DIGITAL TV

StarTimes users in Kenya face possible switch off

beIN Media Group wants StarTimes liquidated for failing to honour a contract for broadcasting rights.

In Summary

•The court battle is likely to impact heavily on families in Kenya whose set boxes will be rendered idle if the liquidation prayer is handed to the petitioner.

•In 2018, StarTimes signed a deal with beIN Media Group which holds international Ligue 1 rights from 2018-19 to 2023-24 to broadcast English and local language Ligue 1 in sub-Saharan Africa.

A StarTimes set/StarTimes
A StarTimes set/StarTimes

The fate of thousands of StarTimes, digital TV box users hang in balance after a media firm moved to court to wind it up over unpaid football broadcasting rights.

In court documents, beIN Media Group wants StarTimes liquidated for failing to honour a contract for broadcasting rights to Ligue 1, the French football league.

The debt is reported to be $11 million, including interest.

The court battle is likely to impact heavily on families in Kenya whose set boxes will be rendered idle if the liquidation prayer is handed to the petitioner.

Efforts to reach the StarTimes local office hit a snug after our numerous calls, text messages and emails went unanswered.

We sort to get the firm's position in protecting customers who have incurred a cost to purchase the firm's set boxes.

However, Lazarus Ibeabuchi, public relations manager of StarTimes Nigeria confirmed to a local news portal that the company has an ongoing court case with beIN Media Group.

“Though in Hong Kong, a legal proceeding is on-going to resolve the differences between both aggrieved parties; it’s an ongoing court proceeding and not a court order,” the statement read.

He added that a court in Hong Kong has no jurisdiction over operations in other countries.

''Whatever decision reached is binding on both parties in that country only, and would have no consequences on StarTimes’ operations elsewhere,'' he said.

In 2018, StarTimes signed a deal with beIN Media Group which holds international Ligue 1 rights from 2018-19 to 2023-24 to broadcast English and local language Ligue 1 in sub-Saharan Africa.

A monthly payment plan was agreed upon between both parties after the matter was taken to court in Hong Kong before the start of the 2019-20 season, but StarTimes missed the first instalment.

Editors Note:

StarTimes Kenya through Public Relations Manager Alex Mwaura has since issued a statement saying that the ongoing case does not affect local operations.

"There is no threat to the Kenyan operations where StarTimes is committed to uninterrupted broadcast of its premium local and international content to its subscribers," Mwaura said in the statement.