Zimbabwe recently witnessed the launch of yet another satellite-based pay-television service provider, Azam Tv, a promising content provider, with great channels, more than 100 starting off at only $5.
Azam TV’s decoder costs RTGS $5 950, which is around USD50 using the official bank rate and USD25 using the black market rate.
Admittedly, they have done a very good job to make sure they tick the most critical box, which testifies that content is king!
For news lovers and entertainment, this is a masterstroke.
However, it is not going to be a walk in the park for the new kid on the block by simply ticking the right “Ps”.
The local television market has its own dynamics that are demanding and certain content has to be available if they are to launch off at great speeds.
Zimbabweans are in need of fresh new content, the state broadcaster, ZBC, has dismally failed to bring diverse and exciting content but rather are good at recycling old and tired content for the few viewers who care to watch.
The proliferation of alternative TV Providers is mainly because ZBC has just become irrelevant except for national news hour time.
Ironically, Azam TV, a subsidiary of Blue Ribbon, is actually having ZBC Tv on their list as a major and visible marketing point, which has led many to laugh off at the stance, unless of course they have simply mastered the art of massing the ego of their shot callers, then its a well done.
With the great failure of the likes of Go Tv and recently Kwese , Zimbabweans are going to be very cautious to jump on the platform, many like us today are still stuck with the Kwese decoder, pondering what to do with it next after closure.
The biggest question is how did Kwese fail in Zimbabwe? Strive Masiyiwa, its founder was passionate about it, unfortunately, had to reach a point of no go area, and dropped the investment at cost . What are these unknown challenges that led the multi millionaire to call it quits.
Bearing in mind that thousands had bought the set boxes already, we saw the channel dropping content by content before packing , a story that is yet to be fully told.
Those who can afford are already running on DSTV, of which most of the channels offered by Azam TV are already available on DSTV, the need to shift will be purely on price of monthly subscription, plus set box costs, something many may ponder.
However, the new kid on the block which many have ignored at their own peril is OVHD. Today hundreds of thousands of these subscribers are comfortably enjoying this Free To Air decoder, which has most popular regional channels, and more importantly it comes FREE for lifetime.
The OVHD is a nice off purchase option providing average content, enough for those who cant afford monthly subscription fees.
The Azam decoder has failed the local content test, by roping in ZBC, yes they speak to Zimbabweans, but must have been aggressive to open up a channel on their decoder for local players to also broadcast and produce home grown content, while paying the local producers.
This is the simple trick that most local broadcasters have failed to do , making their service, just another satellite based moment, which does not speak to the local communities.
While these challenges are real and inescapable, it remains to be seen how well this new player in town will sail, with Zimbabweans crossing over to their platform, to yet again test another green pasture.
The future maybe green, but the short term will need better marketing and PR strategies to make sure that Zimbabweans appreciate their services, and of course dare to try it out before they commit to the monthly subscriptions.