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Exposure and Content Preference of Online Television Streaming among University Students in North Central, Nigeria

Ugboaja S U*, Anorue L I, Okonkwo C P, Ayogu G O

Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria

*Corresponding Author:
Ugboaja SU
Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
E-mail: [email protected]

Received: 01-June-2022, Manuscript No. gmj-22-59350; Editor assigned: 03-June-2022, PreQC No. gmj-22-59350; Reviewed: 17-Jun-2022, QC No. gmj-22-59350; Revised: 22-Jun-2022, Manuscript No. gmj-22-59350 (R); Published: 30-Jun-2022, DOI: 10.36648/1550-7521.20.52.309

Citation:Ugboaja SU, Anorue LI, Okonkwo CP, Ayogu GO (2022) Exposure and Content Preference of Online Television Streaming among University Students in North Central, Nigeria. Global Media Journal, 20:52.

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Abstract

This study, therefore, examines exposure and content preference of online television streaming among university students in North Central, Nigeria. The survey research method was used to collect data from respondents in six universities (federal and state) in three selected states in the North-Central zone of the country namely: Niger, Benue and Kwara. The sample size for the study was 383. The study found that the majority of the students sampled in the North Central zone of Nigeria were exposed to online television streaming. Therefore, the study, recommends that there should be a reduction in the cost of internet data subscriptions by network service providers in the country to encourage the adoption of online TV streaming by students.

Keywords

Exposure; Content Preference; Streaming; Subscription

Introduction

The television industry all over the globe has a well-documented history of incremental evolution; black and white television gave way to colour television, big boxes television was modernized into flat screens, limited television channels ballooned into multiple channels across different stations, network gave birth to cable and satellite, and presently all three are making room for online and mobile platforms [1].

These novel technologies have had a huge influence on many spheres of human endeavour during the last few decades, resulting in numerous changes in the daily lives of media audiences.

One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the rise of streaming services and mobile devices. Many people cannot imagine or do not recall a period when they did not have constant access to media via their mobile devices. Such advances have resulted in cultural alterations in how people consume media, with television being one of the most affected areas.

It was not long ago that television broadcasters were the only ones who decided when the public may watch their favourite shows. As we go into a more complicated and dynamic viewing landscape with early adopters driving change and broadcasters having less control, there has been a paradigm shift with audiences. (Screen Australia, 2012). Karvonen (2016) submits that the broadcast model is changing, that technology is evolving, that there is more content to choose from than ever before, and that as a result of these changes, new paradigms are emerging. Because media audiences can watch shows live, on-demand, anywhere, and at any time, the viewing world has become more complex and dynamic.

Streaming television (or streaming TV) is the digital distribution of television content such as TV shows over the Internet as streaming video. Dedicated terrestrial television transmitted by over-the-air aerial systems, cable television, and/or satellite television systems is contrasted with streaming TV [2]. Streaming media is the technology that allows for the continuous flow of multimedia across the Internet. Video is a form of multimedia that incorporates both visual and auditory elements. The delivery of audio/video in real time through networks is referred to as streaming media in higher education [3].

Online TV streaming is growing in leaps and bounds among young Nigerians, especially among Millennials and the aptly termed Gen Z. For many people in these generations, online TV streaming presents a novel, refreshing way to stay in touch with the latest contents, especially movies, news, sports and other entertainment fare. Little wonder the likes of Netflix, Disney,Ndani TV, and Iroko TV, among others, have doubled down on the youth-dominated Nigerian market as a focus area. A lot of incentives are regularly being churned out by these competing online streaming providers - including one-month free viewing packages - all in a bid to grab a larger slice of the growing market of potential online TV streaming subscribers in Nigeria [4].

Data from Statista shows that in Africa, Netflix was estimated to reach some 2.6 million subscribers by the end of 2021, out of a population of about 1.2 billion people. By its turn, the Pay- Tv service from MultiChoice's Showmax counted 861 thousand users in Africa. MultiChoice Showmax is part of the MultiChoice Group, a South-African company and provides the service in over 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, while the American company is present in all 54 African countries [5].

