Econet Group has announced the shutting down of Econet Media Limited, it’s subsidiary that offers pan-African TV service Kwesé TV, video streaming and free-to-air TV.
In a statement released by the group, it noted that the shutdown was a difficult decision that they could not postpone. The group cited the critical economic crisis of Zimbabwe as a major cause of the shutdown.
It is a difficult decision that we could not postpone. Over the last 4 years we sought to disrupt Africa’s media landscape and enable Africa to tell its own stories using a variety of technologies including satellite broadcast, video streaming and free-to-air TV.Extract Statement Released by Econet Group.
In June, Zimbabwe ceased to recognise the US dollar and South African rand, as well as other foreign currencies, as legal tender amid a growing economic crisis in the country. An article on Bloomberg highlighted that Zimbabwe’s current inflation rate stands at 558% annually.
According to the group, the shortage of foreign currency to pay their suppliers affected the market condition. They blamed the increasing price inflation as the unfortunate situation that caused the fold-up of the company
“The Econet Group invested heavily into Econet Media and supported the business over the period it operated without any third-party funding. Unfortunately, market conditions and content price inflation got in the way of us completing our mission.”Extract Statement Released by Econet Group.
Econet Media launched the Kwesé brand four years ago, with a plan to disrupt Africa’s media landscape. The media company grew over the years to establish reach in 12 TV markets across Africa.
Late 2018, Econet media abandoned their competition with MultiChoice’s DStv in the pay-TV market in favour of a focus on free-to-air TV. However, the Free TV business failed mainly due to the lack of scale and the high cost of satellite transmission.
The impact the media company’s shutdown will have on its various ventures are not yet clear. The group, however, expressed deep regret on the repercussion of the decision on their staff and customer.
“We deeply regret the impact that this decision has had on our staff, contractors, customers, regulators and content providers. We will engage with each of our valued stakeholders transparently and will seek to meet our obligations to each of them as provided under law”Extract Statement Released by Econet Group.
It is yet unclear how the African Media landscape will be affected by the shutdown of Kwesé TV, Kwesé Sports and Kwesé Play.
But Econet Group has expressed its undaunted belief in an inclusive connected future that leaves no African behind.