Another pay-TV service for South Africa?


Close-T Broadcast Network Holdings has on Wednesday (24 July 2013) announced that it wants to offer a customisable pay-TV service to the South African market, called CloseTV.

The pay-TV hopeful said that it is preparing for the final stages of its application for a new Subscription Broadcast license from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

“We have approached the growing need for choice in the payTV market from the consumers’ perspective and developed niche audience specific bundles that won’t be made up of rehashed bouquets of older or lower quality programming, but rather high quality international and local programming,” said Mia Groenewald, director of Close-T Broadcast Network Holdings.

According to Close-T, the intention is that consumers will pay only for the bouquets that are of interest to them, as opposed to paying a monthly subscription for a premier service and then only watching 20% of the total bouquet.

“Should something of interest fall outside of the bouquets that form the basis of the subscription, a ‘pay-per-view’ demand based service will also feature as one of the service offerings,” Close-T said.

As part of its launch phase, CloseTV said it will offer the country’s first pay-TV bouquet for the dynamic and thriving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) community. To this end CloseTV said it has set up exclusive partnerships with global content providers such as OutTV group, LOGO TV and OUT in African Film Festival.

“Our research shows that there are approximately six million LGBTQIA lifestyle consumers in South Africa, with virtually no television based programming,” said Groenewald.

To complement non-LGBTQIA interests, CloseTV said the bouquet will include independent and art house movies; cinema nouveau, foreign language films, cultural programming, travel and fashion events.

CloseTV added that it has already identified other niche audience groups that will form a critical part of its growth and service extension strategies.

There have been many pay-TV hopefuls that have made big promises and not delivered, and it will be interesting to see if CloseTV can succeed where SouthTel, WOW TV, and even Telkom Media (now Super5 Media) have failed.