Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Tuesday, Feb 25th

The battle for TV viewers in Kenya

The battle for TV viewers in Kenya.

When Safaricom plunged into the digital TV space in Kenya, it seemed like a wake-up call for all in the space and an earnest scramble for viewership began.

Pay TV brands and branded free-to-air (FTA) set top boxes have dominated the space leaving viewers spoilt for choice on which product to take. Right after Safaricom's BigBox launch, DStv slashed prices for new subscribers to capture more of the market.

"Digital migration has led to the entry of new players in the market, and as a result traditional players are re-strategizing their business models to cope with increasing competition. The current key players are DStv, Pan-Africa Network Group (PANG), Bamba TV, KBC (Signet), Zuku, and the Africa Digital Network Consortium (ADNC)," writes Leonard Kore, research analyst for Telecoms and Media, East Africa with IDC.

Kore now compares the fusion between banking and mobile money to what is going to happen in the television space: the fusion of internet and TV.

Safaricom's launch of the BigBox taking on Zuku in providing data and television is something the region will see more of, Kore asserts.

The IPTV revolution can be spotted all over the continent. MTN (Frontrow), Altech (Node) and Time Media (Vidi) in South Africa are an indication of the changing times in Video-on-Demand (VoD). Netflix has plans to also enter the South African market, springing a wild card in content variety.

Kore believes that for some players, defining some aspects of their offering would go a long way in separating themselves from the competition.

Firstly, companies need to choose their target audience. Depending on the price and value of their services, companies will see different segments of the population take up their services.

"For the middle and upper classes, value addition will be the key customer acquisition strategy. This addition could include premium content or dual/triple-play bundling with Internet services, all of which should be communicated clearly to users," Kore explained.

"Telcos and ISPs such as Safaricom, Liquid Telecom, Wananchi, and Jamii Telecoms have a big advantage in that they can leverage their fiber infrastructures to bundle services. Liquid Telecom Kenya and Jamii Telecoms have already shown interest in launching IPTV services by seeking partnerships with content providers," he added.

Secondly, the researcher also said price points for the products will be a major inclination in customer acquisition.

Kore explained that majority of TV viewers in Kenya have enjoyed free television in the past and the digital TV providers need to have good products to compel users to spend money on television.

Currently there are no other new entrants into the Kenyan market, but the competition will heat up as the deadline to switch off analogue signals enters the final leg.

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