Broadcasting: Local Music and Religious Content Consumption Still Popular as Comedy Takes a Hit

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Broadcasting services appear to be growing from quarter to quarter if data from Kenya’s ICT regulator the Communications Authority (CA) is anything to go by. The latest numbers from the ICT watchdog reveal more people arming themselves with digital television terrestrial devices such as set-top boxes (STBs), as well as increased cable TV and direct to home satellite subscriptions.

In the second quarter of the FY 2018/2019, the nation recorded 86% digital terrestrial television signal population coverage. The previous quarter registered the same coverage, and nothing has really changed besides a jump in the number of commercial FTA TV stations that grew from 67 in the preceding quarter to 74 in the quarter under review. This implies that the nation is still served by five digital TV distributors – two broadcast signal distributors and three self-provisioning broadcast signal vendors.

As mentioned, the number of digital subscriptions has, however, shot up substantially. For instance, more than 4.5 million Kenyans have STBs, with a little over 1.1 million who own direct to home satellite TV subscriptions – all representing a 17.3% and 7.1% jump from the previous quarter. Cable TV has fewer subscriptions at about 170,000. This development can be attributed to distributors pricing their products competitively, including the likes of StarTimes Media that slashed the prices of its satellite and DTT plans by up to 50 percent for select subscriptions.


It should also be noted that over the quarter, no new radio stations were registered as the number remained 173.


Local content consumption

In terms of local content consumption, music still takes the crown at 31.7 percent, followed closely by religious shows at 24.1% and talk shows at 15.6%. Programs that cover events such as sports, comedy and reality TV are consumed poorly, particularly comedy that constituted 0.5% of local content consumption in the second quarter.

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