Tag Archives: StarTimes

StarTimes breathes Life into Bollywood net

Pay TV company StarTimes has launched a channel offering content from India’s Bollywood industry.

The addition of StarLife to StarTimes’ line-up was announced at a press conference, where the company’s brand and marketing director, Qasim Elegbede, said: “StarLife will showcase only the best family dramas, blockbuster movies, series, celebrity dance shows and more on Channel 500/550.”

StarTimes content marketing manager Bose Adewara added: “All programmes on StarLife are relatable to practical life in Nigeria and are in the English language, which makes it easy for the Nigerian audience to follow.”

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StarTimes scores Copa America coverage

Football superstar Lionel Messi playing for Argentina

Pay TV operator StarTimes has acquired exclusive sub-Saharan Africa rights to broadcast this summer’s Copa America football tournament.

The competition, which takes place every four years, kicks off in São Paulo on June 14 and concludes with July 7’s final. The teams taking part this year are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Japan, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Uruguay and Venezuela.

StarTimes Sport director Shi Maochu said: “South America has some of the best teams in the world. We are happy to give our 25 million users the chance to watch [the likes of Lionel] Messi playing with their national teams.

“Apart from Africa, the continent with the craziest football fans is South America. And this year, the tournament will be held in the best football country, Brazil. It will be intense.”

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StarTimes seeks record viewers for AFFC

Pay TV company StarTimes hopes to reach more than 20 million Nigerian viewers with its coverage of September’s African Freestyle Football Championship.

Last year’s tournament attracted eight million viewers, surpassing coverage of a match from Germany’s high-profile Bundesliga football league, according to StarTimes PR manager Kunbi Balogun.

“This year, we should be able to exceed that record to 20 million viewers as the newscast will be broadcast on our channels, and right now we have about 15 million downloads on the apps,” Balogun added.

Noting that engaging in creative freestyle football could have a positive impact on young Nigerians, he added: “Freestyle involves a lot of creativity; this should propel us to do more for those that have engaged in it by bringing them into the limelight.

“We can also harness it as a means of empowerment of our jobless youths and encourage more female participation in the sport.”

The 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship will take place from September 14 to 15 at the Balmoral Convention Centre at the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos Island.

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StarTimes cuts prices for new subscribers

African pay TV operator StarTimes has reduced its decoder and antenna prices for new subscribers who sign up before March 31.

The prices have been cut from N10,500 (US$29) to N7,500 for its DTT antenna and from N9,500 to N6,500 for its SD decoder. The HD decoder is now N7,500, and the HD decoder and antenna together cost N8,900.

“StarTimes is the top destination for news coverage during this season. We now have a lot more news channels. We recently added PlusTV Africa to our news channels, while the existing ones, such as TVC, Channels and NTA News 24, remain,” said the company.

“We place great priority on the quality of our content as we continue to evolve, adding more local channels that our subscribers have found engaging and all-round entertaining and irresistible over time.”

Chinese-owned StarTimes has a strong presence in Africa, offering digital terrestrial television and satellite TV services. It also owns a featured content platform, with 440 authorised channels.

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StarTimes launches DTV in Kpaduma

Chinese-owned pay TV platform StarTimes has launched a digital satellite TV service in Kpaduma, an underdeveloped rural community in Abuja.

Lai Mohammed

The move gives the residents of Kpaduma the opportunity to watch programmes on satellite in the town for the first time.

The project was undertaken by StarTimes as part of an effort to provide 1,000 Nigerian villages with access to digital television under an aid programme that came out of the China-Africa summit in 2015.

Each village is to receive a 32-inch TV and two sets of solar-powered projectors, allowing villagers to watch  local and international digital TV shows.

Yusuf Dio, the prince of Kpaduma, said: “”We are very happy to have this [digital television service] in our household. It has brought so much joy and pleasure to my family.”

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, said: “The implementation complements the efforts of the Nigerian government to democratise access to information and entertainment through the digital switchover for television, which has now been rolled out in several states and the federal capital territory.”

Mohammed added that this would strengthen the relationship between China and Nigeria and urged StarTimes to hasten the installation of the TV satellite system in other parts of the country.

StarTimes – in partnership with Nigeria’s public TV company NTA – has made digital TV available to many Nigerians since 2010.

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StarTimes adds PlusTV Africa

African pay TV firm StarTimes has added a 24-hour news channel to its platform.