Furthermore, Digital TV Research, which tracks the streaming industry, forecasts that Netflix, will nearly double its African subscriber base from 2.6 million to 5.8 million by 2026 and that the overall streaming market on the continent will more than triple in size to 15 million over the same period. In Nigeria, the online TV streaming market, dominated by the big three of Netflix, Showmax and iRoko TV, as well as a few other players such as Ndani TV and the recently launched Glo TV, are estimated to command about 1.8m active subscribers by end of 2021 [6].

Students are not only seeing shows on traditional television sets, but also on mobile devices and Smart TV that permit them to access mass media contents via the Internet. With the coming of the Internet, students’ favourite programmes are distributed through online streaming to personal gadgets [7].

Equally germane to state is that online television streaming gives the audience the leverage of decision-making authority over the conventional television. Nai-Se (2013) argues that with the advent of Internet television or online television, audiences can control which television shows they stream, and the time at which they watch.

But for the audience to enjoy an impeccable online television experience there must be functional internet access and bandwidth. Mirza and Beltran (2012) cited in Atakiti (2017) posit that high-speed broadband technologies should be available to boost individual consumption of online media content. For this to be achieved, streaming media applications are meant to be compatible with the end-users’ internet connectivity. This implies that streaming services require the availability of high internet speed for the end users to enjoy an effective online media experience.

Nigeria is Africa's largest mobile telecommunications market, due to fast IT infrastructure development following the successful auction of Digital Mobile Licenses (DML) in 2001. Nigeria's telecom sector has 195.4 million mobile lines as of January 2022, with over 141 million of those lines connected to internet services. In 2024, this number is expected to rise to 153 million internet users with a broadband connection of 40.88 percent [8].

It is imperative to note that exposure to, and use of every media technology is key to its survival and development. This is especially so among the students who are usually well enamoured with new technology. In Nigeria, students have a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with television programming through online television streaming. Notably, the bulky nature of television, the nature of hostels in Nigerian universities and the erratic power problems in the country hugely limited students’ exposure to conventional television. Now that programmers have the opportunity to reconnect with an important market segment, a study on exposure and content preference will surely provide vital marketing data. Evidence from the literature suggests that such data are in dire need.

Reliance on foreign data on student’s exposure and content preference of online television streaming may not serve the Nigerian market where economic realities, cultural orientations, access to internet infrastructure, content availability and regulations may differ considerably.

There is a glaring inequality in the preponderance of online television streaming providers in the North Central zone in particular, especially compared with other zones such as the Southwest zone, etc. This necessitated the need to localize the study to the North Central zone of the country.

The North Central geo-political zone in Nigeria is also known as the Middle Belt region. The North Central zone has six states namely: Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kwara, Plateau, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory-Abuja. The North Central zone is the most diverse ethnic group in Nigeria such as the Gbagyi, Tiv, Igala, Idoma, Ebira, Nupe, Eggon-Mada, Berom, Yoruba and Mangu. The major cities in the North Central zone are Abuja, Minna, Lafia, Lokoja, Jos, Makurdi and Ilorin [9].

This study, therefore, examined exposure and content preference of online television streaming among university students in North Central, Nigeria.

Research Questions

The following research questions led this investigation:

1. To what extent are students exposed to online television streaming in North Central, Nigeria?

2. What are the kinds of content that students in North Central, Nigeria are exposed to on online television streaming?

3. What are the factors affecting the adoption of online television streaming by students’ in North Central, Nigeria?

Research Methodology

Research Design This study adopted a survey research design. The reason for the adoption of this method is based on the fact that this study collected and analyzed quantitative data capable of providing valuable information for the study [10].

