Econet Wireless Group’s entertainment services subsidiary, Econet Media, has reportedly applied for a TV license from the Uganda Communications Commission as it makes plans to introduce a satellite TV service in the East African country.
The service is set to be provided through Econet’s entertainment brand Kwesé TV and if Econet’s application is successful it will introduce Kwesé TV to a fifth market.
After launches in countries like Kenya its Free to Air sports channel Kwesé Free Sports was also launched in Rwanda and at the time Econet highlighted its plans to introduce this broadcast service to 5 more countries before the end of 2016.
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This continent-wide rollout of a satellite TV service plus its investments in PVR decoder technology further establishes its interest in traditional broadcasting services and places it in direct competition with the continent’s largest pay TV provider and linear TV company MultiChoice.
Judging from MultiChoice’s dominance in this space this won’t be an easy task especially since broadcast TV is fraught with its own challenges such as licensing and at times State interference, something that Econet has already experienced in Zimbabwe.
It’s homework now, in addition to hurdles like licensing and crafting a smart content strategy, will be to establish a sustainable point of difference against MultiChoice and every other broadcast service in each country that it enters.
It looks like the move to be a sports-first entertainer is supposed to enable this, along with the free access (that can’t be extended to all types of content in every market) strategy.
Perhaps if Econet had just maintained its internet-and-mobile-TV/No-Decoder-Required hook it would still have one over Multichoice and everyone else providing entertainment.