Belgacom increased its TV subscriber base by 236,000 last year, ending December with a total of 1.2 million.The Belgian telco lost some of the rights it held to broadcast Jupiler League football matches but CEO Didier Bellens said this was not longer affecting churn rates. “In 2011 we had to make some strategic choices, for which we maintained our discipline and opted not to take the easy road but to hold on to our end goal, value creation. As such we were vigilant not to overpay for Belgian football broadcasting rights. This now proves to have been the right choice since football-related churn is back to previous levels, when we had all the rights”Revenue from TV services increased 14.3% year-on-year to €208 million.Belgacom said its bundling strategy was paying off. Last year it added 219,000 multi-play subscribers, ending December with a total of 1.09 million ‘Packs’ customers.The telco reported total revenues of €6.4 billion for 2011, down 3% year-on-year.
Kenya-based Econet Media has launched a free-to-air sports channels that will offer coverage of English Premier League football as well as NBA basketball, Extreme Fighting Championship combat sports and NFL American football.The channel, Kwesé Free Sports, will be available on digital-terrestrial TV and on satellite in Kenya via free-to-air set-top boxes.The channel has exclusive free-to-air rights to air one Premier League match of the week every Saturday.Kenyan content on the channel includes Xtreme Outdoor Africa, Ball N’Africa and Sports Stars Uncovered.Econet Media is a unit of Econet Wireless, a mobile telecommunications operator founded by Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa. Masiwiya revealed at the end of last year that he was planning to launch a broader pay TV service called Kwesé TV, offering a mix of sports and entertainment programming across sub-Saharan Africa, including to mobile users.He said that the company’s satellite unit, Liquid Sat, had built a platform to deliver the service via DTH.“We are thrilled to have reached this important milestone. Our goal is to bring African viewers the very best viewing experience and we are able to provide this for free in a way that is accessible for our viewers,” said Ben Amadasun, CEO Kwesé Free Sports.“Not only will we air local content, but we will also commission the production of original work by local production companies, as part of our commitment to developing the local industry”, said Monicah Ndungu general manager of the channel.