Tag Archives: StarTimes

StarTimes signs FKF broadcast deal

Chinese-owned African pay TV operator StarTimes has acquired the broadcast rights to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) matches.

Nick Mwendwa
The deal with FKF involves broadcast rights for seven years, with StarTimes to air the next season’s Kenyan Premier League, National Super League and national team matches.

The news comes days after FKF officially took over the running of the Kenyan league from the Kenyan Premier League when its term of office expired on September 24.

According to FKF president Nick Mwendwa, the deal is worth US$1.1m per year. He said on Twitter: “StarTimes FKFPL back on TV! 7-year deal, 1.1M dollars a year including national teams’ men and women, NSL 30 matches.”

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TNT, StarTimes close carriage deal

TNT offers Hollywood movies including National Treasure

Chinese-owned African pay TV operator StarTimes is adding WarnerMedia-owned channel TNT to its offering.

TNT will be made available to StarTimes subscribers in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia from September 15.

The channel carries a mix of Hollywood feature films, such as The Transporter, National Treasure, Karate Kid and Free Willy, alongside original productions, including Human Capital.

WarnerMedia has a long-standing relationship with StarTimes in French-speaking Africa, distributing Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, WarnerTV, CNN, TCM Cinéma and Toonami.

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Government probes NTA over alleged fraud

Nigeria’s Senate has uncovered an alleged multibillion-naira fraud in the joint venture between the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Chinese satellite pay TV company StarTimes.

Yakubu Ibn Mohammed

The allegation was made by the Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning after the NTA’s expenses were scrutinised during discussions about the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

It found that the documents submitted by the director-general of the NTA, Mohammed Yakubu, did not mention the deal with StarTimes and nor did they refer to remitted revenues into the federation account.

The affair came to light when committee chairman Solomon Olamilekan asked why the NTA was blocking StarTimes from being registered with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Yakubu denied the claim, saying: “The Nigerian Television Authority could not have blocked StarTimes from registering with the NBC as it is currently in a joint-venture agreement with the company.”

The NTA entered the JV with StarTimes in 2010 with a 70/30 sharing ratio in favour of the Beijing-based company.

When Yakubu was unable to convince the panel how much the NTA had earned from its venture with StarTimes over the years, it demanded to see records showing what the NTA generates from production, advertising and documentaries.

It also asked that the NTA return with its debt profile containing the names of its debtors, dates, amount incurred and the name of the official that authorised it for publication.

The Senate ordered that all revenue-generating agencies of government should fron now on remit all their earnings into the consolidated revenue funds out of which their cost of collection will be given to them. The panel claimed the arrangement will shore up revenue for the government as well as prevent wastage in the system.

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StarTimes to broadcast CPL games

Senegal’s Elimane Cissé plays with CPL champions Forge FC

Pay TV operator StarTimes has sealed a distribution deal with MediaPro Canada to take coverage of the Canadian Premier League (CPL) 2020 season, also known as The Island Games, taking place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The digital operator will broadcast 14 matches in primetime slots, namely seven first-round CPL games, the six play-off matches and the grand final on its ST Sports Life channel.

The channel is available on the StarTimes satellite and terrestrial platforms across the region and also on streaming service StarTimes ON, which is available to close to 20 million users across Africa.

Top-flight African players who are taking part in the CPL tournament include Elimane Cissé of Senegal, who started his career with Diambars FC in the domestic Ligue 1, and had call-ups to the Senegalese U21 and senior national teams before signing with Forge FC, the reigning CPL champions.

Also taking part is Valour FC’s Arnold Bouka Moutu, a Congolese national who represented his country in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and in a series of CAF qualifying matches in 2016 and 2017.

They will be joined by Jeannot Esua, voted FC Edmonton’s player of the year in 2019 (Cameroon); Edem Mortosi of FC Edmonton/Ghana; Solomom Kojo Antwi of Valour FC/Ghana; Mohamed Kourouma of Atlético Ottawa/Guinea; Ibrahima Sanoh of HFX Wanderers/Guinea; and Aboubacar Sissoko of HFX Wanderers/Mali.

