June 2015 marked the global deadline for the migration of television signals from analogue platforms to digital. The deadline was set by the by ITU Member States at the Regional Radio communication Conference held in 2006. The digital migration process in Kenya was not particularly easy owing to legal battles seeking to extend the deadline for digital migration. At one point, a dispute between the regulator the Communications Authority of Kenya and three top media houses culminated in a blackout by the media houses.
The digital migration process took place which positioned Kenya ahead of other nations both in Africa and Globally. According to a Poll by GeoPoll in December to assess the penetration of set top boxes in Kenya, 71% of Kenyans who own TV sets owned a set top box. Kenya has an estimated 4.5 Million households that own a television set. This is an increase from 63% who owned a set top box in July 2015. Nairobi leads with 79% of those with television sets owning a set top box.
Interestingly, most of those who own set top boxes pay the monthly access fee at 70% with only 30% of owners using a preferring the free-to-air channels. The Free-to-Air set top box has a one-off purchase price and viewing attracts no extra costs. Another trend witnessed by the poll is that owners of set top boxes no longer explore new channels on their decoders instead watch their favorite channels. The number however rose in December possibly attributed to the holiday season. The Communications Authority has licensed 79 set top boxes vendors with GOTV emerging as the most popular decoder among consumers. 41% of respondents in the poll indicated they had Gotv followed by StarTimes with 24%. Interestingly, most Kenyans would like to purchase a second decoder citing monthly costs and the need to have more channels as the main reasons.
A large number of those yet to make the switch to digital stated that the decoders are too expensive as the main reason for the delayed migration.
img Source: GeoPoll