Africa's Winter Olympians: Who's Watching From Home?

The Winter Olympics are well underway in South Korea and 2018 marks the debut of two new African countries at the winter games: Nigeria and Eritrea. In Pyeongchang, six other African countries –  Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, South Africa, and Togo – join these new entrants for a record of eight African countries competing in one Winter Olympics.

While many African spectators may still be warming to Winter Olympic events, we at Fraym were interested in how many fans can tune in to cheer on their teams. Across the eight countries, 205.5 million people live in a household with a television (55 percent).¹ And about 48% of adults are regularly watching television.1 In major cities, these figures are much higher: 90 percent of the population owns a television, and 77 percent of adults report watching television regularly.

The Nigerian Women’s Bobsleigh team in particular has many excited fans. Nigeria is among the largest television markets in Africa, where 96 million people have a television at home and 70 million adults watch regularly. The market is particularly dense in urban areas, where over 90 percent of the population has a television at home.  In these cities media consumption far outpaces the rest of the country. Over 70 percent of adults in major cities regularly watch television, compared with a national average of 41 percent. In just the ten largest Nigerian markets, there are more than 20 million regular viewers; Lagos alone is home to 10.2 million of them.


Interestingly in Nigeria, one in five of the adults who regularly watch television do not actually own a television. This indicates that they are watching outside of the home – at bars, restaurants, or friends’ houses. Understanding these “social viewing” habits can help advertisers shape and target their content.

Televised sports provide a unique opportunity to reach African consumers. Although the Winter Olympics are probably drawing a smaller audience in Africa, this summer’s World Cup will reach most of the African market—Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia will compete.

Utilizing geospatial data analytics to understand media consumption patterns – simultaneously across the continent and down to the neighborhood level – will help advertisers reach the right viewers with the right products. With this type of outsized audience happening only once every four years, companies need to take advantage of the opportunity.

¹ Does not include Eritrea.

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