Kenya: Country Makes a Technology Leap With Mobile TV

Technology & Convergence

Mobile phone owners are set to have a new addition to their menu following the launch by a digital broadcaster of a service that will stream television content to their handsets. The service could see up to 11 million mobile phone subscribers access television content on their phones leapfrogging Kenya into the cutting edge technological era where the TV and the phone have converged.

Kenya is among a handful of countries that MultiChoice has picked for trials of the new technology known as DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld). "DVB-H gives us the two best-selling consumer products -- the telephone and television combined in one device," Information minister Mutahi Kagwe said in speech read for him by his permanent secretary, Dr Bitange Ndemo.

"Research has indicated that there is genuine consumer desire for superior quality video and audio content, anywhere, anytime," the minister said. Technology experts say this convergence marks the speed which Kenya has climbed the technology ladder coming from a purely cable telephone country to handheld digital video broadcasting in seven years. This period has seen the mobile phone evolve from a simple voice-enabled gadget to a multi-tasking device that has combined several gadgets in one.

This development portends even a greater impact on television viewership as it has the potential of increasing access 10 times by streaming content to the 11 million owners of mobile phones up from the 1.5 million owners of television sets. Industry regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), says it expects several companies to follow Multichoice's lead by streaming TV content through the mobile phone.

By adopting this technology, Kenya joins the family of technology savvy countries that had enabled more 300 million mobile users to receive TV content through their handsets by end of last year.

Analysts say in the next three years more than 150 million people around the world become regular users of mobile broadcast services. Martin Mbutho, the sales and marketing manager at Digital Mobile Television (DMTV) said MultiChoice had picked Kenya as a trail market because of the positive growth of the mobile sector and the trend-conscious profile of its consumers.

DMTV Kenya is the new division of MultiChoice Kenya that will manage the DVB-H trial and sign up active subscribers. In Africa, only Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa have started the trials with Namibia expected to be the first to go live commercially in a few months.

Consumers need a DVB-H enabled mobile phone with a configured SIM card to receive the mobile TV signal. DSTV's service is only available on the Samsung P910 model, which retails for Sh28,000. To subscribe to a specialized bouquet of ten mobile television channels, consumers will have to purchase scratch cards worth Sh1,000 every month and load it onto their phones just as they do for airtime. Mr Mbutho said the service is currently available only on Safaricom's network but plans are underway to extend it to other networks and to allow other compatible handset models to be used.

South Africa has been keen to commercialize the technology ahead of its 2010 hosting of the World Cup, hoping to increase broadcast revenues from a myriad of channels. "It is my expectation that by 2010 every South African will have access to telecommunications; will have access to high speed broadband data; will have access to television on their phones," said Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Vodacom.

DVB-H differs from 3G (Third Generation) mobile technology, which utilizes cellular telephony network infrastructure and frequency and is a one-to-one or point-to-point transmission -- and subject to bandwidth and quality limitations. If too many users try to watch video content simultaneously on their mobile phones, the network could become overloaded and picture quality can be adversely affected.

DVB-H, by contrast, is a one-to-many, or "true" broadcast format that does not suffer such limitations. With DVB-H, the quality of the stream can be tailored flexibly to the content thus enabling optimization of audio visual quality.

(Business Daily (Nairobi), 24 October 2007)

- Banff World Television Awards

29th Banff World Television Festival held June 8 - 11, 2008, at the Fairmont Banff Springs in the Canadian Rockies.

This annual event is the world’s premier gathering for television content creators and commissioners. Each year more than 800 entries vie for the coveted Best of the Festival, making the Banff World Television Awards the most highly-contested international television program competition in the world.

- African Regional Conference of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

Abuja, Nigeria

November 12th-14th

The theme: "Building a Strong and United Voice for African Journalists" & to explore the possibility of establishing an umbrella association for African journalists to be known as the Federation of African Journalists.

- Prisa Namibia conference


October 2007-10-30

“main aim of the conference was to add value to the communication industry and to highlight the benefits of Prisa Namibia membership”

- Media Conference regarding 2008 African Cup of Nations Tournament

La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Ghana

“an effective platform to help raise journalistic standards with a view to influencing positively coverage of the MTN 2008 African Cup of Nations tournament in Ghana.”

Africa: Call for Shorts, Yahoo's Global City Beats Deadline Reminder


Global City Beats is YAHOO's first User Generated Content Theatre Movie. All Users, Filmmakers, Videomakers, and Animators around the world welcome.

Upload period is from September 30. 2007 until November 15. 2007.

Please do not forget to tag your video with - Global City Beats Yahoo!

The 15 to 20 best shorts will be part of the theatre movie Global City Beats and receive a cash prize of Euro 1.000,- ($ 1.400,-) and a share from the theatre income.

The Movie premiers in Theatres in Germany and will than be distributed internationally.


The campaign for the 29th Banff World Television Awards is officially on and new program categories at this year’s Rockie Awards are Environmental Programs and Social & Humanitarian Programs.

Rockies will be awarded in the following 22 categories for BEST OF CATEGORY by Selection Juries from around the world. In addition to the two Special Jury Prizes and the Grand Prize, four new prizes will be awarded by the International Grand Jury. The four new prizes are Best Documentary; Best Drama; Best Entertainment Program; and Best Feature Length Documentary.

Enter by January 31 and save on the early bird fee of $250 CDN per entry.

The FINAL DEADLINE is February 14, 2008. Entry fee is $275 CDN for final entries.