Survey: Nairobi ill-prepared for digital migration

March 11, 2014
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The poll indicates that people in Kenya's capital city are yet to buy the Set Top Boxes (STBs) with only 32 percent having purchased them/XINHUA FILE
The poll indicates that people in Kenya’s capital city are yet to buy the Set Top Boxes (STBs) with only 32 percent having purchased them/XINHUA FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 11 – A majority of people living in Nairobi are not ready for the TV digital migration rollout, according to a new survey by research company Ipsos Synovate.

The poll indicates that people in Kenya’s capital city are yet to buy the Set Top Boxes (STBs) with only 32 percent having purchased them.

Ipsos Synovate Managing Director Margaret Ireri said that 67 percent of people living in Nairobi were willing to buy the STBs but do not seem in a hurry to do so with the cost of the boxes being the major factor.

“The study findings also indicate that low income earners are less likely to own an STB compared to the high income earners with 74 percent citing that they don’t have money to buy the STB – further supporting the notion that cost is a barrier,” Ireri said.

According to the poll, 59 percent of people living in Nairobi do not feel that the country is ready to fully implement digital migration.

The report also indicates that people living in Nairobi bought the STBs between November and December 2013, but purchases reduced in January and February 2014 – attributed to the pending court case filed by media houses.

“Now that the digital migration has been put on hold because of the court case, research shows less than 30 percent of people bought the boxes in less than two months indicating that they are procrastinating, waiting for the court case to be decided,” she said.

The report also indicates that in Nairobi, GOtv is the most popular STB as 43 percent are currently using it, while DStv is at 28 percent, StarTimes follows closely at 20 percent and Zuku comes in fourth at six percent. Independent STBs (those imported directly by licensed traders) currently command a four percent market share in Nairobi and its environs.

The poll shows that TV viewership may decline if the digital migration was to happen now which will also bring down TV advertising expenditure which currently records Sh38.7 billion (2013 expenditure).

Nationally, only 29 percent of Kenyans are ready for the switch off, although 79 percent are aware of the migration.

GOtv is still the most popular at 36 percent, StarTimes comes in second at 28 percent, Zuku comes third at 19 percent followed by DStv at 17 percent. Independent STBs are at three percent penetration.

The poll was conducted between March 4 and 5.

Kenya is supposed to comply with international agreements on the digital migration globally that requires all member states to migrate by June 2015.

The analogue television broadcast signal was set to be switched off in Nairobi on December 13, 2013.

Other major towns that include Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kisii, Nakuru and Eldoret were to be switched off on March 30, while the rest of the country was to be migrated in June.

However media houses moved to court seeking orders to stop the government from effecting the TV digital migration.

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