Quantcast

Entertainment

Game of Thrones Season 7 Pirated Over 1 Billion Times

0

The seventh season of Game of Thrones has been illegally downloaded or streamed more than 1 billion times.

This is according to a report by anti-piracy firm MUSO, which discovered that as of 3 September, Game of Thrones season seven episodes had been pirated 1,029,787,668.

The ilegal downloads for each episode are:

  • Episode one: 187,427,575
  • Episode two: 123,901,209
  • Episode three: 116,027,851
  • Episode four: 121,719,868
  • Episode five: 151,569,560
  • Episode six: 184,913,279
  • Episode seven: 143,393,804

Of the 1.03 billion total piracy instances for the season, 84.66% were streams, 9.12% were torrents, and 5.59% were downloads.

Speaking about the report, Andy Chatterley, co-founder and CEO of MUSO said: “Game of Thrones has become one of the biggest global entertainment phenomena of today and activity across piracy networks has been totally unprecedented.

“It’s no secret that HBO has been plagued by security breaches throughout the latest season, which has seen some episodes leak before broadcast and added to unlicensed activity. In addition to the scale of piracy when it comes to popular shows, these numbers demonstrate that unlicensed streaming can be a far more significant type of piracy than torrent downloads. At MUSO, we look at all types of piracy, not just torrents, and that is why these numbers have been illuminated.”

In this age of online piracy, this report from MUSO is an eye-opener as film production companies solidify or reinforce their security to prevent hacker and pirates from accessing their networks. One way to perhaps do this is to partner with tech firms to evolve ways to deal with this problem.

If these illegal downloads are monetised, it may run into billions. This means HBO should be making more than what it is earning now!

 

iflix raises $133m funding led by Hearst to take on Netflix in emerging markets

0

iflix, a Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service for emerging markets has raised $133 million led by Hearst and new investors Singapore-based EDBI and clients of DBS private bank and existing shareholders Evolution Media, Sky PLC, Catcha Group, Liberty Global, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc. to bring the world’s best entertainment to its audiences.

iflix says it will use the new funds to further execute on its local content strategy and expand its technology and development teams to meet the unique challenges of emerging markets. These new funding follows a $90m raise in March this year led by Liberty Global and Zain Group to expand operations in South East Asia and launch in Middle East and Africa targeting the growing smartphone users.

According to iflix Co-founder and Group CEO Mark Britt: “We are thrilled to welcome Hearst President and CEO Steven Swartz and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication President Neeraj Khemlani to the iflix family. As iflix continues to grow and pioneer new ways for consumers to enjoy entertainment on their terms, we were looking for a partner who could bring additional expertise and knowledge to our business.”

Hearst is a plus for iflix because of its many innovative and iconic video brands, including ESPN, A+E Networks, Vice, AwesomenessTV, Complex and more.  The new round brings total funding raised by iflix this calendar year to an excess of $220 million and iflix aims to use it to invest in exclusive content production in its markets and sign up new content partners. Recently, the firm partnered with TVOne to launch live premiere football streaming in Indonesia. Last week, iflix Philippines announced its collaboration with the Philippines’ Queen of All Media, Kris Aquino, to commission an original drama series.

Since going live in May 2015, iflix says it has seen extraordinary growth across expanding from four markets to 19 across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The company has additionally built deep integrated distribution partnerships with 27 leading telecommunications operators to bundle the iflix service with customers’ mobile and data subscriptions, all sponsored by the telecommunications provider.

The company has increased its commitment to localization, producing 26,000 hours of subtitles in nine languages, with locally-curated content in every market. iflix’s full content library showcases thousands of award-winning and iconic first run programs and library content from over 230 studio partners from 30 countries. Founding shareholders Evolution Media and Catcha Group have participated in all preceding capital raisings and further increased their support this round.

President of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication Neeraj Khemlani said: “iflix is riding the wave of exponential growth of the middle class in emerging markets that want more access to premium regional, local and Western content. We look forward to working with our new partners Sky, Liberty Global, Evolution Media and Catcha Group, as well as emerging market telcos, to support iflix’s innovative founders and management team in their rapid expansion plans.”

Apart from Netflix, some of the iflix competitors include Amazon Prime Video, Showmax, BritBox and NuVu among others.

Akon to buy 50% of Senegal-based African music download service Musik Bi

0
US rap icon Akon born Aliaune Badara Thiam, is buying Musik Bi,a Senegalese music download service with more than 200 internationally famous musicians, majority of them young rappers, jazz artists and Christian and Muslim vocalists who let their fans download their music on using their mobile phone credit.

With the purchase, the Senegalese-American rapper follows the footsteps of other musicians such as Dr. Dre and Jay-Z who have made their own names in the tech and business world apart from just being music producers. Dr. Dre and Jimmy Lovine sold Beats Electronics the maker of beats by Dre headphones to Apple for $3 billion in 2014. In January 2015 Jay Z bought  Tidal for $56 million in cash and later sold a chunk of it to Sprint.

