More than 75 percent of consumers across all age groups in markets all around the globe are already watching video content over the Internet via televisions, PCs, smart phones, tablets and mobile devices – and a growing slew of other new-age devices, a phenomenon that is going to carry on growing as the world continues to embrace being truly part of the digital world.
“As broadband becomes more readily available – including in Africa – more and more people are becoming serious online video consumers, a phenomenon that is going to change the face of the world we live in”, said Andrew Aitken, a director of IP video specialist, Antfarm.
He said Internet video-watching is rife across the most profitable demographics, namely 85 percent of the 18 to 24 year-olds, 84 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds and 82 percent of 35-44 year-olds.
“This is a market that is going to take off. We are going to see a similar acceleration to what we experienced when cellular phones first arrived on South African shores. The uptake was far more rapid than expected and, today, almost every adult in SA is a cellular phone owner. It is ubiquitous. The use of on-line video – for personal and business purposes – will rapidly become just as commonplace.”
Commenting further, Antfarm’s Aitken said broadband is “really starting to churn up the waters” as people get used to – and expect – the ‘connected life’. Cisco and local research company, World Wide Worx, recently announced that the number of South Africans accessing the Internet via broadband connections has grown more than 50 percent in the past year (2010 figures), a direct consequence of the growing need for 24 x7 connectivity.
This reality was a key finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2010 study conducted by World Wide Worx in collaboration with Cisco. The study also reveals that wireless broadband has been growing almost three times as fast as fixed line broadband in South Africa.
This growth, it would appear, points to the fact that most of the growth in fixed line broadband emanates from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) upgrading to ADSL. This has provided Internet access to more than half a million South Africans working in small offices, who previously did not enjoy access.
Wireless broadband, meanwhile, is mainly as a result of large companies giving 3G cards to employees who need to be connected while out of the office.
The report shows that wireless broadband subscription has grown by 88% in the past year, against 21% for ADSL. Corporate users have been the primary catalyst for growth, through the deployment of 3G cards.