BBC FIRST and BBC EARTH “too expensive” for DStv in Kenya

There is bad news for those hoping to watch BBC FIRST and BBC EARTH on Kenyan television.

BBC First and BBC Earth in Kenya
BBC FIRST and BBC EARTH are currently not available in Kenya

Kenyan DStv subscribers have been frustrated by the failure of the subscription based television service to offer BBC FIRST and BBC EARTH, two channels which are available to viewers in South Africa and other countries on the continent.

The BBC revamped its commercial offering and subscribers have found that programmes they used to watch are no longer available.

While viewers in Kenya can receive BBC BRIT, first run and popular UK series such as Doctor Who, Fortitude, Scott and Bailey, Eastenders, Death in Paradise, Luther, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, Atlantis, The Paradise, Wolf Hall, Peaky Blinders, War and Peace, Midwinter of the Spirit and Downton Abbey are only currently available only on BBC FIRST.

We approached DStv to find out why these two regularly requested channels were not available in Kenya, we were told that the channels were “too expensive” to for the company to gain a “fair commercial return”. We were also told that negotiations for these channels had been “further exacerbated by the inflationary effects of a devaluating currency, which made the acquisition of these channels unaffordable”.

The email response in full is:

MultiChoice Kenya had to make the commercial decision to not acquire BBC First and BBC Earth as these channels proved to be too expensive for the business to gain a fair commercial return and would have affected our long term sustainability. Negotiations for these channels have been further exacerbated by the inflationary effects of a devaluating currency, which made the acquisition of these channels unaffordable. We acknowledge that our Kenyan viewers are disappointed at missing certain BBC programmes only available on BBC First and we sincerely apologize for this.

Subscriber satisfaction is a high priority for us. Unlike free-to-air, our business model is dependent on subscriptions. If we lose subscribers it negatively impacts our revenue. The ability to offer our subscribers what they want to watch, at the price points they can afford, is always a delicate balance. Rightly so, we are in the process of looking at all the options available to us to address the complaints we have received. We are not able to provide timelines at this point. Please bear with us while we review this situation.

We trust that this clarifies the matter.

Along with South Africa, the other countries which can receive BBC FIRST are Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

However, like Kenya, the channel is not currently available in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verdi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda.

Would you like to see these two BBC channels in Kenya? If so, then please sign our online petition.