Akon’s entry into Musik Bi will see the firm solve some of its disputes with phone companies over their cut which CEO Moustapha Diop said was a hindrance to its growth and broaden into a music festival, television channel and a streaming service.  Musik Bi aims to fight piracy on the continent and help artists increase their sales against illegal downloads.

Musik Bi launched in Senegal in February 2016 with a mission to promote African artists, pay them properly, and fight internet piracy which is something Akon, as a musician and producer is keen on fighting.

88mph-backed Mdundo hits 8 million users & 30 million plus streams as Safaricom revamps Skiza

0

After 4 years of distributing music, Mdundo recently launched its streaming feature both on the website and the android app in a move set to make it Africa’s biggest music distribution and streaming service as Safaricom mulls relaunch of Skiza as a competing music streaming service.

Mdundo says its newly launched streaming feature has over 30 million streams in 2017 alone helped by its expansion into new markets, a huge music catalogue as well as increased sign ups by artists.

“A big chuck of our growth the past 6 months can be accredited to new markets. Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Cote d’Ivory, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Congo are some of the fastest growing markets. We experience a need for our service in most African markets, people want to access music in easier ways, especially the local tunes, and there are currently no easy and legal way to do this” Mdundo CEO, Martin Nielsen remarks.

Originally launched in East Africa in 2013, the music service is celebrating 8 million user growth the past 12 months. Mdundo says its now experiencing 1.5 million listeners each month and the number of songs downloaded from the platform have doubled year on year since it started. The music distribution service has also had its learnings on the music consumption behaviour and trend over the period.

“Hip Hop and Gospel genres remain to be the most popular genres over the past few years, which explains East Africa’s music consumption behaviour. We’ve seen artists such as Khaligraph Jones, King Kaka, The Kansoul and Darassa top the Hip Hop charts.” Mdundo Head of Music & Operations, Wanjiku Koinange explains.  “Gospel artists have also not been left behind and currently, the top Mdundo Gospel musicians include Willy Paul, Mercy Masika, Collo and the duo Kymo and Stigah.” she adds.

With almost 2 million monthly active users from across the continent and 40,000 African musicians, Mdundo is set to face Safaricom which is revamping its SKIZA ringtone platform into a fully-fledged music streaming service. Safaricom is now hosting copyright and entertainment law experts to give assistance to artists before it relaunches its www.skiza.com which currently has 11 million users and over 132,000 tunes,  125,000 of them by Kenyan artists.

Startimes TV launches outreach program to resurrect its dormant subscribers

0

Startimes TV has launched an outreach program aimed at encouraging account re-activations of its dormant subscribers as well as see subscribers enjoy upgrades to higher bouquets at no extra cost.

The firm is also giving bonus airtime upon renewal of their monthly subscriptions to a bouquet of choice in an effort to grow the company’s subscriber’s retention rate while extending benefits to dormant ones thereby

In a statement, StarTimes Vice President Mr. Mark Lisboa said, “We have introduced this loyalty programme to enable our subscribers to access more premium channels at no extra cost thereby extending more value for less. We continue to enable more and more households across Kenya to enjoy affordable digital television since we established our operations in Kenya five years ago and are committed to growing our service offering going forward.”

StarTimes subscribers who renew their packages before the expiry are also set to enjoy 10% bonus airtime in addition to the week-long upgrade to a higher bouquet. For every subscription made on the Basic bouquet, customers will enjoy a week long automatic upgrade to the Classic bouquet, while for every Classic Bouquet subscription, they will enjoy a week’s access to the Unique Bouquet at no extra cost.

These incentives will equally be extended to the satellite television customers where for every month subscribed on Smart bouquet, subscribers will enjoy a week on Super Bouquet at no extra cost while getting access to the 10% bonus airtime once the package is renewed before its expiry.

StarTimes offers affordable bouquets to its digital terrestrial subscribers ranging from Ksh 599 for the Basic bouquet with access to over 40 international channels, Classic at a cost of Ksh 999 per month with access to over 60 international channels and Ksh 1,499 for Unique bouquet with access to over 75 international channels.

Satellite television customers equally enjoy a range of channels including over 70 channels on the Smart bouquet that retails at Ksh 899 and Super bouquet which retails at Ksh 1,499 per month with access to over 100 channels including select high definition channels.

Startimes recently extended its digital terrestrial technology reach to over 30 counties to cover 70% of  the country with affordable television service while complementing the satellite offering that covers 100% of the country.

Mnet commits $4.8m towards production of original content in Kenya

0

 MultiChoice and Mnet is set to invest half a billion shillings investment in 14 original local shows to be produced and broadcast in the year 2017-2018 in a move expected to promote local content, save on exorbitant content licenses and fulfill the 70 percent local content requirement policy.

