Multichoice celebrates 20 years in Kenya

MultiChoice is celebrating 20 years since its entry into Kenya with stakeholders hailing the company for its contributions to Kenya’s entertainment, broadcasting, sports, education and the ICT sectors. The company known mostly for Dstv and Gotv for the entertainment news including showing world football matches will be looking back at its footprint in Kenya with a smile.

Perhaps what it has yet to take deep roots is in the film industry, although that is something that also depends on the growth of the film industry in Kenya. It is however something the company looks to investing more in.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in Kenya, the impact of MultiChoice on the Kenyan economy consists of both the impact from its own operations, and the wider spillover effects resulting from it. For instance, through its contributions to analogue switch-off, MultiChoice largely assisted the release of the spectrum that can be used for alternative services, including mobile broadband and broadcast services, helping unlock significant economic benefits.

“We imported over 1.5 million set top boxes to support the digital switch-over and spent over $500, 000 in generating public awareness about the digital migration process alone,” said Mr. Stephen Isaboke, East Africa Regional Director of MultiChoice Investments Holdings Limited.

Telecommunications director Mr. Francis Wangusi is equally pleased on what the company has so far acheived.

“I am pleased to note that MultiChoice further helped in promoting the penetration of its set top boxes by subsidizing the cost of the GOtv decoders. Total MultiChoice subsidies in 2015 stood at $40 million equivalent to Sh4.2 billion,” the Communication Authority of Kenya Director-General said.

In 2008, MultiChoice pioneered mobile payments in Kenya by offering, at the time, its DStv consumers a convenient platform to make payments from the comfort of their homes.

“We were among the first B2B partners with Safaricom to roll out a mobile money payment service (Lipa na M-Pesa) that facilitated timely face to face payments for DStv by our customers. These customers who are also Safaricom customers make payments for DStv subscription from their M-Pesa account when they visit a Multichoice outlet in Kenya. Today, over 80 percent of our clients prefer mobile over cash payments,” said Mr. Isaboke.

The roll out of GOtv in 2011 to support the digital migration is also something the company is proud of. Isaboke said

“we are proud to have helped the Government achieve a speedy migration while offering consumers affordable digital entertainment.”

Stakeholders in the entertainment industry also hail MultiChoice’s role in promoting local production. In 2011, for example, the company produced, commissioned or licensed more than 45 shows in Kenya, and commissioned 116 local films.

“We have invested in  a  regional production  hub  worth  over  Sh3.2  billion that  will develop  skills  in  the  creative,  sport,  technology  and related industries as part of its long term commitment to providing the best local and international channels using  the  latest  and  best  technology  platforms available worldwide,” said Mr. Isaboke.

DStv and GOtv provide a combined 9,300 hours broadcast for local content contributing to the visibility of Kenyan and East African culture on-air through investing in prominent local shows and local channels.

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