South Africa: DStv’s first HD channel

Technology & Convergence

MultiChoice will launch its first high definition (HD) channel on the DStv bouquet on 8 August, to coincide with the Beijing Olympic Games. HD PVR recorders will become available from the end of July to ensure the HD experience is complete.

Following the Olympics, the HD channel will become an entertainment channel featuring content from a variety of M-Net channels. Plans are to introduce more HD channels in the future.

Until recently no HD broadcasting has been available to South African TV audiences, however there has been a steady increase in consumers upgrading to HD TV sets and the consequent decrease in prices. The shift is driven by the availability of HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies which give consumers access to the true HD experience, Xbox 360 and PlayStation gamers engaging more with lifelike images and the general awareness amongst consumers of the telecoms upgrade to HD to comply with the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

Oracle Airtime Sales (OATS) will offer free airtime on the HD channel until March 2009. “This offering marks the beginning of the transition from analogue to the exceptional image and sound quality of HD in South Africa,” said Chris Hitchings, sales director from OATS. He went on to explain that advertisers have a unique window of opportunity to showcase their clients during a peak sports entertainment event by either converting 35mm to HD or by using international client commercials which are already shot in HD.

The free HD advertising opportunity will be considered for commercials up to 90” subject to OATS’ standard terms and conditions in respect of material quality and content. Public Service Announcements will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.