According to GOtv Kenya General Manager, Simon Kariithi, “MultiChoice is rooted in countries where our customers live. That means we are proud of the contribution we are making in our local communities. As a leading funder of local productions in Kenya, we are proud to announce a half a billion shillings investment in 14 original local shows to be produced and broadcast in the year 2017-2018, and will air exclusively on Maisha Magic East which is the only show in the country with 100% local content.”

Further to the investment, Maisha Magic also flew in Bollywood top thespians for a knowledge transfer session. The summit, which took place at Local Production Limited studios in Nairobi, also featured two of Bollywood’s renowned and award-winning producers Neelima Bajpal and Shyamashis Bhattacharia, Directors at Shakuntalam Telefilms in India. The Bollywood producers gave presentations that focused on the drivers of success of the Indian Telenovela productions including budgeting for Bollywood films, script writing and casting. Also featured was the importance of post-production in film production.

The firm is pushing its efforts to increase local production skills following a directive by the Communication Authority in 2014 to increase local content programming from 40% to 68% by 2018.

StarTimes Kenya expands digital TV signal coverage to more users in rural areas

0

Digital terrestrial and satellite TV firm StarTimes Media has expanded to Garissa, Kitui, Kapenguria, Embu, Trans-Nzoia and Laikipia raising the number with the company’s digital television access to over 30 counties in a move that brings both Pay Television and Free to air digital television services to more users in Kenya.

According to StarTimes Vice President Mr. Mark Lisboa, the overwhelming reception for digital television service seen this far confirms that Kenya’s appetite for rich television content at affordable subscription rates continues to grow as StarTimes remains in the forefront in providing access beyond urban centers.

“We intend to ride on our current 70% digital television network coverage in the country to extend the reach of our informative, educative and entertaining channel offering to more Kenyans key in not only growing our market share but also giving them an enviable choice that will enrich their television viewing experience”, said Mr. Lisboa.

The company whose current offering includes pay television, free to air digital television services and digital television sets seeks to grow the subscriber base through extending access at the county level across Kenya. This development is a boost to its expansion plans with the increased coverage of the terrestrial television signal complementing the satellite television service mostly used in the country.

StarTimes projects that it will have invested over USD 75 million with the achievement of a 100% digital terrestrial network cover in the country in its quest to make digital television a reality across all Counties in Kenya. This will be key in ensuring the country does bridge the digital divide that currently exists as it will ensure more Kenyans get access to high quality audio and video television reception, have a variety of enhanced broadcasting applications, multimedia data as well as additional channels that will not only inform but also entertain.

Currently, StarTimes operates in over 16 African countries with a combined subscriber base of over 10 million and still growing.

IROKOMUSIC to launch across French Speaking Africa

0

IROKO is set to launch a dedicated, 100% Nigerian music & lifestyle channel on LES BOUQUETS CANAL+, channel 127 for the French Speaking Africa on 20 June 2017 to showcase top Nigerian Afrobeats hits, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 Speaking at this year’s DISCOP Abidjan, Jason Njoku, CEO of IROKO said: “Afrobeats is the sound of Africa. As we’ve built out our TV audience across the continent, our teams noticed that there were plenty of channels showing a ‘Nigerian music hour’, but nowhere was there a dedicated channel showing Afrobeats 24/7.”

Njoku added that the firm felt that the sound of Africa deserved a premium content channel all of its own and music lovers felt the same too, leading to the expansion of its music offering, in partnership with CANAL+ INTERNATIONAL to take Nigerian music to French Speaking Africa.

This is not IROKO’s first deal with CANAL as in January last year the two announced a content partnership to open up the Francophone market to more premium music and TV entertainment, both online and on TV.

 The launch of IROKOMUSIC on LES BOUQUETS CANAL+ isn’t IROKO’s first foray into the African music industry. In 2010, IROKO launched iROKING, one of the first legal music streaming platforms in Nigeria, which has since aggregated a global Afrobeats fan base, with over 1.2 million registered users. The mobile music site will now sit under the IROKOMUSIC brand, and is available at http://m.irokomusic.ng/.

IROKOMUSIC viewers will have direct access to video mixes, current hot hits, brand new videos from popular Nigerian artists, throwback tracks and behind-the-scenes content. In addition to the music content, IROKOMUSIC will be featuring scripted and unscripted content created by award-winning Nigerian film studio, ROK Studios.

Nigeria has one of the world’s fastest-growing markets in entertainment and media, with overall growth of 15.7% in 2015, reaching $3.8 billion. The Nigerian music industry is expected to almost double from $47 million in 2015 to $86 million in 2020. With the launch on LES BOUQUETS CANAL+,  IROKOMUSIC will expand their popular service to the big screen, with access to over 2.6 million subscribers across 26 African countries.

 

Netflix killer iflix is finally launching in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania & Zimbabwe

0
iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt

Less than two months after launching in MENA, iflix, a Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service has announced its launching iflix Africa to bring its world class content to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) targeting South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe then expand into other markets gradually over the coming months.

iflix Africa will be headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa where it has had an office since late last year. iflix Africa also has been operational in Nairobi, Kenya for a while but the SVoD service platform is planned to go live across Africa in the second and third quarter of 2017, to carry its thousands of TV shows, movies and more, including many first run exclusives and award winning programs available to hundreds of millions of consumers across the region.

