, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14 – Multichoice Kenya is set to launch a new 25-channel bouquet at a cost of Sh800 targeted at the mass market.
Pay TV in the country has for a long time been viewed as a preserve of the elite, something that Multichoice seems intent to change.
Multichoice Kenya General Manager Stephen Isaboke says the rapid decline in the cost of decoders has helped to grow the company’s subscriber base.
“We have come from a cost of Sh100,000 about one and a half years ago to the current cost of Sh14, 900 which is heavily subsidised,” Mr Isaboke told Capital Business in an interview.
He said the company was looking at more innovations that should lower the cost of pay TV further.
“Everybody is now looking at their budgets during these hard times and it therefore makes sense to make the service as affordable as can be,” he observed.
Multichoice Kenya’s Parent company Naspers, listed in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) recently reported a 29 percent growth in revenue base for the year ending March 31, 2009.
Mr Isaboke attributed the growth to an increase in subscriber base to 683,000 households in the sub-Saharan region.
Naspers subscriber base in South Africa increased to 2.4 million up 453,000 for the year while those in sub-Saharan Africa rose to 960,000 an increase of 230,000.
“And within this growth Kenya is one of the countries leading the pack in terms of growth,” Mr Isaboke said.
The General Manager said he viewed the landing of the fibre optic cable in the country more as an opportunity as opposed to a challenge despite the fact that Multichoice’s business is based on satellite transmission.
“The landing of the fibre-optic cable will revolutionise the access of information in this country while opening it up and making more Kenyans interested,” Mr Isaboke said.
In the meantime he is calling on the government not to let the current energy shortage in the country get out of hand.
This is considering that Kenya is trying to revive its economy from the GDP slump it experienced last year due to a number of factors like post election violence and the on going global economic slump.
“Uganda has been experiencing a power shortage for the last three years but they have not opted for rationing as an option and I am convinced that’s why they have sustained a GDP growth of six to seven percent despite the shortage,” he observed.
Mr Isaboke feels that most businesses would rather pay a bit more to cover the additional cost of Independent power Producers as opposed to their enterprises grinding to halt as a result of power rationing.