[Elsa Lunani] Soccer Streaming Has Eased Pressure on TV Remote Control During Football Season

The season of soccer thrills is drawing to a close, with K’Ogalo, as Gor Mahia FC is fondly called by its diehard supporters, already asserting its authority as the winner of the Kenya Premier League (KPL) 2023/2024 season – marking its 21st KPL triumph. Kenyan soccer has its share of excitement, with Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards – the Mashemejis – enjoying massive followings.

The thrilling rhythm of the 2023/2024 English Premier League (EPL) season, adored by millions of Kenyan fans, is nearing its climax too. Arsenal and Manchester City supporters have been kept on the edge of their seats throughout, with the title race remaining wide open until the very end.

Undoubtedly, football reigns supreme as the unrivaled king of sports in Kenya. The nation’s passion for soccer arguably surpasses that of its neighbors. 

Unlike in the past, where football enthusiasts would jostle over the family TV remote to catch matches, online streaming has alleviated such pressure. Now, each family member can enjoy their favorite shows from the comfort of their phones, thanks to streaming platforms like Showmax, DStv Stream, and GOtv Stream app.

It’s no secret that an increasing number of people are gravitating towards streaming services to experience uninterrupted entertainment. These services also offer budget-friendly, on-the-go options. 

DStv Stream, for example, debuted at the beginning of the EPL season, and the numbers reflect its growing popularity. 

Content streaming enables consumers to access their favourite shows virtually anywhere, from their couch or desk to public transportation and vacation spots—a convenience facilitated by streaming services’ capabilities. Nowadays, it’s common to see football matches streamed on smartphones in matatus, without the need to rush home to catch the action. 

The true essence of a football match lies in watching it while discussing the happenings with friends. Social media platforms like WhatsApp make this possible—you can stream the match on your smartphone while engaging with fellow enthusiasts in a WhatsApp group chat.

 In the past, viewers needed to install a satellite dish to enjoy their favorite content. Now, they simply need to sign up on a website or mobile application in less than five minutes and dive into the entertainment. With streaming services, consumers don’t require a special dish or installation—just a smart device and a stable internet connection to stream their favorite shows and movies. 

According to the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK), the smartphone penetration rate in Kenya stands at 66.4 percent, with 33.6 million smartphones in the country as of December 31, 2023. Internet subscriptions totaled 47.96 million, with 67.1 percent being mobile broadband. The uptake of mobile broadband continues to rise as consumers demand faster internet speeds. Kenya is among the African countries with the fastest internet speeds.

CAK statistics reveal that online access surged from 27 percent to 57 percent over the same period. This increasing digital streaming has also impacted radio listenership in Kenya, which has declined from 92 percent of the population in 2014 to 77 percent.

According to forecasts by Digital TV Research, Africa is expected to have 15.57 million paying subscription video on demand (SVOD) subscriptions by 2028, up from 6.15 million at the end of 2022. Kenya is not left behind in this front.

These statistics indicate a promising future for streaming services. The shift in preferences signifies a dynamic transformation in how Kenyans engage with media, with online platforms playing an increasingly significant role in shaping content consumption habits.

With just three months to go, the 2024/2025 football season is revving up for action! Get ready to lace up your boots for another thrilling season.

The author is the head of DSTV Business and Digital Products Manager.

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