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User experience to the fore in African media

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Shifting consumer preferences, advances in technology and ongoing disruption to business models are the new strategic imperative for entertainment and media (E&M) companies is to turn customers into fans.

Significant shifts are underway in how Africa’s E&M companies compete and generate value, as the quality of the experience they deliver to consumers becomes their primary basis for strategic differentiation and revenue growth.

To thrive in a marketplace that is increasingly competitive and crowded, companies are focusing on implementing strategies and building capabilities to engage with consumers. This is according to PwC’s ‘Entertainment and media outlook: 2017 – 2021: An African perspective’ released today.

By 2021 total E&M revenue in South Africa is expected to reach R177.9 billion, up from R132.7 billion in 2016. Internet access remains the key growth driver and will account for R27 billion of this increase. The fastest growing sectors will be virtual reality (VR) and e-sports compounded annually at 72.6% and 39.6%, although these segments are still new revenue lines and remain the smallest in terms of absolute revenue numbers. Although overall growth in revenue will hold up, it is expected to slow down by the end of 2021.

The Outlook is a comprehensive source of analyses and five-year forecasts of consumer and advertising spending across five countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania) and 14 segments: Internet, data consumption, television, cinema, video games, e-sports, virtual reality, newspaper publishing, magazine publishing, book publishing, business-to-business publishing, music, out-of-home, and radio.

“Companies that wish to capture value amid shifting consumer preferences and business model disruptions must focus on an increasingly prominent source of competitive advantage: the user experience. They must harness technology and data to attract, retain and engage users–and convert them into devoted fans,” says Vicki Myburgh, Entertainment and Media Industry Leader for PwC Southern Africa. These imperatives assume a larger importance because, as we document in the Outlook, the entertainment and media industry is confronting several challenges to continued top-line growth.

Digital spend will continue to drive the overall growth. Nearly 40% of total spend will be derived from Internet access in revenue. South Africa’s mobile Internet penetration is forecast to rise to 77.8% by the end of 2021 from 52.3% in 2016. This increased Internet penetration will drive mobile Internet access revenues, which are projected to grow by a CAGR of 10.7% to nearly R62 billion.

South Africa can expect a CAGR of 7.2% for consumer revenue over the forecast period, rising from R87.4 billion in 2016 to R123.7 billion in 2021. The largest contributor will be Internet access, with a 48% share in 2016 rising to 56% in 2021.

South Africa continues to remain the largest TV market on the African continent, with total revenues of R40.9 billion in 2016. The total TV market is estimated to be worth R51.2 billion by 2021. At this time, end-user spending (Pay-TV subscriptions, physical and Internet home video and licence fees) will account for 56.7% of the total TV market.

The video game market is also performing well and revenue is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% to reach R5.4 billion in 2021, up from R2.6 billion in 2016. The primary growth driver in the video games market is social/casual gaming revenue, which will be worth R3.7 billion by 2021. Furthermore, the console and PC markets are experiencing a significant shift towards digital and online/micro transaction revenue, which will exceed physical sales for the first time in 2020.

The growing interest in gaming is helping to fuel the rapid growth in the related segment of VR and e-sports. As a segment that only reached consumers in 2016, almost the entire VR market is new. According to the Outlook, the consumer VR content market will be worth R455 million by 2021. Of this, R282 million will be spending on VR video.

Alongside video, the B2B market is showing continued growth. In 2016 revenues grew by 3.8% to R9.7 billion and by 2021 this is forecast to rise to R11 billion, a CAGR of 2.6%. The slowdown in growth is largely attributable to ongoing macroeconomic challenges which are likely to weigh on B2B revenues.

The South African cinema sector currently presents a mixed picture. Overall revenue, including box office and cinema advertising, is expected to reach R2.2 billion in 2021, up from R1.9 billion in 2016. South Africa continues to be an attractive destination for international filmmakers. Although some short-term economic and political issues are impacting the film sector, it is expected in the long term to continue to expand.

