5 biggest beneficiaries of Digital Migration

It’s about 4 hours left to analogue switch off in Nairobi and the surrounding counties. As we patiently wait to look at our blank screens come midnight, it is important to highlight some of the biggest beneficiaries of digital Migration from number 5 to number 1.

Number 5: Mainstream Media Houses

In the long run every person will have an equal measure of benefits but at start there are some industry players who stand to lose. Those who will benefit immensely in the long run but will lose right now are the mainstream media houses operating television stations. They are a beneficiary simply because Digital Migration offers them an opportunity to be able to broadcast multiple programs within the same bandwidth thereby able to diversify on the programme offering. The cost of broadcasting a program will also reduce. People like Nation Media Group who have two TV stations can now broadcast their different stations within the same bandwidth too.

So yes they have a lot to benefit on digital migration but as things stand now, they will lose a lot on advertisement revenues as digital migration brings with it multiple players to the industry to heighten competition. They have also been denied a license to broadcast their content as a consortium meaning they will have to pay a third party, either KBC or StarTimes, for their content to be broadcast to the viewers.

Number 4: KBC

KBC could be number two or three but the quality of the programmes and broadcast still means they will only reap from the benefits outlined above and the revenues they will generate by operating one of the broadcast licenses. I am not sure if the other media houses will prefer to use their distribution channel to punish the foreign company or they will prefer the foreign company to punish the government that denied them a third license. Anyhow there is the chance that they will get some revenues from those who want to use their infrastructure to broadcast digital signal.

If KBC can take up this opportunity and revamp its programme offering plus quality of programmes (their sound and pictures are wanting indeed), then they can regain some of the lost followers.

Number 3: Multichoice

Mutlichoice is said to be part of Signet, the first company that was awarded the digital distribution license owned by KBC. If this be the case then they stand to benefit more than KBC by far. Multichoice is at number three because not only are they going to have some say on signal distribution but they are also sellers of Digital Decoders for Free to Air channels in GoTV Open. Digital Migration has given Multichoice a chance to sell as many as possible GoTV decoders and this will mean expanded customer base even for their Pay TV offerings.

I know that once several people buy the GoTV decoders, Multichoice will tailor its marketing and run target ads to turn most of them into Pay TV customers.

Number 2: StarTimes

I saw from our Twitter Timeline yesterday that StarTimes had sold 8,000 units of StarTimes dual decoders from a single shop in Nairobi. So just as Multichoice, StarTimes will be selling a lot of their decoders as people rush to migrate to digital TV. It is important to point out that the only brands known by people and are offering STBs are GoTV and StarTimes so these two stand a better chance to beat the rest of STBs by far.

Then StarTimes (under their affiliated company Pan-Africa Network Group (Kenya) Co. Ltd) have a major digital distribution license. Although it is not certain which of the two digital signal distributors will benefit from mainstream media content, we are sure both will still benefit from the many other new TV stations already already introduced or the new comers who are waiting to verify if indeed Digital TV really works.

As you can see, StarTimes are broadcasters, Pay TV provider, and now decoder distributors and retailers. From the over shs 40 billion market, be sure they will take home the largest chunk of it.

Number 1: You and me

You and me are in number one because we will benefit in very many ways:

  1. We can sell decoders. It’s simple, just identify a manufacturer maybe a Chinese company who can offer a well conditioned decoder for under $20 FOB and sell it for $50 retail.
  2. We can now easily start TV stations. Until now setting up a TV station has been a privilege of the few billionaires. But Digital Migration means ordinary citizens with vision can venture into this market and provide unique content.
  3. We will enjoy variety of quality content. In Kenya we still don’t have variety. There are times when all the TV stations decide to air one thing – if they are not all in ICC then they are all in some political rally or they are all airing some Mexican soap or Naija movie that should be banned. Other than quality of progammes, the broadcast signal will also be fine. Those michelemichele you always complain about or the need to twist the antenna whenever you change channels will be a thing of the past.
  4. As advertisers we won’t have to pay for the over shs 50,000 to have our ads air for a few seconds per week. Competition will lower the ad costs greatly leading to huge savings. Some advertisers may choose to run their own channels ~ Contributed by Jooseph Nduhiu.

Welcome digital…bye bye analogue.


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