Netflix and Naspers-owned ShowMax are already in these markets but out of South Africa, iflix will majorly see competition from Netflix as ShowMax has suffered poor uptake due to South Africa’s xenophobic acts against other Africans and due to its foundations in apartheid founded Naspers which has shifted focus to US, Europe, India and LatAm and other emerging markets .

According to Mark Britt, iflix Co-founder and CEO: “The establishment of iflix Africa represents an incredibly exciting step in iflix’s growth story. As Africa transitions from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy, there is a unique, ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to fundamentally shift the way a billion people consume and enjoy content. By 2020, Africa will have 720 million smartphone users. We aim to meet the entertainment needs of those growingly connected viewers.”

“As the fastest-growing mobile market on earth, Africa is without question one of the world’s most dynamic regions. We are thrilled to introduce our first-of-its-kind SVoD service here. We are passionately focused on providing the broadest selection of premium content at a price everyone can afford. We can’t wait to tackle both the enormous opportunities and challenges ahead, in serving this incredibly diverse and exciting region,” added Andre de Wet, iflix Head of Africa.

Currently available to over one billion consumers in 18 markets across Asia and MENA, iflix will soon roll-out its world class service across sub-Saharan Africa with initial launches in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Each subscription will allow users to access the service on up to five devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, and television sets, for viewing wherever, whenever. On devices, iflix beats both Netflix and Showmax.

With a global footprint to 23 territories worldwide, iflix is promising the best of Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and other regional and local programming, the service and an extensive collection of highly acclaimed African shows and movies with iflix Africa planning to introduce exclusive African content series.

Launched in May 2015 in Asia, iflix has rolled out its world class service to 18 markets across Asia and MENA and has over 5 million members. In March 2017, iflix announced the completion of a US$90+ million round of funding to support its international expansion. The round added new investors Liberty Global Group and Zain Group to the company’s formidable shareholder registry which also includes global heavyweights Sky plc, Catcha Group and Evolution Media.

Guardian caution on Radicalisation of Teens Through Gaming.

0

Parents tend to approach video games like junk food: games are fine in moderation but ultimately they are an evil temptation that’s more bad than good. Video games are a unique form of entertainment because they encourage players to become a part of the game’s script.

Video games have been known to have positive impact on children, some video games are brain teasers. They can teach kids to learn how to follow instructions, better motor skills, accuracy, pattern recognition, strategy, memory, hand-eye coordination and spatial skills, others help with logic and problem solving. Games like farmvile can teach planning and resource management.

Gaming has its dark side too. Too much of it might get your child socially isolated, they can easily confuse reality versus fantasy and be insensitive to extreme violence. Most games, aggressive, vengeance and violent behaviour are rewarded and this feelings extend even after the game is over, unfortunately terrorist also know that and they have designed games to radicalize children and young adults.

Hezbollah developed a game called Special Forces and Special Forces 2. This is a series of games. It’s a first shooter game like call of duty and simulates military missions against Israeli soldiers. The game is in English, Arabic and Farsi and you will be surprised to find that it offers mental and personal training for the players, this is not just a game but a radicalization tool.

The global Islamic Media front released “night of Bush Capturing” in 2006. This is a hunting game for players to hunt down and kill former American President George W. Bush. Players are prompted to advance through six missions against soldiers who look like Bush, followed by a seventh mission against a character that looks like the president that takes place in a desert-like region. During the game, jihadist songs are played in the background.

The basic rules to buying a game for your child is to draw a line between violent games and non-violent games. Check the ratings and reviews online, watch out for sex themed games, titles, cover photos, what kind of mental engagement does the game offer, what is your child’s maturity level and does the game offer higher levels that might not be suitable. All in all, ensure you are monitoring your child, the gaming industry is not.

Tips on Managing Teen Media Consumption

Because of the popularity of video games, completely eliminating them from your child’s life might be difficult. However, you can decrease the negative impact that they have on your child. Here are a few tips:

  • Know the rating of the video games your child plays.
  • Do not install video game equipment in your child’s bedroom.
  • Set limits on how often and how long your child is allowed to play video games.
  • Monitor all of your child’s media consumption—video games, movies, and the Internet.
  • Supervise your child’s Internet use—there are now many “video games” available for playing online.
  • Take the time to discuss with your children the games they are playing or other media they are watching. Ask your children how they feel about what they observe in these video games, or movies. This is an opportunity to share your feelings and grow closer with your child.
  • Share with other parent’s information about certain games or ideas for helping each other in parenting.

 

 

TRACE Mziki launches East African Music Video Awards

0

The Zanzibar International Film Festival, in partnership with TRACE Mziki have launched East African Music Video Awards to honor the directors and producers who make East African artists look so good.

