As you may know, some years ago (nine to be precise) the countries of earth, kenya included, met in Geneva Switzerland , sat down over coffee and tea or alcohol and decided that the way to go in terms of television transmission was digital. That way, many TV station could afford and access frequencies to air their content. the one frequency that prior to that aired one channel could now air more than twenty.This was Gold.
They set June 15th 2015 as the year that all analogue frequencies would be switched off. All the parties involved agreed to this and some countries decided to even do it way before the deadline so that the transition would be seamless. Kenya, through the leadership of the immediate former president Mwai Kibaki was among those that decided to go digital early. For this Kenyans applauded.
People were consequently advised to cease purchasing analogue Televisions which saw a drastic drop in prices for big screens analogue televisions, however, Kenyans were informed that they did not have to buy new digital TV sets, they would instead purchase a gadget that would enable them to view digital programs on their analogue TV sets, these gadgets would act as translators. The boxes came to be known as digital boxes.
The relevant ministry in the Kenyan government was to handle those issues to ensure a seamless transition to the digital platform. Humans, and Kenyans are no exception, are notorious for doing things at the last minute and this was what motivated the government to self-impose a deadline on her citizens in an effort to avert that last minute rush. The ministry concerned, in consultation with the players in the mult-billion industry had decided that the digital distribution would be handled by a different player from the content creator ie TV station owners. However this did not stop the TV owners from playing in that field too. Thus, all interested parties were invited to bid for the licences to be digital signal distributor. Those who won fairly were awarded the license, fellows like star-times, GOTV, signet et al.
Now, several years later, nine years in fact, it has downed on the various TV station in kenya that this digital migration thing is not that simple to deal with. Shocking to them, hundreds of TV stations catering for all sort of things have immerged. You want music, there is one, you want movies there is one for that. Suddenly it occurred to these large incumbent players that competition would be too stiff and at once they started fighting digital migration by all means and transition dates started to be pushed forward for various stupid reasons such as Kenyans were not ready and could not afford it as if Kenyans had a choice but to afford it. It was like a woman who is due fearing the inevitable painful birth process while as the wise thing to do is to get it over with.
The three large media players do not want you to know that:
1. All set top boxes sold in Kenya are required by law to carry all free to air channels without a charge on the consumer, in other words GOTV box must enable you to watch all the free to air channels whether you pay the monthly payment or not. STARTIMES Must do the same too. Here is how it works. Star times have two boxes in the market, the first is for pay TV plus all the free to air channel, for this box, you have to pay a subscription fee monthly and there are varous banquets, the second box is one where you just pay the purchasing cost and that is it you never have to pay anything ever again. NTV, CITIZEN and KTN will never tell you this even if you shoot them, they will have you believe that you MUST make a monthly payment which is a blatant baldfaced lie. GOTV, on the other hand, have a different arrangement, they subside the cost of the box by almost half and give you two months of free subscription which is in an effort to entice you so that if you like what you see, you can either pay them a subscription each month to access their premium content such as super-sport, nat geo world or mnet, if you find you are unable to pay the subscription fee, you pay them a one off fee of (at the moment of going to press)1200 to offset what they subsided you and your GOTV box become free for life for all the free to air channel which are more than forty at the moment. Have you ever heard the three media mention this? Their lawyer Paul muite always claims that kenyan can not afford pay tv and the guy wanted to be a president and he can lie like that.
2.The three station have been claiming that their content is being infringed, their copyright content. This could be a valid argument until when you consider the fact that nowhere will your TV ever say which box you are viewing it through. The TV does not say anywhere GOTV or bamba tv when you are watching NTV, you are watching NTV And the content remain theirs. They collect all their revenue and adverts and they show what they want. GOTV or Startimes just transmit what the station is transmitting. The carriers (bamba tv, gotv and the rest) do not share in the revenue collected by the station they carry. They are carried for free since if they were being charged, they would just refuse to pay.
3. The set top boxes they intend to import will not be free to kenyans and will not be an iota different from all the other boxes in the market, they are possibly all made by the same Chinese guys. The cost of manufacturing such a box plus shipping and other logistics is at the least 2000 kshs. If they intended to give them free to possibly 4 million kenyans that would cost them 8 billion kshs, you think they would give you that? If you think so, think again, these guys charge astronomical figures for death announcement in their papers, they can not give anything for free. Only deaths of rich politicians are announced free. They would sell their mothers before they do that. Their box, if it ever comes will just be sold like GOTV and it too will have to carry the free to air channels but may be they will get a way to interfere with their boxes now and then so that you can not easily access the other channels, I would not trust these guys with anything.
4. The there media have been pulling the patriotic card of late, they claim that CAK favoured foreigners over locals while awarding those frequencies licences, what they do not tell you is that their stations are owned by foreigners too in terms of shareholding or debts. They are only four TV stations and yet they were given 21 frequencies the other carriers who will possibly carry hundreds of channels were given the rest Pan africa got the most 57.
Of cause there are other numerous lies but lets just consider those for now. What we are being exposed to is the ugly face of rich big firm’s greed. Remember the guys who were fighting the computers?