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Star of VoD is rising



Although television is still the main channel of entertainment for many Africans, a large portion of the population is regarding the Internet as a provider of entertainment and has spurred on the growth of Video on Demand.

While studies have shown that TV is still the main channel for entertainment across all age groups, Africa’s largest population group (15-24s), regard the Internet as a provider of entertainment, much like TV and this trend has undoubtedly spurred on the growth for Video on Demand (VOD).

Lex van Wyk, CEO of Teraco, says that it is time for Africa to have unbridled access to content, while playing a vital role in the growth of VOD and the continued evolution of the millennial generation.

Van Wyk says that younger generations swing effortlessly between media, platforms and content: “This new consumer is drawn into engaging based on the content and not necessarily the media, making VOD a critical component and growth opportunity for Africa.

Proving the point, research house Balancing Act, says that sub-Saharan Africa’s video uploads have increased 40% year on year and cumulative views in the region are growing at 90%. This coupled with estimated double growth for the continent by 2050, will further fuel that VOD is the rising star in African communications.

Van Wyk says that through Teraco and its Africa Cloud eXchange (ACX), access is provided to more than 50 African countries via local and global carriers: “ACX provides a secure data centre environment for cloud providers to colocate and onward distribute service offerings to the rest of Africa.

He says through NAPAfrica, the largest Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Africa, global partners also have access to key content from local and international content providers: “With the deployment of a single cable within the data centre they can now distribute throughout Africa at low latency and high availability.” Van Wyk says that service providers can also effectively share and sell cloud services to an extensive client base from a single distribution point within the data centre facility.

Importantly, this world-class facility also has full ISO 9001 quality certification with no exclusions, as well as Payment Card Industry Data Security standard (PCI DSS). Both certifications cover all three of Teraco’s operational data centres in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Van Wyk says they are currently engaging with several leading content providers and also the broadcast industries leading vendor of broadcast technology, Imagine Communications, to make use of the various platforms, including NAPAfrica and ACX, to bring VOD to life in sub-Saharan Africa. “Having recently peaked at 15Gbps, NAPAfrica is Africa’s most successful neutral peering exchange, and can assist several leading content providers to connect to Africa and conversely assist local broadcasters to connect with world class platforms.

Andy J. McClelland, Director EMEA – Telco & Multiscreen of Imagine Communications says: “Convergence between the Telecommunications and Broadcast markets is clearly driven by the way people consume their media. The way this media content is handled, enriched and ultimately distributed has changed and to deliver these moments we need to be innovative.

Reverting back to Van Wyk’s statement on the uptake of VOD and non-linear transactional media, McClelland says: “Teraco is in a unique position and really at the forefront of the shift in the consumption model of media. At a time where content handling and processing is moving into the cloud and with the advent of virtualised play-out there is no other company in Africa best placed to facilitate this change. At Imagine Communications we are proud to be a part of this and are happy to demonstrate thought leadership in this area.

In the spirit of continued innovation, Teraco will be attending the launch of IBC’s Content Everywhere Europe conference in Amsterdam from 12-16 September 2014. Van Wyk says that the team looks forward to discussing the latest developments and the future of digital content in Africa. “IBC Content Everywhere is ideal for us to continue discussing access to Africa for international content providers and how NAPAfrica and ACX, through Teraco can make connectivity a reality.

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