Today is the global deadline for analogue switch-off as per the International Communications Union (ITU) Geneva 2006 Agreement. All nations will at 23:59 hours switch to digital signal. It marks a very important milestone in the development of the broadcasting industry in Kenya. It is not the end of an era as such, but the new beginning for the ICT sector in our country.
“From 9th December 2009 when the Government launched digital broadcasting service in Kenya, we have faced many challenges and have had to overcome many hurdles mainly legal ones in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court,” says ICT Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’i. “We have come a long way but I am glad that we have embraced digital migration. But what is more important to note is that these challenges have not been unique to Kenya as many countries continue to deal with similar issues on their path to full digital TV broadcasting.”
He adds: “Financial constraints, lack of political will and resistance to change have decked many jurisdictions and we are glad that we have managed to overcome our share of these challenges and as we celebrate the success of the cross-over, let us now focus on the benefits we can harness from digital broadcasting.”
As the country witnesses the end of analogue broadcasting era and enter a fully digital broadcasting era, the media and entertainment industry is undergoing a seismic shift. From a constricted space of a few analogue broadcasters with limited content offerings, there are over 40 broadcasters with an ever increasing varieties of content offering and the consumer is getting spoilt for choice.
More than 2.2 million households enjoy the benefits of digital television because they own a set top box. Many more continue to cross the bridge with more than 3.2 million set top boxes having been imported into the country. As demand goes up, the industry can only but makes gains.