Smart TV Winds Up Kenya’s Operations in a Huff
Kenya’s Pay TV provider, Smart TV, is reported to have shut down its operations and left the country. The provider is reported by Business Daily as having failed to secure funding to expand its operations in the country. The move will leave over 2000 without services pay tv services.
The move will leave only Wananchi Group owned Zuku TV as the only challenger to MultiChoice;s local domination. Zuku TV has reported that it has gained a subscriber base of around 35,000 within the last few months of roll-out.
Smart TV launched in Kenya in late 2010 with Swedish investors, Next generation broadcasting, partnering with Transmex to raise the required investment. The provider then leased broadcasting signals from Signet which is owned by the government through KBC. But even before Smart TV could fully roll-out, it faced lawsuits from Kenyan mainstream media owners accusing it of using its content without paying royalties. The court ruled in favour of NGB but the group was not ready for the battle ahead.
Contacted, PS Ministry of Information said;
“This business is very difficult to invest in if you have no plans for content development. It is a lesson for the many Kenyans wanting to invest in the sector. It is even complicated for those wanting to invest in the complicated infrastructure. I am however told that no one has lost any money here since majority were given a free set-top box. Some are in arrears. Let those who claim to have lost the money comes forward.”
Business Daily reported that Mohammed Nyaoga, chairman of Transmex, said that the directors of the firm would soon meet to decide if subscribers will be refunded the money they invested on decoders and un-utilised subscription.
Only less than 1% of Kenya’s over 40 million population has access to pay tv services with DSTV having subscriptions of over 100,000 while Wananchi Group has subscriptions which might soon be approaching 40,000.