Brown: Nige­ria Needs Data on Satel­lite TV View­ing to Deepen Mar­ket

Vice Pres­i­dent, Sales and Mar­ket Devel­op­ment for Africa at SES, Mr. Clint Brown, spoke with Emma Okonji on the com­pany’s sur­vey re­port on tele­vi­sion homes in Nige­ria, which grew from three mil­lion in 2015 to over 11 mil­lion in 2017. Ex­cerpts:


Can you tell us more about SES as a global satel­lite com­pany? SES is a ma­jor global satel­lite op­er­a­tor. There are about four ma­jor satel­lite op­er­a­tors that are dom­i­nat­ing the global satel­lite mar­ket and SES is the sin­gle big­gest satel­lite op­er­a­tor among the four suc­cess­ful satel­lite op­er­a­tors in the world. We cur­rently have 60 satel­lites, with over 90 per cent cov­er­age of the en­tire globe and we have mul­ti­ple plat­forms, pro­vid­ing high speed, high ca­pac­ity with low la­tency. We are also com­pet­ing very much with TV fi­bre ca­ble op­er­a­tors be­cause of the low la­tency that our satel­lite of­fers.

SES re­cently re­leased its re­search data on tele­vi­sion house­hold view­ing across Nige­ria. What prompted the re­search and what ex­actly do you want to achieve with the data ob­tained? The rea­son for our mar­ket sur­vey is to ba­si­cally un­der­stand how the mar­ket is growing and what data is avail­able in the mar­ket for con­sumers and ad­ver­tis­ers. The data ob­tained from the sur­vey will help our cus­tomers have bet­ter knowl­edge of the mar­ket and with such in­for­ma­tion at their dis­posal, they can meet with the ad­ver­tis­ers to in­form them of their cus­tomer base that view through the satel­lite and this will help them chan­nel their ad­ver­tis­ing con­tents in the most ef­fi­cient way by tak­ing them to the plat­form that records the high­est vol­ume of views. Ad­ver­tis­ing can be done in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways. It can be done by spon­sor­ing a chan­nel, pro­vid­ing air­time in-be­tween programmes or by spon­sor­ing a par­tic­u­lar pro­gramme.

We made pre­sen­ta­tion of our re­search data to our Nige­rian cus­tomers re­cently and the essence of the pre­sen­ta­tion was to share in­for­ma­tion, which we col­lected from the mar­ket place, back to the mar­ket place. We did a mar­ket sur­vey on the num­ber of tele­vi­sion house­holds in Nige­ria and how the num­ber of house­holds re­ceiv­ing tele­vi­sion con­tents, and we also went deeper into de­mo­graph­ics to know the chan­nels through which they re­ceive the tele­vi­sion con­tents.

What were the ba­sic find­ings of your sur­vey re­port about the tele­vi­sion view­ing au­di­ence via satel­lite in Nige­ria? The data from our sur­vey re­port shows that SES, a global satel­lite ser­vice provider, has sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased its tech­ni­cal reach in Nige­ria to over 11 mil­lion TV homes in 2017, up from three mil­lion in 2015. The growth fig­ure was ob­tained from the re­cent Satel­lite Mon­i­tor re­search, a mar­ket study com­mis­sioned by SES that pro­vides in­sights on the broad­cast­ing in­dus­try and on SES’s reach in the coun­try.

The Satel­lite Mon­i­tor re­sults re­vealed that SES now reaches over 11 mil­lion TV homes, of which 3.5 mil­lion are di­rectly served by its satel­lite fleet - a two-fold in­crease com­pared to 2015. This means SES now di­rectly serves 37 per cent of satel­lite TV homes in Nige­ria. Dig­i­tal Ter­res­trial Tele­vi­sion (DTT) homes fed in­di­rectly by SES also contributed to the in­creased reach.

What could be the key driver for the growth SES in Nige­ria? The prime or­bital po­si­tion at 28.2 de­grees East was a key driver for the growth of SES’s direct reach, with three mil­lion TV homes di­rectly served via this or­bital slot, up from 1.3 mil­lion in 2015. This video po­si­tion hosts SES’s pre­mium free-to-air TV plat­form for Nige­ria, giv­ing broad­cast­ers ac­cess to the high­est tech­ni­cal reach in West Africa. The growth of SES’s reach was also driven by direct satel­lite broad­cast­ing and feed­ing DTT head-ends via five de­grees East.