Kayode Akintemi

PlusTV Africa provides news relating to sports, entertainment, politics, business and more.

StarTimes brand and marketing director Qasim Elegbede said: “PlusTV Africa is proof of our effort in meeting the demand of our subscribers seeking more news and entertainment channels.

“As a listening organisation fulfilling its promise to customers, we have over time provided the best access to great, educative, informative and entertainment content on our platform. The yearnings of our customers have led to the launch of PlusTV Africa.”

Kayode Akintemi, MD and editor-in-chief of PlusTV Africa, added: “Our mission is to change the narrative of news reportage in Nigeria and across Africa by providing 24-hour objective, fair and balanced stories with incisive and robust analysis that create in-depth understanding through programmes that are informative, engaging and empowering with a view to challenging leadership and proffering solutions for political and economic growth.

“Consumer brand advertisers and their agencies can now easily reach their target audiences through PlusTV Africa, which is now distributed across all packages on the StarTimes platform.”

PlusTV Africa is on channel 308 on digital terrestrial television and in all StarTimes bouquets.

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X2D shoots to StarTimes

Gospel news and music channel Xclusive2Divinity (X2D) is to launch on the StarTimes Lagos network in April.

Deji Irawo (right) with a StarTimes rep

The news was announced by X2D CEO Deji Irawo, who said: “Our goal is to make [the channel] pan-Nigeria and Africa before the end of the year and we are positive that, with God, all things are possible.”

X2D was created to disseminate Christian entertainment and creativity and to provide a platform for gospel artists.

The 24-hour network is claimed to be “Africa’s first channel completely dedicated to high-quality urban gospel and lifestyle content from across Africa and the diaspora.”

Its programming includes gospel and inspirational music videos, concerts, artist profiles, red-carpet events, interviews, talkshows and lifestyle content targeted at a youth and family audience.

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StarTimes names CEO

African pay TV operator StarTimes has named its Kenya boss as its new CEO.

David Zhang

David Zhang, who worked in management roles at Chinese-owned StarTimes in Nigeria between 2011 and 2014 before heading its business in the East African nation, has taken over from Justin Zhang.

A StarTimes representative said: “David brings over two decades of experience in B2B and B2C capacity in both China and Africa, with a special interest in consumer- and revenue-growth management.”

Justin Zhang’s tenure saw a rise in subscribers to StarTimes as well as new innovations in African pay TV.

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African pay TV subs set to hit 46m

The number of pay TV subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow to 45.63 million by 2024, according to the newly published Sub-Saharan Africa Pay TV Forecasts report.

This suggests Sub-Saharan Africa will add 16 million subscribers in the next six years, marking an increase of 61%. Pay TV revenues were forecast to reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.

Three big operators – MultiChoice, Vivendi/Canal+ and StarTimes – dominate the Sub-Saharan Africa pay TV market, with a combined 93% market share.

At the end of 2018, pay TV operator MultiChoice had over 14.34 million subscribers on its DStv and GOtv platforms and this figure is estimated to increase by five million by 2024.

France’s Vivendi had 4.01 million subs to its Canal+ satellite TV platform and Easy TV by the end of 2018, which will climb to 6.21 million by 2024, said the report. StarTimes had 7.75 million pay TV subscribers by the end of 2018 and it is estimated to reach 14.85 million by 2024.

According to Simon Murray, principal analyst at the report’s publisher, Digital TV Research: “Subscriber numbers will climb by 61% over this period, but pay TV revenues will rise by only 42% – indicating lower ARPUs. Pay TV revenues will reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.”

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MultiChoice calls for Netflix rules

Africa’s largest pay TV operator MultiChoice has called for regulations to be imposed on Netflix as it blames the US-based streaming service for the subscriber losses it has suffered since 2017.

As a result of Netflix’s popularity among African viewers, pay TV companies MultiChoice and StarTimes are experiencing serious challenges to their business models and revenue streams.

In a recent report by Quartz Africa, Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice, said his company had lost over 140,000 subscribers to Netflix, including 100,000 in the past financial year. The streaming service, he said, is also free from any affirmative action regulations, which gives the US firm a major advantage.

Even though pay TV companies are already competing with local streaming platforms like Iroko, Netflix’s plan to focus more on Nollywood and African content is set to create another area of competition for these companies in 2019.

