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INTERNET PENETRATION AND THE ADOPTION OF TELEVISION STREAMING AMONG STAKEHOLDERS IN SOUTH-WEST NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Advancement in computer technology has led to many innovations especially with the advent of the Internet.  The proliferation of the Internet is changing different sectors in the world, the media industry inclusive. One of the innovative applications of the Internet to the media industry is television streaming- the practice by which television stations provide media contents online. Technological convergence as defined by Okoro (2006) is the “the continuous development in media technology aimed at bringing about a blend in technologies in the process of message delivery” p. 4.  The implication of this is the meeting point between computer technologies and television leading to the formation of television streaming. Television streaming as described by Gerbarg and Noam (2003) is the “quintessential digital convergence medium putting together television, telecommunications, the Internet, computer applications” p. xxi.

Before the advent of the Internet, television stations were limited by geographical boundaries and by signal strength of airwaves. For television viewers also, the feedback mechanism was either limited or delayed because not all the audiences could give their views or opinions about happenings around them. In addition, limited television programmes were available for television audiences, at a stipulated time. Thus, television audiences are often saddled with limited choice of television programmes and there was no alternative means of watching a missed programme. However, one major benefit of television streaming to media operators is that it creates a forum to a wider reach of audience because they are not restrained by on-air signal or coverage. As such, television stations’ contents that are streamed online can be viewed across geographical boundaries. To the audience, they also stand to benefit from watching television programmes on the Internet. The innovation of television streaming aid the audiences to watch their favourite television programmes regardless of wherever they are in the world as long as they are connected to the Internet. It also reduces the frequency by which audiences miss television programmes because they can now access missed favourite programmes using Video on Demand (VoD) television viewing on the Internet. With a laptop or a mobile phone, audience can connect to a television station’s website in order to watch programmes as television programmes can now be viewed on the move and this elevates television to a mobile medium status.

Ikpe and Olise (2010) and Livingstone (2003) observed that with television streaming, the scope of television coverage is enhanced; the geographical signal limitation of a television station is eliminated as it paves way for a broader and wider audience cutting across geographical boundaries. The need for the adoption of television streaming is imperative as the media audience is shifting from the traditional media to the new media due to its feedback mechanism which enhances interactivity among media professionals and media audiences. For a smooth streaming experience however, Mirza and Beltrán (2014) argued that high-speed broadband technologies should be in place to enhance individual consumption. For this to be achieved, streaming media applications are compressed to be compatible with the end users’ Internet connectivity. This implies that streaming services take into consideration the availability and quality of Internet connectivity that the end users possess.

Vliet (2002) defined Internet as a global network through which millions of users exchange data with series of networks associated with an organisation. The Internet, as suggested by Pratama and Al-Shaikh (2012) is also the “symbol of technological era” p. 2. Popularity of the Internet in the 21st century has not only brought innovations to the media industry but to every sector of the economy. The Internet technology can be said to have changed the face of broadcasting with the conception of radio and television streaming. In a bid to tap into this technological era of Internet and to follow audience shift to the new media, broadcasters began to stream their contents online. For the audiences to view television programmes in a synchronised fashion on the Internet, it is required that there should be ubiquitous and affordable broadband (Gerbarg & Noam, 2003). While this may be taken for granted in the developed countries of the West for example, it however raises questions on infrastructures that are in place to enhance Internet access and connectivity in a country such as Nigeria.

Internet penetration, which largely can determine the extensive utilisation of the total broadband capacity available refers to the proportion of people that have access to the Internet and those that do not have access to the Internet. In addition, it measures the growth of Internet access in a given geographical region. Statistics have shown a rise in the number of people that access the Internet over the span of 15 years in Nigeria. For example, Internet World Stats (2016); Internet Society (2016) and Premium Times (2016) reported that Internet users as at August 2016 have increased to 93,524,398 on both Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks. Internet users can thus access the Internet either using the mobile Internet platform or the fixed Internet known as the CDMA provided by telecommunication services. Internet users with existing Internet infrastructures can now access the Internet through computer devices such as smart phone, other mobile phones that have Internet features- tablets and laptops.

Studies have however shown that demographic characteristics of respondents such as age, education, income, employment status, gender and marital status determine the use of the Internet and the adoption of television streaming. This led to the summation of Penard, Poussing, Mukoko, Tamokwe (2013); Rhee and Kim (2004); Yang and Kang (2006) that the young, educated and employed are major users of the Internet because this class of people are expected to have the necessary computer skills needed for Internet operation and the adoption of television streaming. Television streaming adopters to an extent must also possess the technical skills needed in operating computer devices before they can opt for watching television programmes online. Viard and Economides (2011) also argued that Internet content will be more attractive to those that are educated and can read in English because most Internet contents are in English language. The demographic characteristics have led to what is called digital divide- “the gap between those who have effective access to and exploit the potential of IT and those who do not” (Niehaves & Plattfaut, 2014, p. 2).