The award for best video will not only celebrate East African artists with the vision to create quality music videos, but also the behind-the-scenes teams that make these videos possible. For a number of years, ZIFF has recognized that music videos are, in fact, short films and should be treated as such within the confines of the film festival.

ZIFF Festival Director Fabrizio Colombo explains further, “this award is a way to promote storytelling development in music videos and encourage the skills of producers and directors who might start out with music videos and then find their way towards feature length films. Recent film like Oscar winning “La La Land” shows how much music and dance are part of the history of cinema.”

TRACE Mziki, East Africa’s biggest and most popular music video channel, is also committed to growing the East African music industry and encouraging the production of high quality videos.

TRACE CEO for Eastern Africa, Steve Agutu explains further: The partnership with ZIFF to start this category, coinciding with the festival’s 20th anniversary, was a no brainer. The category will further cement our long-standing goal to not only improve the quality of music videos, but also to recognize the people who work to make this possible. The creation of this category is indeed as timely as it is important, and as TRACE we will inject the high standards in music video selection that has propelled TRACE MZIKI to its number one status.”

A panel of judges from the TRACE Mziki selection committee will select the final nominees from all videos submitted and these videos will be screened throughout the festival ahead of the main evening’s show in the Old Fort Ampitheatre. A final winner will be announced on the closing night of the Festival.

All East African artists, as well as video producers and directors are encouraged to submit their videos via the submission form on www.ziff.or.tz in the section east African Video Music Competition and then send the form and your video link to [email protected]

The deadline for submission is 30th May 2017. Videos must be for an East African artist and must have been created in 2016 or after.

 

Kenya – China culture in focus as popular children’s film premieres in Nairobi

0

 

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television for China has today officially broadcasted Boonie Bear film in Kenya paving the way for Pay Television Company StarTimes Media to broadcast the content on their terrestrial and satellite platforms.

Boonie Bear is a Chinese animated 3D film which is the most popular children’s show with more than 400 episodes having been produced so far. Its premiere in Kenya marks the first time that the film is broadcasted in Africa presenting family based broadcast content for the young generation with unique combination of educative and entertaining content which will go a long way towards cultivating Chinese and Kenyan culture.

Speaking during the broadcast ceremony, Information Secretary in the state department of broadcasting and telecommunications in the ministry of ICT Ms. Judy Munyinyi noted that the inter-cultural relations between Chinese people and Kenyans have consistently grown which has led to Chinese TV films, dramas and movies gaining popularity hence becoming a significant cultural force in building relations between the two countries.

“China remains the country’s strategic partner and enhancing our cultural relations through broadcast content presents a unique platform to reach out to the majority of households thereby enabling our people to understand each other better for mutual economic and social benefits,” noted Ms. Munyinyi.

The Director General, International Cooperation Department in the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Ms. Ma Li, noted that television continues to be a strong medium through which information is pushed across diverse audiences.

“The broadcast of Boonie Bear in Kenya is significant in that the target audience is the young generation who once they are able to appreciate the value of our cultures will cement the inter-cultural relations between our Kenyan friends and Chinese people,” noted Ms. Ma Li.

“At StarTimes, we are glad to have a platform that not only presents entertainment value but also informative content that facilitates better understanding between people from different nationalities. The broadcast of Boonie Bear presents a new milestone in promoting inter-cultural relations between Kenya and China”, noted Ms. Guo Ziqi, StarTimes Vice President.

The broadcast of Boonie Bear is a follow up to a similar engagement by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television where the team launched the Beijing TV Dramas & Movies Broadcasting Exhibition in 2015 that featured the showcase of Chinese dramas and movies in Africa.

Startimes subscribers to enjoy automatic upgrades to bouquets during Easter

0
Startimes Media K Ltd VP Mark Lisboa (left), StarSat DTH director Tracy Lixue (center) and public relations manager Alex Mwaura

 

Pay Television Company StarTimes Media has rolled out a generous campaign that will see subscribers enjoy automatic upgrades to bouquets at no extra cost upon to subscribing to a bouquet of choice.

During the Easter period between 20th March and April 30th, subscribers will enjoy a visual feast where for every complete month of Basic bouquet subscription paid for, subscribers will automatically be upgraded to enjoy an extra week on the Classic bouquet, while for every subscription to the Classic Bouquet, subscribers will enjoy one week Unique Bouquet for free.

The same exciting offer will be extended to the satellite television customers where for every complete month subscribed on Smart bouquet, subscribers will enjoy an extra week for free on Super Bouquet. Through this, StarTimes will provide more value for less as the company seeks to extend more premium content at no extra cost.

“Our generous Easter offer presents an unrivaled television viewing experience, enabling subscribers to access more premium channels at no extra cost thereby extending more value for less,” noted Mr. Lisboa.

The company offers affordable bouquet prices to its digital terrestrial subscribers ranging from Ksh 599 for the Basic bouquet with access to over 40 international channels, Classic at a cost of Ksh 999 per month with access to over 60 international channels and Ksh 1,499 for Unique bouquet with access to over 75 international channels.

