Star Tv To Abandon DTT As Paytv Competition Heats Up

purchase geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The development is likely to have implications on thousands of Ugandans who have already purchased their services on Star’s DTT platform who might be left without the network infrastructure and technical support needed if the move proves to be successful and eats into its own market.

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information pills geneva;”>A review of the Star DTH advertising campaign which can be seen in and around Kampala indicates that the Sales, marketing and distribution plans are in advanced stages and that the launch date is imminent.

According to Mr. James Onyango, an Industry analyst with over ten years of regional market experience, the move by Star to DTH clearly shows the company is bearing the brunt of stiffened competition and the negative effects of the excessive sale of old outdated T1 STB technology even after the UCC issued a directive ordering all pay television operators to stop.

“What has happened is that Star basically shot themselves in the foot when they ignored the directive and slashed their prices to clear out stock. The market responded favourably by buying out their product. However, viewers were clearly disappointed by the quality of the picture and sound on their T1 boxes and stopped subscribing. By the time Star stated to sell the newer technology the damage had been done the company had sold over 170,000 units and suffered an irreparable loss of reputation,” said Onyango.

Uganda Consumer Protection Association (UCPA) had demanded that Star Times recalls all the DVB-T1 decoders it had sold to customers before the technology was outlawed and offer them new DVB-T2 decoders at no extra cost, a move that was rejected by the Chinese company.


The UCC executive director Eng. Geoffrey Mutabazi later intervened, saying the DVB-T1 decoders in the market were still valid and legal.

He said though UCC adopted new technology, it could immediately render the old one useless or illegal but quickly added that Star Times should ensure a win-win position while selling technology to consumers to enable subscribers quickly adapt to new changes.

However, Onyango observed that the shift by Star to DTH is an attempt to remedy this problem by moving into a different segment of the market where their brand recognition is relatively low.

Onyango continued “whilst it’s possible to sell the two technologies side by side as two different brands the price offerings indicated in the advertising is not at the appropriate levels for this strategy to succeed, the subscription fees are almost the same and so is the cost of the hardware inevitably one of the two will suffer and the company will have to make strategic decision to discontinue one of the brands now given the fact that DTT brand is already tainted it’s obvious which one will make way”.

This reporter spoke to a cross section of Ugandans on the street about the impending shift in direction by Star most were unaware of the development, the majority complained about the poor signal and nonexistent post sales service.

“These people (Star) were not honest when they said we would get DStv without the dish because the only thing I see is a broken image worse than with my external antenna. I wish they would refund my money or simply take the box away,” said Ibrahim Said of Mengo.

There were similar sentiments expressed by his nearby colleagues.

Even as Star tv prepares to refocus its efforts and move into DTH, new DTT players continue to enter the Ugandan market.

Azam television a Tanzanian based DTT television operator headed by Rhys Torrington, the former President of the failed Television provider Gateway Television (GTV) has already been granted a license and has been testing its signal in the greater Kampala area.

Others have made applications and are likely to follow.

“These are exciting times for the Ugandan Paytv market,” noted Onyango, adding, “the market is growing rapidly, Government is very supportive and the digital migration is almost upon us. What I am not sure is how many companies will manage to stay afloat with so many new players; all I can advise is that whoever wishes to conquer the Ugandan Pay-tv market needs an elevated capital expenditure programme and long term view towards returns on investment.”

Three operators currently offer DTH on the Ugandan Pay-tv Market Zuku, Pearl tv and MultiChoice through its DStv brand. Uganda is believed to have about 250,000 pay television subscribers.

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