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Minimal disruption expected with Netflix debut in Kenya – Analysts


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – Analysts do not see any major implications to Kenya’s content providers following Netflix launch in Kenya.

Netflix launched its service globally simultaneously bringing its Internet TV network to more than 130 new countries around the world, including Kenya.  It previously was in 60 countries with 70 million  subscribers.

Netflix is available on virtually any device that has an Internet connection, including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs and game consoles, and automatically provides the best streaming quality based on available bandwidth.

Subscribers can watch unlimited content on nearly any Internet-connected screen. In addition, subscribers can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Standard Investment Bank Research anticipates the growth in Kenya to be modest as access to high-speed internet is still expensive, making the total cost of watching internet TV content out of reach to majority of potential subscribers.

In July 2015, Safaricom applied for a commercial free-to-air television license; internet protocol television license; a subscription management services license and a terrestrial subscription broadcasting services license.

Safaricom already has a set-top box (STB) device to deliver triple-play (telephone, TV and internet) services.

The STB is able to support up to 10 devices through its hotspot capabilities and can access free-to-air (FTA) channels (over 35 channels). The decoder has HD and 4G capabilities making it a good combination for delivery of video on demand.

“While the uptake of the STB has slow, we think part of the reason is lack of unique content and also due to the high device cost. If device cost is addressed, and cost of internet bundles is reduced substantially, we think Netflix could gain much greater traction in the country,” the research firm concluded.

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