Calvo Mawela

Netflix’s VP of international originals Erik Barmack told C21Media’s Content London conference in November that the streamer’s European team is “in the process of looking at opportunities in Africa. It’s definitely the case that we’ll commission some series there in 2019.”

In an article by Business Insider magazine, Netflix said: “The company is following Nollywood closely and focusing more on content. There are no plans to have a physical office in Nigeria. We are following the local industry closely and focusing more on content rather than physical presence.”

While pay TV companies work on having better streaming services and pricey data plans, Netflix has deployed a dedicated server in Nigeria in partnership with Spectranet in order to have a secure connection for its Nigerian audiences and also provide customers in Nigeria with a better video-streaming performance.

Despite the fact Nigerian movies such as Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart, Kunle Afolayan’s October 1st and Biyi Bandele’s Fifty are available on Netflix, thus creating competition in the Nigerian market, all hope is not lost for MultiChoice. The South African company still has three of its indigenous African Magic stations on DSTV, namely Africa Magic Yoruba, Africa Magic Hausa and Africa Magic Igbo.

Although the competition would impact viewers across Nigeria, perhaps leading to possible lower subscription fees for streaming and TV content packages, it will now be a fight between four major contenders: MultiChoice, StarTimes, Iroko and Netflix.

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StarTimes supports fight against HIV/AIDS

Pay TV company StarTimes has joined the fight against HIV/AIDS and called for more support to be given to Nigerians with the virus.

Justin Zhang

Justin Zhang, CEO of StarTimes Nigeria, announced the news at the recently concluded World Aids Day event held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“StarTimes is committed to the complete eradication of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria using its media footprint across the country and its ability to reach millions of Nigerians even in villages where aid workers are not able to access,” Zhang said.

He added that the Chinese-owned pay TV company would assist in the area of broadcasting informative content and “engaging youths via entertaining mobile engagements that educate.”

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StarTimes unveils new OTT brand

Digital TV operator StarTimes has launched a new brand, StarTimes ON, for its OTT business.

StarTimes ON claims to be Africa’s top online video streaming service, with more than 150 channels in at least 10 languages. It covers movies, series, news, music, sports, documentaries and kids’ content.

The launch has led to the upgrade of the original StarTimes app to StarTimes ON. “More excellent international and local channels will be put online, and diverse and rich contents will always be the core of StarTimes ON service,” said Ariel Lin, operation director at StarTimes ON.

Some of the top international channels available on the service include Fox News, BBC World News, France 24, Bloomberg, AMC Movies, Fox Life, Passions TV, Baby TV and NGC. StarTimes ON has also imported local content from TV stations like NTA, ZNBC, TVM, TBC, KTN, RTI and RTs.

Users can access ST Novela Plus, ST Nollywood Plus, ST Dadin Kowa, ST World Football and ST Sport Premium, plus sport including Fifa World Cup, UEFA Europa, boxing, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 matches.

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Yoruba series bound for StarTimes

Nigerian actor Adebayo Salami has produced Yoruba-language series Alagbara exclusively for pay TV company StarTimes.

According to Salami, the 26-episode educational series was produced solely to promote Nigerian culture.

Salami said: “The series is a beautifully crafted indigenous series that sheds light on lives of different men from all walks of life and how they are controlled, manipulated, influenced and reshaped by the women in their lives.”

Salami also appears in the show and the other cast members include Ronke Oshodi Oke, star of 2000 movie Oshodi Oke; Toyin Adegbola; Yemi Solade; Femi Adebayo; Sotayo; Dele Odule; and Bukky Arugba.

Although the release date for the series has not yet been announced by the Chinese-owned pay TV company, it is currently undergoing its final edits.

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StarTimes brings Chinese toon to Nigeria

African pay TV platform StarTimes is partnering with a Chinese production company to release an animated film and series in Nigeria.

Minglang Production animated movie Travel With The Wind

StarTimes has linked up with Minglang Production, based in Hangzhou, China, to release Travel With The Wind next year.

At the screening of a promo for the movie at Ozone Cinema in Lagos, Rosana George Hart, business manager at Silverbird Film Distribution, said: “Minglang Production has been promoting Travel with the Wind in big film markets around the world, aiming to enhance cultural exchange and promote international friendship.

“Knowing full well that Nigeria has the most robust film market in Africa, Minglang decided to publicise the animated movie here while hoping to maintain a long-lasting partnership with Silverbird Group.

