The four TV stations owned by Standard Media Group, Nation Media Group and Royal Media Services have been off air for the last 18 days after the Supreme Court passed a ruling on 13th February that the analogue switch-off timelines would remain as scheduled by the Communications Authority of Kenya and ordered the three media houses to switch off their analogue signals on the same date.

The deal with the Government will allow the four TV stations to broadcast their content through the self-provisioning digital platform to owners of free-to–air set top boxes in Nairobi and its environs, ending a three-week switch-off.

The four stations, NTV, QTV, KTN and Citizen TV, have meanwhile written to industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) asking that pay- TV service providers such as GoTv, StarTimes and Zuku seek authorisation from them to carry their content.

This means pay- TV subscribers whose carriers will sign agreements with the three media houses will also access local content through the channels.

The four stations want the pay- TV operators to commit to paying for the content or commit not to switch off subscribers who default on the monthly payments.

The stations will be offering their digital signals through their consortium, Africa Digital Networks – the owner of the self-provisioning license.

The settlement is a win for television viewers with free-to-air set top boxes who will have a variety of content to choose from.

The TV stations switched off their digital signals in protest against the CA’s decision to turn off their analogue signals. They were also opposed to pay- TV service providers carrying their content without consent.

With pay TV subscriptions, viewers are subjected to a monthly charge of between Sh449 to Sh8,200.

Courtesy of CIO and Business Daily.