StarTimes currently holds the rights to the UEFA Nations League, Euro 2020, the UEFA Europa League, Spain’s LaLiga, England’s FA Cup and Community Shield, the Coppa Italia and a range of African competitions, including the Ghana Premier League and the Uganda Premier League.

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StarTimes carries DreamWorks in Africa

DreamWorks animated series All Hail King Julien

NEWS BRIEF: NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUIN) has launched its kids’ and family entertainment channel DreamWorks on pay TV operator StarTimes’ platform in sub-Saharan Africa.

DreamWorks is home to animated series including Dragons: Race to the Edge, All Hail King Julien, The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Dinotrux and Noddy Toyland Detective. The channel recently launched on Foxtel in Australia and on First Media in Indonesia.

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StarTimes adds 15 channels

Pay TV operator StarTimes is increasing its content offering with the addition of 15 channels, comprising a mix of local and international services.

The channels include Toonami, CBeebies, Human Right, Dunamis, Love Nature, Smithsonian, Colors TV, Sky News, Tiwa ‘n’ Tiwa and Filmbox, plus two of the platform’s own nets: ST School Junior and ST School Senior.

StarTimes is also adding two premium sports channels and NBCUniversal-owned animation network DreamWorks, which will join the service in September.

The Chinese-owned company claims to be the only player in the Nigerian market that offers flexible subscription options that fit into the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model.

The addition of the new channels comes as StarTimes increases its monthly subscription rates for its Basic, Classic, Smart and Super packages. Its entry-level Nova package will remain at the same rate.

However, marketing manager Viki Liu said StarTimes’ efforts to make digital TV affordable to all families had led to significant reductions in the cost of pay TV in Nigeria in general, from an average of US$50 per month to US$3-5 per month.

“The pay-as-you-go options are available for all bouquets. Whether a customer subscribes daily, weekly or monthly to a bouquet, he or she will have access to the same channels and services,” said Liu.

“Although the sharp drop in [the value of the] naira has forced the brand to adjust some of its bouquet prices upwards from August 1, subscribers will get more value for what they are paying, without compromising affordability.

Earlier this year, Nigeria’s federal government increased the rate of VAT from 5% to 7.5%, an extra cost that Liu claimed StarTimes was bearing itself instead of passing on to its customers.

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StarTimes wins rights to LaLiga

Pay TV operator StarTimes has acquired the broadcasting rights to matches in Spain’s La Liga football division, which will be aired on its platform in Nigeria from next season.

StarTimes’ entry into La Liga aims to redefine the pay TV sector, attract more Nigerians to the league and end the exclusivity clause in live sports content broadcasting rights in Nigeria following the government’s prohibition of exclusivity rights in broadcasting sporting events in the country.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, had directed the National Broadcasting Commission to implement a new regulation mandating broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share such rights with other broadcasters.

“This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcasters in the television and radio markets,” he said.

Football lovers will be able to watch live Spanish top-tier league matches on the StarTimes platform.

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ST launches Discovery nets in French

US media company Discovery has revealed that it will launch two of its channels, Investigation Discovery (ID) and Discovery Science, in French on pay TV operator StarTimes in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Amanda Turnbull

Shows that will be aired on ID include Web of Lies, Heart of Darkness, Impact of Murder, Someone You Thought You Knew, Reasonable Doubt, People Magazine Investigates, series of stunts such as Summer Nightmares, Throwback Saturdays and ID documentaries.

On Discovery Science, viewers will be able to watch the most recent launch of SpaceX in the documentary Space Launch: America Returns, which takes audiences on the mission to take astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Other shows include an engineering stunt called Incredible Constructions, which follows the construction of the world’s incredible engineering projects, and Animals Stunt, unpacking the mystery behind remarkable and peculiar animal behaviour

Amanda Turnbull, VP and general manager for Discovery in Africa, the Middle East and Turkey, said: “We are dedicated to creating the highest quality content that informs, inspires and entertains and we are always looking for ways to expand on our offering, making it accessible to new audience

“With these channels, we will be able to meet the growing demands of French-speaking subscribers across the continent, while further deepening our long-standing relationship with StarTimes.”

Lily Meng, head of StarTimes Media Division, added: “We are pleased to take our partnership with Discovery one step further by making these two amazing channels available to Francophone families across Africa. We remain committed to enriching our bouquets with premium content so our subscribers can enjoy the best TV experience with StarTimes.”

