Star Africa Media, the newest pay television in Rwanda, has invested more than $20 million (Frw10.9 billion) in the TV industry, the company’s chief executive officer Xie Ken said.
According to Ken, Star Africa’s arrival on the scene has not only boosted the pay TV industry, but has also tightened the competition in Rwanda by bringing the number of pay TV companies to three. The current outlets are DSTV, GTV and Star Africa Media.
With Star Africa in the market, DSTV and GTV have cut down their prices to be competitive. DSTV lowered its price from Frw214,000 to Frw184,000 while GTV went from Frw246,000 to Frw143,000. People can acquire Star Africa decoders for Frw81,000.
To stay competitive, GTV is rewarding new and old subscribers with an original England football jersey worth Frw50,000.
Star Africa Media, which started its operation in Rwanda in June this year, has so far registered 400 customers. Ken told The New Times that he is positive of the company’s success.
“This is a very good number, it shows people really need our services especially the mid- and low-income earners, who cannot afford the prices of other pay TVs and they have put trust in us,” he said, adding they are working on diversifying content.
Leo Hao, marketing and sales manager of Star Africa Media, said the company is increasingly becoming popular.
“After buying our affordable Digital TV which offers good information and entertainment, customers pass on information about our product to others who later come to buy our products,” Hao said, adding he is not worried about the competition.
“Competition is good not only for the companies but also for the people, because it helps people have more information about the service producers, hence making good choices.”
Adolph Le Arangwa, spokesperson at DSTV Tele 10, said he was also not threatened by Star Africa Media’s entrance into the pay television industry. He said people first perceived DSTV’s service was meant for the rich.
“They later came to understand what DSTV really is. Now our product talks for it self—we offer 100 plus channels,” he said. “We don’t need to embark on massive advertising just because another competitor has come into the market.
Competition is not bad, but who are you competing with, matters a lot.”
He praised DSTV’s service as the best selling pay TV in Rwanda because of its reputation. “However much you subscribe with other pay TVs, you will need DSTV in the end because of the many packages and channels available,” he said.
“To build a name it takes not only two months or one year, we are now well established after four years of full operation in this country.”
Steven Kinuka Baguma, the country manger for GTV in Rwanda, said GTV started in September of 2007, and its major break through was by providing sports channels, especially airing the Premier league.
“We were in the right place at the right time and registered a big number of customers,” he said, adding, “We have upgraded our service and packages to suit every person in Rwanda and believe me now our customers are enjoying the best pay TV in the country.”
Baguma said competition is necessary to keep the market healthy. “A market without competition is a dead one—you can’t see development and improvement in such a market.
Competition leads to the creation of new ideas hence improvement in service,” Baguma said. “We believe that quality TV should be accessible to everybody; not reserved for the privileged few. We are committed to bringing the finest entertainment the world has to offer to African homes, constantly broadening both the choice of programming on offer and the way it’s offered.”