Ethiopia - EBS seizes the number one audience position over October-December 2018 according to new research data

31 January 2019

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The newly liberalized airwaves in Ethiopia are seeing a battle royal among 14 TV channels. Russell Southwood picks over the market research data from WAAS International.

After our story on Kana TV in issue 305, Ethiopian market research company WAAS International contacted us to provide new data about the shifts in the market. In 2017, Kana TV had secured a wide audience. But with the opening of the reform process in Ethiopia, things have begun to change.

WAAS International’s data is based on a national sample of 1,500 each month carried out between October and December 2018, with a wide social, demographic and geographic spread.

Fourteen stations registered significant viewership: EBS (privately-owned satellite company), Fana TV (private but close to the Government), ETV News (Government), WALTA, J TV, L TV. ESAT, Afrihealth TV, Bisrat, ETV Meznagna, Arts TV, Asham and Nahoo TV.

The results are remarkably consistent with (in descending order) EBS, Fana TV and ETV taking the top 4 positions. Viewers were asked whether they had viewed channels over the least 7 days, the past 4 weeks or over the last three months. In December 2018, 70% of the sample had viewed EBS over the last 7 days.

The positions are broadly the same across the 12 regions surveyed. However, EBS had a 98% reach in the Dibre Birhan region and a 96% reach in the Jijiga region.

In terms of gender, EBS was slightly more likely to be viewed by female rather than male viewers (73%:67%) and ETV News slightly more likely to be viewed by male than female viewers (43%:32%).

J TV and WALTA had a 20% share of respondents who watched in the last 7 days but all the other channels were below 20%.

70% of Abs viewed EBS in December 2018, 69% of C1s, 71% of C2s and 68% of Ds. This gives the channel a widely based audience in social terms.

Over the last 7 days in December 2018, 10% of the audience had viewed the newly launched TV channel Afrihealth, an Ethiopian-owned Free-To-Air satellite channel broadcasting health information in Amharic.

On the basis of respondents ranking channels, the biggest loser was ETV News which lost 11% in the raking between November and December 2018.

Peak-time viewing is between 7-10 pm with the highest spike between 8-9 pm most days. The top 5 most popular programmes (in descending order) were: Yaseb Chawata, News, Ehuden be EBS, Seifu on EBS and Fana 90.

News is the driver of viewership and despite having lost some of its position ETV remains the most popular news channel, reflecting the excitement of the reform process. Sports and music have smaller audiences but EBS is the most popular channel for them amongst respondents.

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