” Mr de Villiers
Brand de Villiers
East Africa
Econet Wireless
Maharage Chande
Premier League
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC
Saharan Africa
Stephen Isaboke
Strive Masiyiwa-owned
United Arab Emirates

MultiChoice appoints Kenyan to head unit

The South African-owned pay TV firm, which runs premium digital satellite pay television station DStv and mass market-focused GOtv, has appointed Stephen Isaboke to the position. He will be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Mr Isaboke, who becomes the first Kenyan to join MultiChoice’s top organ that oversees overall business, joined the firm in January 2008 as general manager for Kenyan business before being promoted to head operations in East Africa from November 2011.

He has been replaced at East Africa’s office by Maharage Chande, the MultiChoice Tanzania managing director, who will serve in the two roles.

MultiChoice Africa chief executive Brand de Villiers said the appointments will strengthen the firm in the wake of rising competition in the pay television space.

“The new appointments will play a major role in delivering the experience our customers deserve – and we are determined to put this at the centre of our corporate culture and values,” Mr de Villiers said in a statement.

MultiChoice’s dominance in sports entertainment is facing stiff competition from Econet Wireless founder Strive Masiyiwa-owned Kwesé, which holds a three-year free-to-air broadcasting rights for English Premier League in sub-Saharan Africa, ending May 2019.

Kwesé showed intent to wrestle as much share of the lucrative entertainment and media sector with acquisition of a stake in Malaysia-based subscription video on demand (SVoD) firm iflix in February.

Kenya’s media and entertainment industry was last projected to grow by 8.5 per cent in five years to hit Sh329 billion in an a report by audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The entry of video streaming services firms such as ShowMax and Netflix, which are available on smartphones, has also eaten into MultiChoice’s movies entertainment share in Kenyan market.

“I am excited to have been part of the media and entertainment development in Kenya and the East Africa region especially on local content development at a time of disruption with shifts in consumer habits driven by convergence of TV and Mobile technologies,” Mr Isaboke said in the statement.

“During this period, we saw an accelerated growth in pay TV and implosion of consumption of content through various platforms including Over-the-Top services via the Internet.”

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