Econet Media today launched its free to air sports channel, Kwesé Free Sports TV promising to give viewers in Kenya one free live English Premier League match every Saturday and previews and reviews of every match played in the EPL, meaning DStv’s SuperSports’ viewership won’t be greatly affected.
Speaking to TechMoran, Shalamar Zandamela, the Head of Marketing, Kwese Free TV said, “For us like we said, we are free to air, so we get the free to air rights. Currently what we have are free to air rights so you get one game a week on Saturday at five and it is live and you get the preview show before and the review show after the games are over.”
Though the firm didn’t tell TechMoran when Kwese Free Sports viewers will have more live EPL matches, Zandamela confirms that much more content will be launched in the coming months.
Apart from the one EPL match every Saturday, Kwese has signed up rights to the National Basketball Association (NBA), Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC), Formula E Championship, AVIVA Premiership Rugby and most recently the National Football League (NFL) which will be broadcast to viewers in Kenya for free among others in its bid to see the country’s DTT and DTH viewers access premium content for free. Kwese Free Sport’s first task in Kenya is building an audience and not just any audience but a loyal one.
“Like our name, we want to be anywhere everywhere, it suits where we want to position ourselves as a brand,” said Monicah Ndungu, General Manager, Kwese Free Sports Kenya. “What we are looking at is to provide our audience with the best of the continent. It’s been very receptive actually, I think the market has been looking for something to give them a breath of fresh air as everybody who hears about Kwese Free says that’s different, that’s a welcome thing, we feel quite welcome.”
Kwese Free Sports TV is now looking at partnering with other broadcasters as well as working with its digital team to reach audiences at home and online. It is also investing of millions of dollars into rights acquisition and content creation.
“We can say it’s a lot. We can confirm that it is in millions of shillings that we have invested. It’s a significant investment and its a long-term investment and is across various pillars for the business,” Zandamela told TechMoran. ” We are investing hard costs in terms of infrastructure, and once you do that it’s a clear signal that you are here to stay. We will have physical presence here in Kenya through a studio we’ll be building here, we have an office building here and we’ll be employing an almost fully local team developing talent with the entire team so it’s in the best of the industry and we will also be commissioning local content and so it’s a significant investment and is one that we intend to see grow and get a return on that investment specifically.”
Apart from real sports, Kwesé Free Sports also runs sports related entertainment content including Xtreme Outdoor Africa (100% proudly Kenyan), Ball N’Africa (Kenyan production) Sports Stars Uncovered, The Secret Lives of Sport, Football Stars, Sports Confidential, The Fast Lane and Sporting Greats on the channel. It will also showcase the best in local productions giving Kenyans a platform to share their stories on platform.
Kwese Free Sports TV aims to monetise through advertising and sub licensing to other channels when the time is right. Econet Media is a sister brand to Liquid Telecom, Econet Wireless both subsidiaries of Zimbabwe’s Econet Group founded by Strive Masiyiwa.