After being awarded a license to carry their own digital signal, the consortium of three major media houses in Kenya; Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Group under consortium Africa Digital Network are now ready to go. The three announce that they are already hitting the road with orders for 150,000 set top boxes that they claim will be the cheapest among free to air boxes in Kenya.
The retail price is said to range between Kshs 2000 and 2500 and the boxes should arrive in the next three weeks. These will however not be for mass consumption as a 150,000 figure is quite tiny for the group which claim to command over 80% of the TV market-share and 80% radio audience, questionable, but story for another day.
The consortium will then order more boxes to the tune of a million at the end of March 2015, I assume this will be when they have tested the product in many parts of the country to ensure they have a stable offering.
Remember they will be coming in quite late when the country will have already undergone through round two of the digital migration which happens for other places outside Nairobi on February 2nd 2015 for Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Machakos, Narok, Nyadundi, Rongai and Londiani. They will most probably be ready when the third phase which happens on March 30 2015 happens where Namanga, Kitui, Garissa, Lodwar, Lokichoggio, Kabarnet, Migori, Kapenguria, Voi and Kibwezi get their phase done.
Now according to this article on the Business Daily, the set-top box the three will sell comes internet enabled, not sure whether this means ethernet port or Wifi card on-board. The article also does not reveal what comes on board the low priced set-top box so at this point we do not know what compromises it comes with or whether they will choose to subsidize the product to arrive at the Kshs 2000 price.
As at now, the three have a disadvantage over the other two rivals SIGNET and PANG which are allowed to transmit their channels and rivals’ so this means that if the supreme court hearing the three are awaiting doesn’t go their way they will have an inferior offering with just channels owned by the three.
IMG Credit: Cusquenian, Flickr