Zimbabwe has, over the past few weeks, witnessed a veritable wave of excitement over the Kwese TV controversy. The hype, it has to be said, has largely been due to the noise that has surrounded the broadcaster’s licensing issue. To those who are not in the loop, Econet Wireless Global has partnered with Dr Dish to bring Kwese TV to Zimbabwe. This has drawn the ire of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, which claims that Dr Dish was only licensed to bring the now defunct My TV Africa to the country and cannot, therefore, transfer its license to Kwese TV.
Kwese TV vs DSTV: Why Kwese has its work cut out in Zimbabwe
Now, I am not going to wade into the debate on that issue. What I mean to address here is Kwese TV’s ability to stand toe to toe with DSTV. I have previously written an article in which I pointed out that StarSat, another wannabe DSTV challenger, had virtually no chance of making it in Zimbabwe.
I wont go so far as to claim that that statement also holds true with regards to Kwese TV. The introduction of Kwese TV on the local market has, it has to be said, been done perfectly, complete with the required bit of controversy. And there is also the fact that many Zimbabweans are quite fed up with DSTV, for reasons that will be outlined later in this article.
The Hurdles for Kwese TV
Despite this, Kwese TV still faces a number of challenges, as it seeks to compete with DSTV on the local market;
- Little Action on the EPL front
One of the major drawbacks that Kwese TV enthusiasts will have to face is the fact that the new satellite TV offering can only screen one minor English Premier League (EPL) match every week. This, I have discovered, is information that is getting lost in the rush to get away from DSTV.
SuperSport Holds Exclusive EPL Rights in Sub Saharan Africa
There has, I have noticed, been a little bit of mis-advertising on the local front as far as this issue is concerned. The truth, however, is that SuperSport actually holds exclusive rights to broadcast EPL matches in sub Saharan Africa. What’s more, this deal runs till 2022! So, if you are an English Premier League enthusiast, like the majority of Zimbabwean men and a few women, you will be sorely disappointed if you move from DSTV.
Kwese TV has Free to Air EPL rights
So, why have there been claims that Kwese TV will be broadcasting EPL matches? Well, that is largely due to the fact that Kwese Sports holds exclusive rights to broadcast Free To Air (FTA) English Premier league matches in the region. Notice the difference;
The Free to Air EPL license gives Kwese the right to broadcast mostly 3rd tier EPL matches. What this means in actual fact is that you will be watching one low level English Premier League match every Saturday. This is a no-brainer for diehard EPL supporters. Kwese Sports will likely not show any of the big team clashes that many have come to look forward to on DSTV’s SuperSport.
- How Full is the Full Bouquet
Away from the Sport fanatics, one of the reasons why so many people have jumped onto the Kwese TV bandwagon is the fact that the broadcaster offers a full bouquet for only $29 dollars per month. But, the question that many neglect to ask is, how full is the Kwese TV full bouquet?
Kwese’s full bouquet, as it turns, offers a wide range of channels, many of which are also available on DSTV. This gives you the chance to watch movies, series, sports, cartoons, and much more. So, if you are not obsessed with football and sports, then you probably will be fine moving to Kwese TV from DSTV.
It remains to be seen whether on not Kwese TV will be able to hold its own as far as movies are concerned. The company offers the unimaginatively named Kwese Movies 1 and Kwese Movies 2 (KMovies would probably have been a better name for the channels). Based on the lineup, one has to say that the channels will likely go a long way in keeping move lovers glued to their screens. Kwese Movies 3, on the other hand, offers a steady stream of African movies.
Kwese TV’s Positives
The reason why Kwese TV has generated so much excitement among Zimbabweans largely has to do with the fact that, as we have already noted, many are fed up with DSTV. Kwese offers the following advantages over DSTV;
- Payment using bonds and swipe
If you have tried to make a DSTV subscription over the past month or so, you will have noticed that most banks no longer accept payments using swipe and bond notes. Where this is is still available, you actually need to pay an extra $5 for the order to go through. Now, just imagine someone who is subscribing to the $11 bouquet having to fork out an extra $5. It doesn’t make much sense.
The great thing is that Kwese TV, should it ever be allowed to operate in the country, promises people the ability to pay subscriptions using Ecocash, swipe and bond notes. Whether or not this arrangement will last can only be left to conjecture. However, as it is, this is a major reason why Zimbabweans have been flocking to the new offering.
- Kwese TV is Cheaper than DSTV
Another reason why Zimbabweans have been so eager to adopt Kwese TV is the fact that the new offering is cheaper than DSTV. The Kwese TV full bouquet costs $29. Compare that with DSTV, which costs $72 per month and you will notice the difference.
The Kwese deal does, as we have already noted, come with a couple of caveats, including the fact that there is no full EPL coverage. Nevertheless, Kwese offers more in terms of entertainment than DSTV.