subscription services.