Population of the study Due to the difficulty in arriving at a specific number of persons who are exposed to the various online television streaming platforms, it becomes necessary to define a specific population. Therefore, the population for this study consisted of students (undergraduates and postgraduates) in tertiary institutions within the North Central zone of the country. The justification for this is that, the media are very ubiquitous and because the students are away from home, online streaming media becomes a better option for them to gain access to the media. This is more so due to the presence of various internet facilities within the campus environment such as free Wi-Fi connection, discounted subscriptions by major internet service providers, and so on. These factors make online television streaming the most suitable attraction for them as they use online media for entertainment, information and as a means of education since they are away from home and by implication away from the traditional media [11].

According to data from the Academic Planning Offices of the selected tertiary institutions, the population of students both undergraduates and postgraduates from the six selected tertiary institutions as at 2020/2021 academic session is as follows:

Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State 22, 000

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State 19, 241

University of Ilorin, Kwara State 34, 999

Kwara State University, Malete, Kwara State 13, 456

Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State 26, 504

Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State 31, 024

The total population stood at 147, 224

Sample Size Determination

The sample size for this study is 383. The sample size was arrived at using the Krejcie and Morgan (1970) sample size determination formula. The formula states thus:

 

image

 

Where: S= required sample size X= z value (1.96 for 95% confidence level) N= population size P= population proportion (expressed in decimal, 0.5) d= degree of accuracy (5%), expressed as a proportion (0.5) margin error

Step 1: Basic Sample Size

Applying these variables to the formula therefore, the following calculations were arrived at:

 

image

 

 

image

 

The sample size for this study will be 383.

Sampling Technique

 

The researcher adopted a multi-stage sampling technique for this study.

Stage 1: Three states were selected from the seven states through a simple random sampling technique for the study. They are; Benue, Kwara, and Niger states. To this end, the seven states in the North Central zone (including the Federal Capital Territory) were subjected to balloting which later saw to the selection of the three states above [12].

Stage 2: The researcher adopted the cluster sampling technique because the population is large and vastly spread. The states were regarded as clusters. Then one federal university was selected from each of the three selected states (Benue, Kwara, and Niger) through a simple random technique. The three federal universities selected through a purposive sampling technique were; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, and the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State. The reason for adopting purposive sampling is to ensure that all the selected institutions are within the same category, federal universities and State universities and therefore share similar variables for consistency [13].

In addition, the researcher selected one state university also from each of the selected three States of Benue, Kwara, and Niger. The three selected state universities picked through a purposive sampling technique were Benue State University, Makurdi, Kwara State University, Malete, and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai. Similarly, it was important to select institutions within the same category but is quite different from the other category so that all essential variables are covered within the sample population [14].

Stage 3: Two faculties were selected from each of the three selected federal and state universities through a simple random sampling technique by means of balloting or lucky dip in which the names of all the faculties were written and put in a basket. The twelve selected faculties are as follows:

• Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (School of Agriculture and Agricultural Science (SAAS and School of Engineering and Engineering Technology).

• University of Ilorin (Faculty of Physical Sciences and Faculty of Social Sciences).

• Federal University of Technology, Minna (School of Electrical and Engineering Technology and School of Information and Communication Technology).

• Benue State University, Makurdi (Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Agriculture).

• Kwara State University, Malete (Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Faculty of Social Sciences).

• Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda University, Lapai (Faculty of Physical Sciences and Faculty of Communications and Languages).

Stage 4: This stage entails the selection of departments in the faculties from where individual respondents were selected using a simple random technique. One department was selected from each faculty thereby making it 12 departments from the six selected universities (Table 1).

University Faculty Department
Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi School of Agriculture and Agricultural Sciences
School of Engineering and Engineering Technology
Soil Science
Civil Engineering
University of Ilorin Faculty of Physical Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Geology
Department of Political Science
     
Federal University of Technology, Minna School of Electrical and Engineering Technology
School of Information and Communication Technology
Civil Engineering
Information and Media Technology
     
Benue State University, Makurdi Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Agriculture
English and Literary Studies
Animal Science
Kwara State University, Malete Faculty of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences
Urban and Regional Planning Economics
Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda University, Lapai Faculty of Physical Sciences
Faculty of Communications and Languages
Physics
Mass Communication
6 12 12

Table 1. Distribution of the Selected Universities, Faculties and Departments.

