Kwese TV is having a soft launch in Uganda but their easily accessible property might be KFS standing for Kwese Free Sports that is freely distributed as a FTA channel more so like NTV, NBS among others. Their DTH (Satellite) offering is taking a soft stand launching in the country given their agent distribution network can’t be compared to the likes of DSTV, necessitating the need to set up a virtual online store where you can order your Kwese TV kit and they will be knocking at your door within two weeks.
What differentiates KweseTV however is their ability to simulcast their content across different mediums that is DTH, streaming through their mobile apps, across the web, their social media channels among others and may be what I have failed to add on the list is the soon to launch Kwese Play.
Let us talk Kwese Play. Kwese Play is a streaming box powered by Roku or we would simply put it as a Roku Streaming Box but with Kwese branding and services baked in. Roku is an American company known for its streaming devices that include dongles and boxes, Smart TV streaming software, streaming apps among others things.
Now the streaming box dubbed Kwese Play might be on its way to Uganda with both linear and VoD services. Roku plays host to over 1500 channels and well known ones include Netflix, YouTube, HBO Now & HBO GO (For Game of Thrones Fans), Amazon Video, Hulu, Starz among others. Though regional restrictions might render some inaccessible in Uganda. It will also play host to Kwese’s own channels and streaming services like Kwese, KFS, Kwese Sports among others.For now, we don’t have the spec sheet for Kwese Play but we shall provide it when the device fully launches.
While the move is a warm welcome to enthusiasts like myself, there lays difficulties in this whole process and the most notable one being the cost of data to stream through the box. With the recent backlash that followed with MTN’s revision of its social bundles, it brings up questions whether Ugandans really buy data for other use cases than social media like streaming.
The biggest barrier here remains the cost of data but we all know there is a section of the population that subscribes to heavy data packages that have recently drove the “Unlimited Internet” Wars amongst ISPs. Regardless of their questionable number, they however exhibit potential that make this investment viable. These might be the very people the Kwese Play service is aiming at. In other words, it is safe to call Kwese Play a niche product.
Kwese Play was recently launched in Ghana and Kwese partnered with big MTN Ghana to see this through. Chances of that happening here are minimal since it was on an Opcos basis than a group level agreement that would have seen all MTN subsidiaries in different African countries partner with Kwese to launch Kwese Play.
A similar agreement might be in the works here in Uganda but the most likely candidate would still be MTN, a safe bet per say. And with their newly launched unlimited internet causing waves, it is the most likely service provider for data hogs who enjoy streaming services on top of other uses.
Add Kwese’s flexible pre-paid billing structure which includes subscribing for a 3days, 5days, 7days and 30 days services window, it all smells roses here and the possibility of a 1day subscription is imminent too.
If the data issue is addressed most probably through a deal with a telco, then the Kwese Play might be the first streaming box to break into people’s’ homes at a rate never seen before in the country.
Aside from data issues, Kwese might have to find a unique way of differentiating themselves from DSTV given it is the one resounding name in the Pay TV business. DSTV is so strong with its sole PayTV rights to the prestigious sporting content like the English Premier League loved by most in Uganda. Countering this might play to their advantage since Multichoice (DSTV’s parent company) also has a stable of services more or less the same as Kwese’s like DSTV (DTH), GoTV (DTT), DSTV Now (Streaming), Box Office among others.