Satellite television customers equally enjoy a range of channels including over 70 channels on the Smart bouquet that retails at Ksh 899 and Super bouquet which retails at Ksh 1,499 per month with access to over 100 channels including select high definition channels.

Kwesé TV scores exclusive rights to bring the 2018 FIFA World Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 to Africa

0

Econet Media’s Kwesé TV has secured the rights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 to its impressive roster.

Just months after it brought NBA, ESPN among others on board signalling a growing rivalry between it and South African Multichoice.

Kwesé says it will give Africa a front row seat with all the action LIVE on Kwesé.

The broadcaster has secured exclusive free-to-air (FTA) rights for sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). Kwesé will broadcast the tournaments through its pan-African FTA channel Kwesé Free Sports (KFS) currently Africa’s largest FTA channel which boasts a potential audience in excess of 100million.

In addition to its exclusive FTA rights Kwesé has also secured non-exclusive Pay-TV rights for sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa. Kwesé’s broadcasting rights will include coverage on all Kwesé platforms including TV online and mobile platforms.

“There is no doubt that the FIFA World Cup is a highlight for sports fans all over the globe and Africa is home to some of the game’s biggest fans.  We had to have these major sporting events on our platforms. With exclusive rights to broadcast the tournament free-to-air, we are staying true to our intention to deliver the best sporting programming to as many people as possible across the continent”, said Joseph Hundah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Econet Media.

The exclusivity of the FTA rights for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 means Kwesé is the only platform on the continent licensed to bring live action from these two iconic events free of charge.

FIFA Chief Commercial Officer Philippe Le Floc’h said FIFA has decided to award media rights to Econet Media because it trusts Kwese’s professionalism and capacity to provide a high-quality viewing experience through the Kwesé network.

“In Econet Media we believe to have found a reliable partner exploring new distribution paths, particularly on the digital side, working with Econet Media’s growing Free To Air network Kwese Free Sports as well as established broadcasters in the region to give millions of fans an unforgettable experience of the 2017 and 2018 FIFA events,” he said

The deal includes FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017, FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017, FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018 and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2018 on all Kwesé platforms including Kwesé Free Sports, Kwesé Sports 1 & 2, KweséSports.com and the Kwesé App.

Game of Thrones Season 7: Hundreds of thousands of fans live-streamed ice melting to reveal premier date.

0

Internet video streaming has come a long way. Nowadays , people do not have to follow TV scheduling like they used to back in the day.  That form of TV was very inconveniencing, if you weren’t seated in front of the television when your favorite program was being aired, then u would miss the show. Forever. Sure, the same system exist in most households, but at least for today, most shows are on YouTube, you can stream and catch up on what you missed.

One of the most streamed shows of all time, HBO’s Game of thrones, also called a Song of Ice and Fire, just took this new trend to new heights. So season 6 ended a while back, it was a mega hit so much so that people that had never watched the series bought season 1 to 5 just to understand what was the fuss with the epic season 6. Now, fans from all around the world are eagerly waiting for season 7, and the crew behind the show took advantage of this.  In a classic movie production style, the game of thrones team decided to use suspense to reveal the premier date for season 7.

They curved the date on a solid material and had ice melted around it. They then had cameras recording the action and live streaming the ice melting through Facebook Live. Fans of the show were then asked to comment with the word “fire” to have the melting accelerated by a flamethrower. Now, logically, the ice would melt and reveal the date; it was quite a fitting act considering the series comes from a book called “A song of ice and fire”

Over 100,000 people were tuned in for over one hour of watching ice melting excruciatingly slow. However, the stunt had its fair share of issues, Technical difficulties temporarily stopped the streaming twice.  Some say the two disruptions were to melt the ice faster  behind the scenes. Others on social media especially on Twitter made jokes on what would be revealed when the ice finally melts.

The fire finally won over the ice and the date was shown to be July 16, 2017. In addition, the producers of the series said that the last season (season 8) would be the shortest, only 6 episodes long. All we can do now is hope that the upcoming season 7 will be magnificent as season 6 was.

Iflix Raises $90M to Break Netflix & ShowMax’s Hold on Africa

0
iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt

SEA’s video-streaming site Iflix has raised $90 million led by Liberty Global and  Zain Group to expand operations in South East Asia and launch in Middle East and Africa targeting the growing smartphone users.

iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt said, “We are incredibly excited with the demand we are seeing for iflix in the Middle East and Africa, as well as other new markets in Asia and worldwide. The new funds will enable us to seize this immense opportunity and continue to empower local consumers and provide them with the best content and services available and the freedom to enjoy that offering whenever and wherever they want, wherever they are in the world.”
Founded two years ago, Iflix has 4.5 million customers and is targeting smartphone users in Africa and emerging markets to stream their content on the go. Iflix already has an office in Kenya and South Africa and is in talks with various partners to roll out operations fully.

iflixAccording to a report by Bloomberg, Iflix previous investors Sky Plc, Catcha Group and Evolution Media Capital also participated in the round. In 2016, Sky invested $45 million in Iflix. This gives Iflix more than $135m at hand to buy content and expand into more regions.

