African pay TV platform StarTimes and Nollywood movie channel Wakaati TV will debut Nigerian actor, director and producer Femi Adebayo’s latest comedy series, Ile Alayo.
Ile Alayo (House of Joy) has been written by Adebayo and is an adaptation of the Nollywood movie of the same name released in 2013. It features characters with conflicting behaviours and attitudes living together.
The cast includes social media comedians Mr Macaroni and Broda Shaggi and actors Mercy Aigbe, Adedimeji Lateef and Adebayo Salami. The cast, 70% of whom were in the original movie, was unveiled at a press conference organised by StarTimes this week.
The series will air on Wakaati TV channel 100 and on StarTimes channel 200. The date for its release has yet to be announced.
African pay TV operator StarTimes will broadcast all 51 games of the pandemic-delayed Euro 2020 football tournament live and in HD.
StarTimes initially secured the broadcast rights for territories across sub-Saharan Africa in 2019, with the tournament scheduled to begin last summer.
However, UEFA confirmed that the competition had been postponed in March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tournament, which is still being held under the Euro 2020 title, will now take place from June 11 to July 11 this year. StarTimes’ satellite network, which covers the whole of the African continent, will provide the signals for the coverage.
StarTimes content operation centre director Philippe Zou said: “This will ensure a strong and stable signal everywhere in Africa, both in rural and urban areas, providing clear pictures and sound, even in cases of bad weather. Matches will also be available live and on replay on the streaming application StarTimes ON, providing football fans with more watching options.
“We are making sure that every family, wherever they live, can enjoy this amazing football festival. Fans have been waiting for Euro 2020 for more than a year and they deserve to have the best viewing experience.”
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has partnered with pay TV operator StarTimes to broadcast the AFC’s national team and club competitions in sub-Saharan Africa for 2021.
The competitions include the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Final Round (until December 31) as well as the group stages, knock-out stages and finals of the AFC Champions League 2021 and the AFC Cup 2021.
According to the Chinese-owned pay TV operator, this move will further expand its already impressive portfolio of rights, which includes the Bundesliga, UEFA Europa League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Euro 2020.
AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “The AFC is delighted with this new partnership, which will bring the best of Asian football to the sub-Saharan African region, and we are thankful to the StarTimes for recognising the value of the AFC’s competitions.
“The agreement will not only increase the exposure of our world-class competitions and platforms beyond the continent but also enhance the stature of the AFC’s brand as we continue to expand our family of global partners.”
Philippe Zou, StarTimes’ content operation centre director, added: “We are delighted to partner with the Asian Football Confederation to bring the AFC’s national team and club competitions to Africa. Football is by far the most popular sport in Africa and African fans expect to enjoy the best football events. I am sure they will be very excited to watch the AFC competitions.”
English football club Manchester United has partnered with pay TV operator StarTimes to show its MUTV channel across sub-Saharan Africa.
Exclusive MUTV content ranging from academy games, live press conferences, player interviews, award-winning documentaries and news will be distributed in over 30 African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana, through various StarTimes platforms.
Phil Lynch, CEO of media at Man Utd, said: “We are proud to have hundreds of millions of passionate fans in Africa, and this long-term agreement will allow them to get closer to the club through MUTV’s exclusive, round-the-clock content from Old Trafford and the Aon Training Complex.
“MUTV is one of our most important channels for engaging with fans around the world, whether through linear or direct-to-consumer streaming platforms, and we are excited to be significantly increasing its reach through our new partner, StarTimes, in Africa.”
Kristen Miao, sports deputy director at StarTimes, added: “Manchester United is one of the most iconic football clubs in the world. We are delighted to share MUTV with football fans across Africa as part as our commitment to enhancing our subscribers’ experience.”
Chinese-owned StarTimes has 13 million subscribers through its DVB digital TV service and 20 million users of its OTT streaming service throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Digital television operator StarTimes has signed a deal with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to broadcast the ongoing Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) from this week until February 7.
The deal gives StarTimes the right to broadcast all 32 matches of the competition in sub-Saharan Africa with the operating licence issued by CAF.
The collaboration between CAF and StarTimes is the first of its kind between the two, with the ambition of offering African football fans wider access to one of CAF’s most important competitions.
CAF interim president Constant Omari said: “We are delighted with this alliance with StarTimes, an internationally recognised group in the field of football broadcasting, which enhances one of our most beautiful events and brings together more and more of the public. Through this new partnership with a key player, we are expanding the audience of Total CHAN to make it an essential destination for football fans in Africa.”
Lily Meng, general manager of StarTimes media division, added: “StarTimes is committed to promoting African football. This partnership with CAF marks a milestone for us. Working together with CAF to broadcast Total CHAN, StarTimes is now able to bring football fans throughout the continent closer to their favourite teams and players.”
Africa- and UK-based broadcaster African Movie Channel (AMC) has debuted its flagship channel on the UK’s Freeview television platform.
This launch is via OTT tech company Channelbox on Freeview channel 271 and makes AMC the first Nollywood channel ever to be distributed on the UK’s Freeview platform, according to AMC.
AMC showcases Nollywood movies, along with films from elsewhere in Africa. They include AMC’s own movies from its own production division, AMC Original Productions (AMCOP), and cinema blockbusters for the family.
