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China-based StarTimes makes big march in Africa

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

12-01-2016 15:48 BJT

 By Tom McGregor, CNTV Commentator and Editor

The Beijing-based Digital TV company StarTimes Group is targeting the African market to generate larger revenues and profits. It’s a risky venture, since much of Africa is impoverished while many villages remain without electricity.

A company that sells a monthly subscription plan for Digital TV users in the Sub-Saharan region would need to make a major investment in system integration, internet connectivity, technology upgrades and support for network operator.

StarTimes has already made significant progress in such endeavors. The firm has a presence in over 30 African nations, and offers them, the world’s cheapest digital TV subscription plan, $US5/month.

It’s the leading digital TV operator in Africa, covering 90 percent of the continent’s population with a massive distribution network - 200 brand halls, 3,000 convenience shops and 5,000 distributors, according to China.org.

Upgrading African TV

As the globalization era seems to be at a crossroad, localized content will shine as the new buzz phrase for the international digital TV industry.

StarTimes is jumping on the bandwagon and paying for broadcasting rights of ‘Produced in Africa’ sports, entertainment, news, children’s education, health and traditional African programs.

The entire production crew have been hired locally. It’s TV produced in Africa, made for Africans. StarTimes has set up a number of satellite offices, including Lagos, Nigeria.

“StarTimes is committed to new innovations and technologies that can enhance the digital TV experience for Nigerians and other Africans and rally the people to enjoy maximum digital TV entertainment at affordable rates,” StarTimes Nigeria Chief Operating Officer Tunde Aina told the Guardian.

Israel Baloji, Nigeria StarTimes brand marketing and public relations director, added, “We will spare no effort to offer rich, diverse and high quality digital television experience to Nigerians and African viewers.”

Tackling Tanzania

All Africa reports that StarTimes Group is in talks with Tanzania Broadcasting Corp. (TBC) to boost its digital TV offerings of sports and entertainment services in Africa.

The company’s Overseas PR director William Masy has touted Africa’s strong viewership potential. He notes that a large pool of African talent remains untappped in the global market.

“We are proud to have been part of the migration process in Tanzania,” Masy said. “But also as advisers to its local content production capacity, which include art works.”

Tanzania enjoys a rich history in its traditional dances, along with arts & crafts. As the world gets more closely connected, people are becoming more curious of other cultures, especially those that are considered exotic.

In the same vein, StarTimes is developing more local content productions in Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia, as well as signing up Nigerian football legend, Nwankwo Kanu as the Continental Brand Ambassador.

Ghana Premier League kickoff

In regards to TV viewership in Africa, broadcasting football (games) are the most popular. StarTimes has embarked on an aggressive campaign to purchase the rights to African football leagues.

Last week, the company announced its agreement with the Ghana Football Association (GPL) to own all media rights to the Ghana Premier League (GPL) for the next 10 years.

StarTimes Group President Pang Xinxing attended the signing ceremonies and a joint press conference.

“The partnership between StarTimes and the Ghana Football Association is not only the cooperation between the two sides, but also a starting of cooperation between China and Africa on the football industry,” said Pang.

He added, “We would like to bring more excellent football matches to nearly nine million subscribers of StarTimes in Africa and may introduce GPL to Chinese football fans in the future, being a bridge between China and Africa sports industries.”

China-Africa TV bridge

Chinese President Xi Jinping stands as firm believer of promoting the China Brand abroad. He is encouraging more Chinese companies to go global.

StarTimes has signed on to the program and has launched a campaign to offer a wide variety of digital channels to Africans. The move will win over the hearts of Africans, while giving them more entertainment on TV.

China is going beyond borders to support win-win benefits for people all over the globe, especially for the African community.

Tmcgregorchina@yahoo.com

 

 

 ( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

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