Econet now changes tack, expands into digital services

Joseph Hundah is currently the Group CEO for Econet Media. Net.

Econet Media has reviewed its business strategy as it moves to align its services with changes in the global digital and satellite broadcasting sector as well as the growth in mobile and fixed broadband on the continent.

The strategy review will see the multiplatform broadcast network focus on three core services.

They include free-to-air TV service Kwesé Free Sports (KFS), Kwesé iflix, a mobile video-on-demand sports and entertainment platform on the continent and Kwesé Play—and news channels including Red Bull TV, NBA, YouTube, TED and Bloomberg.

With increased focus on the three services, Econet targets to streamline its direct-to-home satellite television service, leading to a reduction of third party channels available on the bouquet, as well as the removal of Kwesé branded sports (excluding KFS) and general entertainment channels.

Joseph Hundah, Group President and Chief Executive of Econet Media, said the business’ repositioning is perfectly timed in response to market trends.

“We believe these changes will safeguard the future success of our business as we continue to make an indelible impact on Africa’s media industry. The revised business strategy will also ensure that Kwesé TV continues to remain competitive within the industry,” he said.

He added that; “Refocusing our business offering across markets is a strategic move which aligns our business to OTT and video-on-demand trends which present significant growth opportunities for Kwesé. This renewed focus on digital services will see us provide new compelling offers for our customer’s enjoyment.”

Kwesé was launched at a time when the global pay television industry was in transition.

Business models were evolving from traditional content rights linked to linear broadcast channels, to premium content rights moving towards digital media platforms.

The business has managed to secure leading sports rights and general entertainment channels, making a significant shift in the continent’s complex and competitive media industry.

Having recognised the importance of carrying original local content, Econet will also establish its own content creation hub, Kwesé Studios, through which Econet Media will invest in developing its own original programming and provide a platform for African producers, script writers, actors and directors to tell authentic African stories on a pan-African broadcast network.

Hundah said, “Through the development of the Kwesé Studios content hub, Econet Media will now have a legitimate claim to be the home of African content, as we will now create a place where Africans can tell their own stories and shape their own narrative.”

All these changes are done to keep up Kwesé’s commitment to providing affordable premium content, maintaining an innovative approach to content delivery and being attuned to audience viewing and purchasing habits.

“Kwesé’s entry into the market had a game changing impact on the media industry. With these changes, we believe Kwesé will continue to positively disrupt the industry for the benefit of African consumers, as we continue to provide affordable premium content through digital media services,” he added.

As a consequence of the revised business model, Econet said it’s also reviewing its operational structures across all markets where Kwesé TV has presence which may result in changes to the company’s various business units.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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