AMC and sister channel AMC Series are distributed all over sub-Saharan Africa on platforms including StarTimes, StarSat, TopStar, Azam TV, Zuku and Airtel TV. They offer a selection of Africa’s most successful and critically acclaimed movies, TV series, reality productions, talkshows, magazine shows and other shortform content.
Yinka Mayungbo, AMC’s founding director, said: “We launched the first ever Nollywood channel in Europe in 2006. 14 years later, we are back – in time for Lockdown 3! Here’s wishing our audience in Blighty good cheer and a brilliant time watching their favourite Nollywood stars on AMC.”
Tanya Kronfli, business development director at Channelbox, added: “Channelbox has established itself as a unique and innovative OTT platform delivering TV channels from all over the world to UK TV screens using OTT technology. We are beyond excited to be the first TV platform in the UK to host African Movie Channel and deliver premium Nollywood content to UK audiences.”
A new digital television station called Wakaati TV has debuted on pan-African pay TV operator StarTimes.
Olurotimi Akingbogun, MD of the channel’s parent company Wakaati Network, said the move is a bid to reposition video entertainment, online streaming and TV production in Nigeria.
During the launch ceremony for the channel in Lagos, Akingbogun said Wakaati TV will showcase Nollywood blockbuster movies across its platforms.
“I have, over the years, monitored the entertainment industry and e-commerce in Nigeria and I have noticed some relapses. And the best way to correct these shortcomings, to me, is just to establish a firm in that direction. Wakaati TV will leverage on the relapses to forge ahead and make unimaginable impacts in the system. We are going to effect positive changes that will soothe people’s minds and reposition the industry in the right perspective,” said Akingbogun.
“We have good content that we will be showcasing on our digital station. I mean unique and remarkable content that will differentiate us totally from the rest,” Akingbogun said.
Wakaati’s public relations head Henry Awachuo said that audiences were often dismayed at the high number of repeats of movies on the cable stations.
“The company is working at developing cutting-edge television programmes, with imaginative and creative ingenuity and innovation, bearing in mind customers’ satisfaction as a measurement of our performance,” Awachuo added.
Broadcasters in Africa including StarTimes and South Africa’s e.tv have picked up dramas from Dubai-based producer and distributor SynProNize.
Free-to-air channel e.tv licensed romantic drama series Piya Naam Ka Diya (All for Love), while Swaragini (A Tale of Two Sisters) and Gathbandhan (The Odd Couple) went to African pay TV platform StarTimes, and Onua TV in Ghana acquired Cello.
Cello is originally an Arabic production that aired on Middle Eastern network MBC. It follows a cellist and her pianist husband who encounter an unscrupulous businessman and find themselves torn between integrity and their desire for money.
Piya Naam Ka Diya follows a simple girl who falls in love with the wrong man and was originally broadcast in July 2019 on Pakistani network Geo Entertainment.
Swaragini is about two half-sisters brought up witnessing the fierce rivalry of their family, while Gathbandhan follows a gangster and a police officer whose lives intertwine. Both shows were originally in Hindi and aired on Indian TV channel Colors.
Hasnaa Descuns, co-founder of SynProNize, said: “SynProNize is expanding further into Africa and these partnerships are indicative of the great relationships that help us build our company reach.”
Joel Hammond, group head of programmes for Onua TV parent company Media General in Ghana, said: “SynProNize is a trusted partner in the region and we look forward to a long and fruitful association. Our audiences are sure to enjoy this superbly produced drama series.”
African pay TV operator StarTimes has won the award for most innovative digital terrestrial TV brand at the 2020 Marketing Edge Brands & Advertising Excellence Awards.
The event was organised by Marketing Edge magazine and was geared towards celebrating the best innovative minds and brands in the marketing and communications industry, as well as promoting outstanding brand ideas.
Marketing Edge CEO John Ajayi said: “We have watched and monitored these brands, individuals and agencies very closely in the last few years and can confidently attest to their market leadership, resilience, excellence and above all landmark achievements in their various sectors.
“The nomination and subsequent emergence of StarTimes as Marketing Edge Innovative Digital Terrestrial Television, DTT Brand of the Year was a product of painstaking review and assessment of the digital terrestrial broadcasting sector of the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
“StarTimes has, since inception, been avant garde in its deployment of digital broadcast technology, which has set its offerings far apart from and well ahead of competition. Its innovativeness in service offerings, national coverage and even pocket-friendliness has remained unrivalled, always leaving a yawning gap between itself and its closest competitors.”
StarTimes Nigeria PR manager Lazarus Ibeabuchi said: “This award bears testimony to StarTimes’ innovative efforts in driving growth in the DTT space. It’s on record that StarTimes pioneered digital TV inclusion, bringing access to those that were excluded from enjoying the beauty of pay TV.
“This honour affirms our hard work and we pledge our commitment to continually serve homes with innovative solutions that bring the best of TV entertainment.”
Chinese-owned African pay TV operator StarTimes has acquired the broadcast rights to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) matches.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
African pay TV operator StarTimes has partnered with MTN Nigeria to offer the telco’s customers a range of movies, series and sports.
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”
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.