Econet’s new TV service spending $1.2bn

Johannesburg-based Econet Media says it will invest around $1.19 billion over the next five years on acquiring exclusive TV content for its Kwese TV pay-TV platform.

The news emerged via an application to Lesotho’s Communications Authority where Kwese TV is seeking a licence to operate.

Kwese TV is already on air in Ghana, Zambia, Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland and Uganda.

Zimbabwe’s Techzim news-site broke the news, saying that the male-skewing TV platform would be spending its cash on sports and general entertainment. Kwese TV has already secured a portfolio of US sports (including the NFL, NBA via a deal with ESPN).  Kwese has also done deals with Viceland, Dreamworks, FIFA and ESPN.

Econet, according to Techzim, says that plans are underway to provide the TV service via fibre-optic cable and expand the Over The Top offering. Liquid Telecom, which is part of the Econet family of companies, owns, by far, Africa’s most expansive terrestrial fibre network.

Initially, Kwese TV was going to be supplied to mobile users, but that plan has since morphed into a DTH service, although the broadcaster has a deal in place with Kenya’s cellular operator Safaricom.

Econet’s overall plan says that Kwese Entertainment will offer 50 channels, of which 41 would be third-party channels. The company’s strategy says that exclusive content is crucial, and which means programming which is not on DStv, Star Times Group or Zuku.

Parent company Econet is a diversified telecoms group with interests in Africa, Europe, South America and East Asia. It is privately held and controlled by its founder, Zimbabwe-born, Strive Masiyiwa.

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