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, there are 35 mil­lion TV homes in Nige­ria, of which close to 10 mil­lion are served by satel­lite, and the rest are served by ter­res­trial net­works. The pen­e­tra­tion of dig­i­tal TV has ex­panded to 25 mil­lion homes re­ceiv­ing dig­i­tal TV sig­nals, which rep­re­sents 35 per cent growth com­pared to 2015.

SES has been com­mit­ted to driv­ing the growth of dig­i­tal TV in Nige­ria for many years, and lo­cal part­ners in the coun­try ap­pre­ci­ate the Satel­lite Mon­i­tor study as a to­ken of our com­mit­ment. We are par­tic­u­larly ex­cited by our growing tech­ni­cal reach at 28.2 de­grees East, which broad­cast­ers and con­tent pro­gram­mers will be able to lever­age to in­crease their au­di­ence via our Nige­rian TV plat­form.

Based on your sur­vey find­ings and data col­lec­tion, what would you says about the growth of the Nige­rian mar­ket in the area of dig­i­tal con­tent? In the course of the sur­vey, we gath­ered data which il­lus­trates that the mar­ket place in Nige­ria is growing and growing very fast.

What is clear about the Nige­rian mar­ket is that de­fault for de­liv­ery of dig­i­tal ser­vices is satel­lite and this is not tak­ing over fi­bre to a great ex­tent, but satel­lite re­mains the medium for de­liv­er­ing tele­vi­sion con­tent di­rectly to the home. So satel­lite is the foun­da­tion for the de­liv­ery of dig­i­tal ser­vices, even though some peo­ple tend to dis­miss satel­lite as old tech­nol­ogy. In the cur­rent and next gen­er­a­tion, we see satel­lite lead­ing in con­tent de­liv­ery and dis­tri­bu­tion.

Con­sid­er­ing the growth of satel­lite in con­tent de­liv­ery, com­pared to fi­bre, do you see satel­lite dis­plac­ing fi­bre any­time soon?

I am not say­ing that satel­lite tele­vi­sion will dis­place fi­bre tele­vi­sion be­cause fi­bre is still rel­e­vant in con­tent de­liv­ery to the home, but what we are say­ing is that with satel­lite, peo­ple have bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to leapfrog quickly in the area of roll­out. Fi­bre will still be used to de­liver con­tents to the home but this takes a lot of time to do so, com­pare with satel­lite that is quicker and faster in roll­out of dig­i­tal con­tents. So, satel­lite is the way to go, con­sid­er­ing speed and wider cov­er­age ar­eas.

De­spite the op­por­tu­nity of speed that satel­lite brings, it comes with its own chal­lenges when it comes to weather con­di­tion. What is your view about the ef­fect of bad weather on satel­lite dis­tri­bu­tion of con­tent? Tech­nol­ogy has im­proved the ef­fi­ciency of satel­lite, es­pe­cially in the area weather con­di­tion. Satel­lite used to have weather chal­lenges in the past but tech­nol­ogy has im­proved all of that. Satel­lite has be­come more ro­bust and ef­fi­cient, even with heavy weather con­di­tion.

The use of satel­lite in Nige­ria and African coun­tries is on the in­crease. What do you think is re­spon­si­ble for this growth? The growth of satel­lite in Nige­ria and other African coun­tries is as a re­sult of the recog­ni­tion of the ef­fi­ciency of satel­lite by peo­ple. It is clear that peo­ple are be­gin­ning to un­der­stand that satel­lite de­liv­ers ef­fec­tively and more peo­ple are be­gin­ning to re­alise this. Again, our satel­lite de­liv­ers strong dig­i­tal con­tent for view­ers. Take an ex­am­ple of about 10 mil­lion to 11 mil­lion house­holds, with an av­er­age of four peo­ple per house­hold, it means that more than 40 mil­lion peo­ple are re­ceiv­ing the dig­i­tal con­tents. So, if there is an in­for­ma­tion for dis­sem­i­na­tion, be it ed­u­ca­tion, health, com­mer­cial, or ad­ver­tis­ing, satel­lite re­mains that fastest way to reach the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple within the fastest pos­si­ble time.