Since its launch in 2008, ID has continued to grow in popularity across global audiences with its highest-ever ratings in EMEA for the first quarter of 2020. Discovery Science, which launched in 1996, has been working with StarTimes since 2015 and the current Discovery StarTimes bouquet includes Real Time, Discovery Family and ID in English.

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StarTimes, MTN partner on movies, sports

African pay TV operator StarTimes has partnered with MTN Nigeria to offer the telco’s customers a range of movies, series and sports.

Tunde Aina

The agreement will give MTN customers access to more than 100 channels and video-on-demand content via the StarTimes ON and MyMTN apps.

StarTimes Nigeria chief operating officer Tunde Aina said: “With the video-streaming bundles on the StarTimes app, MTN subscribers will enjoy unlimited entertainment and video-on-demand services at a cheaper data price than any other network in Nigeria.

“The package comes with 26 live-streaming channels, including all seven sports channels, showing UEFA Europa League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Coppa Italia and more; blockbuster movies, cartoons, news and documentaries”

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StarTimes launches kids’ show

Pay TV operator StarTimes has expanded its kids’ programming with a new show on its ST Kids channel.

Star Kids Gala, a half-hour English-language programme, will premiere on ST Kids today. Its debut follows StarTimes’ recent launch of fellow educational show Homeschooling in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The educational TV programme brought relief to parents whose major headache has been the fear of the educational standard of their wards dropping when offline school is unavailable,” said the company.

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WarnerMedia, StarTimes expand Toonami

US giant WarnerMedia and Chinese-owned African pay TV operator StarTimes have partnered to bring the former’s kids’ channel Toonami to multiple sub-Saharan countries.

Guillaume Coffin

The superhero-focused channel will be available via StarTimes in countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi and Mozambique.

Toonami airs series based on popular comic book characters such as Batman, Superman, and the Justice League, plus popular animated series Teen Titans. It also  carries animated feature films such as Batman: Monster Mayhem and All-Star Superman.

Guillaume Coffin, VP and head of commercial and business development at WarnerMedia-owned Turner France, Africa and Israel, said: “WarnerMedia has an existing relationship with StarTimes in French-speaking African regions, which has allowed us to distribute Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, WarnerTV and CNN, among other franchises. We look forward to creating more platforms within this partnership to widen our footprint on the continent.”

Lily Meng, head of StarTimes’ media division, added: “We are delighted to expand our partnership with WarnerMedia toward Anglophone Africa. StarTimes is committed to providing access to high-quality content to all family members, and especially to kids who in many countries have to stay home right now. Toonami comes at the right time to strengthen our kids’ channel portfolio.”

The launch date for Toonami in the aforementioned countries is yet to be announced.

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StarTimes, AAU link for education

Pay TV operator StarTimes and the Association of African Universities (AAU) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to increase access to higher-education content in Africa.

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile

Under the terms of the partnership, AAU will make educational videos available for free via StarTimes mobile app StarTimes ON, enabling subscribers their knowledge and skills.

AAU secretary general Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile said: “This partnership with StarTimes comes at a time when access to educational content is in high demand, especially as most educational activities have moved online as a result of Covid-19 and its unprecedented outcomes.

“Through the AAU TV, the AAU, in its capacity as the continental apex higher-education agency, will promote the quality and relevance of higher education, as well as showcase and strengthen the contributions of higher education to the development of the continent. AAU is open to partnering with institutions whose core mandates align with our aspirations.”

StarTimes VP Luis Lu added: “We are honoured to launch this partnership with the AAU. Education is crucial for individuals and communities. Through our TV and OTT platform, StarTimes has a unique way of reaching millions of people in Africa. We are leveraging this platform to expand access to knowledge via AAU partnership.

“Our motive is to air high-quality content made by the best African experts. This is a milestone for StarTimes and a step forward toward ensuring equal access to all levels of education.”

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StarTimes donates 6,000 face masks

StarTimes Nigeria CEO David Zhang (second from right) was present to hand over the masks

The Nigerian arm of Chinese-owned StarTimes Media has donated 6,000 face masks to help the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nigeria’s minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, who received the donation, said the gesture illustrated the advantages of a public/private partnership.

