Battle for African Pay-TV market hots up
By Nsikan Ikpe
In the competitive world of African Pay-TV, Kwese TV is clearly taking on the likes of DSTV, Startimes and other competitors and is not hiding it.
Launched in August 2016, Kwese TV is the brain child of the Zimbabwean businessman and serial entrepreneur, Strive Masiyawa, As part of its rapid expansion programme, Kwese TV is expected to officially start operations in Uganda this month.
This, coming on the heels of a February launch in Ghana, underscores the firms readiness to stamp its imprints most definitively on the continent’s burgeoning pay-TV market.
Significantly, the Kwese TV launch in Ghana was also a historic one with the country becoming the first to enjoy the service.
Originally, the plan had been to make the debut in Zimbabwe but after awaiting the nod to set up a base in the country, and not getting it, Strive Masiyiwa decided to move on. He however remains hopeful that the satellite will be launched in the coming weeks.
“We really wanted Zimbabwe to be on the launch schedule. More resources have been expended to getting the approvals in Zimbabwe than in all the countries put together!
“I remain hopeful that one day the approvals will be granted. As soon as that happens we will get Zimbabwe up and running within a matter of weeks, and we will create thousands of jobs,” he said on his popular Facebook page.
The Kwesé Network’s pay-TV satellite service started broadcasting beaming its full suite of programming to households in Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia, which make up the initial phase of the Kwesé TV rollout across Africa as part of a plan that targets some 40 nations.
Viewers in these countries can now access Kwesé TV via Kwesé’s own satellite and Set-Top-Box (STB) available at retailers.
Additionally, the company’s multi-platform offering cuts across linear, mobile and digital, making content accessible though free-to-air TV, mobile applications, web streaming and pay-TV (linear).
And to address, some of the marketing distortions that remain in the market, Kwese is introducing alternative offerings. For example, in addition to its multi-platform, multi-screen broadcasting model, Kwesé is offering a “pay-as-you-watch” service that enables viewers to purchase three- or seven-day passes to its full programming bouquet. The monthly subscription option, which gives subscribers access to the full suite of Kwesé TV programming, is available at $25 per month excluding Value-Added Tax (VAT).
Meanwhile, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) announced the launch of two new channels, Zee Bollymovies and Zee Bollynova, which will broadcast on Africa’s new pay-TV network Kwese TV.
Kwese will premiere Zee Bollymovies. The channel aims to become the number one destination for Bollywood on the continent.
Zee Bollynova also promises to create ‘Memorable Moments’ with its offering of a fusion of general entertainment programming, showcasing telenovelas and food shows.
Both channels will be available to viewers through Kwese’s multi-platform offering including linear TV, mobile app, and web streaming services delivering premium entertainment to viewers anywhere, anytime, on any screen. Zee Bollymovies channel is available on Kwese TV channel 155 while Zee Bollynova can be viewed on channel 150.
Kwese, a brand of Econet Media Limited, is a distinctly African entertainment company aiming to provide affordable and premium content to audiences across the continent through pay, free-to-air and digital television.
It joins a highly competitive market, with key features that could capture the eyes and meet the growing demands of African viewers, including you. Currently Kwesé TV a satellite pay-TV service is only available in Rwanda, Zambia and Ghana; and is coming soon to Uganda although Kwese Free Sports, a free-to-air channel has already been airing in Uganda.
KweseTV is available on Mobile and interested subscribers can also enjoy its services through the use of dedicated KweseTV decoders and dish.
Kwese works with DHL to provide 24 hour shipping of decoders across Africa, with a target of reaching clients in over 40 countries by the end of the year.
With over 50 channels of world class entertainment, Kwese looks to fit in the shoes that DStv and Startimes could have failed in delivering digital content to Africans at the rate each can afford. And for added measure, soccer fans will have free viewership of the English Premier League and some action from Spain.