Pay-TV competition goes a notch higher
The fight to control the audience of sports lovers in East Africa has intensified over the past few months, following the sudden emergence of new players in the Pay-TV industry.
For a while Supersport Tv has been the defacto “big brother” in this industry, with the South African Television company owned by Multichoice and carried by the DSTV satellite enjoying a majority of the audience in the region estimated at millions through its several channels that broadcast an array of sports activities .
But this scenario has rapidly changed in the past few weeks, as a number of stations has since managed to come on board, whilst securing exclusive rights of various competition that were initially believed to be Supersport’s stronghold.
The most visible competitor of Supersport at the moment is Azam TV.
The Tanzanian based company is understood to have successfully acquired exclusive rights to broadcast the Tanzanian, Uganda and Burundi top flight leagues in the past year.
Besides, another yet to be revealed European based channel is reported to have successfully acquired the rights to broadcast the Kenyan Premier League starting this year, a product that has been associated with Supersport for the past six years.
And that is not all. Bamba TV, a newly launched local Pay-TV that requires no monthly pay by its subscribers, is reported to have acquired free to air rights of the Italian top flight league Serie A, amongst other sports event.
Add Zuku TV to the deal, the company recently acquired rights to broadcast local college basketball, volleyball and rugby to Kenyans.
So is Supersport finally losing its grip of control of the audiences in the region, or are the products being taken over by the company’s competitors not a priority to the South African based channel’s owners?
Will this development lead to further reduction of prices among the various Pay-TV channels (as is already the case)? or will East Africans witness a scenario where one’s living room is crammed up with 5-6 decoders?