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Kenyans Brace Themselves for Digital Migration as High Court Dismisses Petition by Conservative Media Firms

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Digital_blkmagKenyans are set for an immediate switch-off from analogue to digital TV after High Court Judge David Majanja today dismissed a petition by three local media firms that wanted the move to be delayed.
According to the media houses constituting of Royal Media Services, Standard Group and Nation Media Group, the migration was unconstitutional, they therefore went to court to stop the migration, set to have begun on December 13.

The three media houses argued that they were not opposed to digital migration, but wanted the manner in which the licensing was done, even accusing the government of taking shareholding in some of the firms that were given the migration tender. Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) said the timing was economically unfair to Kenyans.
The media firms wanted a dual-Transmission of both analogue and digital signals to allow them serve their client’s advertisements. they also claim the other firms want to infringe on their intellectual property by showing Free to Air channel content which costs millions to produce.

Moving from analogue meant the local media firms will have no one watching their TV stations, or they’ll be forced to use digital TV broadcasters like StarTimes and DStv or GOtv to air their channels, for them or via other independent set top boxes. The media firms, in an alliance wanted to stop the government from switching off their signals and also to stop other firms from broadcasting their intellectual property content without their permission. The three say the pay-tv providers Signet Kenya Limited which is run by Kenya Broadcasting Council, Star Times Media Limited, Pan Africa Network Group and Gotv Kenya Limited were not to use their content-intellectual property minus compensation.The consumer body, COFEK argued that the public has not been engaged and no little or nothing about the move. COFEK also argued that the move was expensive and wanted the government to  subsidize the decoders. The body argued that switch-over will lock out over 90 per cent of TV viewers and kill advertisement, they major revenue source.

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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakoba
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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