Stage 5: The researcher adopted Bowley’s proportionate sampling technique to determine the number of respondents from each of the selected departments (Table 2).

Institutions Departments No. of Questionnaire
University of Agriculture, Markurdi Department of Soil Science, UAM 35
Department of Civil Engineering, UAM 34
University of Ilorin Department of Geology, Unilorin 46
Department of Political Science, Unilorin 45
Federal University of Technology, Minna Department of Civil Engineering, FUT, Minna 29
Department of Information and Media Technology 28
Benue State University Department of English and Literary Studies, BSU 41
Department of Animal Science, BSU 40
Kwara State University, Malete Department of Urban and Regional Planning, (KWASU) 18
Department of Economics 17
Ibrahim Badamusi Babangida University, Lapai Department of Physics, IBBU, Lapai 25
Department of Mass Communication 25
Total   383

Table 2. Distribution of copies of the questionnaire among the six selected universities.

Stage 6: The Convenience sampling technique was adopted in administering copies of the questionnaire to the respondents in the chosen departments.

Measuring Instrument for Data Collection

The questionnaire was used as an instrument for data collection for this study. After questionnaire retrieval, a total of 375 copies were adjudged fit for analysis from the 383 copies recovered.

Method of Data Collection

The copies of the questionnaire were administered with the help of ten trained research assistants this is because the respondents are educated.

Method of Data Presentation and Analysis

The data generated were analysed using mean, percentage (%), and analysis of variance tests between-subject effects. The demographic and psychographic data collected were also analysed using SPSS, version 20 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, II).

Results

The table above shows that the majority of the respondents sampled were male 233 (62.2%) while females were 142 (37.8%). This implies that the study respondents were not equally represented by gender and the study was male-dominated. Again, it was observed during the course of the research in the field that the male respondents were more willing to fill the copies of the questionnaire than their female counterparts (Table 3).

S/N Variables   F %
1. Gender Male 233 62.20%
Female 142 37.80%
2. Age 18 – 25 259 69.00%
26 – 35 73 19.50%
36 – 45 30 8%
3. Educational
Qualification
in pursuit
Above 45 13 3.50%
B.A/B.Sc. 254 67.7%
M.Sc./PhD 121 32.3%
- - -
  Total - 375 100

Table 3. Distribution of response showing demographic data of the respondents (Students).

From the table, the majority of the respondents were within the age range of 18-25 259 (69.0%) while those within the age range of above 45 were the least 13 (3.5%). This implies that online television streaming is heavily skewed towards the Millennial and the aptly termed Gen Z as against the older generation.

From the above table, it can be deduced that the majority of the sampled respondents were undergraduate students 254 (67.7%) while 121 (32.3%) were postgraduate students. This implies that all the sampled respondents are educated and will have knowledge of online television streaming as well as its attendant benefits as against the traditional medium of watching television.

Research Question 1: To what extent are students’ exposed to online televisions streaming in North Central, Nigeria?

As indicated in the table above, the majority of the students sampled for this study 375 (100%) are exposed to media messages on online television streaming. It implies that the majority of the sampled respondents have heard about the new technology (online TV streaming) of watching their favourite shows as against the old method (Table 4).

    Frequency (n=375) Percentage (%)
Are you exposed to online television streaming? Yes 375 100%
No - -
Indifferent - -
How often are you exposed to online TV streaming? Daily 290 77.30%
Once a week 52 13.80%
Bi-weekly - -
Monthly 23 6.20%
  82 2.70%
Are you exposed to other devices e.g television, laptop, phone, desktop etc. that can be used for online television streaming Yes 375 100%
No - -
Indifferent - -
Through which medium do you stream online television content Laptop 91 24.20%
Desktop 9 2.40%
Tablet 21 5.70%
Smartphone 211 56.20%
Smart TV 43 11.50%

Table 4. Showing students’ exposure to online television streaming in North Central, Nigeria.

