Bamba TV Changes Tact, Limits Access of ‘Premium Channels’ to Registered Members

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If you listen to Kenyan radio, you may have heard the advertisements on radio by Bamba TV asking subscribers to register themselves as customers of the services. Bamba TV is a free-to-air set-top box offered by Radio Africa Group. Last year, the Standard Group purchased 50% in the company with the view of offering its users more content. Since the acquisition, Bamba TV has been marketing its decoders and content to users.

So why ask users to register themselves?

According to Shem Oluchiri, Head of Content Communications/Web at Radio Africa Group, the move is to allow them to update their database and allow subscribers to access personalized services unique to Bamba STB subscribers. “In the Set to box market we have different providers, we have boxes in the market that are just converters of Digital signal to Analogue signal e.g Hot point etc, there are Pay TV decoders and there are those that have a self-provisioning license like Bamba TV who have double roles, of converters as well as content provider for their audience.This allows Bamba TV to buy and put up content on its decoder as value for its decoder user”, he says.

Bamba TV is, however, looking to change tact in this regard. From the onset, Bamba TV has been able to carry Signet, Pang and ADN Channels because they are in the free to air category. They have also provided viewers with their own additional Bamba Channels which were open to all Digital TVs and other free to air (FTA) decoders.

With the new registration process, value add Bamba channels will only be accessible to users with the Bamba Set to box only and will continue being Free for Life. Those with Digital TVs and other FTA boxes will cease from viewing these Bamba Channels. Failure to register will render the decoders of most users as mere FTA decoders that will receive Signet, Pang and ADN channels but not the Bamba channels.

The bigger picture here is that Bamba TV didn’t need to limit access to users of the decoders who already purchased this hardware on the premise that it has more than the average FTA decoder. But Bamba TV wants to have access to user information for marketing purposes. Getting access to user phone numbers and emails gives them ability to blast marketing material via SMS or newsletter. This is not surprising seeing as the business model for Bamba TV which had been on a content acquisition journey earlier on is advertising. Pay for content and advertise on top of the content being viewed.

Seems this model isn’t sufficient and they want access to the user beyond the screen and onto secondary screens as Shem says. “Of course with personalized services we will be able to send out blast SMSs and E Newsletters to our subscribers incase of new content available, new premieres, new programming, and even suggest programs to view depending on specific subscribers viewing patterns,” he adds.

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