The number of streaming subscribers in Africa is expected to jump nearly 200 per cent to 15 million by 2026, according to new estimates, as the pandemic forces Africans to look for entertainment at home.

Movie streaming services are projected to rack up millions of subscribers in Africa as the raging COVID-19 pandemic changes the entertainment habits of most Africans.

New estimates show subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) on the continent will jump 194.72 per cent to 15.06 million in 2026, up from 5.11 million expected in 2021.

According to Digital TV Research, the threefold increase indicates the nascent market in Africa is maturing as the next frontier of entertainment investment.

Of the nearly 10 million additional subscribers, South Africa and Nigeria will each supply 2.3 million, making them the only countries with more than 1 million subscriptions on the continent.

Netflix will account for 51 per cent of the region’s SVOD subscribers by the end-2021, cementing its position as the market leader.

But its share is expected to drop to 39 per cent by 2026 due to the onslaught from other streaming platforms (5.84 million subscribers – double from 2.61 million in 2021).

Disney+ will launch in 2022, but only in an expected 12 countries, and is projected to have 2.17 million paying subscribers forecast by 2026.

South African streamer Showmax, currently with about 600,000 subscribers, will come in third with just over 1.6 million subscribers.

iRoko, another local player, will be at 586,000 subscribers, while Amazon will grow from 49,000 in 2019 to 456,000 in 2025. Apple TV+ meanwhile is expected to hit a modest total of 114,000.

A separate Statista report shows that Netflix and Showmax are and will continue to be “the most popular SVoD services in Africa, although estimates on Disney Plus suggest that the platform could amass up to 2.7 million subscribers in the next five years.”

This story was republished with the permission of bird, a story agency under Africa No Filter.