By Robin Okuthe
With the desire to access TV content at relatively low cost and without any time lapse growing, online video streaming (as a means of watching TV) spells greater doom for Citizen TV, NTV and KTN. It doesn’t make much sense the four have been fighting to stick to analogue broadcasting since 2012 — when the International Communication Union (ITU) first installed the idea of digital migration to Africa. In the aftermath of the digital war, the four broadcasters will lose. Consumers will still remain the king.
In fact, technology is dreadfully dynamic and the whole world is becoming a digital space at supersonic speed. In this internet age, market dynamics are fast changing. The consumer is becoming the superficial ‘king’.
I see a future where Internet will be integrated to TV and set-top boxes, and Wi-Fi will be a billable utility at most Kenyan homes like electricity, water, and transportation. Internet will be relatively cheap, or free. Rather than buy the DVB set-top boxes the likes of Citizen TV, NTV and KTN are fighting to sell to Kenyans, Communication Authority of Kenya will urge consumers to buy TV’s with Wi-Fi capability, ROKU-LT Streaming Player, or Wi-Fi boxes. Better still, we will access free TV and make free voice calls from our TVs, laptops and other mobile devices.
The set-top boxes Citizen TV, NTV and KTN are currently procuring will become purely obsolete. We, the consumers, will be fortunate to access TV/radio channels for free from across the globe. The local channels run the risk of becoming greatly irrelevant, except for some news and simple early-night comedies. While this will be a gold-mine for free-lance journalists and bloggers, current crop of broadcasters like my buddy Larry Madowo will have to reposition more of their content online. I bet TV stations will have to divide the advertisement revenue from the money pot with the rising number of internet TV companies and bloggers. Yeah, smart techblogs like Tech Moran will make more money from advertising because in the internet age, content is king. As television evolves, so does competition and advertising.
With the wrong strategies, Citizen TV, NTV and KTN will face near-insolvency. We all know the story of the extinct Kenya Telecoms. Fortunately, unlike Citizen TV, NTV and KTN who depend greatly on revenues from advertisement, telcos like Safaricom and Airtel have everything under control as mobile banking will be a lifesaver. Bottom-line is, technology like time, waits for no man.