Targeting the Middle East and Africa, Patrick Grove, Iflix cofounder and chairman, told Bloomberg the firm is a cheap alternative to piracy compared to its competitors at nearly $2 a month compared to Netflix’s $8 a month.

iFlix will take on  the recently launched Amazon’s Prime Video is now live in over 200 countries and territories around the world with original series in English, with French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles, BBC and ITV’s  BritBox and Netflix NuVu and ShowMax.

iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt
iflix co-founder and group CEO Mark Britt

Amazon Prime Video will charge $2.99 and $5.99 per month while Netflix charges US$7.99 for basic, US$9.99 for standard and US$11.99 for Premium. ShowMax charges $3.30 and $8.80 for its ShowMax Select and ShowMax premium packages respectively. YouTube Red is also producing its own movies and will be a competition to all this players.

Kenya’s BRCK launches Moja free public Wi-Fi & SupaBRCK, its newer version you might find useful

0

Kenya’s BRCK has launched SupaBRCK,a connected rugged microserver powered by a dual core Intel 64-BIT processor with a up to 5TB of hard drive space and a 10-hour onboard battery life.

SupaBRCK also comes with 3 SIM card slots for 4G LTE and 3G connectivity and a content delivery network (CDN) capability allowing individuals and education and entertainment content delivery firms to use it to store their webpages or content locally giving users to experience faster upload speeds, a better online experience coupled with lower data costs.

While a $50 smartphone can work as a Wi-Fi hotspot for 6 to 8 devices, a smartphone’s connection is weak and slow and cannot be used commercially and is not enterprise grade. With ability to connect 50 devices, SupaBRCK is that rugged Wi-Fi router that can allow you to access your most visited sites fast and cheaply and reliably. And because it works as a CDN, a user would easily cache their sites or content on its 5TB storage for further use. No more Netflix and chill, it loads supaFAST.

Unlike version one of BRCK which could power or conect some 20 devices. The new SupaBRCK is able to connect around 100 devices to power and internet and can also use Solar Power as it has multiple types of connectivity inputs.

For schools, SupaBRCK beats the Kio Kit which only aimed get classrooms online, but kids were already doing this using cheap $70 Android tablets, SupaBRCK goes an extra mile by allowing students and schools to locally store educational content in an offline setting on its microserver or in the BRCK Cloud.

BRCK has also launched Moja, a free public Wi-Fi set to be rolled out in Kenya and Rwanda in 2017. Though Kenyans might not care any longer about free Wi-fi, some countries in Africa would find this fascinating.

“Moja WiFi is network of free public internet access points that allows anyone to get online, even if they don’t have a lot of disposable income for this purpose – as in most frontier markets,” announced the firm. BRCK has also launched Moja CDN, an infrastructure-as-a-service offering that provides compute and storage capacity to organizations such as iROKO, Buni.tv, ShowMax, Netflix, BBC’s BritBox and Amazon Prime to host their applications or content locally.

If we gave BRCK a 3/10 as a device you would need, SupaBRCK gets a 7/10 for its ability to do 4G LTE, ability to be powered by solar, it’s 5TB storage and its CDN capability especially for enterprise customers across markets with connectivity and electricity problems like Africa.

We won’t be surprised if Moja Wi-Fi courts Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi or vice versa.

Video Moja Free Movie Streaming App Review

0

Now that Kenya has 4G internet in some parts, a lot of possibilities have been opened, the market is now ripe for video streaming services.

Video Moja is a new entrant in that streaming space with a promise of enabling Kenyans to access thousands of movie titles for free.

Interface and functionality

Fero_Iris_20170306-145340

After singing up with your Google Plus or Facebook credentials, you will be presented with a simple interface. The home tab has four sections namely, latest, trending, recommended, and favorite. The sections and the user interface are self-explanatory and one gets their way around pretty fast. The recommendations section is random at first but it gets better as the app learns from your preferences. The favorite section hosts the movies that you liked by tapping the love icon.

Fero_Iris_20170306-145350

Clicking on a movie at any section brings you to an information page. The page gives a brief description of the movie, the cast and a star rating.  From the same page, you can share a movie with your friends via social media and you can also have a film moved to your watch list by clicking the “watch later” icon. Further down the page, there are a number of movies recommended; they are of a similar genre with the film in context.

Fero_Iris_20170306-150235

Speaking of genres, there is a dedicated genres tab. The genres include Action, comedy, drama, romance, religious, and horror. In case you can’t find your movie, you can type its name in the search bar. The app conveniently starts displaying the search results as you are typing so you don’t have to finish the whole name.

There is a watch list tab that holds all the movies that you decided to “watch later”. If you change your mind on watching the movie, you can simply delete it from the watch-list with ease.

