Kwese’s new television concept scoops Africa digital entertainment award

ENTERTAINMENT | When Kwese abandoned satellite decoders for digital concept a fortnight ago, it had to labour endlessly to explain to dismissive public that wrote its epitaph the implications of new focus.

On November 1, the pay-tv service providers, owned by Zimbabwean-based Econet Media, announced completel migration from satellite-based service to digital Kwese iflix and Kwese Play platforms although it will also maintain Kwese Free Sports.

But barely two weeks since, Kwese received a major boost as its new brand, Kwesé iflix, won the Best Innovation in Digital Entertainment at AfricaCom, the largest telecom, media, and technology event on the continent.

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Kwesé iflix chief executive, Mayur Patel, said the award was a mark of confidence in the digital journey Kwese has undertaken.

“We are honoured to have been selected as the Best Innovation in Digital Entertainment, especially among a strong field of innovative offerings and industry players,” Patel, who was presented with the award by Balancing Act chief executive Russell Southward, said.

“It is our deep dedication to innovation that has allowed us to break free from the traditional VOD model and create a truly localised entertainment service for our local customers in each of our African markets.”

The awards honoured pioneering service providers and operators who are leading digital inclusion, connectivity and digital development on the African continent.

Shifting focus from VOD to digital concept in Kwese iflix came as a surprise to many in a country with costly internet service, but Kwese is not fazed by such challenges.

Kwesé iflix is a mobile platform that offers cutting-edge, youth focused programming showcasing video-on-demand and download-to-watch-later entertainment content.

It is a product stemming from a joint-venture between Kwesé, a pan-African media company, and iflix, the leading emerging market mobile video-on-demand service.

Aimed at becoming the core vehicle to delivering seamless mobile experiences to millions of viewers, the app offers users a comprehensive mobile internet TV experience that combines thousands of hours of top-quality international and local movies and TV shows, alongside live sporting channels, news programming, kids entertainment, and original content.

Under Kwese’s programming, the iflix, just like Play, includes the largest aggregation of pan-African linear local free-to-air channels delivered to users on their mobile devices.

The winners of the AfricaCom awards were selected by an independent panel of industry experts who judged the entries based on innovation, financial performance, technology, market leadership and corporate governance.

Patel said Africa is one of the most dynamic, competitive and rapidly growing regions in the world. As the mobile streaming entertainment industry evolves, innovation is critical to survival and growth.

“The award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our in-country teams. Their collective focus on consumer innovation and engagement, to better serve our customers, is aimed at revolutionising entertainment on the African continent,” he added.

Tom Cuthell, event director of AfricaCom, thanked all involved in making the awards a success.

“I thank all our judging panel who rigorously vetted the entries, sponsors and partners for their ongoing support, and all the companies who continue to show how dedicated they are to ensuring that Africa advances into the digital ecosphere,” Cuthell said.

Econet Media’s Liquid Telecom took home Best Network Improvement for the completion of the Cape to Cairo fibre route. Econet Wireless (Cassava Fintech) and Mahindra Comviva was awarded the Fintech Innovation Award for EcoCash Merchant Payments powered by mobiquity® Money.

Kwese iflix was launched in Uganda in June with industry leader MTN Uganda partnering with the pay television service provider to push the concept in the country. Iflix is one of the leading entertainment service for emerging markets today.

In addition to launching Kwesé iflix in Uganda, the fastest growing mobile entertainment service is also available in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Econet targets to expand the digital operations to Rwanda, Botswana, Lesotho and Malawi.

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