Ericsson eyes Kenya pay-TV market with on-demand videos


The Ericsson Group headquarters in Kista, north of Stockholm. PHOTO | FILE

Global IT giant Ericsson is eyeing Kenya’s pay-TV market with a video-on-demand service that will be broadcast on smartphones and tablets.

The Sweden-based software and infrastructure firm plans to partner with local mobile network providers to offer a mix of international and local content on the Nuvu platform, which currently has about 3,000 titles including Nollywood, Hollywood, Bollywood, and local gospel content.

Subscribers will either pay a monthly premium fee of about Sh511 ($5) to access all content or a weekly fee of about Sh204 ($2) which offers select content.

Ericson said the service, already launched in Nigeria, will initially be available on Android app-based devices. 

Robert Rudin, the Ericsson Kenya Country Manager, said the company’s entry into Kenya is motivated by the rising usage of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Ericsson says its entry will be a boon for local telecommunication firms, content providers and broadcasters.

“It is widely expected that Kenya will be the second country for Nuvu to be rolled out after Nigeria.

‘‘Nuvu is currently being deployed by Airtel in Nigeria and will be available around February/March 2016,” Mr Rudin said in a statement. “We are no doubt seeing a shift in the way people consume television and video content and the demand for flexibility and reliability will influence operator strategies.”

Subscribers will download content directly to their smartphones or tablets at no additional data cost during off-peak network times, and access the content offline for up to 30 days after downloading.

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The Ericsson service will ride on other telecommunication companies’ infrastructure, which will be integrated into their mobile operators’ customer relationship management and payment systems.

It intends to minimise data costs for both operator and consumers by delivering content during off-peak hours, addressing the cost challenge that has so far been an obstacle for video-on-demand uptake in Africa.

Ericsson said the service is packaged as value added for mobile operators in the region and is expected to boost the uptake of their 3G and 4G Internet.

“Content downloaded via Nuvu will be secure as the platform offers Digital Rights Management (DRM). This protects content from piracy, an important consideration especially for content producers,” said Mr Rudin.