Econet Media, the entertainment subsidiary of the Econet Wireless Group and the division working on Kwesé TV, has announced a long-term partnership with Matchroom Sport, an independent sports promoter and content company from the United Kingdom.
The relationship between the two companies gives Econet Media broadcasting rights to Matchroom Sport’s full catalogue of archived and new programming which covers nine disciplines which include golf, pool, snooker, fishing, bowling, darts, and boxing.
The coverage of boxing will also include championship matches including the IBF World Heavyweight title match between Anthony Joshua and Dominic Breazeale scheduled for the 25th of June. Kwesé TV will live stream the fight on its website for free to 50 African countries.
It’s Kwesé TV versus SuperSport
The Matchroom Sports deal is the second content partnership that Econet Media has entered into in the past fortnight following another deal with Australian Cricket announced at the beginning of June.
The cricket deal gave Kwesé Sports 5-year rights to broadcast Australian cricket across most of Africa (South Africa and Northern Africa were excluded, territories which are probably covered by MultiChoice’s SuperSport).
Econet Media has also inked content distribution deals for American basketball with the NBA, and English football with the English Premier League.
All this content is set to be distributed on Kwesé TV, which is Econet Media’s internet TV service. Kwese was first mentioned at the end of last year and is expected to launch in the next two months before the start of the English Premier League season.
Even though Kwesé TV is set to be a distributor of various categories of content, Econet Media has clearly focused a lot of its content acquisition efforts on sports content with other types of content hardly receiving any mention.
It’s becoming clear that Kwesé TV is being positioned to be a dominant distributor of sports content for the growing numbers of African viewers who can turn to the internet for sports.
That sports entertainment segment is currently dominated by SuperSport, a subsidiary of MultiChoice which is owned by the continent’s largest media company, Naspers.
SuperSport distributes its content primarily through MultiChoice’s pay TV service DStv which also happens to be the leading pay TV service in Africa.
However, as a satellite TV service, its massive presence could be eventually outrun by the growing number of mobile internet users across Africa.
With an internet penetration rate of approximately 28.6%, African connectivity numbers haven’t warranted a lot of excitement around internet services like IPTV and VOD.
Companies like Econet with a huge interest in broadband services are instead making a play on the long-term impact that internet will have on content access even in Africa.
The continent’s high mobile penetration and an increasing awareness of the power unlocked through internet access along with its convenience, are indicators that services like Kwesé TV can at some point be leading providers of content as they guarantee delivery into every user’s hands.
This would then mean taking the fight for sports supremacy to the internet which would give Kwese a chance at competing with SuperSport.
image credit – matchroomboxing.com