By Eugene Wanekeya
For the past two days, Kenyans on Twitter aka #KOT have been trolling DStv Kenya over the Pay TV provider’s announcement that it will be raising its monthly subscription charges for the various packages on offer from the month of October this year. In spite of Multichoice – the mother company – giving a very valid reason that the depreciating value of the Kenya Shilling against the US Dollar has negatively impacted business thus forcing the upward price adjustments, some subscribers are hearing none of it.
In comparison to other Pay TV providers in Africa, DStv is considered premium and rightly so. Its quality of programs especially sports and entertainment for both adults and kids are way better than any other provider in the continent hence the reason loyal subscribers do not mind paying extra. This is not meant to be a puff piece, it is a fair assessment and credit should be given where it is deserved. DStv is however likely to lose its monopoly on quality content very soon if other Pay TV providers in the market begin taking advantage of current technology to provide fresh content to subscribers.
First on the list is Safaricom. The company recently announced its entry into the Pay TV business and as an added value, there is an option to stream some content via the internet which is part of the subscription package. Its future plan however, is to enable subscribers be able to stream quality international content. The ability to steam content online will give subscribers access to plenty of options for sports, entertainment and news. For years, DStv has enjoyed exclusivity over many of these international channels but the company is limited to satellite transmission. Introducing online streaming into the mix opens up a whole new dynamic. With internet rates going down thanks to advances in technology, the ball is on Safaricom’s court. With good pricing, the company will definitely take a bite off DStv’s premium paying customers.
“..quality TV content is a luxury not a necessity and as you are well aware, luxuries do not come cheap.”
The other Pay TV provider that can maximise on DStv’s woes is Zuku. The provider already offers internet connectivity as part of the subscription package. However, the internet is independent of the TV. Just like Safaricom, the added value that Zuku provides is online streaming. Presently, most tech savvy Zuku subscribers use the internet to stream sports and other entertainment programs. The company should consider merging TV and Internet to give its subscribers a superior experience and access to more quality content. Current technology makes this very possible. This will give the company a chance to also get a piece of DStv’s premium paying customers.
As things stand today however, no Pay TV provider in the continent is capable of competing with DStv purely on quality of content with their current configurations. Most DStv subscribers will cough out the extra cash because they do not have a viable alternative. At the end of the day, quality TV content is a luxury not a necessity and as you are well aware, luxuries do not come cheap.