Econet ventures into television

HARARE - Econet founder and one of Zimbabwe’s wealthiest men, Strive Masiyiwa, says the diversified telecommunications company will soon launch a Pay TV service known as Kwesé TV which will offer exclusive sports and entertainment programming to African markets.

The usually media-shy business mogul took to social media platform Facebook to announce the new development that is likely to change the face of television on the continent.

“I'm excited to share some information with you about our newest business, one that’s been in the making for three years now. This is the first time I’ve publicly introduced any new venture on Facebook,” he said.

The new business will be built around Econet Global’s core capabilities of satellite communications, fibre optic networks and mobile services.

The latest development comes after the telecommunications giant this week secured a $500 million loan facility from China Development Bank and ZTE earmarked for the consolidation of Econet’s market position and introduction of new services.

Masiyiwa said the move into television services was borne out of the desire to deliver affordable entertainment services to the majority of poor Africans.

“What does this mean for Africa? I will tell you! We believe African consumers must have access to premium and exclusive TV programming at a price that is value for money.
Our satellite communications business, Liquid Sat, has already built a platform which allows us to deliver what is known as Direct TV to the home (DTH), in all the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

Masiyiwa noted that Econet’s fibre optic company, Liquid Fibre, was the largest builder of terrestrial fibre in Africa.

“And, of course, Econet is one of the most experienced mobile network operators on the continent. These are just a few of the assets we’ll deploy in a unique way, never done before in Africa,” he said.

The multi-millionaire entrepreneur, who also has investments in Telecel International’s unit in East Africa, said Kwesé TV’s success will depend on the company’s ability both to acquire and also to develop new, high-quality and unique programming at an affordable price.

“You may know of other companies in this market, most which either provide content that’s far too expensive, or... content that’s just so bad it's not worth paying to see it, even if it’s cheaper. We know you understand what the problem is... And I believe my team has developed an exciting product which will change that dynamic,” he added.

Econet’s new venture comes at a time when a recent report by Pricewaterhousecoopers revealed that after more than a decade of digital disruption, the African entertainment and media industry has entered a new era where the media between traditional and digital spheres is blurred and consumers want more flexibility and freedom in how they consume content.

“As the ‘mobile generation’ we know you’re highly discerning about what you are willing to pay for. What I can share with you right now is that our new business called Kwesé TV will be what we call ‘multi-screen’. This means you can watch TV with a traditional TV, a smartphone, a tablet, and/or a computer,” Masiyiwa said.

In the meantime, Kwesé TV is offering sports news, including the Copa Del Rey Spanish Cup, on its website.

Comments (1)

Well done- well done Econet team and Mr Masiyiwa. Competition breeds efficiency, old time players monopolising this market with old repeat programmes are forced to move out of their comfrot zone and think outside thebox. Big up Kwese!

Jocelyn Selman - 7 December 2015

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