Kenya Beats Digital Migration Deadline | Free-to-Air Channels No Longer Free

Regulation & Policy

As the world marks the June 17th global deadline for analogue switch-off as per the International Communications Union (ITU) Geneva 2006 Agreement, Kenyans are expected to start paying for content from local TV stations apart from the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) which is free.
According to a report by  the Daily Nation new regulations  if passed might require Pay TV providers to only air only the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) as FTA to help other TV firms earn from their content and meet their infrastructure costs.

“Government will review Pay TV conditions leaving only Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) on the ‘must carry’ category if proposed broadcast regulations are adopted. This creates room for broadcasters like NTV, QTV, Citizen and KTN to start negotiating for payment from Pay TV who air their services currently under the ‘must carry’ category without pay,” the Daily Nation reported.

Today at 23:59 hours, majority of nations will switch to the digital signal symbolising a new beginning for the ICT sector in the country. With over 40 broadcasters system, the move is expected to see more players join the industry.
In a statement Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’i said, “We have come a long way but I am glad that we have embraced digital migration. But what is more important to note is that these challenges have not been unique to Kenya as many countries continue to deal with similar issues on their path to full digital TV broadcasting.”
Kenya has over 2.2 million households watching digital television via set top boxes and more than 3.2 million set top boxes have been imported into the country and more than 79 set top box vendors have been licensed. Nearly 20 broadcasters are set to on air as digital broadcasting switches in.

Public signal distributor, SIGNET is also expected to expand its TV coverage to more areas and is set to install digital TV transmitters in Kitui, Lamu, Lodwar, Lokichogio, Maralal, Marsabit, Mbui Nzau, Wajir, Kabarnet and Garsen in partnership with the Government of Spain.

NTV, QTV, Citizen and KTN will also stand to gain if the new proposal is implimented. The broadcasters totally failed to come to agreement to launch their own set top boxes in the country afer arguing that Pay TV firms were set to benefit from their content. K24 was quiet during all this time but the new law will benefit it too!

Recently, Safaricom launched its own Big Box to provide both data and digital TV to users and especially targeting to use the box to sell more data to users around the country. Radio Africa Group also stands to gain with its Bamba TV set top box.
Source: Techmoran 17 June 2015