StarTimes has invested over $220 million in Nigeria in a bid to become the market leader and offer quality digital satellite services to the citizens.
David Zhang, new chief executive officer, StarTimes Nigeria, said in Lagos on Monday that the company employs over 1,000 Nigerians directly and more than 3,000 indirectly through its dealers.
Zhang explained that StarTimes is negotiating for broadcasting rights for the upcoming African Cup of Nations, adding that it is also interested in bringing the much-cherished English Premier League to Nigerian viewers when the rights of the current holders expire.
He said that due to the payTV’s partnership with the Nigerian Television Authority, it has free-to-hear access, stressing that Nigerians will get good return for their money in his tenure, as others before him have done.
“The bidding rights of English Premier League and others do not happen every year. We had Bundesliga rights for three years before it expired in 2018 and we had to renew it. We are interested in broadcasting EPL to Nigerians,” he said.
The payTV market is mostly dominated by MultiChoice’s DStv and StarTimes, with each introducing several new channels to retain customers.
Previous players such as CTL, FSTV, DAARSAT, HiTV and lately, COMSAT and ACtv all promised something big but died natural deaths.
MultiChoice launched in Nigeria in 1993 with DStv. It added a down market platform— GOtv—iIn 2011. On the other hand, StarTimes, also a down market offering, launched in 2010. It added an up-market variant in 2015. Both have remained in business albeit with different levels of success.
Zhang said due to StarTimes’ influence in Africa, the Chinese government selected it to implement access to digital satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages, with Nigeria getting 1,000 of those villages.
“This project is almost completed and we are proud to be the contractors in all of Africa,” he said.
The new CEO pointed out that StarTimes started mainly as a pay-tv company, offering DTT service that allows Nigerians to watch digital satellite TV from different parts of the country using just an antenna and a decoder.
“Our customers on digital terrestrial television (DTT) now enjoy more than 100 channels in sports, entertainment, news, kids programs, religion and much more,” he stated.
After some years the digital satellite company introduced DTH, which is the Dish, he said, adding that with this service, it broadcasts programmes to all customers in Africa, reaching more than 30 African countries as at today.
“That is not all, our most recent business offering is our OTT business called StarTimes ON,” he said.
“StarTimes ON is our online video streaming service. It is the next generation of StarTimes streaming service. It introduces new features such as video on demand (VOD) live TV and lots of movies, sports and entertainment content all on the mobile app and free of charge,” he explained.
“Since we launched in Nigeria in 2010, our mission has remained the same – To provide affordable quality entertainment to every African home, and we do this through innovation, integrity, diligent and devotion,” he said.
This has helped StarTimes to get closer to its vision to become one of the most influential media groups in the world, he said.
He disclosed that he worked for four years in Kenya as the CEO until 21st January when he came to Nigeria as CEO of StarTimes, expressing his love for Nigeria, its people and food.