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Africa’s Kwesé TV enters administration

Econet Media’s pan-African pay TV business Kwesé TV has been placed in administration after it faced a number of challenges in various countries.

Joseph Hundah

The Kwesé TV administration process will be handled by accountants Ernst & Young, said Econet Media’s group president and CEO Joseph Hundah.

The news comes soon after subscribers to the Kwesé Play streaming platform received a message on their screens saying Econet has discontinued it for technical reasons.

This means customers no longer have access to its streaming service, Kwesé iflix, which Econet took full ownership of and rebranded from Malaysia-based iflix in December last year.

Hundah said: “Kwesé’s free-to-air business was too small to sustain the financial burden of its satellite operations, which led to the decision to negotiate with creditors.

“The company struggled with the foreign currency restrictions in Zimbabwe, who stopped recognising the US dollar, South African Rand and other foreign currencies as legal tender in June in a bid to curb black-market trading.

“The group’s inability to exit money out of Zimbabwe has had an impact on the business.”

He added that Kwesé TV’s FTA business, Kwesé Free TV, which received a licence from communications regulator Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in March, would continue operating in the rest of Africa, and that no other business in the Econet group is affected by the administration process.

ICASA has given Kwesé 24 months to launch the FTA service, a time frame set to elapse in March 2021. Other shareholders in Kwesé Free TV include Royal Bafokeng Metix (45%) and Mosong Capital (35%).

Econet Media is owned by Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa. Roku-powered Kwesé Play launched in 2018.

This article first appeared in C21’s sister publication Content Nigeria.

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