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African countries to miss analogue switch-off deadline

Major African territories such as South Africa and Nigeria are set to miss a deadline to switch off analogue television signals, according to new research.

“Most” sub-Saharan countries in Africa fail to meet the 2015 deadline, according to Ovum, which is part of TBI publisher Informa.

However, determination among regulators and governments across the continent mean some are considering switching off their signals before the transition to digital, Ovum reported.

The mindset, it claimed, was “that the deadline must be met at all costs”.

This would lead to many homes losing TV reception, advertisers moving away from television in turn, and a subsequent decline to revenues at affected channels.

“African governments and regulators need to accept that the 2015 deadline will be missed and shift their focus on to getting the process completed as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Ovum’s Ismail Patel, who tracks media and entertainment across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. “Ovum believes that forcing through analog switch-off is ultimately counter-productive.”

“In Tanzania, the switchover process was pushed through recklessly, with damaging results,” added Adam Thomas, Ovum’s lead analyst for global TV markets. “Thousands of homes lost their ability to watch TV and advertising revenue suffered as a result. But this mentality to rush the process persists, not least in Kenya which seems intent on repeating the same mistakes.”

Ovum said inadequate government funding on digital TV infrastructure, insufficient supplies of set-top boxes and a general lack of awareness over switch-over were key reasons behind the impending failure.