“The movie is all about happiness. We know how our society is right now and if there is one thing we should be preaching to our children it is basically happiness and friendship.”

Wang Jin, head of StarTimes TV in Nigeria, said: “StarTimes is a Chinese cable TV company, so we are ready to partner Minglang Production, another Chinese company, in showcasing our rich culture and tradition through Travel with the Wind and other films.”

Other animated films produced by Minglang Production include Legend of West Lake, New Tunnel Warfare and Legend of Tang. StarTimes is a Chinese multinational media company with strong presence in African pay TV.

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StarTimes, UN link for HIV/Aids awareness

African pay TV platform StarTimes is joining forces with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV & AIDS (UNAIDS) to make youths all over Africa more conscious of HIV/Aids.

Michel Sidibé

This initiative will be made possible with the introduction of a mobile app.

The move was revealed at a meeting held in China by StarTimes group VP Guo Ziqi, First Lady of the Republic of Malawi Gertrude Mutharika and UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé.

With the theme being the Value of New Media in African HIV/Aids Prevention Campaign, Sidibé claimed that most African countries do not have access to information even though about 70% of the population is below 35 years.

He said: “We have seen progress in most countries today, but the biggest challenge that we face is complacency. The young people don’t have information, they don’t have knowledge, so they don’t protect themselves. Information, knowledge and education – that’s why StarTimes is very important for us.

With the increase in usage of the internet and mobile phones in Africa, there will be a huge change in the way people now communicate. Like in other parts of the world, more African youths have grown accustomed to using their phones to watch videos and stream content.

“Sharing information, bringing knowledge and making sure that we can change young people will be key for ending Aids. Our recent approach will completely change the situation and help us to go for a generation free of Aids,” Sidibé added.

“Based on this trend, StarTimes launched its video streaming service in the African market with the StarTimes app in June. Within three months, the app had eight million downloads and the figure is expected to be 15 million at the end of this year,” said Ziqi.

“The StarTimes app right now is streaming the Zero Discrimination public service announcement as a trial cooperation with UNAIDS through the online video platform.”

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StarTimes wins rights to Europa League

Pay TV digital operator StarTimes has acquired the broadcasting rights to UEFA Europa League soccer in Sub-Saharan Africa up to 2021.

Qasim Elegbede

The rights cover only English, Portuguese and local languages in English- and Portuguese-speaking areas, with the exception of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Qasim Elegbede, StarTimes’ brand and marketing director, said: “This summer’s Fifa World Cup was a success and fans really appreciated that we brought them the International Champions Cup exclusive and live right after. We then thought that they would be delighted to watch another European club competition on StarTimes.

“We are working hard to bring the best sport content to our subscribers. This season will be intense for football fans, with Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, Fifa Club World Cup, the French and Italian Cups and now UEFA Europa League.”

The football matches can be watched on all sports channels on StarTimes.

The news follows StarTimes’ recent coverage of the first African Freestyle Football Championship live from Lagos earlier this month. The aim of the competition was to select the best male and female freestyle African football champion from all over Africa.

As well as the competition, there were side attractions and entertainment from Nigerian artistes like Kcee, Falz, Slim Case, Mr Real, Mayorkun and Tanzanian recording artist Vanessa Mdee.

Guiness world record holder Iya Traore and female freestyler Raquel Benetti from Brazil were also present.

Freestyler Abdul Titi Kone emerged as the winner, taking home US$3,000 and a new car given by GAC Motors. The second, third and fourth positions were held by Riesco, Abdullah Emad of Sudan and Ashley Mkhize of South Africa, who won US$2,000, US$1,000 and US$500 respectively.

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StarTimes partners kids’ charity SOS

Justin Zhang and Eghosa Erhumwunse sign the partnership

Pay TV platform StarTimes and the Nigerian arm of international charity SOS Children’s Villages have signed a memorandum of understanding.

The partnership will see the organisations aid families and empower young people by training and mentoring them, in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Eghosa Erhumwunse, national director of SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria, said: “By partnering with StarTimes, SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria is helping to improve the lives of young people in the country and helping them realise and utilise their unique gifts. This is in cognisance of the YouthCan! Project, which was launched by SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria in 2017.”

