Tele 10 launches its Watch Africa service in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with NTT-Docomo’s Net M

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Rwanda’s Tele10 has launched its digital box and app service in Kenya and will soon be rolling it out in Uganda and Rwanda. The platform has been supplied by Net M, which is now a subsidiary of Japanese giant NTT-Docomo. Russell Southwood caught up with Tele 10’s Eugene Nyagahene at AfricaCom this week.

The Watch Africa services costs US$25 a month and its content can be viewed over the Internet (but needs 4G or DVB-T2) using a simple, plug in box. The box costs US$90 and is sold through a wide range of local retailers. Nyagahene told me that he had sold 5,000 since it was launched last week.

The box creates a Wi-Fi hotspot with a browser that allows you to connect your devices in the home to it so you can view content on the phone, a tablet, a TV or a PC or laptop. It has its own EPG so that you can see what is on the linear channels it provides.

The content on the platform includes both Hollywood and Bollywood:”We’re going for niche market by niche market…we’re not going global to reach everyone.” Local content providers include VoD platform Buni TV and local TV channel K24. There are currently 20 linear channels supplied by Mobibase including France 24 and the BBC.

There are also all the existing free-to-air channels in Kenya:”We want to have 3 linear channels for every country we go to.” AfricaXP is supplying 7 channels. The material is all largely short videos of not more than 15 minutes in length.

”It’s an OTT play because it’s harder to deal with the big operators like Safaricom and Airtel….We’ve launched first in Nairobi but thereafter we’ll be launching in Uganda and Rwanda and we expect to sell all of the 10,000 boxes we’ve ordered before Christmas.”

There’s an App version of the service for mobile that has 25 channels. This costs US10 cents a day or US$3 a month:”You can buy either for a day or a month.”

Without the presence of Google’s Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire stick, there is now a growing number of box devices enabling African viewers to see either downloadable or streaming content. South African start-up Mediabox has now gone into production and has several interesting developments…More of which later in the year. Tanzania’s Tango TV also has a version in the market and there are several others. Once box prices come down, these kinds of boxes will become serious niche market challengers to low-end pay TV bouquets.

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