South Africa’s music industry is on a growth curve with live music being a key driver. Live music revenue is expected to rise from R1.2 billion in 2016 to R1.7 billion in 2021, a CAGR of 7.4% over the forecast period.

It is notable that only one digital subcomponent is seeing a significant decline in the entire Outlook – digital music downloading revenue, which is forecast to see a -15.7% CAGR, as consumers shift from ownership to access. Digital music streaming revenue is forecast to rise at a CACR of 34.5% to 2021, reaching R518 million in that year. This growth rate is only beaten by new revenue lines from VR and e-sports.

Among the largely non-digital segments, magazines and newspaper revenue are set to continue their decline. Total newspaper revenue in the South African newspaper market has been unpredictable. The market showed growth in 2013, declined in 2014 and bounced back marginally in 2015, contracting at a slower rate. In 2016, total newspaper revenue was worth R8.9 billion, but this figure is forecast to drop to R7.4 billion in 2021. Marginal growth is expected for the book publishing industry over the next five years. The educational book market will contract by a -0.1% CAGR. On the contrary, professional titles and consumer books will exhibit some growth as e-book revenues continue to grow.

The report shows that South Africa’s total entertainment and media advertising revenue is expected to rise to R54.2 billion by 2021 from R45.3 billion in 2016, representing a 3.7% CAGR. TV advertising remains dominant, but in terms of absolute growth it is Internet advertising that is almost an equal contributor, helped by a sizeable 12.9% CAGR.

Myburgh says: “It is clear that something fundamental has changed in the entertainment and media industry. E&M companies that have become accustomed to competing and creating differentiation, based primarily on content and distribution, need to focus more intensely on the user experience. The marketplace has increasingly become more competitive, slower-growing and dependent on personal recommendations.

“Thriving in this new world of intense competition and continual disruption will be challenging. The opportunities are, however, immense. Across the industry, the resulting quest to create the most compelling, engaging and intuitive user experiences is now the primary objective for growth and investment strategies, with technology and data at the centre.

“Accordingly, companies will need to develop strategies to engage, grow and monetise their most valuable customers: their fans.”

Nigeria

In terms of total E&M revenue, Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing countries in our Outlook, but this figure must be treated with caution, as a huge proportion of that growth comes from Internet access revenue alone–specifically mobile Internet access revenue.  Of the US$2.8 billion that the Nigerian market will add between 2016 and 2021, all but US$452 million will come from Internet access revenue. The combined elements of TV and video will add nearly US$200 million in revenue growth to 2021.

Kenya

The E&M industry was worth US$2.1 billion in 2016, up 13.6% on 2015. Revenue is forecast to grow at an 8.5% CAGR over the next five years, hitting the US$3 billion mark in 2020, and totalling US$3.2 billion in 2021. Internet access is the most established industry within the Kenyan market, boasting the largest revenues and one of the highest growth rates to 2021.

Ghana

Ghana’s E&M industry is beginning to gear up. In 2012, total revenue was just at US$214 million, but four consecutive years of year-on-year growth above 25% have led it to revenues of US$685 million in 2016. This is forecast to more than double over the next five years, with revenues of U$1 billion being surpassed in 2019 and a total of US$1.5 billion forecast for 2021, thanks to a 16.5% CAGR.

Tanzania

Tanzania’s total E&M revenue stood at US$504 million in 2016, but is set to more than double to US$1.1 billion in 2021, a 17.2% CAGR over the coming five years. The symbolic crossing of the US$1 billion mark is set to occur in 2021. This is significant growth from 2012 where the industry stood at just US$175 million.

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Acer gaming beast escapes

Acer this week unveiled two notebooks that take portable gaming to new extremes.

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Acer  unveiled two new Predator Helios gaming notebooks this week at the next@acer global press conference in New York. They include the powerful Predator Helios 500, featuring up to 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors, and the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition that includes upgraded specs from its predecessor and a distinctive white chassis. Both feature VR-Ready performance, advanced thermal technologies, and blazing-fast connectivity.

