Earlier this week it was announced that the NBA Africa Game 2018 will be free to view on the Kwesé iflix app. This comes shortly after Kwesé iflix had earlier in 2018 struck a deal with Kenya's Safaricom for data deals for its customers to view 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia live games.
The free and/or zero-rated live broadcasting of popular sports events appears to be a strategy by Kwesé iflix to entice potential users in Afrika to download and use their app. Especially if you consider that the popular video on demand and streaming services in Afrika do not stream live sports events (if you don't count DStv's DStv Now app which is only available for its satellite TV customers).
As such, I decided to have a quick chat with Mayur Patel, CEO at Kwesé iflix, on where the NBA Africa Game 2018 free broadcasting fits into their overall strategy and to hear more about their plans of expanding across Afrika.
iAfrikan: Does the free broadcasting of the NBA Africa Game 2018 form part of Kwesé iflix' larger plan to bring more free to stream live sports?
Mayur Patel: At Kwesé iflix we’re committed to offering premium, world-class sports and entertainment content that resonates with our audiences.
We launched our mobile TV service with live coverage of the biggest sporting event in the world - the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. We wanted as many people to enjoy our service as possible, and made all games involving African teams as well as the semi-finals and finals freely available to our users to live stream.
We’re following that up with the NBA Africa Game, taking place this Saturday, August 4th on the continent. The leading NBA players from Africa will be taking on Team World. The game will be free to watch live, and we’ll be offering a range of highlights and basketball shows available to fans of the game.
Up until now, top sporting and entertainment content has been out of the reach of a large segment of consumers. We want to make it as accessible as possible for people to connect with the content they love.
We will continue to make certain sports content free on our service, as well as a free movie of the day, and the first episode of every TV show in our mobile app.
Does this mean live sports broadcasting will be one of Kwesé iflix' key differentiators?
Our aim at Kwesé iflix is to bring the freshest line up of sports and entertainment to our audiences to watch on any device.
Our internet TV services provides live streaming of the best football, basketball, boxing and sports action, as well as sports highlights and magazine shows.
With over 240 studio and distributor partnerships worldwide, we also offer subscribers an extensive selection of iconic, critically-acclaimed TV series and fan-favourite films both internationally and locally available.
These include hit titles such as ICE, Saints & Sinners, Riviera, Britannia, Tin Star, Being Mary Jane, Medici Masters of Florence and Luther, and more. As well as Bollywood hits Love Shagun, Sharafat Gayi Tel Lene, Golmaal Returns and Dedh Ishqiya.
We also have a dedicated team focused on translation and subtitling, to help make its extensive international content library more accessible to local audiences.
What can we expect from Kwesé iflix in 2018?
Kwesé iflix is rapidly becoming the way millions of viewers across Afrika are seamlessly streaming mobile entertainment experiences.
We are currently working on some of our own original TV series, from action-packed local dramas through to comedy – stories that you won’t find anywhere else. We will be showcasing this in our application in the coming weeks. In addition, we are live streaming local free-to-air channels in our markets, helping people connect with their favorite channels on-the-go.
2018 is a big year for us and we are expecting great things. We will be expanding our collection of highly acclaimed local African and international series and movies, including first-to-market exclusive programming. And we will be moving into more markets as we grow.
With data costs a hindrance in some countries, what is your position on this?
We’re focused on the needs of our users and how we can make it as easy for them to enjoy premium quality content.
That’s why we’ve put in place partnerships with the leading mobile telecommunication companies across our markets to offer discounted data rates to enjoy our service.
Users in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Tanzania can now access dedicated video bundles that provide discounted data to access Kwesé iflix on mobile – making it as easy and worry-free as possible to access our service and stream our content.
During the world cup, we were able to secure unbeatable data promotions. For example, in Kenya, we partnered with Safaricom, to launch the Giga Football Passes that gave users 24 hours unlimited data access to the Kwesé iflix app for less than a dollar.
At Kwesé iflix we also offer download capabilities for offline viewing. Subscribers can temporarily download and save their favourite shows and movies to their phone or tablet, and take it with them to watch later.
Users can even choose the resolution quality they want to download each television episode or movie to help them save on data and storage capacity on their phones.
Podcast: Discussion on the Kwesé iflix app, video streaming in Afrika and more.
These definitely help with reducing data usage, any closing words?
In addition to the content we are streaming for free, consumers can access our premium content of over 10,000 movies, TV shows and dramas by upgrading to VIP. This includes our full catalogue of award winning shows and dramas.
We offer users the flexibility to pay for the VIP tier with the options of the 1-day, 3-day, 7-day or 30-day passes. We want to give customers the power to select the entertainment plans that suit them.
Any new customers signing-up also get a one month free VIP trial to experience our full service.
Cover image credit: Mayur Patel of Kwesé iflix and a Safaricom executive unveil data deals on Kwesé iflix streaming of 2018 FIFA World Cup live games.