, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – As competition in the Kenyan Pay TV market gets stiffer, DStv surged ahead of the pack unveiling a new device on Wednesday that makes watching television anywhere at any time a lot easier.
The new DStv mobile television decoder, dubbed the Drifta provides a selection of DStv channels to a subscriber’s mobile device through a WiFi signal.
Speaking during the launch, DStv Mobile Kenya General Manager Felix Kyengo said the new mobile decoder will revolutionise the way Kenyans watch television.
“We want to change the whole landscape of viewing patterns because currently everybody thinks prime time is from seven to nine o’clock, but with this mobile device it will be possible to watch anytime, if you are in the office, in a traffic jam.”
The service will be available in Nairobi and Mombasa and can be used on select mobile devices including the iPod touch, iPad, iPhone and any WiFi enabled laptop or PC.
“We are planning to extend the range of Drifta-compatible devices from the current Windows and iOS devices to include BlackBerry, Symbian 3 and Android smartphones,” Mr Kyengo said.
He added that the Drifta, does not replace the current DStvMobile service available to phones that have Digital Video Broadcast Hand-held (DVB-H) technology, although Drifta operates on the same format.
“The Drifta receives the DStv Mobile broadcast signal, known as Digital Video Broadcast Hand-held, and relays this signal over WiFi to a range of WiFi-capable devices. However, in order to view the DStvMobile services one does not need to be in a WiFi hot spot, but they must be in a DVB-H signal coverage area,” he said.
Clocking15 years in the Kenyan market, MultiChoice has been a major player in the Pay TV industry, however, has not been able to drastically increase the number of subscribers, due to its high package prices.
With the entry of other TV platforms such as Zuku TV and Smart TV into the market, which offer smaller and cheaper packages, low-end consumers have a chance to widen the subscriber bracket, subsequently setting the stage for price wars.
Acknowledging the new industry players, MultiChoice Kenya General Manager Stephen Isaboke assured that launching Drifta is not a reaction to competition, but an opportunity for the company to diversify its business from the traditional Pay TV platform.
“One of the things we are doing is to transform ourselves from a Pay TV platform to a Pay TV media platform. You’ll be able to watch your DStv using the Drifta with your iPad or iPod. It’s no longer your traditional television screen,” he said.
The Drifta decoder which comes in two forms will retail at Sh7,000 for the modem-like decoder, compatible for PCs and laptops, while the larger Drifta decoder, suitable for all mobile devices will go for Sh10,999 at MultiChoice offices.
There are three package options including with monthly subscription rates ranging from Sh440 to Sh1,000.