With 50 million potential viewers, Kwese now biggest FTA TV player in Africa, says Econet

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

In a CNN interview this week, Econet Global Limited CEO, Hardy Pemhiwa, said that Kwese TV is now the biggest FTA TV network in Africa.

Asked how many subscribers the relatively new media company now has, Pemhiwa avoided speaking about ‘subscribers’ but spoke about ‘eyeballs’ Kwese has access to instead:

We now have access to 50 million eyeballs across the continent. So that makes us the biggest free to air TV network on the continent.

Ofcourse, it’s hard to know what exactly he meant by eyeballs and our guess is he did it deliberately so he wouldn’t say the hard numbers everyone would love to know. The blame in not pressing further falls squarely with the CNN interviewer.

But we’re also thinking that it’s hard to get the actual number of people that are watching your channel on FTA and so Econet Media can only rely on estimates.


The real subscriber numbers therefore that CNN could have pressed for are the pay-TV ones. That is either the good old satellite type that Multichoice provides with DStv, or the newer type TV streaming on mobile operator networks that Kwese now provides via Safaricom in Kenya and MTN in Ghana.

For example, Multichoice, the biggest Pay-TV provider in Africa, has about 10.4 Million Subscribers In Africa.

In the interview, Pemhiwa also emphasises Kwese’s deliberate bet on sports content:

Africans I would say, love two things. Sports, sports, sports. And of course local movies. I think Nollywood has shown us how much Africa loves its own content. And I think that as we progress, Africa is saying, ‘we wanna be able to tell our own story’

Image CNN.




  1. Macd Chip

    Its not hard to know how many people are watching which channells but Econet will have to invest a lot of money which might not translate into profit.

    One of our unit specialise in that area but they do it for broad TV channells who wants to know what channells people are watching in what areas so that they can provide targeted advertising to viewers.

  2. Ghost

    > The blame in not pressing further falls squarely with the CNN interviewer.

    This happens all the time. The reporter/host knows they can’t press for more details if the guest can’t offer the numbers because it’s not a witchhunt. So it’s only natural that we don’t get much of anything from this CEO

  3. Sagitarr

    Knowing EW’s penchant for LARGE numbers, this CEO is obviously playing by the rules…it might affect someone’s KPI!!

  4. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Wouldn’t 50 million eyeballs be 25 million viewers? Something to ponder about 😉

    1. Sirius

      What if some have one eye???

  5. Sagitarr

    There is an Asian saying…”if you see two eyes of a tiger in the dark, don’t assume its one tiger…it could be 2 one-eyed tigers”

    kkkkk, so yes 50 mill eyeballs are at least 50 mill one-eyed viewers……