For the first time in Malawi there is competition in pay TV because of the coming in of Zuku TV in June last year, and in January this year StarSat TV also started operating in Lilongwe shaking the pay TV giant MultiChoice that has been operating alone in the industry since it came to Malawi in 1998 even before MBC TV was established.
However, MultiChoice Malawi said it welcomes the coming in of other Pay television providers in the Malawi market as this provides consumers choice.
“MultiChoice Malawi welcomes the advent of new Pay tv providers in the Malawi market as this provides consumers choice as well as a basis to compare the high quality and diversity of the various MultiChoice packages which start from as little as MK 3000 per month with other offerings,” commented MultiChoice in an email response to Lilongwe News Agency questionnaire.
The company explained further: “Competition may contribute to the diversification of economies, the growth of local production industries and a pluralism of services for consumers. Ultimately, television viewers may benefit through the additional volume and variety of content that will be distributed by the various operators in the market.”
Rival pay TV, Zuku, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and started operating in Malawi last year, said business has been growing steadily since they came to Malawi and that they offer a variety of programming at very low cost.
Richard Alden, Zuku Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said in an email: “The Zuku brand has had a steady growth of its subscriber numbers in Malawi. We are strong in terms of brand and have a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.
“Our pricing model is low as well as having low installation costs, we have more channels at reasonable prices and in terms of content, we are very strong Asian package-only provider offering exciting programmes, we therefore have a platform that offers viewers with an array of viewing opportunities in movies, African soaps, and kids programming. These world-class-channels are offered to customers at a very affordable price.”
On live matches where some customers say MultiChoice is doing well, Alden said: Most people ask for the English Premier League (EPL), unfortunately this has been lock to one pay TV provider in Africa for many years. We hope to secure the rights to air these matches and are petitioning various bodies for the rights.”
Zuku said while they are fighting for English Premier League rights, they have launched other sports channels.
“However, we have launched other channels for our viewers such as the MCS International which is a sports channel from France that brings exclusive premium sport content including football (MLS – US league), Russian League, French National league, Everton TV, Chelsea TV, Barça TV, Bayern TV, Marseille TV, Juventus Channel, Milan Channel), basketball, volleyball, tennis and golf,” explained Zuku TV CEO.
Zuku said their low prices are key for their success, and in terms of content, Zuku TV has over 100 channels on the Zuku Satellite platform which are developed to resonate with the African audience.
On the developments and plans they have for their Malawi audience, MultiChoice said they pride themselves on staying at the leading edge of technology.
“The products that MultiChoice offers utilise world class technologies. Recently, we launched a product called the DStv Explora, which is a PVR product similar to the America Tivo box but much more advanced. This particular product has significant future possibilities and we will continue to expand its usage. The DStv Explora sets the platform for a lot of interesting features such as Box Office and Catch Up,” explained MultiChoice.
Premier bouquet for Zuku TV with over a hundred channels is at MK8, 500 while premier bouquet for MultiChoice is MK36, 000. Both providers have other low cost bouquets – LINAFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :