Tag Archives: Kwesé Free TV

Kwesé TV wins SA broadcasting licence

Kwesé Free TV has been granted a commercial free-to-air TV licence by South Africa’s media and communications regulator, despite the pan-African satellite TV service having gone into administration.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has concluded that Kwesé Free TV complies with the relevant South African laws and is capable of receiving the broadcasting licence, which also includes a radio frequency spectrum licence of 55% at MUX 3 frequencies.

ICASA added that there is a market demand for Econet Media-owned Kwesé Free TV, which has the expertise and experience necessary to run a broadcasting business.

The regulator received five applications for the third multiplex frequencies, namely Kwesé, Laedza TV, Tshwaranang Media, Infinity Media Networks and Free To Air TV.

Local public broadcaster SABC opposed the move, claiming the award of additional third-multiplex capacity could hamper a seamless digital migration, but ICASA maintained that licensing an additional individual FTA commercial broadcaster would add to the variety of TV services available to the country’s citizens.

The proposed service “will stimulate competition and increase the variety of television broadcasting services available to South Africans,” it ruled.

With this licence, Kwesé TV will be able to offer a bouquet of channels including sport and general entertainment content. The five channels to be launched are Kwesé Free Sports HD, Kwesé Brave, Kwesé Focus, Kwesé Vibes and Kwesé Drama.

Kwesé Free TV is 20%-owned by Econet South Africa, with Royal Bafoteng Metix owning a 45% stake and Mosong Equities 35%.

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Kwesé TV goes into administration

Econet Media’s Kwesé TV pay television business has been placed in administration as a result of the challenges it has faced in several countries.

Joseph Hundah

The news comes soon after subscribers to the Kwesé Play streaming platform received a message on their screens saying Econet has dropped it for technical reasons.

Consequently, customers no longer have access to its streaming service, Kwesé Iflix, according to reports.

In an effort to revive the business, the administration process will be handled and managed by accountants Ernst & Young, said CEO Joseph Hundah.

“Kwesé’s free-to-air business was too small to sustain the financial burden of its satellite operations, which led to the decision to negotiate with creditors,” he said.

“The company struggled with the foreign currency restrictions in Zimbabwe, who stopped recognising the US dollar, South African Rand and other foreign currencies as legal tender in June in a bid to curb black-market trading.

“The group’s inability to exit money out of Zimbabwe has had an impact on the business.”

He added that Kwesé TV’s FTA business, Kwesé Free TV, which received a licence from communications regulator Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in March, would continue operating in the rest of Africa, and that no other business in the Econet group is affected by the administration process.

ICASA has given Kwesé 24 months to launch the service, a time frame set to elapse in March 2021. Other shareholders in Kwesé Free TV include Royal Bafokeng Metix (45%) and Mosong Capital (35%).

Econet Media is owned by Strive Masiyiwa. Roku-powered Kwesé Play launched in 2018.

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