Crave For Football, Personalised Content Drawing Viewers Back To Their TVs

Fan watching football on TV
Fan watching football on TV. Photo: Alexander Shatov Source: UGC

Early August, Kenya’s social media was awash with images (commonly known as memes) on social media showing women handing over TV remote controls to men- coined to signify a break from ‘telenovelas’ and a start to ‘New Football Season.’

This gesture affirmed two things. A growing popularity of football in the country and a rising enthusiasm for this sport that knows no border.

Official data also backs this trend. Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) figures show sports content usually enjoys a high programming quota between June and September every year. CA’s Broadcasting Services Report Q1 2022/2023 shows sports content had a weekly programming share of 2.9% compared to an almost uniform 1% in all other quarters.

The regulator’s data also reveals that TV consumption usually peaks in August, coinciding with the start of the English Premier League and skyrockets when even higher-profile football tournaments like the World Cup get aired. 

For such internationally acclaimed tournaments, local football fanatics go the extra mile, turning to pay TV broadcasters to witness the excitement, drama and passion of football at its best. 

For instance, in the third quarter, during the FIFA World Cup 2022, subscriptions to satellite pay-TV providers grew by 65,798 (3.9%) compared to the previous quarter when EPL matches rocked the airwaves. consequently, Free-to-air broadcasters recorded a flat growth, while subscriptions to cable broadcasting services declined by 2,946 (4.9%).

The significant rise in the number of satellite pay-TV viewers, the authority has attributed to compelling sports content offering and these statistics pointed to another huge change in preference medium-rise in the shift to online services.

CA’s Baseline Survey for Broadcasting Services in Kenya Report 2022 shows while the majority of Kenyans (59.6%) own digital TV sets, there is a fast growth in number of viewers streaming content from internet-powered devices. according to the report, 25.3% of Kenyans own Smart TV sets and 23% always use mobile phones to watch TV.

This ability to stream content online is bigger (28.9%) in urban areas due to faster and higher internet connectivity rates, with a favourable viewership (20.9%) in rural areas, affirming the new era of watching tv content on the go and anywhere is here as an emerging force in the local entertainment market.

With a strong culture of football fans preferring to watch their favourite teams play live on TV in social establishments over their homes, makes pubs, bars and restaurants the biggest beneficiaries in this big shift towards personalised TV content offering.

As more viewers continue to value personalised content over fixed programs, TV streaming providers are also optimising these experiences using advanced algorithms to meet the growing adversity of changing viewer tastes and preferences.

Recently, MultiChoice Kenya announced the revamp and rebrand of their DStv App to DStv Stream with an enhanced look, more customer-centric delivery and personalization with features like full control by subscribers on what they watch and choose their viewing experience. DStv Stream comes with the enhanced ability for customers to discover content on their profiles and a seamless, user-friendly and simpler streaming experience.

Viewers also have the ability to switch soundtracks to their local languages where available including live sports commentary.

The language feature is a key development that will significantly transform local sports viewing. Often, commentaries on foreign leagues that command higher viewership, are done in Portuguese or English. The addition of Kiswahili, the most popular language in Kenya, has been a game-changer in driving binge-watching, also a popular concept allowing one to watch many episodes in a sitting, since its launch during the World Cup. It remained through the last football season and has come back this new football season

By the end of 2022, Kiswahili was the most preferred language by viewers(48.2%) followed by English(32%) as vernacular shows also demonstrated growing popularity at 19.9%, according to CA statistics.

These data sets build a compelling case for businesses especially for media, corporates, marketers and entertainment hubs like bars, pubs and restaurants to tap into the craze to draw in more eyeballs, drive customer numbers, more investments, and push up sales and revenue for their businesses to ensure sustainability.

The writer is the Head of Marketing at MultiChoice Kenya.

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