KAMPALA, UGANDA – Of late, there seems to be a trend of mobile devices becoming an instant hit mainly buoyed by a growing middle class. Pay TV operators are the latest entrants in providing portable devices that enable customers to watch their favorite programs on the go. Multichoice and StarTimes are the operators that have introduced these devices on the Ugandan market.
East African Business Week’s EMMA ONYANGO caught up with CHARLES HAMYA, the Multichoice Uganda General Manager and below are the excerpts.
Qn: Mobile TVs have been around in markets where MultiChoice has operations for a long time. Why did it take long for the product to be introduced onto the Ugandan market?
A: MultiChoice consciously choses to launch its Mobile TV services on both DStv and GOtv platforms in Uganda at such a time as a response to the increasingly mobile culture of Ugandans.
Our natural progression in the company’s strategy is to observe and follow our customers’ consumption trends and needs which we constantly ensure to meet by providing access to superior content and convenience using the latest digital broadcasting technology.
Qn: There are other mobile TV brands sold by your competitors on the market. How are you positioning yourselves to capture that market segment considering they launched their mobile TV products on the Ugandan market earlier than you did?
A: Consumers are attracted to brands that deliver creativity, excitement, entertainment and dependability, MultiChoice is such a brand.
We have fostered both physical and emotional connections with our customers by providing technologically advanced products with access to world class channels and programming.
We have also offered affordable and reliable Pay TV services. This gives us an edge positioning in the market. MultiChoice also believes that competition is healthy and will result in consumers receiving more choice in their television services.
Qn: Who is this DStv Mobile TV brand targeting?
A: Our Mobile services are targeting all our subscribers who can access the service on their compatible devices such as smart phones, laptops and PCs.
We are also meeting the needs of our on-the-go customers who desire to keep abreast with their favorite channels as they move on in their pursuits.
Qn: How has the product been received on the market so far?
A: MultiChoice is committed to remaining at the forefront of cutting edge innovations and as such, the launch of the mobile devices is a natural progression in the company’s strategy which is to constantly ensure that our customers have access to premium content at their convenience using the latest in digital broadcasting technology.
DStv and GOtv Mobile therefore comes as a response to the increasingly mobile culture of Ugandans which require a more flexible and mobile access to selected DStv and GOtv channels so they do not have to miss their favorite news hour, soap opera or TV show because they are held up in office or traffic.
Qn: What is the plan for the nationwide rollout of the Mobile TV services? Is there a specific timeline for this?
A: DStv and GOtv Mobile coverage is currently available in Kampala, coverage may be expanded to other parts of Uganda depending on the success of the service. We are using a phased approach before we expand our current signal reach.
Qn: What are the specifics of the Mobile TV? How does it work? What if someone isn’t a DStv subscriber and opts to own a DSTV Walka, what do they need to have or do? How does the one on the GOtv platform operate?
A: DStv Mobile and GOtv mobile can be accessed on three devices which are the Walka 7, Drifta and iDrifta.
The Walka 7 is a portable TV complete with a seven inch screen. The Drifta is mobile decoder that connects to various viewing devices; this includes laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones.
The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile TV broadcast decoder dedicated to iOS devices.
Customers who aren’t DStv or GOtv subscribers can purchase the hardware and will be required to pay monthly subscription of $4.
The devices operate in the same fashion however the benefit to existing premium customers is subscription is free provided they are active customers.
Qn: Finally, is there any future plan to increase on the number of channels available on the Mobile TVs?
A: The number of channels available is according to the frequency that has been allocated for mobile TV. The maximum number of channels that can be broadcast on DStv Mobile is 15 and GOtv Mobile 13.
We are pleased to confirm that we recently added a new exciting channel to the DStv Mobile offering – Mnet East Africa in a bid to expand on our content and provide customers with a wide array of exciting channels on the DStv mobile devices.