Siyaya TV gets broadcasting licence

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New pay-television provider Siyaya TV, owners of the television and radio rights to broadcast all national football team fixtures including Bafana Bafana, has been issued with a broadcasting licence.

Spokesman for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) Paseka Maleka told Business Day on Sunday that the authority on Friday "resolved to have Siyaya TV issued with a commercial subscription broadcasting licence following their submission of additional information (that had been) requested".

Siyaya TV’s R1bn six-year deal with the South African Football Association (Safa) kicks off in May next year. The company has committed to making matches accessible to broader audiences — working with established broadcasters, including the South African Broadcasting Corporation and e.tv — to avoid a political backlash. The fear is that moving the coverage of a national asset like football to a pay-television platform would prejudice most viewers.

In April Icasa granted Siyaya TV a conditional licence pending submission of additional information including financial guarantees, research and a corporate structure. The arrival of a new pay-television provider, as well as at least four others with provisional licences, is expected to trigger competition in the lucrative pay-TV market dominated by MultiChoice’s DStv and M-Net’s analogue subscription TV service.

Last week Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced the establishment of a working group comprised of industry representatives to assist the department with finalising SA’s plans to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting. It is expected to open space for more television channels.

Siyaya TV intended to offer a package of 15-20 channels, including sports and entertainment, at a minimum cost of R70 a month. The company’s target market’s living standards measures 4-8, which consisted of about 7.1-million people without a pay-TV subscription, according to information submitted to Icasa. Siyaya TV expected that at least 1.6-million people in its target band can afford its subscription.

Source: Business Day Live 16 November 2014