Hav­ing re­leased your sur­vey re­port on satel­lite us­age in Nige­ria and Africa, do you in­tend to part­ner any agency to fur­ther ad­ver­tise the data from your sur­vey re­port? What we plan to do is to share the data with ad­ver­tis­ing com­pa­nies. We have the data and the data ex­plains the type of con­tents that tele­vi­sion house­holds are watch­ing, and the chan­nels through which they watch the tele­vi­sion con­tents. So the data will help ad­ver­tis­ers un­der­stand the dif­fer­ent programmes that peo­ple watch, the in­ter­est of con­sumers and this will help them in their ad­ver­tise­ment in terms of know­ing the mass mar­ket and how to project ad­ver­tise­ments to the right au­di­ence. So it will en­able com­pa­nies and ad­ver­tis­ers un­der­stand their mar­ket au­di­ence and deal with them di­rectly. Dif­fer­ent ad­ver­tis­ers, be it prod­uct, brand­ing, health, sports, ed­u­ca­tion, make use of avail­able data to un­der­stand their tar­get au­di­ence. So what our data is telling every­one is that on our satel­lite, ad­ver­tis­ers and com­pa­nies have the op­por­tu­nity of know­ing their mar­ket au­di­ence and fo­cus on them.

So what is the dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tor be­tween Satel­lite tele­vi­sion, Ca­ble tele­vi­sion and In­ter­net Pro­to­col tele­vi­sion (IPTV)? IPTV is ba­si­cally tele­vi­sion with the in­ter­net and it is tra­di­tion­ally stream­ing as a lin­ear tele­vi­sion. And to­day there are many lin­ear TV op­tions avail­able but I do not know the level of avail­abil­ity in the Nige­rian mar­ket. Satel­lite can also de­liver that if the con­sumer is us­ing satel­lite broad­band or satel­lite as an ex­ten­sion ser­vice on mo­bile and that is one of the things we do on our net­work. It also comes in the form of Direct to Home (DTH) and Direct to Ter­res­trial Trans­mis­sion (DTT). The ca­ble tele­vi­sion is sim­ply fi­bre to the home through the fi­bre trans­mis­sion ca­ble. But some ca­ble op­er­a­tors will like to de­liver con­tent over satel­lite and this tells you that there are lots of dif­fer­ent ways of trans­mit­ting con­tents but the most ef­fi­cient way is what we are talk­ing about.

So in all these con­tent dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels you just enu­mer­ated, which of them is the most cost ef­fec­tive? The cost ef­fec­tive­ness does not re­ally mat­ter to some peo­ple be­cause they con­sider the ef­fi­ciency, which has to do with speed of de­liv­ery. For satel­lite, the speed of roll­out and con­tent de­liv­ery is very fast and ef­fi­cient more than any other chan­nel. With satel­lite, we can roll­out to 10,000 cus­tomers in a mat­ter of weeks and such speed of roll­out can­not be achieved with other chan­nels like the ca­ble, which is about fi­bre to the home that has right of way chal­lenges in terms of get­ting gov­ern­ment ap­proval to dig up the ground for ca­ble lay­ing. Again, there is the pos­si­bil­ity and dan­ger of dig­ging up the ca­bles dur­ing road con­struc­tion or even through de­lib­er­ate act by so­cial mis­cre­ants, which will lead to ca­ble cut and dis­con­nec­tion of flow of con­tents to the end users. The chal­lenges of lay­ing the fi­bre is also there be­cause the pe­riod of time it will take the ca­ble op­er­a­tor to roll­out to 10,000 cus­tomers, is the same pe­riod of time it will take satel­lite op­er­a­tor to roll­out to 50, 000 cus­tomers.

MX1 is part of the SES fam­ily and you are work­ing closely with MX1 to de­liver satel­lite tele­vi­sion con­tent. How will you de­scribe the busi­ness re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two com­pa­nies? MX1 is a division within SES, which is the satel­lite com­pany. So MX1 is the con­tent ag­gre­ga­tor and dis­tri­bu­tion value chain of SES. So what MX1 does is to take the con­tent and shape it in the best de­liv­ery mode that the con­sumer wants. A lot of things go into shap­ing, which has to do with transcod­ing, pro­vi­sion of data and dub­bing in other to pro­vide hot and break­ing news that will be very at­trac­tive to con­sumers.

What kind of con­tents do you ex­pect your cus­tomers to de­velop that will drive and sus­tain satel­lite view­ing in Nige­ria? We ex­pect them to do more on con­tent devel­op­ment and have va­ri­eties of con­tents that are of high qual­ity. They should be able to make their dig­i­tal con­tents at­trac­tive. So by the time they bring such con­tents to our satel­lite plat­form, we will give them the cov­er­age and mileage they de­serve.


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