Econet Media has shut down Kwesé TV 18 months after launching the satellite offering.
The development came into effect on November 1.
Econet Media says Kwesé subscribers who already subscribed for the month of November, or in advance, will receive a full refund.
The news has been received with some political undertones in Nigeria where anti-government critics claim the “tough” economic situation under President Muhammadu Buhari forced Kwesé TV out.
But Econet Media said the move was part of the firm’s review of its business strategy “to maintain its position as a leader in broadcasting innovation in Africa” and align with “the changes in the global digital and satellite broadcasting sector, and growth in access to mobile and fixed broadband” in Africa.
This new strategy will “see the reduction of third-party channels available on the bouquet, as well as the removal of Kwesé branded sports (excluding KFS) and general entertainment channels”.
Kwesé’s new bouquet will have only free-to-air, religious, and free news channels, available to viewers for a minimal fee, as it will now waive monthly subscription fees, Pulse Business Insider reports.
Kwesé is simply removing most of the content that it does not originally own or that it has to pay for.
Kwesé will now focus on its free-to-air service Kwesé Free Sports (KFS), mobile video-on-demand platform Kwesé iflix, and Kwesé Play, a video streaming service that includes NBA, Bloomberg, YouTube, and TED channels.
Econet Media will also establish Kwesé Studios, where it will develop its own original programming with help from “African producers, scriptwriters, actors and directors.”
Kwesé TV launched in May 2017, and is present in 11 markets, including Nigeria, where pay-TV is not exactly doing well in the age of Netflix, YouTube and other video streaming services.
HiTV and TSTV tried competing with Multichoice-owned monopoly, DSTV, but failed woefully. Even StarTimes, a Chinese satellite TV company targeting the low-end market, is finding it hard to shake off Multichoice-owned GOTV which targets the same niche.
But this does not mean business is good for Multichoice which faces stiff competition from Netflix – an online subscription-based streaming platform.
Netflix entered South Africa in 2016 and has since grown to over 400,000 subscribers, Pulse Business Insider reports. In March 2018, Multichoice lost 41,000 Premium subscribers. Its CEO blames the declines on Netflix.
With more people now wanting to get their content from online and on their smartphones, experts say shutting down Kwesé TV is a smart move which shows Econet Media realises its battle Netflix.
That is why they commend the company’s new focus on Kwesé iflix and Kwesé Play.