Cable TV Comes to Kenya

African Business, October 1994 | Go to article overview

Cable TV Comes to Kenya


Kenya's ardent TV viewers are being courted by a new Television channel run by Cable Network Television (CTN).

The newly incorporated Kenyan company, CTN draws programmes from satellite using dish antenna, decodes them and passes them through CTN cable stations to the subscribers. CTN has already signed an agreement with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to run its cables along side KPLC's electricity cables.

CTN is the first cable network in the country and will prove stiff competition to its two rivals - Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) and Kenya Television Network (KTN). CTN will offer seven channels of round the clock transmissions, constituting a total of 168 hours of entertainment. KTN also started by offering programmes round the clock from the US based Cable News Network and programmes from MTV Europe which included Club MTV, The Braun European Top 10, MTV's Greatest Hits, the US Top 20 Countdown and a series of classic films from MGM.

However, MTV Europe stopped its programmes in 1992 and apart from the CNN programmes, KTN no longer has much to offer in the way of entertainment.

It is not yet clear why KTN has not implemented its pay-as-you watch programming. It currently derives its income from advertisements although it was meant to be subscriber based.

The Johannesburg based Electronic Media Network (M-NET) was to enter into a joint venture with KTN in 1992 but the deal did not go through possibly because KTN could not raise 50% of the capital required - estimated at Kshs200m. For the moment KTN only broadcasts its programme to Nairobi and the surrounding areas.

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation on the other hand, previously short of programmes, has vastly improved, increasing its transmission hours from eight to 12. Its new managing director Philip Okundi revealed that it too will broadcast round the clock by January 1995. It is state owned and derives its income from advertisements.

According to the Managing Director of CTN, Mohamed Nensey, the company has invested over Kshs50m in its launch to date, and plans to increase investments to Kshs150m within the next 10 to 12 months.

Nensey revealed that the entire shareholding of CTN is held by Australian investors and a sister company, Bluechip Holdings. Bluechip Holdings has invested in various sectors of the economy such as the Export Processing Zone (EPZ), the dairy sector, construction, textile industry and tourism. …

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