Fero_Iris_20170306-154618

Lastly, you have a profile tab. This tab holds a compilation of all your watched movies in case you want to re-watch any of them. Under this tab, you can edit your profile and also make some setting preferences.

Impressions

While using Video Moja, there are some things I realized like the way every tab is reloaded a-fresh every time you revisit it, perhaps this helps maintain smooth performance by not overloading the RAM however, reloading the thumbnails every time might not be easy on your data bundles.

The movies in this app are sourced from Youtube, on one side, the move helps keep the content free, on the other side, the developers need to come up with new features to make people choose Video Moja over Youtube; all the current offerings on the app are already available on Youtube such as “liking a video” and “choosing watching a video later”.

Speaking of watching a movie later, the “share movie” button is so small and closely placed to the “watch later” button, such that it is hard to click one without accidentally touching the other

The selection of movies at the moment is mostly Nigerian. Well, given that the app has a Swahili name, I expected more East African content, hopefully some will come soon.

On a positive note, the list under the tabs kept changing with new content, this helps in discovering new movies. Moreover, for a video heavy app, Video Moja is fluid while navigating but to get the best experience, you will need a 4G connection and maybe 2GB RAM, and above, on your device. The star rating pop-up at the end of every movie is a great feature to collect ratings which are useful to other people who haven’t watched that particular film.

Pros

Free content

A large selection of movies

Quick app discovery from search bar and auto-refreshing sections

Fluid operation

Simple and straight forward interface

 

Cons

No Kenyan and International content, only Nollywood movies.

App heavily consumes data.

 

 

 

 

YouTube takes on DStv with launch of $35 a month Live TV

0

YouTube has finally launched its Live TV adding to its YouTube Red service as the firm aims to be the go-to place for entertainment and live video and TV.

According to Christian Oestlien, Product Management Director, YouTube TV will remove limitations in how people watch TV.

“There’s no question that people love TV, from live sports to breaking news to sitcoms and dramas. But the truth is, there are a lot of limitations in how to watch TV today. Unlike online video, people can’t watch TV when they want, on any screen and on their terms, without commitments. Consumers have made it clear that they want live TV without all the hassle. They don’t want to worry about their DVR filling up. They don’t want to miss a great game or their favorite show because they’re on the go. They tell us they want TV to be more like YouTube.”

YouTube is therefore bringing the best of the YouTube experience to live TV and is working with its network and affiliate partners to build up YouTube TV.

YouTube TV allows users to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments. It offers Live TV streaming from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, regional sports networks and dozens of popular cable networks with shows like “Empire,” “The Voice,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Scandal,” to the live sports you want.

At the moment, YouTube TV includes major sports networks like ESPN and regional sports networks like Fox Sports Networks and Comcast SportsNet, NBA or MLB teams.

The firm is also working with local TV stations for sports and local news based on where a user lives plus various additional cable channels such as MSNBC or Fox News, the Disney Channel or Sprout, E! or Bravo, Showtime, or Fox Soccer Plus among others.

YouTube TV also comes with a cloud DVR, with no storage limits for those who want to record shows or news and works on any screen—mobile, tablet or computer—and you can easily stream to your TV with a Google Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV.

YouTube TV works on both Android and iOS.Every YouTube TV membership comes with six accounts, each with its own unique recommendations and personal DVR with no storage limits. You can watch up to three concurrent streams at a time. A YouTube TV membership is only $35 a month and there are no commitments—you can cancel anytime.

YouTube TV will be available soon in the largest U.S. markets and will quickly expand to cover more cities across the country.

MultiChoice Africa says won’t increase prices as YouTube launches Live TV

0

Every year on 1 April, MultiChoice announces its annual subscription price increase on both DStv and GOtv.

However, this year MultiChoice Africa has promised there will be no price increase for subscribers on its DStv and GOtv platforms in 2017 despite the economic challenges and increasing competition from VoD platforms such as Netflix, ShowMax, Able Wireless and iPidi and YouTube TV.

“The company made this decision to keep annual subscription prices at their current level, despite a particularly tough year it has faced due to a number of harsh macro-economic headwinds in the markets it operates in on the continent,”said Philip Wahome, MultiChoice Kenya, Corporate Affairs Manager.

According to the firm, falling commodity and oil prices have affected economies and exchange rates and the ever-rising costs of satellite capacity among other external economic factors have been a challenge to the firm; even so to its customers.

“We recognize that we’re not the only ones feeling the pinch,” Wahome added.“Our valued customers are also suffering so we want to do our bit to relieve the added financial pressure by not increasing the price of their annual subscriptions.”

Though the firm recently added the FA Cup, to all DStv packages along with Big Brother Naija, which is available across all DStv packages and the recently-launched James Bond Pop-Up channel, DStv is not without competition.

GOtv also added the FA Cup season to GOtv Plus last month, GOtgetters on GOtv Plus, telenovelas on Telemundo, the 2017 award season glitz and glam coverage on E! Entertainment among others.