MARKETING AFRICA MAL 18/17 mal 18:17 online - Page 94

on the East African expansion. The continued disagreements from sporting federations on who gets the share of the sponsorship monies would be another reason for the slow uptake of live sports coverage. Other external factors that may have dealt the closure of SuperSport in Kenya would have been the slowing down in pay TV hardware (read decoders) uptake. For the last 1 ½ years, the mother company MultiChoice has maintained the charges on the devices as well as monthly charges at the same levels in a bid to stop the attrition and reduced demand of the services. This still doesn’t seem to have enticed the existing and dropped audiences. Another major factor was the lukewarm response from corporate firms which were believed would come in droves to advertise in the SuperSport’s channels. Save for the occasional Tusker (EABL - Diageo), Kenya Airways, Barclays or Safaricom, most of the local and regional firms gave ad spots on the channels wide berth. Was it a question of over-priced rate cards or simply not finding the commercial sense in using such platforms? Who knows? Another factor could be the increase in triple-play solutions – Internet data, voice and video streaming with the latter growing in the urbanized areas. This is largely to fibre-cable connectivity by the telcos and internet companies. Though sports streaming is not yet as widely available in this part of the world, it does impact the audiences targeted by pay TV companies. ‘‘ Another major factor was the lukewarm response from corporate firms which were believed would come in droves to advertise in the SuperSport’s channels. Save for the occasional Tusker, KQ, Barclays or Safaricom, most of the local and regional firms gave ad spots on the channels wide berth. Was it a question of over- priced rate cards or simply not finding the commercial sense in using such platforms? Who knows?’’ Interestingly one of the FTA carriers, GoTV is a sister company to SuperSport in the larger MultiChoice family. It remains one of the bigger pay TV companies in Kenya and Uganda though is still lagging behind in Tanzania. Mid-May created a buzz of what Naspers is considering doing with The expansion of FTA – Free-To- MultiChoice in the rest of Sub- Air channels has also seen some Saharan Africa. Press reports and depressed numbers for the premium media experts are opining a sale of pay TV channels. ‘Free-To-Air’ here MultiChoice to the Pan-African is used modestly as there is still a telco MTN in what could be a monthly charge based on the number game-changer within the Sub- of channels one wishes to watch. Saharan sub-continent. 92 MAL 18/17 ISSUE Reasons attributed to the sale include sluggish economic expansion in key markets (including Kenya) and audiences preferring cheaper online alternatives to their viewership needs. Other reasons are the fluctuating exchange rates in each of the markets which tend to eat into earnings or force the company to raise subscription fees to match South African rates. The broadcaster still reigns supreme with the rights to screening major football leagues including the prized English Premier League for which they signed a renewed deal for another 2-3 seasons. While the intended sale of MultiChoice is still in the works, we’ll not deal the death knell on sports broadcasting from the Naspers-owned SuperSport in this part of the world just yet. Enter the Dragon – Kwese Sports Interestingly, while one sports broadcaster is struggling, another Pan-African based-one has been expanding stealthily and is slowly entering the mainstream. After signing major deals with the NBA, NHL and F1 as well as FTA rights with the EPL in the last 18 months, Kwese Sports is emerging as Pan- Africa’s next sports broadcasting frontier. Choosing the FTA platform, it has expanded its regional footprint to include countries in Southern and Eastern Africa before expanding to West Africa. Securing the rights to screen some of the NHL and NBA games from SuperSport was seen as a real coup. Kwese Sports owned by Zimbabwe’s Econet mobile telco associated with the fairly modest magnate Steve Masiyiwa is slowly making in-roads where other sports broadcasters are struggling in Africa. It is currently