DStv protects turf with low-cost product


DStvMobile general manager Felix Kyengo (left) and MultiChoice Kenya general manager Stephen Isaboke display the DSTV Mobile decoder, Drifta, which can be used to receive programmes on an iPad or iPhone at Sh440 a month. Fredrick Onyango

Pay-TV operator DStv has launched a low cost platform to access its services through laptops, iPads and desktop computers in the race to defend and grow marketshare from recharged rivals.

The firm Wednesday unveiled a decoder that will offer its services through a number of sources as opposed to the fixed TV set to appeal to the increasingly mobile middle class.

Subscribers will pay Sh440 per month to access DStv services through mobile gadgets—making it’s the cheapest pay TV service in Kenya.

This signals that DStv will bet on a lower pricing to gain marketshare from its main rival Wananchi that is mulling to shake its dominance of Kenya’s pay TV market with a low cost model.

“The development and introduction of new technology is key to ensuring that DStv subscribers get more enjoyment and control of their television viewing at competitive rates,” said Stephen Isaboke, MultiChoice Kenya General Manager.

He added that the pricing will help DStv gain subscribers in a market where the use of computers and smart phones are gaining traction.

At Sh440, the mobile service is cheaper than the TV set prices that range from Sh800 to Sh7,000 and Wananchi’s cost of between Sh999 and Sh2,999.

“Consumers can even get weekly subscriptions at Sh250, just incase there is an event happening in a particular week that they do not want miss yet they do not want to subscribe for the full month,” added Mr Isaboke.

But subscribers will be required to pay a minimum of Sh7,000 for the decoder, a factor that could emerge as the weakest link to this product.

The new offering comes at a time when Wananchi Group is preparing to take on DStv in the Kenyan market with its strategy hinged on lower pricing and content, especially sports channels.

Last month, the firm moved its platform to satellite from cable, which had limited its reach making it difficult to match DStv in pricing.

Cable television allows viewers to access content in their homes using a fibre link, while satellite TV requires the use of a decoder and satellite dish, which is cheaper to install and allows mobility.

The new entrants — Smart TV, My TV and Star TV — have joined the race to dislodge South Africa’s DStv that has had little competition over the last 15 years, especially after the collapse of GTV IN 2008.

The planned entry of the mobile telephony firms into the TV market is set to complicate the market outlook for the pay TV firms, and DStv seems to be racing ahead of the telecom firms in capturing the mobile TV subscribers.

Globally, mobile TV has been tapped as a new growth area for both broadcasters and mobile firms.

[email protected]