South Africa: Telkom Media: SA keen on pay TV

Technology & Convergence

South Africans were willing to pay for subscription television services, research by Telkom Media revealed on Thursday. Spokesperson Chris Van Zyl said the market potential for satellite subscriptions could be as high as 2.3-million by 2012. This would be more than double the current number of households with access to pay television. The revelation comes in the wake of an application made on Tuesday to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) for a new cable or satellite television license. Seventeen other applicants were received by Icasa. If awarded the licence, the company will be launching internet-based television -- Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) -- in 2008.

Telkom Media chief executive Mandla Ncgobo, said: "The favourable economic climate in South Africa creates the ideal environment for the launch of pay TV. "The reason we don't have a higher uptake of satellite television services is that the 'middle market' is not addressed by the incumbent satellite player, DStv, which focuses on high-end consumers." He said more "flexibility in the structure of packages will pave the way for greater affordability, allowing us to offer bouquets of channels that start at approximately R100 a month".

Telkom Media will broadcast predominantly in English, but people interviewed by the 24-hour news channel would be interviewed in any official language of their choice, Ncgobo said. "In addition, special accommodation will also be made for people with disabilities."

"Local sport and local content is also important in terms of driving penetration of the target market and budgets have been made available to ensure provision of local content." Telkom Media will offer two media and entertainment services: satellite pay TV and cable TV. Its basic bouquet would include the news channel, an entertainment channel, a movie channel, a sport channel, a music channel as well as home shopping and education channels.

SAPA, 14th June 2007