Digital TV

Kenya Is Experiencing Low Pay-TV Subscription Due To DTT And Streaming

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has released a report which indicates that pay television subscription in 2017 plummeted for the first time in three years, partly because of stiff competition from digital TV platforms.

The KNBS report contains data from the Economic Survey 2018 which showed that cable TV subscription fell 16.3 percent from 95,493 in 2016 to 79,938 in 2017.

The KNBS said: “The decline can be attributed to the availability of  online streaming platforms and use of digital terrestrial services that may not require monthly subscription payment."

DStv, StarTimes, GOtv and Zuku are the four players in the Kenyan pay-TV market. Harsh economic times, coinciding with the election year in 2017, forced most households to cut back on disposable income.

Late last year, players like StarTimes Media and MultiChoice, owner of DStv and GOtv brands, made changes to their various packages to suit the pocket of their customers, retain them and appeal to more potential subscribers.

DStv, for example, reduced the monthly bouquet prices by between three and nine percent. It also appealed to its GOtv customers with a new subscription option known as GOtv Max, offering more content by adding four new channels of both local and international programming to its premium package subscribers.

The Chinese pay-TV firm StarTimes and also expanded its service to reach out to five more Kenyan locations namely; Kitui, Trans-Nzoia, Garissa, Kapenguria, Embu, and Laikipia-  in June 2017, to deepen its rural reach in the country.

As cable TV subscription dropped, the Economic Survey 2018 revealed that subscription for the pocket-friendly Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) services increased by 11 percent from 3.9 million in the year 2016 to 4.3 million in 2017. This upsurge coincided with a sharp rise in Internet subscription.

The Economic Survey 2018 showed that there was an increase in the total wireless Internet subscription by 24.9 percent to 33.2 million subscribers last year.
Similarly, there was an increase in total fixed wired Internet subscription by 59.2 percent from 124,637 in 2016 to 198,472 in 2017.

KNBS attributed the increase to the ongoing laying of fibre across the country which brought about an in an increase in bandwidth capacity and has helped grow the telecommunication and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) business in 2018.


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