Tag Archives: StarTimes

StarTimes to play all Euro 2020 matches

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.”

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StarTimes preps music talent show

African pay TV operator StarTimes and Nigerian record label Kennis Music have collaborated to organise a singing competition aimed at uncovering the next Afrobeats superstar.

Kenny Ogungbe

In Naija Star Search, 18 promising contestants will attempt to sing their way to stardom while fighting for a chance to win the grand prize of N10 million (US$24,000).

Naija Star Search is hosted by TV personality VJ Adams, while the judges include Nigerian music producer and Kennis Music CEO Kenny Ogungbe, music producer Olumide Ogunade (aka ID Cabasa) and Nigerian Afropop singer Iyanya Mbuk.

Ogungbe on Instagram: “We want to celebrate African music; we want to listen to them sing Nigerian songs like Tu Face songs. This is different from other competitions we have seen. We are identifiers and we will pick the best for Nigeria.”

Although the show’s debut date has yet to be confirmed, it will air over 13 weeks, with weekly episodes plus daily highlights, on StarTimes’ Nollywood channels.

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AFC, StarTimes in media rights deal

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.

Dato’ Windsor John

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.”

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AMAA, StarTimes reveal short-film winners

The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and pay TV company StarTimes have unveiled the winners in The Shorts film festival, organised to motivate young and promising filmmakers on the continent.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe

Enobong Nkanta from Nigeria emerged as winner for his short film titled Mama’s Song and was awarded US$3,000 and a laptop.

Frank Dzikonu from Ghana was first runner-up for his animated movie Sad Story of Kojo and received US$2,000 and a mobile phone.

Frank Abasiekong from Nigeria became second runner-up for his short film Room 10 and took home US$1,000.

Edmond Tawale from Uganda was named winner in the best documentary category for his movie Ateker and also received US$1,000.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of AMAA, said: “I’m delighted with this initiative to reward our young filmmaker and happy with the synergy StarTimes is having with the movie industry. Filmmakers need to understand the process of filmmaking. We approached StarTimes for partnership and StarTimes is willing to help us nurture these resourceful people.

“Over 500 entries were submitted while about 220 short films were selected for the screening. This shows the number of young people making their mark across Africa. We have to clear the stage for young and upcoming filmmakers. If we catch them young and structure them properly, it will help the growth of having better films being made along the way.

“The shortlisted films are still airing on ST Nollywood Plus on StarTimes and StarTimesON mobile app. If you have the opportunity, please watch them, so you will know what the young people are doing. There are a lot of topics that resonate with our daily lives. There are also little animations embedded too. So I was quite impressed with what I saw.”

Alex Jian, CEO of StarTimes, said the company’s goal was to provide a bigger platform for talented young people to succeed.

“StarTimes has been deeply engaged with Nollywood since last year, starting with the production of Ile Alayo season one, a great work directed by our friend and ambassador Femi Adebayo. During the process, we noticed the great potential of the whole industry, and we are surprised by many young content creators. They are passionate, hardworking and full of inspiration,” Jian said.

“As a pay TV platform rooted in Africa, StarTimes aims at providing the best content to its audience. And we are very willing to support content creators in all kinds of ways because when they grow, the industry grows. If they succeed, we succeed.

“AMAA is devoted to encouraging movie industry development, and now we are joining hands to support new faces. We are honored to work with AMAA on this beautiful cause, while we keep bringing fresh new content to the StarTimes audience.”

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Manchester United links with StarTimes

L-R: Manchester United stars Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes

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.

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StarTimes, CAF in Total CHAN deal

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.

Constant Omari

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.”

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Africa on course for 51m TV subscribers

Pay TV subscriptions in Africa will rise to 51 million in the next five years, according to a report by UK-based analysis firm Digital TV Research.

The report, titled Africa Pay TV Forecasts, predicts that nearly 17 million pay TV subscribers will be added in Africa between 2020 and 2026.

Of the total, Nigeria will account for close to 11 million, with South Africa bringing in nine million.

South Africa-based MultiChoice, which operates sub-Saharan African satellite TV service DStv and smaller pay TV service GOtv, had 15.5 million subscribers across both platforms at the end of 2020.

Simon Murray, Digital TV Research’s principal analyst, expects this figure to rise to 19.7 million by 2026 “with a marked slowdown of satellite TV growth.”

China-based StarTimes and StarSat will experience the most impressive growth, with combined subscriptions in Africa increasing from 10.1 million at the year end to 16.9 million by 2026.

France’s Vivendi, which had 5.4 million subscribers to its Canal + satellite TV platform and EasyTV in Africa by the year end, will see this figure rise to 7.9 million by 2026.

Meanwhile, other pay TV providers in Africa combined will go from three million subscribers at the end of 2020 to 6.3 million by 2026.

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AMC debuts on UK’s Freeview

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.”

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Wakaati TV launches on StarTimes

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.

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African buyers pick up SynProNize dramas

Piya Naam Ka Diya (All for Love) originally aired in Pakistan

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.