“StarTimes has proven over time that it is a reliable partner,” Ahmed added.

StarTimes Nigeria CEO David Zhang re-emphasised the importance of the partnership between China and Nigeria, and promised to support the African country in every way possible.


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NTA, StarTimes ready farming reality show

The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and pay TV operator StarTimes are preparing a reality show in which participants will receive agricultural training.

Naija Farmer Reality TV Show is being produced in partnership with the Radio, Television, Theatre & Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) and industry leaders in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD), alongside other federal ministries and agencies, the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), the Progressive Governors Forum and the World Bank’s Appeals Project.

In the programme, participants will get training, mentorship and funding, with the aim of creating agricultural business owners – aka ‘agripreneurs.’

Those behind the show, themed ‘Hope4Naija,’ said it would also offer first-class family entertainment and promote African cultural heritage and good moral standards.

Men and women aged between 18 and 35 and with a minimum of an ordinary national diploma can apply via auditions held across the country. A total of 190 people – comprising 80 housemates, 10 non-resident existing farm owners and 100 non-resident trainees – will participate in the show.

Hopefuls can register online or at any branch of BOA, EcoBank or NTA-Star/StarTimes offices nationwide from May 31. To register online, click here.

There will also be guest appearances by music, comedy and Nollywood stars, as well as political and business leaders.

Chigbo Okoli, CEO of the project, said: “The theme of this maiden edition is Hope4Naija, while the second edition will be Joy4Naija, and the project intends to start by spreading a message of hope and returning opportunity back to the streets of Nigeria for the ordinary Nigerian who knows nobody. By the second edition, we shall be celebrating joy in the newfound Nigeria where prosperity thrives.

“A 24-hour dedicated TV channel for the show will soon open on StarTimes.”

RATTWAU national president Kabir Garba-Tsanni added: “All Nigerian youths across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria should embrace this project and take advantage of this opportunity to reclaim the years the locust has eaten and also to recover from the negative effect of Covid-19 on our economy.

“Do not be discouraged by the millions of youths that will be registering for the project, because it is designed to accommodate large numbers. There will be a slight delay for some people, but ultimately everybody who registers will benefit.”

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Dunamis TV lands on StarTimes

Dunamis Television, the official channel from Dunamis International Gospel Centre in Abuja, has been added to StarTimes’ pay TV platform.

David Zhang

Viewers across Africa can now watch religious programmes from Dunamis Television on DTT channel 453 and DTH channel 363.

StarTimes CEO David Zhang said: “With the current restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dunamis TV channel will give StarTimes’ viewers an immersive ‘church at home’ experience with praise and worship sessions, sermons, choir ministrations, prayers and other wholesome family programming from Dr Pastor Paul Enenche, founder of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja.

“As a company, we believe this new offering will enrich the lives of our customers, keeping them better informed with religious programming to cater for the different denominational groups and keeping them connected during these challenging times.”

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StarTimes to show German football

Nuremberg against Bayern Munich in Germany’s Bundesliga (photo: Granada via CC)

Pay TV operator StarTimes will air live matches from German top-flight football division the Bundesliga on its ST World Football and ST Sport Premium channels.

Having been halted in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bundesliga is now set to resume this Saturday.

StarTimes sporting director Shi Maochu said: “It has been a tough period for football fans around the world. We are very happy to have StarTimes bring back live football in Africa, and even more as the Bundesliga is one of the best leagues in the world.

“I can’t wait to watch these great clubs, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, and others play again.”

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, CEO of league leaders Bayern Munich, added: “The Bundesliga manages to become the first big league worldwide to restart. With the Bundesliga as the only league to be broadcast on TV, I expect we will have an audience of a billion.”

All matches will be broadcast across StarTimes’ sports channels, live and HD, and on streaming app StarTimes ON, allowing fans to watch live games concurrently on several devices.

A series of strict protective measures will be implemented to avoid the spread of the virus and all games will be played behind closed doors.

The Bundesliga is the first major football league to be back in action after sports around the world were put on hold due to Covid-19.

