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South Africa: Top Telkom Media Post for Former Johncom CEO Molusi

Connie Molusi, the ousted CEO of media company Johnnic Communications (Johncom), has taken up the position of chairman at Telkom Media, one of 17 companies applying for a commercial satellite and cable broadcasting licence.

Molusi was suspended and later fired as CEO of Johncom, owner of Business Day and the Sunday Times, last year. The decision was never fully explained to shareholders but allegedly took place after a run-in with the company's chairman, Mashudu Ramano, over the company's black empowerment strategy.

In addition to being the chair at African Media Entertainment, Molusi will immediately take up the position as chairman of Telkom Media, which analysts believe is a likely candidate to receive a licence to operate pay-TV from the Independent Communications Authority of SA later this year.

"We believe that Connie Molusi's experience leading one of the country's largest media organisations, Johncom, makes him a brilliant candidate for the position, and we are very excited to have him on board," said Telkom Media CEO Mandla Ngcobo.

Telkom Media was set up as a subsidiary to fixed-line operator Telkom to explore opportunities outside of fixed-line voice. The new company, which is 66% owned by Telkom, outlined its R7,5bn plan in April, saying it would launch a satellite offering aimed at middle-income earners as well as a more sophisticated product, internet protocol TV (IPTV) -- which would operate over a broadband DSL line -- to the top end of the market. IPTV allows television content to be received by the viewer through technology that is usually associated with computer networks.

Analysts say competitors to DStv could attract a broader customer base by offering cheaper packages, but some say MultiChoice has already sewn up deals with the best global content providers, especially at the higher end of the market, and that newcomers will struggle to compete.

(Business Day (Johannesburg), 5 June 2007)

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