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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Kenyans Are Apparently Addicted To Streaming Services, Are They Really?

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GADGETAFRICA 14 MAR 2020

A report by Business Daily Africa has given a candid view on how Kenyans can be caught up in having too many TV streaming services that wouldn’t really be necessary.

But as realistic as it would sound, we would be wrong to assume that the report and the case study speaks for most Kenyans. So, here’s why I would beg to differ and say that it just speaks for the middle-class population, upper middle class to be precise.

After a day full of pressure and just pure stress, all anyone always wants to do is just get home, kick back and get yourself entertained. But entertainment these days comes at a cost and it has been going up ever since Kenya did the big old “migration to digital” thing that demanded everyone to have a decoder at home or at least a smart TV. By now we know that if you do not have one of these, you will be staring at a blank screen all night.

Streaming Services

But we have slowly been moving forward with the rise of streaming apps. Netflix obviously made its way to the hearts of Kenyans and has been growing in the market ever since. That of course, saw the dawn of alternative services like Showmax and Amazon Prime Video that other Kenyans have been exploring with time.

So, how many of these are you paying for personally? Maureen (one of our senior writers for AfroMaisha) is so much into entertainment. But with the current situation, these TV subscriptions do seem a little bit too extreme in terms of charges.

“I just have my GoTV decoder which gets me a good list of channels for just KES 1200. With that, I easily get to watch shows on American channels like FoxE!BET and I’m good to go.”

Now, many may rise with pickets to declare that it is too cheap but you cannot deny the fact that she reiterates the views of so many other Kenyans. The rise of all these streaming platforms might be some of the best stuff to happen to entertainment but it is no doubt that it can be quite stretching to be a loyal user.

As much as we would all want to have access to the best streaming platforms, we just cannot afford it. Kenyans love watching the news and as much as we would love to stream movies, we still want that local touch of content on our TV screens.

And yes, you will debate that you can stream live TV via YouTube but let’s look at the math. If I wanted to readily stream content in the most affordable way, I would have to buy a firestick, Roku or Android Box if I didn’t have a smart TV.

That device would then require me to have a stable WiFi connection from say, Safaricom Home Fibre that would cost me around KES 2,900 per month for a poor 5Mbps speed.

That in itself already would turn off a whole lot of people. Oh, and let’s not forget that the firestick costs no less than KES10,000 for a genuine piece.

The Costs Rise Fast

“Why would I want to pay all that? Yes, the offer is awfully tempting but if I did my math with my monthly budget, I would be setting myself up for torture later on,” Maureen says.

Other than the internet charges, you would now have to subscribe to the likes of Netflix that costs KES 1,100 for the premium package. Let’s say you even decided to ditch it for Showmax. It offers an average of KES 800 if you never want to suffer limitations.

Eventually, you would be left with a monthly bill of about KES 3,000 for entertainment alone. That is one risk many Kenyans are most definitely not willing to take.

And this is why in an era of smart devices and content streaming, most of us would still run for that cheap decoder that just provides the basic channels for a small fee or maybe even free-to-air.

Even the likes of DSTV have been criticised for years now over its insane package prices. The lowest package dubbed “Compact” comes at KES 2,500 per month. Many who even get to pay for this are just football fanatics that want a touch of Supersport to watch EPL and UEFA matches in the weekends.

In the end, it is hard to say whether most Kenyans will ever be willing to move to the “real digital” side that is, content streaming. The life is good and all but as of now, it’s really not as affordable.

However, one would say lean on the optimistic side that hopes all this will one day will get cheaper. The negative feedback about DSTV charges has definitely been noticed by Multichoice and this could be why the company is working on opening up DSTV Now app to everyone.

Netflix and Showmax have been getting popular with time and who knows what these companies might be planning to be as flexible and convenient for the common mwananchi. Luckily even now, a number of us are finding ways to split the bill by registering for the premium packages together, thus reducing the restraint from just one person.

Either way, it will all still take time as many are still not aware of these services or even how they work. Others are really not just interested in paying any bills other than their rents and electricity.

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