South Africa based Zimbabwean Billionaire Strive Masiyiwa may have already lost his battle to beat Multichoice’s DSTV in the Premium pay TV market.
Mr Masiyiwa whose net-worth is valued at over 2.5 billion dollars by Forbes Magazine, started African Pay-TV operator Econet Media under his Econet Group in 2017, and the first 3 markets it operated in, were Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia.
The pay-TV is now in more than 10 African countries and offers mobile-focused content in partnership with Iflix.
At the time of its launch, Econet Media’s CEO Mr Joseph Hundah said “The launch of Kwesé TV completes the story we started telling 18 months ago. We have spent the past few months building this diverse media company which will showcase the very best in international content and act as a platform to showcase the best that our continent has to offer.”
That story seems to have ended in failure, or disaster if the company fails to reach a deal with creditors.
In an interview with South Africa’s BusinessDay, Mr Joseph Hundah, Econet Media’s CEO, said Econet’s pay-TV company, which operates under the “Kwese” brand name, will soon begin talks with creditors to rescue the business. Econet Media reportedly racked up more than US$130 million in external liabilities and was unable to pay suppliers. The company has appointed accountants Ernst & Young to manage the process.
This story brings to an end what was supposed to be Mr Masiyiwa’s attempt to challenge Naspers owned Multichoice dominance of the African pay-TV market.
As the company enters talks with creditors, its competitor DSTV has entered partnerships with MTN to provide TV on Mobile and will be encroaching on what KweseTV thought would be a safe zone on Mobile Content on demand.
It remains to be seen whether the company will lean on shareholders to get it out of this zone but clearing these debts will be crucial in ending what appears to be a retreat for Kwese TV.