Over-The-Top Television Services and Changes in Consumer Viewing Patterns in South Africa

Robertson Khan TENGEH, Nokuphiwa UDOAKPAN


A significant change in consumer viewing habits has taken place globally with the introduction and growth of over-the-top television services (OTT TV). In the absence of scientific evidence on television consumer behavior viewership changes, this paper's objective was to ascertain the television viewing patterns, given the rise of OTT TV services in South Africa. The study adopted a quantitative research approach using a convenience sampling method. Online survey questionnaires were distributed on reputable social media networks and collected 391 responses. The study results suggest changes to TV consumption, in that more TV consumers are binge-watching and streaming content online. Furthermore, more than five hours a day are spent online consuming TV content, especially by male respondents. The sharing of OTT TV logon credentials with family and friends is prevalent across all demographic groups. The fundamental aspect of this paper is that it illuminates the rivalry between the Pay-Tv operators and OTT TV service providers while aiding the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to regulate the market.


Full Text:



Baumgartner, J. (2015). OTT Closes Penetration Gap With Pay TV. Multichannel News, 36(42), 16. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=111219329&site=ehost-live

Brace, I. (2008). Questionnaire design: how to plan, structure and write survey material for effective market research (2nd ed.), Kogan Page.

BusinessTech (2018, June 26). Netflix has an unfair advantage over DStv: Multichoice CEO. BusinessTech. https://businesstech.co.za/news/media/254335/netflix-has-an-unfair-advantage-over-dstv-multichoice-ceo/

BusinessTech (2013, August 28). South Africans love TV: Stats SA. BusinessTech. https://businesstech.co.za/news/trending/44899/south-africans-love-tv-stats-sa/ 12 June 2020

Chen, Y. - N. K. (2017, June 24-17). Competitions among OTT TV Platforms and Traditional Television in Taiwan: a niche analysis. In 14th International Telecommunications Society (ITS) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference: 'Mapping ICT into Transformation for the Next Information Society', Kyoto, Japan. http://hdl.handle.net/10419/168477

Christenson, C. (2017). Changing times: an examination changing video entertainment sources and cable TV companies communicating with customers [Unpublished Master of Arts in Media and Communication thesis], Bowling Green State University. https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/ms_smc/5%0AThis

Cisco (2018). VNI Complete Forecast Highlights. CISCO. https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/m/en_us/solutions/service-provider/vni-forecast-highlights/pdf/South_Africa_Consumer_Highlights.pdf 1 December 2020

Conlin, L., Billings, A. C., & Averset, L. (2016). Time-shifting vs. appointment viewing: the role of fear of missing out within TV consumption behaviors. Communication & Society, 29(4), 151–164. https://doi.org/10.15581/

Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2013). Business Research Methods (12th ed.), McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Cooper, R., & Tang, T. (2009). Predicting audience exposure to television in today's media environment: an empirical integration of active-audience and structural theories. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 53(3), 400–419. https://go-gale-com.libproxy.cput.ac.za/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&issn=08838151&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA209535488&sid=googleScholar&linkaccess=fulltext

Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.

Dabija, D. C., & Băbut, R. (2019). Enhancing apparel store patronage through retailers' attributes and sustainability. A generational approach. Sustainability, 11(17), 4532. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174532

Daniels, R. H. (2017). Subscription video on demand: viewing preferences among New Zealand audiences [Unpublished Master of Communication Studies thesis]. Auckland University of Technology. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b36a/4f79a462b9c1f60a28053d44f2cd82d80a4d.pdf

Dasgupta, S. (2019). Understanding Adoption Factors of Over-the-Top Video Services among Millennial Consumers. International Journal of Computer Engineering & Technology (IJCET), 10(1), 61–71. http://www.iaeme.com/ijcet/issues.asp?JType=IJCET&VType=10&IType=1, 12 May 2020

Elias, J. (2019). The transition trend from pay-TV to streaming platforms: the influence of decision-making-power and age on consumers' motivations [Unpublished Master of Science (Management) dissertation]. Universidade Católica Portuguesa. https://repositorio.ucp.pt/handle/10400.14/26955

Facebook (2020, January 2020). About advertising on Instagram. Facebook Ads Help Centre. https://www.facebook.com/business/help/2143959578984990?id=377090259688020

Gerlich, N. R., Drumheller, K., Babb, J., & De'Armond, D. (2015). App consumption: an exploratory analysis of the uses & gratifications of mobile apps. Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 19(1), 69–79. https://cput.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/27CPUT_INST/14nhk7s/gale_ofa424007021%0A

Goforth, C. (2015). Using and Interpreting Cronbach's Alpha. https://data.library.virginia.edu/using-and-interpreting-cronbachs-alpha/

Gürkaynak, G., Akgün, B., & Aydogan, Z. (2019). An analysis on the television broadcasting sector – The impact of OTT services: are they complementary or substitutable?. In The second academic gift book of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at Law on selected contemporary competition law matters (pp. 281-338). https://ssrn.com/abstract=3396937

Hair, J. F., Celse, M., Money, A., Samouel, P., & Page, M. (2015). The essentials of business research methods (3rd ed.). Routledge Ltd.

