In West African TV, It’s France Vs China as StarTimes Enters

When Chinese media company StarTimes entered Ivory Coast’s pay-TV market two years ago, Canal+ appeared to take notice. A few months later, the unit of France’s Vivendi SA cut the cost of its decoder by a third.

StarTimes has since signed up 100,000 subscribers in the West African nation, offering soccer matches, movies and even Chinese soap operas in a market where, only a decade ago, most people were limited to two state-controlled TV channels. With bouquets ranging between $7.75 and $25.80 a month, it’s dipped just below the cheapest Canal+ package at $8.60 monthly. That’s helped the Beijing-based company pass the 10-million subscriber mark across sub-Saharan Africa.

The region is the fastest-growing pay-TV market…

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