The Internet Society, Nigeria Chapter (2016) and West (2015) also disclosed that some of the factors affecting Internet use in Nigeria are lack of technical know-how, cost of acquiring computer devices, high cost of Internet subscription and negative disposition arising from security related issues such as cybercrimes when using the Internet. Income level as argued by West (2015) are barriers in the use of the Internet and except low level income earners have access to free products and cheap devices, they may not have the privilege of accessing the Internet. On the other hand,  expensive devices and high data cost can militate against Internet penetration among high income earners and where data subscription are available, it may not be used for television streaming as a result of the high amount of data needed to watch live programmes on the Internet.

 

1.2       Statement of the Problem

With rising globalisation, stiff competition and technological development, the television industry is not new to changes; it is witnessing transition from analogue to digital and more recently it is undergoing the transformation from delivery of contents on-air to delivery via the Internet. The growth of the Internet over the years paved way for the innovation of delivering television content via the Internet. Statistics published by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), (2016) showed that from year 2000 when Internet began to gain ground in Nigeria, Internet users have increased from 78,740 to 93,524,398 in August 2016. This increase has also placed Nigeria as the largest Internet user in Africa, (Abikoye & Salihu, 2016). This is evident as out 182, 202, 000 of Nigerian residents, about half (52.1%) of the population have access to the Internet as at August 2016. With the expansion of Internet access however, there are inadequate Internet infrastructure to sustain the continual growth of Internet access thereby leading to traffic congestion on existing Internet infrastructure; a negative implication for Internet broadband penetration. Internet broadband penetration as at October 2016 according to Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, it is projected that Internet broadband penetration would be at 30 percent by 2018. As a bid to further increase broadband access, Globacom (GLO) network in April 2016 and MTN Nigeria in October 2016 joined other Internet service providers such as Smile Communications, Spectranet, IPNX and Swift networks that have rolled out the 4G LTE technology in Nigeria. Presently, Globacom covers only subscribers in Lagos State and MTN covers Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. While this is a notable development in Internet access, the 4G wireless technology has little significance on Internet broadband penetration until 4G can spread across the country.

In addition, National Broadband Plan (2013) acknowledged that the high cost of Internet access remains a fundamental reason why Internet is not available in every home. One of the reasons given for the high cost of Internet data is a result of monopoly in the telecommunication industry and regulation of data prices by NCC. But deregulation of the data prices by the NCC in October 2015 and removal of data floor price led telecommunication industries to set their own data prices. This has resulted in the reduction of data subscription cost. Airtel Nigeria was the first to reduce its cost of data subscription in May 2016, subsequently, other competitors followed suit. For instance, in May 2016 a thousand naira could buy more data than it could in 2015. Though this is a landmark achievement, large amount of data which is proportionally expensive is still needed to watch television programmes. Furthermore, the proposed communication tax in the heat of the present economic recession in Nigeria has implication for broadband access, cost of data subscription and television streaming.

While 4G wireless network is expected to provide wireless download speeds of about 1Gbps in local area network (LAN) and 100 Mbps in wide area network (WAN) which is about 260 times greater than 3G wireless networks (Akintoye, 2013) 4G network is not evenly distributed. These existing challenges of Internet penetration can mitigate the extent to which television stations can actively get involved in live streaming of programmes because it is paramount for television operators to have access to steady broadband facilities. In addition, with low speed Internet connectivity, poor existing Internet infrastructure and digital divide in rural and urban centers (ITU, 2015; Mirza and Beltrán, 2014; Maciejewski, Fischerand Roginska, 2014), television stations may find it challenging adopting television streaming. As such, how readily accessible are television live and on-demand streams to Internet users and to what extent do respondents have the necessary computer literacy skills needed to adopt television streaming? With audience shift to new media technologies as a result of its interactivity and enhanced feedback, do they find television streaming easy to adopt and useful especially with the size of data subscription which is proportionally costly to watch television programmes online? Past studies on new technology often approach it from the economic and technological side while consumers’ needs which determine the success of television streaming is often neglected (Yang & Kang, 2006). More so, studies have shown that demography of audience such as income, age, gender and educational status go a long way in influencing Internet usage.

