Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Kwese ditches pay-TV service, settles for Free to Air

By Victor Baatweng

Just under 18 months in operation, Pan African pay television service provider Econet Media, largely known as Kwese TV, has already stopped its satellite subscription service and replaced it with “free to air” service.

The drastic move is said to be part of the company’s new business strategy which will also see the cutting-off of third-party channels as well as the removal of Kwes├® branded sports (excluding KFS) and general entertainment channels.

The halt comes hardly a year after the company launched its services in Botswana and other African countries.

While pundits maintain that the company was forced to halt subscription services because of its failure to gain traction with subscribers ÔÇô precisely those who follow European soccer, the company on the other hand says the new development is informed by its new business strategy which is aligned to the changes in the global digital and satellite broadcasting sector.

Kwes├® Tv, which was seen as key rival to long time industry player ÔÇô Multi Choice’s DSTV was launched at a time when the global pay television industry was in transition. Business models were evolving from traditional content rights linked to linear broadcast channels, to premium content rights moving towards digital media platforms.

As a result of the new changes, Kwese Tv has already started to broadcast free-to-air channels which include religious and free news channels only.

Joe Hundah, Group President and Chief Executive of Econet Media, says the business’ repositioning is perfectly timed in response to market trends.

“We believe these changes will safeguard the future success of our business as we continue to make an indelible impact on Africa’s media industry. The revised business strategy will also ensure that Kwes├® TV continues to remain competitive within the industry. Refocusing our business offering across markets is a strategic move which aligns our business to OTT and video-on-demand trends which present significant growth opportunities for Kwes├®. This renewed focus on digital services will see us provide new compelling offers for our customer’s enjoyment.”

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