South Africa: Icasa Grants ODM Pay-TV Licence, set to launch in 60-90 days

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On Digital Media (ODM) announced earlier this week that it has been awarded a pay-TV broadcast licence by ICASA. "We are ecstatic that ICASA has issued our broadcasting licence," commented Vino Govender, director of ODM.

"We are cognisant of the workload and pressures that the team at ICASA face on a daily basis and are grateful for the immense effort made by their team to ensure the issuing of our licence. This now puts us in a position to proceed with the development of our business model and to launch in the second half of 2009," he added.

According to Govender, ODM have not made any significant changes to its original plans in regard to the number of channels, subscription fees etc. At this stage, ODM cannot provide details regarding specific channels or programmes; however ODM will be offering content in the following main genres: news & knowledge, movies, family and sport, kids, music and cultural programming. In what is billed as a first for South Africa, ODM's subscribers will have the ability to create their own bouquets based on their personal viewing preferences. In this way, there will be no channel wastage and subscribers will only pay for what they want to watch.

ODM management is engaged in advanced negotiations with numerous content and technical service providers which it could not conclude until the pay-TV broadcast licence was issued. Now that the regulatory element of the business has been finalised, it is in a position to do so. The operational side of the business will commence within the next 60 - 90 days.

"ODM's decoders will be High Definition (HD) compliant from the outset," continued Govender. "However, we will broadcast in SD format when we launch and introduce HD programming/channels at a later stage. The reason for this choice is that a large number of consumers in our target market, LSM 6 - 9, do not own HD enabled/compliant television sets."

Biz Community 22 July 2008