A new hybrid digital TV model in East Africa – Burundi’s Tele10 looks to roll-out in Kenya and Uganda with IPTV and VoD

Top Story

Headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda's capital city, TV company Tele10 started in one of Africa’s smallest countries, Burundi, but it has ambitions to change how television is delivered and to become an East African player. Its CEO Eugene Nyagahene announced his intentions over the broadcast stream of AfricaCom, 'AfricaCast' held in November 2011. Nyagahene says he’s been “watching the way kids watch TV” and wants to introduce hybrid TV, delivered on any device and both Pay and Free-To-Air.

Tele-10 Group launched in Burundi in 1992 as a Pay TV company 19 years ago before expanding more recently into Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. It is a channel distributor for BBC and exclusive distributor of the pay TV bouquets of DStv and Canal + Africa in Burundi and Rwanda.

In addition, it has 10 Free-To-Air channels which it hopes will be supported by local advertising and 16 non-premium channels (including RTL9, TF6, France2) that go out over DVB-T and he considers for the moment as a “loss leader”. The latter are aimed at those who “cannot buy the (satellite) dish because it is considered a luxury.” Therefore the current hybrid offer includes a mixture of both business models, delivery methods media: satellite and digital terrestrial transmission; Pay or Free To Air; FM radio (Tele10).

As Nyagahene sees it:” Having been a pay-TV broadcaster for more than 17 years, we are still reinventing ourselves to make sure we launch the right product for the market, taking into consideration many challenges such as technology, purchasing power, competition and content”.

“Digital TV signals produce higher-quality image and audio, and are less susceptible to interference that results in picture and sound distortion. In less than two years from now all Rwandans will be required to switch from watching the current traditional analogue TV to the digital form on terrestrial TV”.

“We had to make a choice: continue with payTV or migrate to free to air which seems to be emerging. We want to offer our subscribers more options for watching TV and Standard Pay TV is still (or seems) too expensive for the average population”.

Tele10 therefore decided that the best way to reach the maximum number of people was by investing in both FTA and Pay TV. It can use the same Set-Top-Box to offer either Free To Air or Pay TV channels and as incomes and attitudes change, will be able to migrate more people on to Pay TV. The FTA channels will be supported by advertising:” The advertising platform will be outsourced to local advertising partners”.

Furthermore it is investigating using IPTV:”We have proposals from the USA and China and are awaiting proposals from European companies who we’ve met here at AfricaCom. I believe IPTV is the future of Pay TV.”
“Our preferred technology choice is IPTV and VoD interactive services which we are about to launch. That way, people spend to watch exactly what they want.
In the end households pay about the same as what they would pay for standard Pay TV services (about USD 100 per month).

The other move is to make its content offer available on different devices including a USB stick for PCs and laptops and a service on mobile phones using MPEG4:” Pay per view and VoD advertising are under review but we are still talking to aggregators. Online shopping services will be outsourced and we are talking to MTN, TIGO and satellite operators about deployment. 3G is still good enough to make our TV model successful. Deployment challenges are to do with household resources, broadband access and payment methods”.

The initial pricing structure being considered for the hybrid services is as follows: the DTT set-top box to receive FTA programmes will cost US$40; the 3G mobile phone capable of receiving MPEG4 mobile TV will cost US$100; the TV set with a 3G connection will cost US$50; and the USB stick for PCs and laptops, US$25.

“Regarding the content, we have been approached by providers such Red Bull. We are willing to get in touch with others in order to give a wide range of quality programmes choices to our subscribers. We will also consider any third party especially financials who would like to invest into our venture.” concluded Eugene Nyagahene.

Watch part of Tele10’s presentation (in English) here:


New market report: VoD and Africa - A review of existing VoD services, drivers, challenges and opportunities (Dec. 2013)

Videos from AfricaCom / AfricaCast 2011:

TV in Africa - Multichoice, Chris Oberholzer, Head of Strategy and Business Development -

Eugene Nyagahene, CEO of Tele-10 Group
talks about his new hybrid digital TV solution in East Africa - Watch part of Tele10’s presentation here:

S. Nanda Armoogum
, Director of Broadcast Content, Independent Broadcasting Authority in Mauritius

Richard Porter, Controller of English, BBC Global News

Intelsat’s strategy in Africa - Jonathan Osler, MD Africa -
Watch the interview here:

What broadcasters need to know about TV White Spaces
Henk Kleynhans, Chair of WAPA on TV White Spaces proposals in South Africa

Bayo Adebayi, CEO, EStars TV on its joint venture with Star Times in Nigeria