What Led To The Death Of Kwese’s Satellite TV Service?

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar
DStv and Kwese remote controls

So Kwese satellite TV has been on the market for a year and a half but it seems that Kwese is already shifting strategies and ditching a service that was met with huge waves of excitement followed by an underwhelming sense of inadequacy… Let’s take a look at why Kwese couldn’t hit the home run with their satellite TV service in spite of people feeling like their presence in that market was necessary.


What makes the untimely death of Kwese sadder is the fact that setting up in Zimbabwe was a battle. It became more than a discussion about just entertainment and competition. It was actually a political battle as well and by the time they got that licensing they had already garnered a lot of public sympathy and momentum. Because of the ‘politics’ involved and the fact that Kwese was offering competition to DStv – which insists on people paying in USD- there was a lot of appetite for the broadcaster to get into Zim.

So what went wrong for Kwese?

“There’s nothing to watch!!!”

When Kwese was announced and people began seeing the content on offer, there was a bit of confusion. “Is this all there is?”, probably sums up the way many felt. They had fewer channels than DStv and the fewer channels had less interesting content than DStv -which is an awkward position to be in. The fact that you could pay less for Kwese and you could pay in bollars/zollars quickly went out of the window when people actually realised what they were getting.

There were American sports and when we signed up Kwese I was excited to watch as much NBA as I could but then I realised a few things; You can’t watch NBA all day, every day. Well, you can but that wouldn’t exactly be fun. Secondly, the times these sports air are quite crazy. Usually, they start airing in the early hours of the morning and because of time differences, this meant if you were a Kwese subscriber then you had to be awake during these hours or you had to watch highlights the next day. Not an ideal situation whichever way you look at it.

A few months after Kwese’s release they started losing customers rapidly and I remember my mother’s slogan quickly became “Kwese yakadhakwa” whenever anything about Kwese was mentioned. The average consumer had made their mind up about the service and coming back from that proved to be impossible for Kwese.

Is the EPL the King maker in Africa?

Of course the English Premier League falls under content, but clearly, some content is more equal than the others. The EPL as its commonly known has a huge following in Africa and because that’s the case when people realised that Kwese TV would only show one match per week, they weren’t too happy. The one match that was showed usually featured smaller teams and thus no one was really excited about that. I can go as far as saying the lack of EPL is what brought Kwese TV to its knees…

By the time Kwese closed down they were no longer offering that single match, as well as the Spanish Copa Del Rey. Basically, all the football was gone. And the customers were following suit.

Money talks

Because Kwese were haemorrhaging customers a few months after launch there was a disastrous domino effect. With no customers in place to bring in money, there was no money to pay for licencing of content.

On a couple of occasions, reports surfaced of Kwese’s financial troubles and failure to meet financial obligations. The broadcaster was said to be failing to pay for the rights of the 2018 World Cup, The Euro 2020 and some other football competitions. There was also some excitement when it was reported that Kwese would start airing the French Ligue 1. This too didn’t materialise.

Channels started disappearing nicodemously and popular channels such as Fox Africa and Nat Geo disappeared – another blow for those who didn’t care about sports. Kwese had promised 23 new channels by March of this year but the opposite was happening. Channels were vanishing.

What now?

…And thus hear we are now; Kwese’s satellite TV offering is dead, and it will be missed by very few people. Hopefully, Kwese can transition into being a successful media company in the digital age. They still have Kwese Play and Kwese iflix, so all is not lost. In fact, banking on those two services along with Kwese Free Sports they still have a chance of being very successful in the digital age where VoD services like Netflix are king. Hopefully, the Kwese story doesn’t end here and we can see them bring some great local and international content through these platforms.


  1. Kratos

    After Strive’s extremely insensitive comments earlier this week, i say good riddance to bad rubbish. That’s my opinion and i’m entitled to it. He personally offended me with his God given right to his opinion.

  2. Anonymous

    I picked it up on Dead BC that the Gvt in talks with Econet for the supply of set top boxes for the digitilising programme. i think they want to ride on this defucnt service. That why Strives is in sync with ED on his comments. Akagara yangoiva mbavha from the word go. Now vake vavewo panyanga.

  3. Anonymous

    And thus “hear” we are now is this meant to be “here?”

  4. Anonymous

    i waste my hard earned money buying that rubbish decoder

  5. Anonymous

    That’s why could not my replacement aftre my decoder jus stopped nxaaa makadhakwa shame

  6. Sagitarr

    At this rate we’ll end up with boring, no or very expensive entertainment in Zimbabwe…it is truly sad for a country with some of the most vibrant ideas and literate citizens to be shackled to the stone age in this modern day.

  7. Njabulo Ncube

    He will blame it on sanctions

  8. fcuk these jokers !!!


  9. econet are THE best PYRAMID SCHEME gangsters !!!!!

    these econet/kwese/zol gangsters are something else, and they keep sending me sms’s about VAYA, the next pyramid scheme from econet, FCUK OFF !!!

  10. KG

    Try DEOD from TelOne

  11. Khumbulani Ndlovu

    As an aspiring entrepreneur & Zimbabwean l wish Kwese can find a way to come back and succeed. Its time to build our own unicorns.

  12. Principal

    I said and will say it again.

    You do not buy stale bread simply because its your uncle who owns the tuckshop.

    Kwese was rubbish from the beginning.

    Some morons even comparing Kwese with DStv, my foot!

  13. Wenhamo

    I liked kwese for news channels like CNN, Skynews, I could view them for less money. I will miss it. In Zimbabwe we are going backwards!! Can’t Magaya do some magic about it?

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Lol, you’ll have to wait for him to sort some legal issues first!

  14. Think_Tank

    Wow! Lots of negativity here. If Kwese have learnt some hard lessons their efforts will not have been wasted. They will learn, adapt and come back better. In the starter industry they say if you are going to fail – fail quickly. Hope they will be back … bigger and better!

  15. Sean

    For people that enjoy American sports and African content Kwese was not crap im extremely disappointed in this cause not everyone only watches Soccer only. Its so funny people want to compare an $18 a month decoder with a $90 a month one you get what you pay for. DSTV we are paying so much just for soccer chete

    1. Farai Mudzingwa


  16. Sibbs

    Is kwese still operating in other countries?

  17. Ane

    I also think ther after installation service was very bad. Dish fell off the room a few days later and it took them the whole month to come and redo.. soon aftrr it fell again after subscribing and up to the time they stopped airing the dish is in the house and they have their subs in the pocket…
    Dstv liberated instalations thats why they dont have problems with their services