“We’ve expanded our Predator Helios gaming notebook line in response to popular demand from gamers seeking extreme performance on the go,” said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, Acer. “The Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 gaming notebooks feature Acer’s proprietary thermal technologies and powerful components that, coupled with our award-winning software, deliver unparalleled gaming experiences.”

“The 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processor for gaming and creation laptops is the highest performance Intel has ever delivered for this class of devices; purpose built for enthusiasts who demand premium gaming experiences whether at home or on the go,” said Steve Long, Vice President and General Manager, Client Computing Group Sales and Marketing, Intel. “Intel and Acer’s long relationship has produced amazing products over the years, and the new Acer Predator Helios gaming notebooks are powerful examples of what’s possible with this unprecedented level of performance.”

Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast featuring overclocking, 4K 144 Hz panels

Designed for extreme gamers, the Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast. It features up to overclockable 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors and overclockable GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. Intel Optane memory increases responsiveness and load times, while ultra-fast NVMePCIe SSDs, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and up to 64GB of memory keep the action going, making the Helios 500 the ideal gaming notebook for graphic-intensive AAA titles and live streaming.

Top-notch visuals are delivered on bright, vibrant 4K UHD or FHD IPS 17.3-inch displays with 144Hz refresh rates for blur- and tear-free gameplay. NVIDIA G-SYNC technology is supported on both the built-in display and external monitors, allowing for buttery-smooth imagery without tearing or stuttering. For those looking for maximum gaming immersion, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and display and HDMI 2.0 ports support up to three external monitors. Two speakers, a subwoofer, and Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio technology deliver incredible sound and hyper-realistic 3D audio using Waves Nx.

The Helios 500 stays cool with two of Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D metal fans, and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speed can be controlled and customized through the PredatorSense app.

A backlit RGB keyboard offers four lighting zones with support for up to 16.8 million colors. Anti-ghosting technology provides the ultimate control for executing complex commands and combos, which can be set up via five dedicated programmable keys.

Acer’s PredatorSense app can be used to control and monitor the notebook’s vitals from one central interface, including overclocking, lighting, hotkeys, temperature, and fan control.

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition brings a sophisticated design twist to gaming notebooks

Acer’s budget-friendly Helios 300 gaming line sees the addition of a Special Edition model featuring an all-white aluminum chassis accented with gold trim, an unusually chic design for gaming notebooks.

The Helios 300 Special Edition (PH315-51) allows for ultra-smooth gameplay via its 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with an upgraded 144Hz refresh rate. The rapid refresh rate shortens frame rendering time and lowers input lag to give gamers an excellent in-game experience. It’s powered by up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7+ processor, overclockable GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, up to a 512 GB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe solid state drive, and up to a 2 TB hard disk drive.

The Helios 300 Special Edition also comes equipped with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory, and is upgradable to 32GB. Intel Optane memory speeds up load times of games and applications, access to information and improves overall system responsiveness. In addition, Gigabit Ethernet provides fast wired connections, while Gigabit Wi-Fi is provided by the latest Intel Wireless-AC 9560 that delivers up to 1.73Gbps throughput when using 160 MHz channels (2×2 802.11ac, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz).

The Helios 300 Special Edition also includes two of Acer’s ultrathin (0.1 mm) all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans designed with advanced aerodynamics and superior airflow to keep the system cool. They can be controlled with Acer’s PredatorSense app, which offers three usage modes:

1. Coolboost mode:

For heavy loading games, rendering, streaming, and extended video consumption

2. Normal mode:

For productivity tools like Microsoft Office

3. Silent mode:

For web browsing and online chatting

Price and Availability

Predator Helios 500 will be available in South Africa in June starting at R34 999.00

Helios 300 Special Edition will be available in South Africa in August 2018. Exact Price will be communicated closer to the time.

