Kenya: Broadcasters get tough with Pay-TV

Kenya’s free-to-air national broadcasters have long complained about the ‘theft’ of their terrestrial signals by the country’s two pay-TV operators, GoTV and StarTimes.

The argument became extremely heated in 2014 when the FIFA World Cup signals were re-transmitted by the two pay-TV players.

Now, three broadcasters Standard Media Grp (which broadcasts the Kenya TV Network, KTN), Royal Media Services (Citizen TV) and Nation Media Grp (NTV and QTV) are demanding that GoTV and StarTimes cease and desist retransmitting the terrestrial signals.  The three broadcasters between them control some 90 per cent of Kenya’s media, including an 87 per cent market share in TV.

They are arguing copyright infringement, and are airing commercials which warn viewers not to be duped by the pay-TV operators who are themselves offering accesses to the terrestrial signals as part of their basic bundles.  One option open to the terrestrial players is to encrypt their signals and they say they are examining this possibility.

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