These questions demand answers because television viewing is shifting from the confines of the sitting room to anywhere as long as the viewer is connected to the Internet (ITU, 2015). While developing countries are still striving to adopt television streaming which is Internet driven, non- ubiquitous broadband Internet connectivity will negatively impact smooth access to television streaming of programmes which may further discourage Internet users from watching television programmes on television stations’ websites. Based on the above, the researcher studied the influence of Internet penetration on the adoption of Television Streaming among stakeholders in selected states in South-West Nigeria.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The general objective of this study was to find out the influence of Internet penetration on the adoption of television streaming among stakeholders in South-West Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:

  1. determine the level of Internet penetration in South-West Nigeria;
  2. determine the extent to which residents in South-West Nigeria watch television programmes on television stations’ websites;
  3. examine the extent to which computer literacy skills promote residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria;
  4. determine the extent to which perceived ease of use facilitates residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria;
  5. examine the extent to which Ease of use promote residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria;
  6. explore the challenges militating against residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria;
  7. establish the extent to which selected television stations in South-West Nigeria have the appropriate technology to develop live streams;
  8. ascertain the frequency of uploads of daily live or on-demand programmes on the Internet by selected television stations in South-West Nigeria;
  9. find out challenges militating against television stations’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria;
  10. find out the significant difference in adoption of television streaming by demographic characteristics across residents in South-West Nigeria

1.4       Research Questions

  1. What is the level of Internet penetration in South-West Nigeria?
  2. What is the extent to which residents in South-West Nigeria watch television programmes on television stations’ websites?
  3. What is the extent to which computer literacy skills promote residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria?
  4. To what extent does perceived ease of use facilitates residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria?
  5. How does Ease of use promote residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria?
  6. What are the challenges militating against residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria?
  7. To what extent do selected television stations in South-West Nigeria have the appropriate technology to develop live streams?
  8. How often do selected television stations in South-West Nigeria upload their daily programmes live on the Internet?
  9. What are the challenges militating against television stations’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria?
  10. What is the significant difference in adoption of television streaming by demographic characteristics across residents in South-West Nigeria?
    • Hypotheses

H1 Availability of Internet Infrastructure significantly influences residents’ adoption of television streaming

H2 Access to the Internet significantly influences the adoption of television streaming by residents in South-West Nigeria

H3 Broadband Penetration significantly influences adoption of television streaming among residents in South-West Nigeria

H4 The cost of data subscription significantly influences residents’ adoption of television streaming

H5 Internet Penetration when moderated by attitude of residents in South-West Nigeria significantly influences their adoption of television streaming

H6 Demographic characteristics significantly influence residents’ adoption of television streaming

H7 Computer literacy skills significantly influences residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria.

H8 Perceived Usefulness significantly influences respondents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria.

H9 Ease of Use significantly influences residents’ adoption of television streaming in South-West Nigeria.

H10There is a significant difference in adoption of television streaming by demographic characteristics across residents in South-West Nigeria.

1.6       Significance of the Study

This study examined the extent to which Internet Penetration influenced the adoption of television streaming among stakeholders in South-West Nigeria. Television in Nigeria is recently gaining ground and as such, few studies have measured the extent to which Internet Penetration influences the adoption of television streaming. As such, the findings of this study would therefore be of immense benefits to the researcher as it would enable the researcher to expand the frontier of research in the field of television streaming. It would also provide empirical data for other researchers upon which further studies on New Media and Information and Communication Technologies in Nigeria could be conducted. Data from this study would also enrich the data bank of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) regarding Internet penetration in South-West Nigeria. This would provide ITU with statistical figures that could be used in ascertaining Internet penetration in Nigeria.

This study would be beneficial to Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Broadcasting Commission and Internet Service Providers as it would show the extent to which Internet access have penetrated the studied areas. At the same time, the findings from the study would provide data on the challenges stakeholders encounter in accessing the Internet and reveal the extent to which the demographic characteristics of respondents influences the Internet penetration. This information would therefore aid NCC and Internet Service Providers on the need to improve on existing communication policies that will improve Internet infrastructure in the country. This in turn would enhance Internet access, pave way for high speed Internet connectivity and reduce the cost of Internet access.

It would also help television stations to know the access and adoption pattern of television streaming among Internet users. It would also help television stations to know how study participants view the concept of television streaming. Findings would also help television stations to discover the challenges that Internet users encounters while trying to view streamed contents on their websites and to improve on those areas in order to pave way for a good streaming experience.

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