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LG G7 arrives in SA

LG this week introduced South Africa to its latest premium smartphone, the LG G7 ThinQ, focused on bringing useful and convenient AI features to the smartphone experience.

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Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, the LG G7 ThinQ offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage to run demanding tasks and apps with. It is equipped with a 6.1-inch Super Bright Display, but the LG G7 ThinQ remains compact enough to use with one hand.

Sporting a new design aesthetic for the G series, the polished metal rim gives the LG G7 ThinQ a sleeker, more refined look, complemented by Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back for enhanced durability. Rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, the LG G7 ThinQ is also awarded MIL-STD 810 c certification, having been subjected to a range of extreme temperature and environment tests designed by the United States military.

The LG G7 ThinQ has an 8MP camera up front, rendering clear and natural selfies, with two 16MP cameras at the back that deliver higher resolution photos with more detail, as well as a Super Wide Angle configuration.

As with other leading brands, LG has evolved its signature camera by including AI functionality. The AI CAM offers 19 shooting modes for intelligence-optimised shots. Users can also improve their photos by choosing from an additional three effect options should the AI CAM recommendation not suit their taste.

The new Super Bright Camera captures images that are up to four times brighter than typical photos shot in dim light. Through the combination of pixel binning and software processing, the AI algorithm adjusts the camera settings automatically when shooting in low light.

Live Photo Mode records one second before and after the shutter is pressed for snippets of unexpected moments or expressions that would normally be missed. Stickers uses face recognition to generate fun 2D and 3D overlays, such as sunglasses and headbands, that can be viewed directly on the display.

New to the G series is Portrait Mode, which generates professional-looking shots with out-of-focus backgrounds. This effect can be generated using both front and rear standard lenses as well as the rear Super Wide Angle lens.

LG G7 ThinQ offers further AI functionality with the inclusion of Google Lens features. Google Lens is a new way to search using the AI and computer vision. Google Assistant and Google Photos allow users to access more information on objects such as landmarks, plants, animals, and books. It can identify text or visit websites, add business cards to contacts, events to the calendar or look up an item on a restaurant menu.

A button just below the volume keys launches the AI functionality. A single tap of this button launches the Google Assistant, while two quick taps launches Google Lens. Users can also hold down the button to start talking to the Google Assistant without the repetition of the OK Google command.

With Super Far Field Voice Recognition (SFFVR) and the highly-sensitive G7ThinQ microphone, the Google Assistant can recognise voice commands from up to five meters away. SFFVR is able to separate commands from background noise, making the LG G7 ThinQ an alternative to a home AI speaker, even when the TV is on. Commands for the Google Assistant have been increased in the LG G7 ThinQ so users can get more done with their voice alone.

“The LG G7 ThinQ is strongly focused on the fundamentals and its launch marks a new chapter for our company,” said Deon Prinsloo, General Manager for Mobile Communication, LG Electronics S.A Pty Ltd. “Through the combination of personalised and useful AI functionalities with meaningful smartphone features, this is LG’s most convenient and in the moment smartphone yet.”

Key Specifications

  • Mobile Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform
  • Display: 6.1-inch QHD+ 19.5:9 FullVision Super Bright Display (3120 x 1440 / 564ppi)
  • Memory:
    • LG G7 ThinQ: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM / 64GB UFS 2.1 ROM / MicroSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera:
    • Rear Dual: 16MP Super Wide Angle (F1.9 / 107°) / 16MP Standard Angle (F1.6 / 71°)
    • Front: 8MP Wide Angle (F1.9 / 80°)
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Size: 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 162g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5.0 BLE / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
  • Colours: New Aurora Black
  • Others: Super Bright Display / New Second Screen / AI CAM / Super Bright Camera / Super Far Field Voice Recognition / Boombox Speaker / Google Lens / AI Haptic / Hi-Fi Quad DAC / DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / IP68 Water and Dust Resistance / HDR10 / Google Assistant Key / Face Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Technology / Wireless Charging / MIL-STD 810G Compliant / FM Radio
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