digital
digital

The number of households owning television sets in Kenya has hit over 5.4 million, with the upsurge attributed to a digital migration.

The migration, which Kenya effected in 2015, has helped to expand the TV signal coverage, therefore, reaching areas that were not covered during the analogue era.

Latest data from the Communication Authority (CA), the sector’s regulator, released Thursday shows that at the end of September 2017, some 5.42 million people had bought both free-to-air and pay TV set-top-boxes.

“The cumulative number of digital set-top-boxes purchased as at Sept. 30 stood at 969,092 for free-to-air set-top-boxes and 4.45 million for pay TV,” said the CA in the report.

However, this figure does not capture the number of those who have bought digital TVs that do not need one to have set-top-boxes to access signal.

An increasing number of Kenyans have bought the new TV sets whose prices have declined as competition increases in the market.

A 32-inch digital TV set is retailing at between 250 U.S. dollars and 350 dollars depending on the make and where it is being sold in the capital Nairobi. On the other hand, a 24-inch set is retailing at an average of 200 dollars.

Since Kenya switched to digital TV broadcasting, the signal coverage has been expanding to now stand at 84 percent.

“The digital broadcasting signal covered 83.6 percent of the Kenyan population as at the end of the period under review up from 78.5 percent reported as at June 30, 2017. This is attributed to signal rollout by African Digital Network Ltd (ADNL) in Kilifi, Tana River, Taita and Signey in Marsabit and Maralal sites,” said the report.

The expanded coverage has enabled millions of people who were locked out of TV viewing initially to enjoy the service, and thus boost uptake of the gadgets.

Besides the expanded coverage, digital TV opened space in the broadcasting sector, making it easy to join as all an investor needs is to register their stations and come up with content, which will be carried by companies like ADNL and Signet that distribute the digital terrestrial television network.

At the end of the quarter under review, the number of free-to-air TV channels on the digital terrestrial platform stood at 62 down from 66 channels reported in the previous quarter.

“The decrease was occasioned by withdrawal of some content providers from the platform. On the other hand, the number of pay TV service providers on the digital terrestrial television platform remained unchanged (GoTV and Star Times),” said the CA.

Before the switch to digital broadcasting in 2015, Kenya had only eight TV stations and some 3 million households with TV sets.

The growth indicates that Kenyans now have more variety in terms of TV content which they can choose from a myriad of local and international stations.

Like TV stations, the number of FM Radio stations has increased exponentially to stand at 178 stations as at the end of the period under review, up from 139 in the previous one.

Bernard Mwaso, a consultant with Edell IT Solution, said Kenya had made great strides in the last two years in broadcasting due to digital migration.

“In Africa I believe Kenya is among the leading countries in terms of success in digital migration. The switch has become a huge blessing for the Kenyan citizens and even the TV stations which initially resisted the change over,” he said.

He noted that thanks to digital migration, some TV stations have moved their services to view on demand apps opening up new revenue streams.

“People are now watching TV on phone through mobile app, what initially seemed like a dream but these services are no in Kenya and it is because of digital migration,” he noted. Enditem

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