NAIROBI, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Chinese pay TV company, StarTimes, said Wednesday it will focus on local content to boost viewership in African countries, an official said on Wednesday.
Aldrine Nsubuga, newly appointed regional marketing manager, also called for the inclusion of homegrown content on local terrestrial platform bouquets to increase viewership among the nations where the Chinese firm has a foothold.
"Local content is key to growth of a television station. Research has shown that for every seven channels, four of the most-watched are home-grown networks," Nsubuga, who joined StarTimes regional office in Nairobi from Uganda two weeks ago, told journalists in Nairobi.
"In Uganda where I come from, StarTimes is the leading TV station, commanding 73 percent of the share market with 1.5 million subscribers and where the secret to the success is none other than local content," he remarked.
Nsubuga said home-grown content also comes with other benefits to local production houses and personnel like producers, directors, actors and other support staff, adding that StarTimes screens all Uganda Premier League matches which has added to its popularity.
The official, who is in charge of seven countries within the East African region, said that for the last six years, StarTimes has experienced a growing influence in the 28 countries in Africa where it has a presence and with a subscriber base of 28 million viewers.
Japheth Akhulia, StarTimes director of marketing and public relations, regretted that there is no local content being aired by the company in Kenya, but promised they will work towards that end.
"In spite of that, we are number two in the Kenyan market by subscriber base. The more we identify with what Kenyans love, the more we will capture the market," Akhulia said.
He announced the drop in cost of their superior bouquet by 50 percent from 1,499 shillings (14.99 U.S. dollars) to 7.49 dollars per month as well as addition of six more channels.
With the changes, StarTimes Basic and Nyota bouquets will now retail at 5.99 dollars and 2.59 dollars per month respectively.
"These strategic changes are mainly geared towards growing our subscriber retention, upgrading subscribers to higher bouquets as well as growing our numbers in our quest to enable more households to access and enjoy digital television at the most affordable rates in the market," Akhulia said.
He said to complement the changes, the TV company will continue to enable customers the choice to subscribe daily, weekly or monthly a service tailored towards enabling them to continue watching premium television content based on the amount they wish to spend at a particular time.