“Since we commenced providing affordable digital pay TV in Nigeria, we have invested heavily in the development of youths and children in the country,” added Justin Zhang, CEO of StarTimes Nigeria.

“Partnering with SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria gives us a better opportunity to drive our effort towards making Nigerian youths more competitive globally in their chosen career by affording them a quality learning ground.”

SOS Children’s Villages builds loving, stable families for children and young people in 135 countries and territories. The charity claims to be the largest non-governmental organisation dedicated to the care of children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care.

StarTimes is one of the leading digital television operators in Africa, serving over 10 million subscribers with about 440 channels consisting of news, movies, series, sports, entertainment, children’s programmes, fashion, religion and more.

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StarTimes goes free for August

Pan-African pay TV operator StarTimes has given its customers access to all its channels for free for one month and will reduce prices thereafter.

Qasim Elegbede

All channels will be free to subscribers until the end of August, after which the cost of the Classic Bouquet will drop from N2,600 to N1,900.

StarTimes Nigeria’s brand and marketing director Qasim Elegbede said: “Nigerians deserve way better entertainment for a very affordable price, and this can be achieved. For example, we showed all the 64 matches of the World Cup live and in HD to all our subscribers for just N1,300, where others had to pay almost N16,000 to watch the same World Cup.”

Kunmi Balogun, StarTimes public relations manager, added: “This reinforces our commitment to ensuring our customers enjoy the best for less. Starting from September 1, all StarTimes subscribers will enjoy more entertainment for less, with the addition of new entertainment, movies and kids’ channels.

“We are aware of the economic challenges faced by many Nigerians and have resolved to allow them watch all channels for free this August and reduce our subscription rate come September 1.”

StarTimes offers more than 400 channels, including Ebony Life TV, ST Nollywood Plus and Fox. It is one of Africa’s leading digital TV operators, with more than 16 million subscribers across the continent.

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New device secures StarTimes access

CAMs offer secure access to content on digital TVs


African digital pay TV operator StarTimes has launched a new device enabling the delivery of premium content to digital TVs.

StarTimes is partnering with Hong Kong-based SMIT Corp to launch its new conditional access module C1+ 1.3 CAM in Africa.

Conditional access modules (CAMs) give subscribers’ secure access to content via digital TVs without the need for a set-top box.

Daniel Ge, general manager (GM) of terminal business at StarTimes, said: “SMIT is our competent and reliable CAM supplier. With the launch of the first CI+ 1.3 CAM in Africa, StarTimes once again shows our powerful leading market position by constant technical innovation and reformation in the African pay TV industry.

“The operator profile function makes StarTimes’ premium programmes stand out in fiercely competitive markets.”

Bingyu Xiang, GM of CAM products at SMIT, said the new device “brings a high-quality viewing experience on TV to subscribers,” giving StarTimes more choice in how it deploys its services.

StarTimes is one of Africa’s leading digital TV operators, providing content to more than 16 million subscribers.

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StarTimes ‘fostering Africa-China relations’

Leading African pay TV company StarTimes has revealed it aims to foster the relationship between the Chinese and African media businesses.

Pang Xingxing

At the company’s eighth annual African Digital TV Development Seminar, it claimed it is doing all it can to improve China-Africa television cooperation

Speaking to over 400 participants from 48 African and Asian countries at the seminar, StarTimes Group president Pang Xingxing said: “We are very pleased to be at the forefront of helping Africa to gradually make a transition to a modern and intelligent society.”

The focus is on “reviewing trends, developments and cooperation towards digitalising broadcasting in Africa as well as the over-the-top industry, which is upgrading the African television landscape,” he said.

Guo Weimin, deputy director of the State Council Information Office of China, said the country is interested in helping to develop African media and ensuring a solid partnership between China and Africa.

In line with this vision, StarTimes Nigeria recently partnered with the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan, to empower the less privileged with the Hopes Alive Initiative (HAI), targeting young people.

Justin Zhang, MD of StarTimes Nigeria, said: “When we heard about this laudable initiative from the Ooni of Ife, we took an interest immediately because we are always optimistic about getting involved with youth projects. We have a project ongoing in Abuja and are working with Nigerians in conjunction with the Chinese government to support villages in Nigeria.”

In June, StarTimes also disclosed it was working with the Nigerian government to create mentorship and technical programmes to help empower Nigerian youth.

StarTimes recently acknowledged Nigeria as its largest market.

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