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Airtel seeks piece of video subscriptions market with free TV app

Telecom firm Airtel Kenya has launched a TV app service in the market
Telecom firm Airtel Kenya has launched a TV app service in the market. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Telecom firm Airtel Kenya has launched a TV app service in the market as it moves to tap the growing demand for movie streaming services and rev up data consumption on its network.

The free service dubbed Airtel TV will allow users to watch movies, documentaries, music and cartoons, seeking a piece in a market dominated by giants Netflix, Amazon and Showmax-- which provide videos on demand.

Airtel reckon that the service will be free for now, a pointer that seeks to earn money from consumption of data by its subscribers.

“Airtel TV is set to revolutionise the video on demand and Live TV viewing experience via smartphones, offering Airtel customers access to the very best shows, movies and live television engagements for free. Airtel TV has no monthly subscriptions and is accessible as long as you have data for streaming,” said Prasanta Das Sarma, CEO Airtel Kenya.

The other services including Netflix and Showmax offer video services for a monthly subscription fee.

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Safaricom dominated the mobile data market with 68.8 percent share of the subscribers followed by Airtel (25.8 percent) and Telkom Kenya at 5 percent.

The latest data from the Communications Authority shows that mobile data subscriptions in Kenya are currently at 52.01 million.

The online video platforms have become a popular alternative for consumption of streaming services, their adoption fuelled by improved access to cheap internet across the country.

DStv will add Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to its platforms, in a shift of strategy that has seen its parent firm, MultiChoice, ink partnership deals with the giant movie streaming services.

Netflix poses a growing competitive threat to MultiChoice and its own streaming service, Showmax, and the partnership move marks a shift in MultiChoice’s strategy from trying to compete with such players to working with them instead.

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