Pay-TV broadcaster StarTimes launches in Kenya

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StarTimes is now available across Kenya following the launch of the Chinese-owned pay-TV service by the Pan African Group - the country's second national digital television signal distributor - on Monday (11 June). StarTimes, which will be competing with Multichoice's DStv and GoTv, as well as the Wananchi Group's Zuku, reportedly claims to have invested US$75 million (Sh6.4 billion) to build a nationwide DVB-T2 compliant platform which provides 21 TV channels.

A nationwide dealer network is being established to sell set top boxes in towns across Kenya, said Anderson Ngaru, the company’s head of sales, according to The Star.

One of three licensed digital distributors in the East African country, Pan African Group will compete with KBC subsidiary Signet – which currently only provides digital TV coverage in Nairobi - and the Media Owners Association, which was granted a license in August 2011.

Multichoice is the only broadcaster yet to launch a digital service on Signet's platform, in the form of GoTV. The service is available for a monthly subscription of Sh785, after buying a set top box for around Sh600 and an accompanying three months without viewing charge, according to local media.

Kenya has set itself an end of year target to switch off analogue television transmission, ahead of the International Telecommunications Union's global deadline of 2015.

Note: StarTimes launched its services in Nairobi and plans to penetrate the Pay-Tv market through lower pricing. Although subscribers have to pay Sh2, 999 ($35), the company is offering seven bouquets across 60 channels for movies, music, documentaries and sports at subscription rates of between Sh499 ($6) and Sh2,499 ($29.4) per month.