DSTV Now vs Startimes...The Battle for OTT intensifies in Africa

So recent developments after the world cup have moved DSTV and Startimes to refine and improve their Over the Top Services across their android apps especially. DSTV has recently added android tv compatibility on their android app and Startimes have added more channels and content plus redefined the payment model for the app platform.

These changes have been implemented and are affecting all markets in sub saharan africa and southern africa markets.I believe an EPL skinny bundle on the android app would go a long way in fighting illegal/piracy EPL streams and net more subscribers and revenue for Multichoice and allow them to take the fight to StarTimes.

With the EPL rights for sub saharan africa set to be bid very soon it remains to be seen if the various potential bidders like Kwese, Startimes and Multichoice will win the bids and what strategy they will use to deploy this content on OTT in all these markets.

What are your thoughts on these current developments and what’s your take on them?

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Why can’t EPL just sell the rights to broadcast football to any interested channel? This bidding process is what makes MultiChoice continue to dominate local TV subscription services.

Kwese and MultiChoice are South African businesses, when will local channels ever get a chance…:grin:

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Just a point of note, EPL rights for sub-saharan Africa were already bid last year and supersport has them till the end of the 2021/22 season.


Ona sasa. Unfair advantage. If I was a majority shareholder in Nation media or Royal media I would suggest a paid sports channel for Kenyans, 24/7 sports, like Standard Group’s dedicated news channel KTN News.

I think local media groups have the capability to even bid for epl… unless someone is paying them to not compete… :wink:

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Damn,and here i am thinking Startimes were planning to bid,kumbe they lost…waaaah now thats till the next elections,enyewe tumecheswo…

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the bidding process is broken aki…i am surprised the regulators don’t seem too bothered about it.


Why can’t just any channel that wants to broadcast do it? EPL should stream matches on YouTube and stop with this nonsense.


I was about to counter this but decided to do some research and I think it is actually feasible if the rights were not sold as a package deal.

Let’s assume DSTV paid $450 million to broadcast EPL games in the Sub-Saharan region (~48 countries) for 3 seasons (2019/20 to 2021/22).

That is less than $10 million per country. Obviously, some of these countries are much more valuable than others. I think Kenya is one of them so rights sold here will have a premium.

$15 million for 3 seasons is not a bad deal. That is around $5 million per season.

NTV, Citizen & KTN could air all these matches free of charge (with ads, of course) and still turn a decent profit.

Makes sense, if they were running a charity. The Premier League will make over 6 billion dollars between 2019 & 2022. I don’t think they would make that much on YouTube.

Starting their own streaming service seems like a more reasonable alternative. I would gladly pay $10 per month to stream all EPL games and re-runs on a single platform. I also wouldn’t mind ads during halftime.

Maybe join forces with Bundesliga, La Liga, MLS etc and offer more tiers.

They just need to convince 2-3% of the over 4 billion fans in the world to join the service and they would be rolling in money.


This could work too because services like DSTV are winning the bids and then charging customers way too much just to enjoy a game of football.


Perhaps the one thing that Supersport can guarantee, that the others can’t is consistent viewership. The one thing African TV stations can guarantee near full viewership is elections. Politics is unbeatable so a free to air ad supported model could work.

The biggest hurdle to on demand viewing is the bundle economy. It was once said that OTT streaming services cannot thrive in Africa as long as it is a bundle economy. Until the day 1GB of data is at 1/- (yes, ONE SHILLING), widespread adoption of streaming services is a hard sell. There was a proposal to Showmax at one point to create caching servers around the city - supermarkets, restaurants, bus stops - so when people visited this place to go about their daily lives, their favorite shows could be synced to their devices at no cost to them - only the showmax app can use the wifi. Imagine having your content sync at Modern Coast MSA Road before the night bus trip to MSA so you have something else to consume other than sleep.

Data must fall has wide reaching implications if the government can think past the short term cash cow and adopt long term infrastructure development.

This means that telcos are one group that can match viewerships by traditional broadcast. If EPL could get 100M viewers in Africa that they charge $10 a month in subscription fees then they’d make as much per month as fortnite did in an entire year.

It’s not an overnight project and would require a thorough understanding of the network capacity before hand - maybe have an unlimited, uncalled, unthrottled download day so power users test out your network - but tests could begin like now, so by August next year there’s full roll out.

It would be tempting for the EPL to use YouTube but given it’s treatment of its biggest creators over the years, they wouldn’t be my first choice - see how they treat Philip Defranco & even their Poster Child For YouTube Casey Neistat with suppression & demonetization as examples. A dedicated app with local caching servers - Windows Azure globally, and in country providers like Node Africa to assist with the last mile/local loop - could ensure better service because of the direct relationship with customers.

Facebook watch would be another option but they are yet to integrate mobile money into their platform. If they do, it would add more value to African users.


…and the EPL is guaranteed of the revenue whether viewers tune in or not.


In Nigeria the regulator has forced DSTV to share (resell) some of the EPL matches with other Pay TV service providers. There was a time that local PayTV providers complained about it once.

But with cartels in Kenya everywhere, you never know if DSTV has a bunch of them. So they won’t allow DSTV to share the matches with other PayTV providers. Here is what I have dag out from the internet. This was in 2012. 6 years later, something might have happened somewhere.

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here is the cartel breakdown,Multichoice Kenya Limited is a joint venture owned 49% by KBC(Kenya Broadcasting Corporation) and 51% by Multichoice S.A limited,Multichoice S.A limited has a controlling stake in the local Multichoice entity that is behind the DSTV Brand…

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This is the first time I am seeing the ownership stakes. Do you have a source for this?


It’s here and here… 40%…It allegedly helped KBC get out of debts :grinning:


KBC 2…Remember that?

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Yes,It seems the National broadcaster reduced its stake in the entity over time to balance its books and reduce its debts.But mismanagement is still rife at the national broadcaster,i understand from my sources there that morale is low,staff do not get paid on time and they still do some day to day operations in cash payments for Ksh 500,000 and below so not traceability or accountability…On new channels like Y-254 you cant even be given a glass of water as a guest on the show there…its such a sad state of affairs…

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If KBC has a stake at Multichoice, why are they lousy? I mean there was a time when KTN and NTV would not beat KBC in terms of programming. If you can remember the days of Sinbad the series, the hidden city, and more. KBC was dope.

I think when STV showed up around 1997 that is when KBC felt competition. Since the year 2002 KBC has chosen not to evolve.

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Kenya now resembles the UK with fragmentation of sports TV. Startimes lost Serie A to Dstv and now among major leagues only have Bundesliga and Ligue 1
Meanwhile Dstv have EPL, La Liga and Serie A but no longer have Carabao cup, Europa League, and the FA cup. In the UK for the first time La Liga is not on Sky Sports and has gone to a new entrant. Meanwhile Facebook will televise La Liga in Southeast Asia and Latin America in the next few years.

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Facebook will televise La Liga in South America and South East Asia so alongside Amazon they are the future of sports TV.