A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the effect of Econet’s Kwese decision to leave the sports streaming business in a market that badly needs additional players. The strategy to exit the business did not imply Kwese had closed shop in the country; rather, it was exploring new options to stay competitive, which, as we had speculated, entailed pushing the video-on-demand (VOD) agenda that has proved massively successful for companies such as Netflix.
The need to sell Kwese Play, which is now the firm’s primary product in Kenya, should not be a surprise owing to the lacklustre performance of the now axed Kwese sports. Kwese Play has albeit quietly, been around for some time. The product was launched after Kwese acquired a significant share of streaming service iFlix.
According to the broadcast network, Kwese Play will offer content from providers such as Roku, Netflix and its service, iFlix.
This appears to be the new approach taken by broadcasting companies: popularize streaming services in markets that have made notable growth in terms of internet adoption and the use of smart handhelds to get access to the services of the internet in place of satellite-based channels.
Kwese has not revealed any partnerships with local operators to push Kwese Play as we have seen before with players such as Showmax that has done some business with telco Safaricom. It, nonetheless, says that its potential customers are mostly based on areas served by fiber-to-the-home infrastructure.
Finally, Kwese Play will be powered by TV-esque box that will be available at Jumia for KES 6000 from Monday 10 on a preorder basis.