Also, the result in the table shows that the majority of the sampled respondents 290 (77.3%) were exposed to online television streaming on a daily basis while the least respondents 10 (2.7%) were exposed to online television streaming on a monthly basis.

This suggests that online television streaming has become an integral part of students’ daily routine since they can now access media content at their most convenient time and place. Similarly, the table shows the level of respondents’ exposure to other devices used for the purpose of streaming media content online. All the respondents sampled 375 (100%) were exposed to other devices that can be used to stream media content online. What this means is that the majority of the respondents are information technology savvy and have keyed into the growing importance of online television streaming.

From the above table and figure 3, the majority of the students sampled for this study 211 (56.2%) used their phones mostly to stream media content online as against the least 9 (2.4%) of students who depend on desktop computers to stream media content online. The results also show that Smartphones usage for streaming is at the expense of laptop computers 91(24.2%). This implies that the use of smartphones has become the most popular device for streaming media content online. The reason for this is not far-fetched because most students spend more time with their phones than the number of time they spend with their laptops. This finding can be linked to students’ increased appetite for video content and its availability with the expansion of high speed 4G data networks which allow students to stream media content from the various streaming sites with their phones.

Research question 2: What are the kinds of content that students’ in North Central, Nigeria are exposed to via online television streaming?

The above table reveals that most students 281 (74.9%) prefer to stream media content online at night after they must have concluded their academic activities for the day. This was followed by students 40 (10.7%) who prefer to stream television programmes in the morning. This implies that most students are more comfortable streaming movies online at night than at any other period in the day. It may also be connected to the fact that most of the internet service providers have a special bonus package for students with low data subscription fees at night than any other period in the day (Table 5).

  Frequency Percentage %
When do you prefer to stream TV (n = 375 )   (%)
Morning 40 10.70%
     
Programs online in a day? At Noon 37 9.90%
Afternoon 17  
    4.50%
Night 281  
    74.90%
Which of the online TV streaming/video
Sites do you visit most?
Netflix 287 76.60%
Amazon 12 3.20%
Hulu.com 15 4%
Roku 20 5.23%
Ndani TV 10 2.60%
Others 31 8.30%
What kind of content do you often watch online? News 50 13.30%
Movies 202 53.90%
Sports 51 13.70%
Documentaries 23 6.10%
Others 49 13.00%

Table 5. Showing the kind of content that students’ in North Central Nigeria are exposed to via online TV streaming.

More so, the table shows that the majority of the students 287 (76.6%) visit Netflix the most for the purpose of streaming media content online. This was closely followed by other local television stations 31 (8.3%). The least visited streaming site by the students is Ndani TV 10 (2.6%). The implication of these results is that most students have embraced Netflix as their best online streaming site in the wake of these new technologies based on the availability of media content provided through cable and television outlets, but also original content delivered across an array of devices.

Furthermore, the table reveals the type of online TV content that respondents stream most while online. The majority of the respondents 202 (53.9%) preferred streaming movies online while 50 (13.3%) of the respondents asserted that their most preferred media content online is news. The least type of media content that the respondents’ preferred to stream is documentaries 23 (6.1%). This suggests that the majority of the students are enamoured with streaming movies online than other genres of media content. Also, it implies that online TV streaming has heralded a new platform for respondents to catch up with the latest episodes of movies and other TV series at their most convenient time.

Research question 3: What is the Factors Affecting the Adoption of Online Television Streaming by Nigerian University Students in North-Central, Nigeria? (Table 6)

  Frequency Percentage
Do you think that there are challenges facing the adoption of online television streaming in North Central, Nigeria (n = 383 ) (%)
Yes 375 100%
No -  
  -
Indifferent -  
  -
In your view, what are the challenges facing the adoption of online television streaming in North Central, Nigeria High cost of data subscription 216 57.60%
Poor Network connectivity 21 5.60%
Low internet penetration 10  
  2.70%
High cost of streaming gadgets 60  
  16%
High cost of subscription for streaming 47  
Poor Electricity Supply 2  
   

Table 6. Showing factors affecting the adoption of online television streaming by students in North Central, Nigeria.