Hasnaa Descuns

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.”

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African TV subs set to rise to 57 million

The number of pay TV subscriptions in Africa is set to climb from 39 million in 2021 to 57 million by 2027, according to newly released projections from UK analysis firm Digital TV Research.

However, while the number of subscribers is predicted to grow by 46%, the revenues derived from those subscriptions will rise by only 35%, due to the fact Africa’s three dominant pay TV providers – Multichoice, StarTimes and Canal+ – will reduce their prices as they tussle for supremacy in the region.

According to Digital TV Research, pay TV revenues in Africa will climb to US$6.46bn in 2027, up from US$4.78bn in 2021.

By 2027, South African broadcaster and pay TV provider Multichoice will have 20.8 million subscribers across its DStv and GOtv platforms, said the research firm. Meanwhile, Chinese media company StarTimes, which has a significant presence across sub-Saharan Africa, will grow to 18.4 million, and Vivendi-owned French company Canal+ will climb to 11.2 million subs.

“Few new players are expected. Instead, the three protagonists will battle for supremacy – often by cutting prices,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research.

While the pay TV sector in Africa is set to grow significantly over the next five years, data from Digital TV Research indicates that OTT will grow at a much faster rate. A report released last year suggested revenue from movies and TV series on OTT platforms in Africa will reach US$1.7bn by 2026, compared with US$392m in 2020. Around US$1.5bn will come from SVoD platforms, said Digital TV Research.

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UNESCO hails Africa’s $20bn potential

The film and audiovisual industry in Africa has the potential to create over 20 million jobs and generate US$20bn in revenues per year, a new report claims.

The report, by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), was conducted between November 2020 and May 2021. It forms part of UNESCO’s commitment to the diversity of cultural expression and to help develop dynamic cultural and creative industries (CCIs) on the continent.

Titled The African Film Industry: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Growth, the report maps the film and audiovisual industry in the 54 states of the African continent, analyses their strengths and weaknesses and offers recommendations for action at the continental, regional and national levels.

The report states: “The economic potential of the film and audiovisual sectors remains largely untapped and is historically and structurally underfunded, underdeveloped and undervalued, generating only US$5bn in annual revenue out of a potential US$20bn, according to the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers.”

Even though cinemas closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, from an infrastructure perspective, the distribution sector underwent profound changes.

“Before the pandemic, new French investments in francophone West Africa, Morocco and Tunisia were expected to triple the number of screens in the region by 2024. Most impressively, Nigeria emerged as a true success story, showing a 200% increase in cinema locations between 2015 and 2020, with the total number of Digital Cinema Initiative-compliant screens reaching 237 in 2020. Home-grown Nollywood films now rival Hollywood blockbusters at the box office.”

Thanks to digital technologies, production has been growing rapidly in Africa in recent years. The broadcast industry is now almost fully liberalised, with over 1,000 private television channels operating across the continent.

This follows the opening up of some of the last markets, such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Côte d’Ivoire, and the gradual transitioning process from analogue broadcasting to digital terrestrial television.

There is now growth in pay TV, dominated by South Africa’s MultiChoice (with 20.1 million subscribers), China’s StarTimes (7.8 million) and France’s Canal+ (six million).

Technology has given rise to affordable digital film equipment and the ability to distribute and monetise content directly to consumers via online platforms, ranging from YouTube, other social media and Netflix to local mobile video services. This has led to a new economy for African content creators which bypasses traditional gatekeepers.

The report states there are positive signs that countries across the continent are waking up to the potential of their creative industries, and more specifically of film and television.

Moreover, in this tumultuous period, it is becoming increasingly urgent for African governments to establish strong national, regional and continental strategies to take control of their fast-growing creative sectors.

The report highlights four potential blueprints for growth, namely the Nollywood model, the Auteur model, the Service model and the Festival model.

“Particular attention must be paid to addressing current industry trends and challenges in an informed and collective manner. Only in this way can states ensure that their past, present and future creative products are protected, preserved and developed, and that their cultural and commercial value benefits Africa and contributes to its global outreach,” it adds.

The African VoD sector is also growing rapidly, with subscriptions poised to balloon from 3.9 million in 2020 to 13 million in 2025, according to UK-based analyst Digital TV Research.

“Netflix now has about two million subscribers across the continent, while the South African Showmax has some 688,000 direct subscribers. In North Africa (and the Middle East), StarzPlay is another strong contender, with 1.8 million subscribers across the Arab region,” says the UNESCO report.

“In Côte d’Ivoire, VoD services have developed spectacularly recently thanks to the deployment of more than 5,000 kilometers of optical fibre in the territory. Most local operators, such as RTI and mobile operators Orange, MTN and Moov Africa, have also launched their own VoD services.”

It adds that the Nigerian film industry employs over a million people directly or indirectly, having produced some 2,599 films in 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, making it the world’s second largest film industry in terms of output after Bollywood and ahead of Hollywood.

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StarTimes wins award for DTT innovation

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.”

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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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