In Kenya’s 4 million set-top boxes market

As the deadline for digital migration approaches, interesting statistics are starting to emerge in Kenya where so far, currently, citizens have purchased 1.2 million set-top boxes.

Communication Commission of Kenya Officials at a press conference last week. (Courtesy CA)
Communication Commission of Kenya Officials at a press conference last week. (Courtesy CA)

Kenya has an estimated 4 million TV sets most of which will require set-top boxes in order to get digital signals and 88% of Kenyan have been found to be aware about digital migration.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) this week said the country’s market has more than two million set-top boxes in stock and more are under importation.

The CA has effectively started to switch off analogue TV broadcasters, a move that has affected three leading media houses.

“More than 1.2 million households have purchased set-top boxes and can therefore access the channels on the digital platform. The market has more than two million set-top boxes currently in stock with more under importation,” said a statement of CA’s website explaining facts surrounding digital migration in the country.

These statistics and estimates indicate that the country requires an additional 800,000 set-top boxes in order to fully cover the entire country.

The statement went ahead to explain the phased switch-off of analogue broadcasting and noted that, “The estimated numbers of television sets that need to be migrated are four million. The switch-off was only effected in the regions earmarked in Phase 1 and 2. It is important to also note that only analogue transmissions were switched off in the exercise.”

Pressure on non-compliant Kenyan broadcasters recently mounted as the CA switched of their stations. The Supreme Court ruled that the timelines agreed on for the phased switch-off remain valid. The enforcement action taken by the CA on 13th February 2015 was enforcement of the ruling for non-compliant media houses.

The CA explained that the three media houses have the avenue to air their broadcasts through the digital networks currently available. “They voluntarily withdrew their content from the available digital platforms SIGNET, PANG and DSTV, yet these have even a wider reach than the analogue transmissions the media had before. KTN, NTV, QTV and Citizen TV only had 11 analogue transmission stations collectively, which was a very small proportion of what the digital network coverage currently offers.”

Geo Poll, the world’s largest mobile survey platform, recently carried a study on digital migration awareness in Kenya. The study showed that 88% of Kenyans are aware of the requirement to migrate to digital broadcasting. According to the CA, this level of awareness has been achieved despite the refusal by the three media houses to carry paid advertisements on digital migration and provision of correct information to Kenyans on the issue of digital migration.