Kwese TV’s quest towards disrupting Africa’s broadcast landscape has come to an end after three years, with parent company Econet pulling the plug on its subsidiary media firm.
The end of the TV channel was confirmed by Econet in a statement on August 4, with the telecommunications firm blaming economic conditions in home country Zimbabwe as a contributing factor.
“We regret to announce the discontinuation of Kwese TV Satellite Service with effect from Aug. 5,” Econet said.
The move comes nine months after the then pay-tv service closed down operations in Kenya.
Kwese TV was launched in 2016 and operates in over 10 countries under Econet’s sister company Econet Media.
It is owned by Africa’s eighth richest man Strive Masiyiwa, through Econet which the London resident controls.
Economic conditions in Zimbabwe, such as the country stopping to recognize foreign currencies as legal tender, have meant that Econet could scarcely afford to pay some of its third party content providers on whom the media arm relies on.
“With the prevailing economic conditions in Zimbabwe, and the current business operating environment –characterized by an acute shortage of foreign currency –sustaining Kwese and Kwese Satellite Service was no longer viable,” Econet added.
While the economic conditions in the Southern African nation were made so as to deal with the black market in the country, the move has resulted in a surge of inflation in Zimbabwe.
Kwese TV had made inroads in the African TV market, even though initial aspirations to challenge Multichoice as the go-to pay-tv service in Sub-Saharan Africa proved too ambitious. The broadcaster, in turn, looked into free to air as well as digital platform and video streaming models in its bid to remain competitive.
In Kenya, the TV service particularly came to the limelight last year after Kwese Sports signed a deal with Nation Media Group broadcaster NTV so as to air some of the World Cup matches.
In July, financial difficulties had led to Econet Media going into voluntary administration in a bid to strive towards its businesses remaining afloat.