Video-on-demand gains a foothold in Kenyan market

Showmax Chief Executive Officer John Kotsaftis. file photo | nmg
Showmax Chief Executive Officer John Kotsaftis. file photo | nmg 

Video streaming has become a sensation, providing thousands of movies and series at the click of a button, and anchoring viewers firmly in the driver’s seat of their experience.

In many developed markets, streaming has knocked the flavour out of the old-fashioned TV. Today, consumers are fast cutting the cord of dependence on traditional TV and for a good reason.

Online streaming allows end users to receive top-tier movies, series and TV shows in pitch-perfect quality, and to consume them from their gadgets, including smartphones.
Streaming services on offer to Kenyans have grown significantly over the last two years.

As trendy as streaming is, what are the actual benefits? What are the downsides? How do different services compare to one another? And what features should consumers look for as they seek to balance experience and cost?

Below we review some of the streaming and video-on-demand services on offer to Kenyans.


Showmax is designed with developing markets, particularly in Africa, in mind. Its packages include Showmax Select, going for Sh330, which is also customised for use on mobile devices . Its premium package sells at Sh880 per month.

Showmax has a bandwidth calculator which allows the consumer to determine the amount of data they will need per month to view content. This enables the user to budget beforehand.

The inclusion of an M-Pesa payment option, besides credit cards and PayPal, makes Showmax particularly handy for Kenyans. Subscribers on Showmax can download up to 25 shows from the site every month. These videos have a “shelf life” of 30 days.


Nigeria’s IROKOtv has taken care of lovers of Nollywood movies . IROKOtv has more than 5,000 Nollywood titles in its catalogue.

The company made its entry into the Kenyan market in October this year with a subscription model that is friendly for those that don’t want to spend too much money on data.

25 IROKOtv kiosks have been set up in Nairobi where customers can access free data to download their favourite Nollywood content. Currently, IROKOtv is offering an entry subscription price of Sh600 per year.


Netflix is the king in the online streaming business. Famous for its House of Cards blockbuster, the platform boasts over 100 million subscribers globally.

With about Sh820 per month ($7.99) one can stream a wide range of movies, series and documentaries. Consumers can download some of this content for offline viewing. With Sh1,400, up to four people can stream different content from one account.

Netflix operates on a variety of devices including PC, tablet and game consoles. Netflix is available on Android and iOS as a mobile app, and also on the web.

Amazon Video

Amazon Video was an unexpected Christmas Gift in December last year when it first became available to Kenyans and residents of 199 other countries for the first time.
This streaming site is considered the best deal for families because of its inexhaustible pool of children’s programming.

Amazon Prime Video customers get an introductory subscription price of Sh308 ($2.99) per month before this is ramped up to Sh617 ($5.99) after the first six months.


iFlix is a streaming service targeting viewers in emerging markets. For a subscription price of Sh260 per month, users have access to classic Hollywood content and a chance to explore the lesser beaten path of Bollywood and Asian content.

Offline watching is available and customers can stream on their phones, tablets, laptops or televisions. Viewers can also watch content on two devices at the same time.