Firms ride on Internet growth to colonise new TV frontiers
| Its penetration spurs the growth of online consumption of video content
The rapid penetration of Internet in Kenya is leading to a renaissance of sorts that could potentially drive non-adaptive traditional television broadcasters out of business.
Safaricom, through their Home Internet business, are leading the new push to have as many homes as possible join the grid, effectively allowing Internet-based companies to colonise new frontiers in the country.
“We have passed more than 81,000 homes across the country and continue to invest to reach and connect more customers in line with growing demand for high-speed data connectivity,” Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told Digital Business.
Safaricom, which rolled out 4,000km of cable in the last financial year, charge Sh2,500 for its cheapest Home Fibre bundle - 5Mbps, and Sh9,999 for the 40Mbps package.
“Our customer needs are changing – they are demanding more from their Internet connectivity and we are seeing the emergence of a more digitally enhanced lifestyle. Consumers are using more data rich products and streaming content that demands fast and reliable connections. We will grasp the opportunity for our home solutions to meet both the immediate need for connectivity in the home as well as also lay the basis for more advanced technologies such as smart home solutions,” added Mr Collymore.
Surf, which recently teamed up with Facebook to offer lowcost Internet solutions said it was encouraged by the interest its products are receiving.
“Our customers are very engaged and savvy about the value of the Internet and what it means to them in their daily lives and what options and price points are available. And, as they see prices drop, they see the opportunity to use it even more,” said Surf CEO, Mark Summer.
In response to the Internet spread, American enterprises Netflix and Showmax recently launched operations in the country and have, so far, remained in healthy business space, which is now attracting more rivals, among them iflix.
iflix, which first launched their service in May 2015, conquered the Asian region, after unveiling their products to 18 markets across Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, acquiring over five million subscribers in less than two years.
With a capital base boosted by an additional Sh9.3 billion ($90 million) funding by Liberty Global Group and Zain Group, iflix Africa announced that it was attracted to the continent by the huge appetite for digital content and entertainment, mostly attributed to a large youth population.
“By 2020, Africa will have 720 million smartphone users. We aim to meet the entertainment needs of those increasingly connected viewers,” Mark Britt, iflix co-founder and CEO said.
Yet, even as experts maintain that traditional cable and satellite TV may not be facing an immediate death knell, they remain adamant that players in the field should brace for a tough fight from emerging technologies.
The popularity of these ondemand video entertainment companies should serve as a warning shot to traditional broadcasters, who have most of their business centred around selling advertising space in between shows or subscriptions can, say online marketing consultants.
“It is becoming more attractive to sign up for products that allow you the flexibility of paying for only what you use and Internet-based broadcasters are niftily taking over.”
The growing competition in
CONNECTIVITY Showmax Chief Executive O icer John Kotsaftis. --