Tanzania: Radio first, TV second, mobile growing highlights Intermedia survey

Technology & Convergence

Intermedia has released the latest in its Audiencescapes series of surveys of media use in African countries. The survey covers Tanzania and contains a number of tantalizing clues as to how that country’s consumers are making use of different media. Russell Southwood picks over the findings for clues as to how things will develop in the future.

 The Audiencescapes survey of Tanzania was carried out in July 2010 and is a nationally representative sample, allowing the researchers to provide accurate breakdowns of urban vs rural use.

Internet use has clearly grown in Tanzania but not at the same rate as in neighbouring Kenya. The table below shows percentage household access amongst those surveyed:

Media            All sample        Urban        Rural
Radio              85%                85%           84%
TV                  27%                59%           14%
Computer          3%                 8%             1%
Internet            4%                 8%              2%
Mobile phone   62%                82%           54%

Television access is 71% in Dar es Salaam. The figure of 4% sounds small but if you translate that into people, there are around 1.5 million people who have household access to Internet.

Mobiles are increasingly becoming a media in their own right and in urban areas, their penetration levels are as high as for radio which the universal African media. And as the table below shows, Tanzanians (like many Africans) are using their phone’s built in radio and in small numbers, watching what they describe as live TV (probably streamed via You Tube). Radio listening on mobiles is highest amongst those under 34:

Activity         All sample        Urban        Rural
Radio               13%              18%          10%
Send SMS         61%             68%          57%
Watch live TV      1%               3%           1%

Mobile TV has yet to find the right business model and where it is offered as a service, has only acquired tens of thousands of subscribers. Furthermore the DStv version requires a special DVB-H handset and these are expensive and not many are on the market. Nevertheless, if relatively slow tech-adopters like Tanzanians are already watching live streams, there’s going to be a market out there. What else can you do when you’re sitting in Africa’s ubiquitous urban traffic jams and can’t get home for a live TV programme?

Internet use in Africa used to be about a limited number of internet search activities and sending e-mail but as the table below shows, Tanzanians are now doing a much wider range of things:

Activity                               % of sample using Internet
Send or receive e-mails        57%
Latest news                         51%
Research topics                    32%
Social networking site           41%
Listen to radio                        7%
Play games                          13%

The figures reflect the rise and rise of Facebook use in the early adapter markets across the continent but it’s worth noting that Tanzania’s Facebook user numbers are significantly lower than those in neighbouring Kenya. Again, there is a significant percentage of Internet users who are choosing to listen to radio over their Internet connection.

If you look at media use on a once a week basis, to some greater or lesser extent, it reflects the overall household access figures above:

Media            % of total sample
Radio            91%
TV                41%
Newspaper    22%
Mobile           62%
Internet        3%

But when those sampled, were asked what were the important sources of news and information on a weekly basis, the results look rather different:

Source                % of total sample
Radio                  83%
TV                      41%
Newspapers        21%
SMS text            35%
Internet               4%

Full story here.