The table shows that the majority of the respondents sampled 375 (100%) attested to the fact that there are well-documented challenges affecting the adoption of online television streaming by Nigerian University students. The implication of this result is that there are numerous challenges preventing students from enjoying these emerging technologies.

Likewise, from the table and figure 7 above, the majority of the respondents 216 (57.6%) indicated that the high cost of data subscription is the major problem affecting the adoption of online television streaming by Nigerian university students. The least problem identified by some respondents 10 (2.7%) was low internet penetration. This indicates that the high cost of data subscription is a major problem facing the adoption of online television streaming by Nigerian university students.

Discussion of Findings

The quantitative data collected, presented in the tables were analyzed under this sub-heading as an attempt to clarify the research questions raised for this study. The discussion further looked at findings of past related studies and how they refute or support this present study. It is also germane to note that the discussion was done in tandem with how the analysis assisted to address the objectives and answer the research questions.

The finding of this study aligns with the finding of Atakiti (2017) who found that the majority of respondents in the southwest geopolitical zone are highly exposed to online television streaming. The respondents’ high level of exposure to online television streaming has provided an alternative platform for them to follow their favourite shows on the go.

From the quantitative data presented, 202 (53.9%) of the students sampled said that their most streamed content online is movies. This finding is contrary to the finding of Damaratoski, Field, Mizell, and Budden (2011) that stated that the majority of students are so much in love with situational comedy, sports, and reality television shows across different platforms. This finding is also similar to Camilleri and Falzon's (2020) findings, which indicated that students used online streaming technology to view instructive programs, such as news and talk shows, as well as enjoyment programs, such as movies and series, through online streaming services.

The study found that high cost of data subscription 216 (57.6%), high cost of streaming gadgets 60 (16%), poor electricity supply 21 (5.6%) were some of the major factors affecting the adoption of online television streaming by university students in North Central, Nigeria. This finding is in agreement with the finding of Dasgupta & Grover (2019) that data consumption is one of the main factors that millennials faced when it comes to the adoption of online television streaming. It is also consistent with the finding of Atakiti (2017) that quick data consumption, poor network services, cost of data subscription and poor power supply are some of the challenges militating against the effective adoption of television streaming by people in South-West, Nigeria.

Similarly, Karamshuk, Sastry, Secker and Chanderia (2015) found that connection speeds are very important for users to enjoy web-based TV streaming and that external factors often have a huge impact on live TV usage. This finding is in agreement with the finding of this study.

However, the finding of this study is inconsistent with the finding of Lee, Nagpal, Ruane & Lim (2018) who found that ease of use and age played key factors when it comes to the adoption of different types of media.

Conclusion

This study is a novel attempt to investigate exposure and content preference for online television streaming among university students in North Central, Nigeria. From the findings of this study, it is worthy to state that university students in the North Central zone of the country are well exposed to online television streaming. Also, the study found that the majority of students in the North Central zone of the country prefer to stream movies most across the notable online streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, iRokoTV, NdaniTV and others.

Recommendations

Based on the findings and observations from the field, the study hereby offers the following specific recommendations:

1. Broadband penetration remains a big requirement to achieving a considerable mileage in online TV streaming. The Government has a major role to play here by investing in broadband infrastructure to make the internet accessible to students and other citizens.

2. Reduction in the cost of data by service providers. This would require the involvement of industry regulators and the government. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) must continuously advocate lower and more affordable data subscription rates among telecom service providers and operators. Data roll-over and flattening out of subscription rates are essential to this.

3. Data subsidy for students: This can be considered by the government as a likely solution. Research shows a linkage between data download speeds and GDP growth. This initiative will go a long way in boosting not only the sphere of online streaming but would also expose the beneficiaries further while boosting the economy.

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