Econet shutters Kwesé satellite platform
Econet Media has pulled the plug on its satellite pay TV service Kwesé TV as it aligns its business to growth in fixed broadband and mobile penetration on the African continent.
The three main services of Johannesburg-based Econet will now be free-to-air Kwesé Free Sports (KFS), mobile VoD platform Kwesé iflix and OTT service Kwesé Play. This means the company’s 18-month-old African subscription satellite operation Kwesé TV will close.
Furthermore, Econet’s remaining services will reduce the number of third-party channels in their bouquet and do away with Kwesé-branded sports aside from KFS and other entertainment channels.
Monthly subscription fees will be waived to enable viewers watch FTA channels, free news and religious channels that will be on the new bouquet for a reduced fee. Meanwhile, a full refund will be given to all Kwesé TV subscribers who have already paid for November.
Kwesé came into play when there were changes in the global pay television industry, when business models transitioned from traditional content rights to linear broadcast channels, to premium content rights and then to digital media platforms.
Since then, Kwesé has been able to cause a shift in the media industry by establishing a satellite TV business presence in 11 markets across 27 countries and launching its own OTT service, Kwesé Play.
The company also delivered this year’s FIFA World Cup from Russia across Africa to a network of 115 sub-licence broadcasters in 37 countries – reaching more than 200 million households.
Econet said it plans to establish its own content creation hub, Kwesé Studios, so that it can develop its own original programmes and create an avenue for scriptwriters, producers and directors to tell African stories on a pan-Africa broadcast network.
Joe Hundah, group president and CEO of Econet Media, said this repositioning was in line with market trends and was happening at the right time.
“We believe these changes will safeguard the future success of our business as we continue to make an indelible impact on Africa’s media industry. The revised business strategy will also ensure Kwesé TV continues to remain competitive within the industry,” he said.
“Refocusing our business offering across markets is a strategic move which aligns our business to OTT and video-on-demand trends, which present significant growth opportunities for Kwesé. This renewed focus on digital services will see us provide new, compelling offers for our customers’ enjoyment.”