NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A tiny cable stretches from a wooden
post into Henry Muhandi’s house in Komarock on the east of
Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
The cable, which supplies
internet, was installed last year and it is through the service
that Muhandi’s family watch local and international TV shows and
"I used to have pay TV but discontinued the service after
realizing I would get more if I go for internet TV," said
Muhandi on Sunday.
Before taking up the service, he signed up for a 30-day free
service, loved it and subscribed, he recounted, adding that he
accesses the shows on every of his devices that include
smartphones, laptops, TV and tablets.
Muhandi is among a growing number of Kenyans who are
embracing internet-protocol TV (IPTV) in the East African nation
as the service picks up amid growth of digital TV subscriptions.
Launched in Kenya last year, internet TV subscriptions are
fast-rising, clocking 23,076 people in 2018, a rise from 18 in
2017, latest data from Communications Authority of Kenya (CA)
shows on Monday.
One of the things that are pushing up the uptake of internet
TV in Kenya are the low charges coupled with the many shows one
Monthly charges for the internet TV starts from as low as 260
shillings (2.6 U.S. dollars), which is lower than pay TV
subscriptions that charge from 5 dollars.
"The good thing with internet TV is that I can download the
shows and movies and watch later offline," said Muhandi. Popular
internet TV service providers in Kenya include Iflix and
Internet TV is the newest kid on the block in Kenya in terms
of channels to access TV shows, the others being cable,
satellite and set-top-boxes.
Just as internet TV, subscriptions to the rest of the
channels have equally increased exponentially, making Kenya’s
migration to digital TV a roaring success.
According to the CA, some 5.82 million Kenyans have
subscribed to digital TV in 2018, up from 1.31 million in 2014
when Kenya announced the switch to digital migration.
From the 5.82 million subscribers, 4.51 million people use
free-to-air set-top-boxes, 1.1 million satellites while 466,604
million use cable TV.
"Internet TV is the future of television as global trends
show. In Kenya, the service is spreading fast as more families
take up home internet and it may be just a matter of time before
it catches up or even overtakes pay TV since consumers are
moving with trends and demanding more," said Bernard Mwaso of
Edell IT Solution in Nairobi.
According to Mwaso, IPTV has made it easier for consumers to
watch movies and TV shows on smartphones, tablets and even
computers, making it appeal more to young people, unlike the
other channels that force people to sit before a TV set.
Digital TV has also opened space in the broadcasting sector.
Kenya has in the last four years recorded a surge in the
number of radio and TV stations thanks to digital migration.
Unlike before when one had to set up transmission stations
across the country, with digital TV, all an investor needs is to
register their stations and formulate content, which is then
carried by companies offering distribution services.
As of 2018, there were 120 digital TV stations in Kenya, up
from 60 in 2015 while the number of radio stations stand at 178
from 139 in 2015.