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Securing Africa’s most ambitious entertainment provider

Zuku TV

Zuku TV

Special guest post by Steve Christian, VP Marketing, Verimatrix

In sub-Saharan Africa nearly every TV home will be converted to Digital TV by 2020 according to Digital TV Research. Full digital transition will have been completed by the end of next year in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi – the key markets for Kenya’s ambitious Wananchi group that is targeting to reach 15 million TV households in East Africa within the same time frame.

In the run-up to November’s AfricaCast and our Multi-network Solutions in the Real World Forum that includes WananchI Group CEO, Richard Alden, it is interesting to take a look at the role Verimatrix has played in securing the multi-network and multi-territory ambitions of the Group’s popular Zuku TV brand.

With cable operations established in Kenya, Wananchi launched its Zuku DTH platform in 10 East African countries in July 2011 and two years later, migrated onto the SES satellite SES-5 to extend its reach to more than 35 countries. Wananchi has extensive multi-territory and multi-network digital TV ambitions and in 2013, it began to realize these by adding interactivity to its Zuku TV service via a new, cost-effective set-top box (STB) and an IP platform. In the near future the company intends to extend its millions of potential subscribers and a wide range of client devices, with the introduction of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) and over-the-top (OTT) video-on-demand (VOD) services.

Zuku TV

Zuku TV has over 70 channels on the Zuku Satellite platform and more than 120 channels on the top-end fiber platform. Zuku is proud of its nine exclusive Zuku channels, which were developed in East Africa, especially for East African audiences. Zuku Movies (4 channels), Sports, Afrika, Life, Swahili Movies and Kids offer a unique combination of international and regional programming of all genres. In addition Zuku TV carries third party channels including most of the major news and business channels as well as brands like: Fox Entertainment, FX, BET, E! Entertainment, Star Plus, Colors and SAB; MTV Base, Nickelodeon, KidsCo, Fashion One, Viasat’s four documentary channels, Nat Geo Adventure, Fine Living Network, MGM Channel, Zee Cinema, African Movie Channel.

Why Content Security?

Pay-TV operators, broadcasters and content providers have many reasons for protecting their valuable content, the greatest of which is to secure the associated revenues from potential piracy and illegal redistribution threats. They need to make sure that only authorized subscribers have access to the programming, videos and other content, on authenticated devices, according to what they have purchased. The operator also needs the flexibility to add new services, adapting its business models and channels of distribution to achieve their multi-network ambitions.

The proliferation of the Internet and mobile devices, together with the transition to digital networks, are driving the growth of multi-network TV and video services across Africa. As such pay-TV operators, include the Wananchi Group, are turning to affordable and scalable software-based (cardless) security solutions such as those provided by Verimatrix, to secure their service revenues whether delivered via broadcast, mobile or broadband networks. In the words of Richard Alden, “The best-of-breed VCAS security solution provides robust revenue protection for Zuku TV at all points of the value chain, helping us achieve our multi-network ambitions while also providing our customers with access to the content of their choice.”

Initially chosen in 2010 for out award-winning software-based Video Content Authority System (VCAS) for DVB solution to secure Zuku’s direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV services, we have since extended the VCAS reach to also protect the revenues of the Zuku IP and DTT TV services. We take an active role in securing the future of the Zuku brand as it extends to offer OTT services, and are supporting integration activities with other ecosystem partners.

Richard Alden, CEO of Wananchi Group will be joining Steve Christian and other panellists in the Verimatrix Multi-network Forum lunch being held on November 12th on site of AfricaCast in the Cape Town Convention Centre.

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