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StarTimes adds SPI’s TDC, Gametoon

Pay TV operator StarTimes and SPI International have expanded their distribution agreement to make two more channels,  gaming channel Gametoon and Turkish net Timeless Drama Channel (TDC), available to StarTimes subscribers from this month.

Chinese-owned StarTimes, which already carries SPI channels including movie net Filmbox Africa and FashionBox, will broadcast Gametoon in English and TDC in Turkish, while the latter will also have English subtitles.

TDC, which launched in 2019, currently reaches more than five million homes and features popular dramas such as Karadayi, Black Money Love, 20 Minutes, Kurt Seyit & Shura, Moms & Mothers, Red Scarf, Five Brothers, The End and The 8th Day.

Gametoon, created by gaming and eSports enthusiasts, features game reviews, eSports tournaments and exclusive sessions from popular online gamers such as Dan Gheesling, Bifuteki and Lothar.

Georgina Twiss, MD for Western Europe and Africa at SPI International, said: “TDC is one of our fastest growing channels due to a global affinity for Turkish dramas. Providing audiences with a diverse collection of high-quality content is a shared mission with our partner StarTimes, and we can’t wait to introduce the world of TDC to African audiences. Gametoon has also gained huge popularity within the community and I am sure that StarTimes subscribers will enjoy our exclusive content.”

Lily Meng, the head of StarTimes Media Division, added: “We are delighted to bring TDC and Gametoon to our viewers. It demonstrates our consistent commitment to provide access to premium content to our subscribers. They have been huge fans of telenovelas and I am sure they will love TDC’s Turkish dramas. And eSports have been booming in Africa, so Gametoon has great potential in Africa.”

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StarTimes unveils educational TV

Pay TV operator StarTimes has introduced and educational television programme for students and children across Africa amidst the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.

The programme, which will air in various African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Guinea, South Africa and Mozambique, will ensure kids enjoy great educational content that will inspire learning and spark curiosity.

The show is set to air from Monday to Friday at 10.00am on ST Kids, homeschooling children on subjects such as social studies, science, handicrafts, painting and dance.

StarTimes said: “We have been working closely with each country’s authorities and broadcasters to provide local educational solutions to every African family. Education is crucial for every society and television is a unique tool to reach kids wherever they are. At the moment, the world has chosen TV as the main education platform since the shutdown of schools and we have made it a priority to keep children busy at home through various learning programmes.”

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StarTimes creates Islamic pop-up channel

Pay TV operator StarTimes has unveiled an Islamic pop-up channel for Ramadan, named Ibādah TV.

During Ramadan, which lasts until May 23, Muslims abstain from food and drink during daylight hours for a month while concentrating on prayer, charity and reading from the Qur’an.

StarTimes said in a statement: “The channel will provide high-quality content such as Muslim prayer, lectures, documentaries and interviews for Muslim subscribers all over Nigeria, while helping them conduct their fast, fulfilling the need for worship among Muslim audiences.”

Ibādah TV will broadcast for one month and will engage subscribers fully with Islam-centric programmes.

Its programmes will include Usiqaa, featuring the latest Islamic music videos from both within and outside Nigeria; Salat, a call-to-prayer show designed to prompt people to pray five times daily; and a vox pop programme engaging people in discussion on the streets and in mosques and also interviewing Islamic dignitaries.

The channel is available on DTT channel 451 and DTH channel 369.

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StarTimes airs Ricky Kej concert for WHO

Pay TV operator StarTimes is broadcasting online event Ricky Kej LIVE at One Page Spotlight to help support the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Covid-19 response fund.

The concert, marking Earth Day and led by Grammy winner Ricky Kej, will feature about 40 musicians from six countries, including South African flautist Wouter Kellerman; Senegalese singer Baaba Maal; American singers Laura Dickinson and Lonnie Park; Indian instrumentalist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt; and the Mzansi Youth Choir from Soweto.

StarTimes VP Luis Lu said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is a challenge globally and as a media group, it is our responsibility to ensure that African families can safely enjoy Earth Day’s celebrations and express their support for international communities in its efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, StarTimes has launched a series of video-based initiatives to raise awareness about the pandemic with promotional materials that will further create awareness based on WHO advice.”

The concert airs today at 15.30 on StarTimes’ free-to-air channel ST Guide and streams on its mobile app StarTimes ON.

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