TOSSING TO CONSUMER PAIN: Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (second right), Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan (second left) StarTimes Media chairman Pang Xinxing and former Information minister Samuel Phogisio at the official launch of StarTimes Media, in Nairobi. StarTimes Media launched its digital pay television service in Kenya on July 25, 2012 after a month-long signal testing.
Startimes is being charged by the various media houses to have them broadcast their signal over the digital network which is why they charge for the access you will note that KBC and a number of faith based channels are available outside the subscription bundles.
Insisting that the channels should be very would be like asking Safaricom not to deduct from your data bundle when you stream local station programming over the Internet.
The position of CCK is that once the analogue signals are turned off (Cofek case still pending in court) then all local channels shall be available as free to air and not fee will be payable to or from the media houses.
Therefore the argument that the media houses will lose the investment in analogue transmission equipment is null and void as they will get free transmission therefore saving on the over KShs 10 million they are currently spending each month on power, security and frequency licenses.
After CCK’s position became clear the media houses dropped their feed to Startimes which is why one has no access to them, it is a strategy of the incumbents to arm-twist the government to issue them with a license.
This situation was made very clear by the then Prime Minister of Kenya Eng. Raila Odinga during the launch of Startimes a position that had been laid bare earlier in the function by the Director General, CCK and Information PS Dr. Bitange Ndemo.
Cofek fight at this juncture is to have the media houses forced to provide their feed to the 2 digital distributors for free as their revenue is from advertising and not signal distribution. If you ask for participants to picket the media houses on this issue you can count me physically and digitally in.
Robert Yawe, KAY System Technologies Ltd, Phoenix House, 6th Floor, P O Box 55806 Nairobi, 00200, Kenya
Robert Yawe’s arguments are correct except the claim that media houses are charging StarTimes to air their content. Which media house? The main media houses were up against StarTimes because it is selling their free to air content.
The question was – why disconnect local free to air channels when cutting off your subscribers who default to pay the monthly fee when you don’t pay for it in the first place? Am not sure StarTimes had a good answer. Instead they tried to go round it by including signet in their bouquet! That’s crooked biznez if ever there was any.
David Makali, Media Consultant
To enable Cofek take the matter up, and possibly end in Court, we request all affected consumers to send us original letters of complaint addressed to Cofek, P.O Box 2733-00200, City Square, Nairobi – detailing the complaint, signed and with your address together with a copy of the receipt for your latest payment and an endorsement that you are willing to come to court as a witness.
We will also be asking the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to open investigations on curious manner the Signet received its digital distribution license as well as being a retailer through StarTimes which is currently swindling consumers against the Consumer Protection Act 2012 while CCK and the attention-seeking information PS Dr Ndemo remain mute on this grave matter