New free TV operator in South Africa


A new satellite broadcasting service is coming to South Africa, offering 15 channels in a mix of standard and high definition without charging a monthly subscription fee.

This is according to documents in MyBroadband’s possession and has been confirmed by electronics distributor, Ellies. MyBroadband has received two documents pertaining to a road show for “OpenView HD”, which were circulated to industry players.

One brochure asks stakeholders to indicate their intention to attend the road show to Ellies. The other brochure lists a phone number for a recent entrant to the satellite TV equipment distribution game, Switch Digital.

According to Ellies, the new TV service will use the same satellites as TopTV – Astra 5°E – and they expect the decoder and installation to be a once-off cost of around R1,899, dependent on retailer.

When asked which channels OpenView HD would offer, Ellies directed queries to OpenView. Switch Digital explained that they had not yet received confirmation of the channel line-up.

 When MyBroadband contacted the OpenView spokesperson for comment they answered our first call, but indicated that we should phone back at a more convenient time. Since then they have been dodging our calls and ignoring our e-mails.

However, the OpenView spokesperson has a e-mail address and a quick search online reveals that Frans Lindeque has updated his LinkedIn profile to say that he is now the CTO at Platco Digital. Lindeque was formerly the CTO of Top TV.

The Platco domain is also registered to “ Pty Limited”, and two industry sources have confirmed that E-tv is a stakeholder in OpenView HD.

It is understood that OpenView is aimed at the LSM 4–7 market, which according to the South African Audience Research Foundation, translates to households with an average income of just over R3,000 to just over R10,000.

The OpenView HD road show starts on Monday (22 July 2013) in Port Elizabeth and at the time of writing was set to run until 2 August 2013, with the last stop in Durban.

According to industry sources, Platco and E-tv are aiming to launch OpenView HD as early as October 2013.

Platco Digital, the company behind the upcoming OpenView HD (OVHD) satellite television service, has more than its initial free channel bouquet up its sleeve, a spokesperson told MyBroadband.

Rumours are circulating in the industry that Platco’s plans include offering OpenView customers a satellite Internet connection in future.

Asked specifically whether they have such plans, Platco said it would only share further developments “closer to the time”, but confirmed that there will be other added products at a later stage. “Now our main focus is to get OVHD off the ground,” a spokesperson for Platco said.

Earlier this week MyBroadband reported that Platco Digital, a sister company to E-tv, would offer a 15-channel satellite TV service in South Africa without charging a monthly subscription fee.

Platco has since confirmed it will be launching with “approximately” 15 channels in October 2013, working only with already licensed broadcasters.

This will include a mix of standard and high definition channels, with at least 5 being HD, Platco said.