Rwanda: Another Pay Television Network Enters Local Market

Distribution

The recent launch of Canal+Afrique is set to tighten competition in the pay television market.

Francoise Le Guennou-Remarck, the communication strategist of Canal+ Afrique, says they are introducing a new era in pay television to help the country shift from analogue to digital broadcasting.

"This is an opportunity to compare ourselves with other parts of the world, now that we are migrating from analogue to digital," she said during the launch on Tuesday in Kigali.

Canal+Afrique, a subsidiary of the Vivendi group, French based, is a pay television network that broadcasts its programmes in French having already set base in West Africa before extending to Central Africa.

"We have put different packages with affordable prices and this is the best package option when it comes to pay TV," she said.

A viewer will have to pay Rwf 55,000 (approx. 72.80 Euros) for a decoder and enjoy two canal+ channels as well as 102 Canalsat channles at a cost of Rwf 12,500 per month (approx. 16,54 Euros) which is substantially lower than what the Rwf 80,000 (approx. 105.90 Euros) the market leader, DSTV charges.

"Canal+ Afrique demonstrates its intention to propose a high-quality digital television devoted to meet the needs of the great majority through universal coverage courtesy of satellite technology."

Indeed, with its free dish offer, easy subscription through top up cards and an option to viewers to decide on what package they want and wish to have, it is likely to alter the pay television market in the country.

"We have been having a problem when it comes to subscribing but now with Canal+Afrique, it is flexible for one to change subscription anytime," Eugene Nyagahene, Director of Tele 10 Group said. Currently, the country has only two pay TV networks-DSTV and StarTimes.

"StarTimes is not giving us the value for money and they don't have many channels which we can choose from. But I see Canal+ Plus as an option for my family," Napftali Nsabimana, an accountant told Business Times.

Canal+ has so far managed to get around 600 subscribers in only two months and is expecting this to increase to 10,000 by end of this year.

Efforts to get a comment from StarTimes were fruitless as its director insisted on getting time to consult with his marketing department before providing a response.

Experts say that Canal+ akin is likely to give DSTV a run for its money.

"There is a gentleman's agreement in Rwandan situation, and we are not likely to see competition between DSTV and Canal+ Afrique," Nyagahene said.

He observed that Rwanda would be exposed to the outside world as local content would be broadcast on Canal+ Afrique channels, a move that will open up the country for more investment opportunities.