Tag Archives: Econet Media

Econet receives IBC prize

Econet Media picked up this year’s Judges’ Award at the IBC media, entertainment and technology convention in Amsterdam this month.

Michael Lumley

The company was chosen for its effectiveness in pioneering mobile TV and OTT in South Africa through its streaming service, Kwesé Play. This was made possible by various partnerships with technology firms.

Kwesé Play uses technology from Roku and offers access to content like You Tube, Netflix and other channels. Other tech contributors include Verimatrix, for content security, and AWS Elemental, for coding.

Michael Lumley, chair of the IBC judging panel, said: “In our discussions, we recognised that the way the technology partners had collaborated on this project was innovative and successful, but we also felt that the outcome transcended the technology, delivering social change by connecting local people to global content.”

Econet Media is now able to transport its services through its content delivery network with the help of sister company Liquid Telecom. Mobile and broadband networks can access OTT content at low latency across central and southern Africa.

Kwesé Play has content partnerships with more than 150 studios and distributors worldwide, including Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, NBC Universal, Fox, CBS, BBC, Sony Pictures and Discovery.

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Econet to be honoured at IBC

Econet Media, the main backer of African pay TV platform Kwesé Play, is to receive this year’s judges’ award at Amsterdam trade convention IBC.

Michael Lumley

IBC is a world-class entertainment and media show and will be attended by dignitaries from countries worldwide. The award show is set to take place on September 15, 2018 in the RAI Auditorium.

Kwesé Play not only partners with Netflix but also offers a combination of content that is both local and international. It is accessible on various kinds OTT gadgets but focuses on areas that have limited broadband services.

The technology partners that worked with Econet to develop Kwesé Play are Verimatrix, AWS Elemental and Roku.

Michael Lumley, chair of the IBC judging panel, said: “Kwesé Play is a game-changer, bringing sport and entertainment to viewers in a part of the world which has been hard to serve.

“In our discussions, we recognised that the way the technology partners had collaborated on this project was innovative and successful, but we also felt the outcome transcended the technology, delivering social change by connecting local people to global content.”

Lumley understood the relevance of this award ceremony, as he added: “We are pleased to recognise the social as well as technical importance of this project.”

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Kwesé TV partners with 9mobile

Econet Media-owned African pay TV company Kwesé TV has established a strategic partnership with Nigerian mobile telephone operator 9mobile.

Elizabeth Amkpa

Kwesé has signed a distribution agreement with the telecommunications company ensuring that its customers can purchase Kwesé decoder kits and services at 9mobile stores.

Meanwhile, 9mobile subscribers will get exclusive data bundles to access Kwesé iflix, the VoD joint-venture it formed with Asia-based service iflix.

General manager of Kwesé TV Nigeria Elizabeth Amkpa said of the 9mobile pact: “This partnership extends our distribution network and makes our products accessible to even more Nigerian consumers.

“We are currently operating in select 9mobile Experience Centres in Lagos and we will soon be available in other major cities across the country in partnership with 9mobile.”

Currently, there are six participating 9mobile stores, all of which are situated in Lagos. Locations include The Palms Shopping Mall, Ikeja City Mall, Adeola Odeku Street on Victoria Island, Mushin, Surulere and Festac Town.

Adebisi Idowu, 9mobile’s VP of marketing, also commented: “9mobile is determined to continue meeting the passion point of Nigerians, especially customers on the network, and Kwesé TV offers yet another major platform to do so.”

Kwesé TV has over 70 channels that offer varied entertainment, from lifestyle to news. Since its launch in Nigeria in 2017, it is fast becoming one of the leading pay TV platforms in the country.

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Kwesé TV aims to reinvent African TV

Sub-Saharan pay TV platform Kwesé TV aims to change the narrative of Africa’s media, according to a top exec at its parent company Econet Media.

Zachary Wazara

Zachary Wazara, executive director at Econet, revealed that Kwesé is focused on ensuring Africa can access content without having to rely on pay TV.

“The free-to-air [FTA] business is intended to extend TV’s reach in Africa, recognising the fact that not everyone can afford pay TV. In Nigeria, for the Fifa World Cup, our [FTA channel] Kwesé Free Sports has signed up with Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria so that instead of 4.5 million pay customers watching the World Cup, we can now take the World Cup to between 100 million and 120 million people,” he said.

According to Wazara, Kwesé is changing the way people see pay TV, ensuring its sports channel is available to everyone on not just satellite TV but terrestrial as well.

In the past, Africa’s sports programming has been available on pay TV, but Kwesé Free Sports “gives the average African an opportunity to watch Formula 1, NBA and boxing at the highest level, to watch every single sport that is out there,” whereas before they were restricted to soccer, he said.

“Our objective is to begin to introduce different types of sports at international level, so we can also inspire our kids, by saying, ‘It’s not just about running, but more. Like tennis and rugby.’ Which is primarily why we introduced Kwesé Free Sports in 23 countries,” Wazara explained.

“Kwesé TV, which is our satellite business, competes against other brands that you know out there in the market. In Nigeria, our satellite TV has got the best clarity.

“Our objective is to do with satellite TV what was done with prepaid mobile – ensuring that anyone out there can have satellite television.”

In related news, Kwesé has just launched mobile app Kwesé iflix, which allows for flexible in-app subscriptions.

The subscription plans include three days for N250, seven days for N500 and 30 days for N1,000. Customers who download the app now get an opportunity to view 32 World Cup matches for free.

