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Kenya's Digital TV Stations May Have to Unite to Survive

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The dramatic growth in the number of new digital TV stations in Kenya -- more than 65 since analog signals were turned off in 2015 -- and the emergence of OTT services may lead to consolidation in the country's digital TV sector, according to an industry expert speaking at this week's East Africa Com ICT and telecommunications event in Nairobi.

"The market has segmented to what it is today. There was a lot of excitement in the early stages post migration. Many people went and took broadcasting licenses but it hasn't been feasible for them," said Danny Mucira, general manager of digital for Bamba TV, which launched its services in late 2014.

"When I look into the medium- and long-term future, I see an amalgamation of channels. I see channels coming together to leverage on skills, either from a commercial perspective or from a content perspective and to make it viable for them to continue operating," he added.

Mucira said that players such as Netflix, ShowMax and YouTube TV pose both a challenge and an opportunity for local broadcasters, noting that audience demand for different ways to consume content is also influencing the market.

"OTT has really disrupted the market since it is a low-cost operation. People are also demanding to have unbundled content where OTT platforms are able to do that. It is an opportunity for established broadcasters to get into it," Mucira said.

He told ITWeb Africa that Bamba TV is looking to launch IP and OTT services to meet the demand for content sourced through secondary screens, including mobile devices.

— Vince Matinde Media Partner, East Africa Com

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