StarTimes Sports drives OTT uptake through free offering

The global drive towards over-the-top (OTT) in broadcasting has pushed many broadcasters to create their own mobile phone apps in other to extend their offering to subscribers.

According to the most popular definition, an OTT is “any application or service that provides a product over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution.”

Companies like Netflix, HULU, Iroko TV, Iflix and many others have pushed the OTT competition to a place that many traditional broadcasters are now playing catch up.

However, while access to live content on many apps is usually an extension of the pay TV subscription of customers, Chinese company StarTimes has departed from the oft-trodden path by offering its OTT service free of charge.

Whether this is an attempt to grow its subscriber base through freebies and then move on to a pay-to-view model in future, one can only opine.

So I have three TV apps on my phone – DSTV Now, Kwese TV and StarTimes. While access to live TV on the preceding two is via subscription to the DTH, StarTimes has offered up all its live content that includes movies, novelas and sports all for free. It is indicated that the channels are currently on trial.

StarTimes’ premium sports channels ST World Football and ST Sports Premium are streamed live and for free on the app. The live sports events on the StarTimes package include Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 matches.

Users can also access video on demand content from a sidebar – these include goals and highlights from the top sports rights that StarTimes holds – the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, the European FIFA World Cup qualifiers and other magazine shows.

How long StarTimes will keep this free model going is left to conjecture, but it is best to get it while it is free. You can download the app to get access here:

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