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Startimes Steps Up Its Ambition as a Pay TV Contender

Startimes’ growing presence now extends to about 23 countries in Africa with Over 4 million subscribers

Startimes ready to step up

At the just concluded DISCOP 2014, one of the key speakers was the Managing Director of Startimes’ Media Department, Mike Dearham. In his speech, he laid out an ambitious vision for the Chinese company’s burgeoning Pay TV enterprise in Africa. He said that Startimes was setting about aggressive investments in content especially those with a local imprint as well as sports content. The medium-term goal is to bridge the content gap between the company and more established Pay TV competitors such as marketplace titan DStv.

At its inception, Startimes had linked up with state broadcasters in countries they berthed. These alliances enabled the company to set up DTT services in an increasing number of countries in Africa with pricing at the bottom of the market also strategic to its market penetration in countries it was new to. There was however a content deficit as they offered only one bouquet with fairly basic content. With the passing of time, the company has improved on its content and now appears ready for a big push that could see them ruffle the feathers of other industry players like DStv and MyTV.

To help propel this expansion initiative, Startimes recently secured the services of Mike Dearham, who has previous work experience with DStv and distributor Cote Quest. Dearham will head the department which is essentially responsible for content development and has already worked swiftly to poach Gary Rathbone, previously of Supersports to be Head of Sports at the company. The company expects that these seasoned hands on board will aid in efforts to break open DStv’s clenched fist of sports content within the region.

Startimes’ growing presence now extends to about 23 countries in Africa with 4 million subscribers, with Nigeria expectedly its biggest market due to the country’s large population figures. Its DTT platform has over 200 channels on the premium bouquet and it has pushed through programming in local languages with African language channels, including one in Swahili and another in Ibo.

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