StarTimes joins Pay Tv market in Ethiopia

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The Chinese multinational company, StarTimes, launched direct paid broadcast satellite service, making it the other player in the market besides DStv.

Bridgetech Broadcasting & Media Plc, the local exclusive agent of StarTimes, started selling subscriptions to customers last week. StarTimes is based in Beijing and was established in 1988. Bridgetech obtained a license from the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA) two years ago.

The general manager of Bridgetech, Biruk Gebru, declared, “We have had to go through a process of discussions with StarTimes and tiresome eventualities of having to familiarize them with Ethiopia’s media laws and training of staffs and support teams. The pay-Tv market is untapped in Ethiopia.”

Star Times, which has a firm market presence in Africa, had been in a discussion with the Ethiopian Football Federation back in June 2017 after a meeting held in Ghana. However, the Chinese company failed to submit details of its proposal and gave no response about its plans, according to Essayas Tafesse, marketing director at the Federation.

“We, StarTimes and Bridgetech, had a hard time communicating with the Federation,” states Biruk. “But we still have the desire to get involved.”

BridgeTech had good sales of subscriptions on the first day of the 2018 World Cup held in Russia. Over 100 and more consumers visit their offices every day since then, according to Mekdes Mekonen, marketing manager at Bridgetech.

“The World Cup is an excellent time to begin selling subscription packages”, claims Biruk.

Bridgetech offers “smart” and “super” packages, ranging from 60 dollars to 70 dollars for three-month subscription rates. After three months, the packages diversify into categories for kids, television shows and movies, and news networks.