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Econet’s Kwesé takes iflix stake

Econet Media-backed pan-African entertainment company Kwesé has acquired an undisclosed stake in SVoD service iflix, based in Malaysia.

Strive Masiyiwa

Kwesé, which already had a distribution deal with iflix in Africa, has acquired what is being described as a “significant stake” in iflix’s African operation. Further details have not been revealed.

Iflix will now become the “core” mobile offering for the pay TV operator, providing local African series and international programming to viewers.

Kwese said the deal would allow it to offer “an exceptional mobile offering for consumers on the continent.”

Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Group’s founder and executive chairman, said: “We are thrilled to deepen our operating partnership with iflix to lead the transformation of media in Africa.

“Our companies share a mutual passion for innovation, along with a deep understanding of the culture and evolution of digital businesses. Mobility in content consumption has grown exponentially in Africa and by partnering with iflix Africa we are ensuring that we are not only taking part in the evolution, but are leading the movement.”

Mark Britt

Mark Britt, iflix Group’s co-founder and CEO, described the deal as “a huge milestone” for his company.

“Following the initial phase of building our business in Africa, we have seen tremendous growth across our operating markets, far exceeding our expectations. Econet’s deep experience and success in media and telecoms will be a huge advantage and enable us to continue to grow rapidly.”

Kwesé is present in 13 countries while iflix claims to be available to more than one billion consumers in 24 territories throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Last year, iflix secured a US$133m funding round with investors including US media giant Hearst. Existing shareholders such as US cable giant Liberty Global and European pay TV operator Sky were also part and have increased their investments in Netflix’s rival.

Last year’s round took the total funding raised by iflix in 2017 to more than US$220m. The firm launched in May 2015.

The company has also been agreeing distribution partnerships with telecommunications operators to bundle the iflix service with customers’ mobile and data subscriptions.

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Kwesé TV gets to work in Taraba

Pan-African cable network Kwesé TV has commenced operations in Jalingo, Taraba State, reports Gabriella Opara.

Emeka Chinweokwu, a Kwesé TV dealer in Taraba, said: “The official inauguration is an attempt to keep Taraba’s people abreast of the competitive digital world, which offers a lot of opportunities. Kwesé TV offers customers a unique package where they can pay for three days, seven days or 30 days.’’

Mazeli Joseph, Kwesé TV’s head of sales, said the move ensured that customers are guaranteed all-round entertainment from the convenience of their home.

Kwesé TV, which is owned by Econet Media, launched in Nigeria in October and has since added more channels to its platform and collaborated with MTN Nigeria to offer more of its services to subscribers.

Kwesé Free Sports holds exclusive free-to-air rights to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia and the UK’s Premier League. It is also a broadcast partner of the National Basketball Association in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Kwesé inks alliance with MTN

Econet Media-owned pay TV platform Kwesé TV has entered into an agreement with mobile operator MTN Nigeria to sell its decoders throughout Nigeria.

Elizabeth Amkpa

This collaboration brings Kwesé TV closer to Nigerians, ensuring that costumers who would like to purchase Kwesé TV decoders or packages can do so at any MTN store. There are MTN stores located in Y’ello City Service Centre, Ikeja Service Centre, Palm Connect and Matori Service Centre.

The Kwesé TV kit, comprising a dish, decoder and installation services, retail at N10,960. Customers can also get two months’ free subscription this Yuletide season if they pay an additional N1,590 before December 31.

Commenting on the partnership, Elizabeth Amkpa, general manager of Kwesé TV, stated: “Following the recent launch of our pay TV service in Nigeria, this partnership extends our distribution network and makes our products accessible to even more Nigerian consumers.

“We are currently operating in selected flagship stores in Lagos, and we will soon be available in other major cities across the country in 2018 in partnership with MTN.”

Amkpa also announced that the partnership goes beyond having Kwesé TV decoders at MTN stores as it extends to offering Kwesé TV as mobile video content to MTN subscribers exclusively as part of a video data bundle.

Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, general manager of enterprise marketing at MTN Nigeria, added: “We are working with Nigeria’s newest pay TV provider to offer premium TV and video content to our consumers.

“This is part of our efforts to continue to deliver innovative services to Nigerians through our wide distribution network across the country, in consonance with the MTN vision to lead the delivery of a bold, new digital world.”

Kwesé TV offers premium content of more than 70 channels with a diverse mix of news, entertainment, kids programmes, movies and live sports. Kwesé TV also offers its services on-the-go via the Kwesé TV app.

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Kwesé TV strikes TV One deal

Pan-African broadcast network Kwesé TV has agreed an exclusive deal with US cablenet TV One to bring the latter’s content to African viewers.

Joseph Hundah

Kwesé TV, part of Econet Media, will add 25 titles from TV One to its schedule as part of the three-year deal, spanning real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series and movies.

This includes When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, Love Under New Management: The Mikki Howard Story, The Black List and sitcoms Born Again Virgin and Love That Girl.

“We are always looking for fresh, rich and entertaining content to add to our line-up, thus the addition of TV One to our bouquet is a great feat,” said Joseph Hundah, Econet Media’s president and CEO.

“The network’s compelling and distinctive programming will help broaden and strengthen the diversity of our international content offering. We are confident TV One’s high-quality and well-rounded content will captivate viewers across the continent.”

Michelle Rice, TV One’s interim general manager and executive VP, content distribution and marketing, said the cablenet’s programming represented “the best in African American culture and entertainment.”

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