Combining solar home power, 24-inch TV, satellite dish and Zuku Smart+ entertainment with 48 TV and 21 radio channels, the AzuriTV system targets households outside the power grid offering affordable TV, anytime, anywhere, in one complete PayGo package.
For only Kshs 149 a day a customer will access an optimized 24-inch television integrated with Zuku TV with up to 5 hours of normal viewing per day, a powerful solar home system providing four bright home lights, mobile phone charging and a rechargeable portable radio.
The service is initially available in selected regions of Central Kenya and will be rolled out progressively nationwide in 2017, targeting the over 5m households that are currently outside of the power grid.
Kenya has over 12 million households and a TV household penetration rate of only 38.2 percent as of 2015, according to a Research and Markets, Kenya Digital TV Forecasts report, with free-to-air broadcasting still the primary access method.
Speaking during the launch in the area of Mwea, Azuri Technologies CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth said: “Solar power has made huge strides. Just a few years ago, a small solar light was new technology. Today we are providing a TV and service provision that would not look out of place in any major city in the world.”
He said the rural off-grid consumers face three key hurdles to being able to watch TV-access to power, service coverage and the high upfront cost of the installation. AzuriTV addresses all three, providing affordable TV, anytime, anywhere.
On his part, Zuku Satellite TV CEO Jay Chudasama said the innovative approach, will not only offer a revolutionary way to reach out to over 5 million homes without electricity in central Kenya, but also contribute greatly towards deepening the television penetration in the country in general.
“This is a very exciting opportunity we are giving our customers and viewers to have more choices and enjoy the experience to watch over 40 Zuku TV channels that offers high-quality and affordable family entertainment with emphasis on the local content,” he said.
Through Zuku TV, customers can enjoy a number of exciting channels including local free-to-air channels, international channels and Zuku branded channels; Zuku Sports, Zuku Swahili, Zuku Kids, Zuku Life Glam and Zuku Nolly.
Customers pay the top-up rate via mobile money, allowing customers to use the system as much as they want for the credit period. After as little as 2 years of payments, customers will own the equipment and continue to pay only for the satellite service.
Kenya migrated to digital only transmission in 2015. There is an appetite and market for TV and TV products in Kenya with a large proportion of the population who do not have a TV (up to 65% in rural areas). The country is experiencing a digital TV boom with pay TV penetration forecast to climb from 38.2% in 2015 to 51.7% in 2021 according to a Research and Markets, Kenya Digital TV Forecasts report.
The off-grid solar market is rapidly advancing beyond just lighting and phone charging with Bloomberg Report 2016 forecasting that around 15 million households will have a solar-powered television by year 2020.