Hamedy, S. (2016). Teens vastly prefer YouTube and Netflix to TV, don't mind ads. Mashable. https://mashable.com/2016/03/29/gen-z-media-diet/ 19 July 2020

Hedley, N. (2019, February 28). MultiChoice cruises into JSE's top 40 index. BusinessDay. https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/2019-02-28-multichoice-cruises-into-jses-top-40-index/ 22 February 2021

ICASA (2018). Response to questions raised by ICASA and the public at MultiChoice's oral presentations on 11 May 2018. https://www.icasa.org.za/uploads/files/Supplementary-Submission-Multichoice-Appendix-B.PDF 20 October 2019

ICASA (2019a). Draft findings document: Inquiry into subscription television broadcasting services. Government Gazette, 42391(137), 1–189. https://www.icasa.org.za/uploads/files/draft-findings-on-the-inquiry-into-subscription-tv-broadcasting-services.pdf

ICASA (2019b). MultiChoice submission on discussion document inquiry into subscription TV broadcasting services. https://www.icasa.org.za/legislation-and-regulations/inquiries/subscription-broadcasting-services-market-inquiry

ICASA. (2019c). The state of the ICT sector report in South Africa. https://www.icasa.org.za/uploads/files/state-of-ict-sector-report-2019.pdf

Jenner, M. (2016). Is this TVIV? On Netflix, TVIII and binge-watching. New Media & Society, 18(2), 257–273. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814541523

Khaldi, K. (2017). Quantitative, Qualitative or Mixed Research: Which Research Paradigm to Use?. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 7(2), 15–24. https://doi.org/10.5901/jesr.2017.v7n2p15

Kim, J., Kim, S., & Nam, C. (2016). Competitive dynamics in the Korean video platform market: Traditional pay TV platforms vs. OTT platforms. Telematics and Informatics, 33(2), 711–721. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2015.06.014

Kim, M. S., Kim, E., Hwang, S., Kim, J., & Kim, S. (2017). Willingness to pay for over-the-top services in China and Korea. Telecommunications Policy, 41(3), 197–207. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2016.12.011

Lee, C. C., Nagpal, P., Ruane, S. G., & Lim, H.S. (2018). Factors Affecting Online Streaming Subscriptions. Communications of the IIMA, 16(1), article 2. https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/ciima/vol16/iss1/2

Lee, S., Lee, S., & Brown, J. (2017). Growth of Global Over-the-Top and Korean Media Market: Competition and Regulatory Policy Issues. 14th International Telecommunications Society (ITS) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference: 'Mapping ICT into Transformation for the Next Information Society'. Kyoto, Japan: International Telecommunications Society (ITS). http://hdl.handle.net/10419/168510

Lee, S., Lee, S., & Joo, H. M. (2018). A cross-country analysis of Over-the-Top video market growth: A panel data analysis. The 22nd Biennial Conference of the International Telecommunications Society: 'Beyond the boundaries: Challenges for business, policy and society. Seoul. http://hdl.handle.net/10419/190420

Ma, F. (2015). A Review of Research Methods in EFL Education. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(3), 566. http://www.academypublication.com/ojs/index.php/tpls/article/view/tpls0503566571

McNally, J., & Harrington, B. (2017). How Millennials and Teens Consume Mobile Video. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for TV and Online Video - TVX '17. ACM Press. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3077548.3077555

Medina, M., Herrero, M., & Etayo, C. (2015). The impact of digitalisation on the strategies of pay TV in Spain. La Laguna, http://www.revistalatinacs.org/070/paper/1045na/15en.htmlhttp://www.revistalatinacs.org/070/paper/1045na/15en.htmlhttp://www.proof-reading-service.com/ 2 December 2019

Mikos, L. (2016). Digital Media Platforms and the Use of TV Content: Binge Watching and Video-on-Demand in Germany. Media and Communication, 4(3), 154. http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/mac.v4i3.542

MultiChoice Group (2020). FY21 Interim Results. https://multichoice-reports.co.za/interims/2020/pdf/factsheet.pdf

MyBroadband (2021, February 18). DStv Premium now more expensive than 25Mbps fibre with Netflix and Amazon Prime. My Broadband. https://mybroadband.co.za/news/broadcasting/386922-dstv-premium-now-more-expensive-than-25mbps-fibre-with-netflix-and-amazon-prime.html

