New Satellite TV Company, Starsat, Unlikely to Break DSTV’s Monopoly in Zimbabwe

Excitable Zimbabweans found out over the weekend that a new, Chinese backed Satellite TV offering will, in a few days, be entering the domestic market. This will represent a direct challenge to DSTV. StarTimes will reportedly be launched in the country under the Starsat brand.

Will it make a dent?

Although the move is commendable, it is, in our view, unlikely that Starsat represents a potential threat to DSTV. Why do we say so?

  • DSTV has had years in which to cultivate the local market
  • The new Satellite TV offering thus has a lot of ground to cover
  • DSTV has a head-start in terms of programs
  • It holds a monopoly on the English Premier League in Sub Saharan Africa

Will it cover the EPL?

The big question, and one that will determine the success or failure of Starsat, is whether or not it will cover the English Premier League. As everyone knows, Zimbabwe is a soccer mad country. Unfortunately, we are not very…um…”patriotic,” when it comes to the teams that we support. The result is that most Zimbabweans follow the English Premier League.

Multichoice has Exclusive Rights to EPL

What most people are not aware of is the fact that Multichoice actually has exclusive rights to broadcast the English Premier League in Sub Saharan Africa. In fact, the company paid over 296 million pounds for the 2016-2019 season for those rights.

Other European Leagues

The situation that we described above is a major reason why most DSTV challengers are doomed to fail on the local scene. Of course, there are other European leagues out there, but Zimbabweans mostly follow the EPL.

Content Limitations

The fact that Multichoice has been around for so long has given it a monopoly over, aside from soccer, all of the world’s major TV stations. Again, it is possible for the new broadcaster to negotiate deals with other television stations, but the ones that really matter are probably already gone.

Kwese TV

Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile communications company, Econet, recently announced that it was launching Kwese TV. Although the company is yet to get the required regulatory license in Zimbabwe, it is already available in other African countries, such as Rwanda, Zambia and Ghana.

Kwese TV adds to the long string of challengers against which DSTV has, over the years, been pitted. In any case, it is our considered view that Starsat will be able to barely make a dent on DSTV’s popularity in the local context.

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