M-KOPA sells 30,000 solar TVs in Kenya and looks to add Internet access – expanding to Uganda and Tanzania

2 December 2016

Top Story

A major constraint on the roll-out of wider TV coverage in African countries has been access to electricity. An area might have a terrestrial signal but without grid power it was near on impossible to power a TV. Kenya’s M-KOPA now has a solution: a 16” solar TV which it sells on credit. Russell Southwood spoke to its Chief Commercial Officer Yesse Oenga about how it works.

M-KOPA’s 16” TV runs off a solar cell and has an in-built digital decoder that with a GoTV aerial allows it access to 64 TV channels. Inevitably the TV is made in China.

It will also have an option that will give some of the channels on the Zuku platform when it runs another decoder in parallel with a separate box that is currently being built. “One day we want to include Pay TV on a Pay-as-You-Go basis for those unable to afford a bouquet of content.”

The TV is paid for in installments and costs US$350. Buyers have to have already paid for a solar lamp, torch or radio but they can then make a deposit of KS3,000 and pay for it in installments over 40 days. Paying by installment means that M-KOPA is selling to lower income groups than might otherwise think about buying a TV.

The TVs have been selling right across the country and M-KOPA has sold 30,000 of them:”The TV is very big and is a product everyone aspires to. TV can provide a communications platform.”

So what are customer reactions to the new TV?:”It’s very early days but they clearly enjoy seeing what’s going on around the world from the comfort of their own home. They enjoy some of the news channels and have been watching American news (in the run-up to the Presidential election). They also have educational content for their children. It changes lives with knowledge of what’s going on. Farmers can get knowledge about what’s happening to different crops and it affects their ability to do their business.”

M-KOPA prides itself on listening to what its customers want and adjusting their products. So I asked Oenga what they were asking for in terms of the TV?:”Some people are asking for bigger screens and we’ll be doing that in the next evolution. The other thing they ask for is can we use it as a computer?...They also want educational content for their children so we’re looking at an option for streamed education content.”

 


 

Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act’s web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has an e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it covers online film, music, media, social media, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 76 issues and these can be viewed on this link:

Essential reading for those in mobile VAS to anyone just interested in what African and relevant international content they can now get online. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to info@balancingact-africa.com with Digital Content Africa in the title line. Look at the full list of past issues here:

So far 1570 people have subscribed to Smart Monkey TV’s web TV channel which uploads 7-10 video clip interviews a month, covering African TV, Film, VoD, social media and media. Should you be one of those subscribers?  Find out on this link:

Essential reading for those in broadcast and film and to anyone just interested in what African and relevant international content they can now get online. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to info@balancingact-africa.com with Digital Content Africa in the title line. Look at the full list of past issues here:


Videos interviews to watch:

Director Craig Freimond on his film Beyond the River, based on a true story of Dusi Canoe Marathon

Olivier Laouchez on how Trace TV's digital offer will make 50% of its revenues in 3 years time

Martin Munyua on launching Ronga TV, a new VoD service for Kenya and his pasta cooking programme

Mary Njoku, Rok Studios on its five new planned TV series telling traditional African stories

We Are Trace - Trace TV's breathtaking promotion video

Marek Fuchs on working with Sauti Sol and launching an entertainment branding agency

Jason Njoku on how iROKO has pivoted its business from the diaspora to Nigerian mobile users

Adam Tiran, Africori on its A'friquency music event series and digital playlists

Biola Alabi on her new TV series Bukkas and Joints about making and eating African food

South Africa: Arcade's Will Nicholson on using branded content to reach those who don't watch TV ads

Bakahika Bruno, Kapital Movies on a South Sudanese film about a rich man's land grab

Biola Alabi on two Nollywood films - Dry and Wives on Strike - that tackle the issue of child brides

Obi Emelonye on his next film Code 24 about the American President going missing in Kenya

Start-up S & T Media's Soji Ogundoyin on Africa's 1st dwell time TV ad & content in petrol stations

Film-maker Ken Attoh on SparrowStation.com, a VoD platform for the company's films and TV series

30 Days in Atlanta producer and comedian AY on his next film A Trip To Jamaica

Amil Shivji on his latest documentary film Wahenga about Tanzania's Zilipendwa music

Elias Schulze, Kana TV on launching an Ethiopian free-to-air satellite entertainment channel

Tebogo Malope on his film For Love and Broken Bones, loneliness and the dream that started it all

Obi Emelonye on his film Oxford Gardens - "A love story wrapped in boxing gloves"

How to steal 2 Million's Charlie Vundla on Cuckold, a film about a menage a trois