Nassaji, H. (2015). Qualitative and descriptive research: Data type versus data analysis. Language Teaching Research, 19(2), 129–132. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168815572747

Nielsen (2016). Video on Demand. Media. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2016/video-on-demand/

Norris, J. M., Plonsky, L., Ross, S. J., & Schoonen, R. (2015). Guidelines for Reporting Quantitative Methods and Results in Primary Research. Language Learning 65(2), 470–476. http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/lang.12104

Ofcom (2018). Media nations: UK. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/116006/media-nations-2018-uk.pdf 11 May 2020

Oracle (2021). What are CTV, OTT, and Linear TV? https://www.oracle.com/za/data-cloud/ctv-vs-ott.html 22 February 2021

Park, E. (2018). Business Strategies of Korean TV Players in the Age of Over-The-Top (OTT) Video Service. International Journal of Communication, 12, 4646–4667. http://ijoc.org

Pittman, M., & Sheehan, K. (2015). Sprinting a media marathon: Uses and gratifications of binge-watching television through Netflix. First Monday, 20(10). https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6138/4999%0A "Binge-watching"

Podara, A., Matsiola, M., Maniou, T. A., & Kalliris, G. (2019). Transformations of television consumption practices: An analysis on documentary viewing among post-millennials. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 16(2), 68–87. https://www.participations.org/Volume 16/Issue 2/5.pdf

Rahi, S. (2017). Research Design and Methods: A Systematic Review of Research Paradigms, Sampling Issues and Instruments Development. International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences, 06(02). https://www.omicsonline.com/open-access/research-design-and-methods-a-systematic-review-of-research-paradigms-sampling-issues-and-instruments-development-2162-6359-1000403.php?aid=87959

Rono, W. K., & Mugeni, G. (2019). An analysis of the effects of over the top Services on Pay Tv services in Kenya. International Journal of Technology and Systems, 4(3), 34–46. https://www.iprjb.org/journals/index.php/IJTS/article/view/863

SABC (2021, February 22). About SABC: Official Website. South African Broadcasting Corporation. https://www.sabc.co.za/sabc/about-us/

Samani, M. C., & Guri, C. J. (2019). Revisiting Uses and Gratification Theory: A Study on Visitors to Annah Rais Homestay. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 35(1), 206–221. http://ejournal.ukm.my/mjc/article/view/31040.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research methods for business students (5th ed.) Pearson Education.

Schouw, L. (2018). To binge or not to binge – The online viewing habits of Dutch millennials. [Unpublished Master of Media Studies thesis]. Erasmus University. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/“To-binge-or-not-to-binge”-The-online-Viewing-of-Schouw/0352d31c56ab55fd3f56a220d829d1f6e2702567

Shobiye, T., Naidoo, G. M., & Rugbeer, H. (2018). Factors that Influence One's Choice for Viewing Public Television in South Africa. Alternation: Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa, 25(1), 394–424. http://alternation.ukzn.ac.za/Files/articles/volume-25/issue-1/16-Shobiye.pdf

South Africa (2013, November 26). Protection of Personal Information Act, No. 4 of 2013. Government Gazette, 581(37067).

Statista (2016). No. of pay TV households in South Africa 2016 to 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/505602/pay-tv-subscribers-south-africa/ 24 January 2020

Statista (2020). Video streaming (SVoD)–South Africa. https://www.statista.com/outlook/206/112/video-streaming--svod-/south-africa#market-users 24 January 2020

Talom, F. S. G., & Tengeh, R. K. (2019). The Impact of Mobile Money on the Financial Performance of the SMEs in Douala, Cameroon. Sustainability, 12(1), 183. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010183

Tefertiller, A. (2018). Media substitution in cable cord-cutting: the adoption of web-streaming television. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 62(3), 390–407. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2018.1451868

Tengeh, R. K., & Mukwarami, J. (2017). The Growth Challenges of Native-owned Spaza Shops in Selected Townships in South Africa. International Journal of Applied Business and Economic Research, 15(22), 61–74. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321372118_The_Growth_Challenges_of_Nativeowned_Spaza_Shops_in_Selected_Townships_in_South_Africa/link/5a254b22aca2727dd87e97d6/download

TMO Reporter (2020). South Africans go large on binge-watching over holidays. The Media Online. https://themediaonline.co.za/2020/01/south-africans-go-large-on-binge-watching-over-holidays/

Udoakpan, N., & Tengeh, R. K. (2020). The Impact of Over-the-Top Television Services on Pay-Television Subscription Services in South Africa. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, 6(4), 139. https://doi.org/10.3390/joitmc6040139


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

© Faculty of Management (SNSPA)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under CC BY-NC

The opinions expressed in the papers published are the authors’ own and do not necessarily express the views of the editors of this journal. The authors assume all responsibility for the ideas expressed in the materials published.

ISSN 2392-8042 (online)