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Who’s really worth it in the Zambian pay TV space?

The pay TV space for a long time was dominated by very few players, scratch that, one player: DStv, but with the onset of newcomers in the past few years, consumers have more options depending on their interests, in addition to the evolution of TV streaming services like Netflix entering the TV space.

However, pay TV services still remained more popular than TV streaming services because of  the high cost of data bundles in many sub-saharan countries like Zambia, so competition with those was not as tense.

I want to focus on pay TV though and the players Zambia has, are they even worth the buck we’re paying for them? They are all fighting for the same market segment of Zambia, but their content is what determines who wins. So far DStv comes out on top of things with the rights they own compared to the other pay TV service providers like TopStar (Startimes), Kwese and the various free-to-air providers.

The content DStv has, especially on its premium channels, is unrivaled with its content options but let’s be specific to the football content, because, this is Zambia after all. SuperSport is in programming rights competition with other pay TV providers. They own rights to English Premier League (EPL), UEFA Champions League. while other pay TV providers like Kwese and TopStar also claim rights to these but in actuality have rights only to the FREE TO AIR sports content rights of these popular leagues, meaning they only show the games that are free, and may not be the popular ones fans want to see. For example on the night Manchester United is playing Arsenal on one of the SuperSport channels, other pay TV services will be showing the game between Vardar and Vitesse because airing rights to that game are free.

Aside from that these are the things DStv is doing better than most of its rivals:

  • Allowing for Catch-Up – The Catch-Up service allows viewers watch content they might have missed out on or binge watch an entire season of a show.
  • Diversifying into mobile viewing – the DStv Now app allow for live TV streaming and has Catch-Up integrated as well. TopStar and Kwese also have their TV apps but it only streams live TV without features similar to Catch-Up for later viewing.
  • Investing in local content – Through DStv we get to see direct investment into Zambian content on Zambezi Magic which is helping local producers bring in content and get paid for it.
  • Pop-up channels galore – Multichoice has an awareness of what’s trending and is quick to react with specialized channels. An example is right now DStv introduced a Marvel Movies pop-up channel in anticipation of the new Marvel movie Avengers: Age of Infinity that will premiere on the 23rd of April 2018.


Tech Blogger & Marketer.

3 thoughts on “Who’s really worth it in the Zambian pay TV space?

  • This is an advertorial for DSTV. It falls short of your usual high standards. You are promoting DSTV over the other players, like TopStar, Kwesé, Muvi TV, Zuku and the licenced Safari TV, which is yet to start operating. I expected a balanced and well argued discussion of the pay TV scene in Zambia and not this promotional piece on DSTV. Each player has its strengths and weaknesses. You should have highlighted them.

    • I agree. The article should have approached Pay TV from all angles. What are the pros and cons of each and which one offers value for money at every price point.

  • TechTrends in as much as am a keen reader of your articles i would like to say this is the most boring,bias,unbalanced and sell out article you have published to date.This Comparison(as you a call it)lacks fact and details concerning the other player.Like the fact despite that they have the rights to airing major football league most people don’t pay for DSTV in their homes for football but for general entertainment which DSTV clearly lacks progress as they play the same movies on super repeat.So kindly revisit your article and and give us the readers something worth reading and thinking about.

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