Uganda: Third Pay-TV player Enters Market

Investment

"We have just opened our doors to the public. We are trying to get customers to have a feel of our services and get their responses on the product before we do a mega launch," said Philip Winyi, a director of JRNet Limited, the franchise-holder of Pearl Digital. The soft launch of the product comes barely four months after Gateway Television (GTV) unveiled its services to the market as the second pay television in Uganda.

Winyi said the company has not yet announced its services because it is still testing the appropriateness of their products among their current customers. "We have 80 channels but we are currently sorting out the best for our customers," he said adding that the company has put up 20 trial channels on the market for a set-up charge of Ushs350, 000 and monthly subscription of Ushs35,000. The 20 include; HBO, Sound Track Channel, EWTV, BBC Prime, Al Jazeera, ESPN Classic, Ten Sports, CNN, Dubai One, Fox Life among others. Most of these are movie, sports, music, religious and news channels.

The company transmits its services by Line-of- Sight broadcasting technology, which delivers high-quality video by a compact digital decoder. Winyi revealed that the company has been operating on trial for a few months. "We are currently based in Kampala and we shall soon have agents and distributors in residential and commercial areas around the country," he said.

Besides providing television, using the same hardware link Pearl Digital will also provide the Internet to its customers to fulfil its mission of integrating the global village though broadcast. "If we can bridge the link for infotainment into someone's home or office then we shall be moving towards our corporate mission. We would like to see Ugandans enjoy all the information they need at the same time send and receive it at an affordable rate," he said. The television, which is owned by three indigenous Ugandans, will officially unveil its products and services to consumers in November this year.

(Biz-Community (Cape Town), 23 August 2007)