Uganda set for full implementation of digital TV
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) said 17 upcountry satellite stations have been completed and handed over to Signet to fully implement the digital migration of regions outside Kampala Metropolitan. Signet is the signal distributor in the country. UCC CEO Godfrey Mutabazi, who spoke on the status of the country's leap to digital terrestrial TV, said work on the stations involved upgrading some and at others installing new equipment that will enable signal carriage and distribution from the main Network Operations Centre (NOC) at Kololo to the far-flung districts, The Monitor reported.
The regulator has finalised installations at all the 17 centres. Mutabazi explained that work was conducted in phases. Under phase 1, the NOC was installed and completed. However, this can transmit signals only to areas within 60km of Kololo or the Kampala Metropolitan area, including Entebbe.
These areas were the first to switch to digital in June. Phase 2 involved work on the 17 sites at a fee he declined to name, saying what matters is that work has been done and delivered. Signet MD Sam Batanda said that since the stations have been handed over, digitisation of these areas will start, but slowly "side by side with the contractors who have to redo several tests and configurations."
Source: Telecompaper 4 November 2015 http://www.telecompaper.com/news/uganda-set-for-full-implementation-of-d...
AzamTV sold 430,000 decoders and reveals expansion plans
Rhys Torrington, CEO of Azam Media Limited, revealed in an exclusive interview, the future plans of the group in Tanzania. Specialized in broadcasting in new markets, Torrington gave us an overall picture of Azam Media expansion in emerging African markets.
Q. A brief insight of Azam Media and its shareholders.
A. Azam Media is part of the Bakhresa Group (SSB) of companies. Founded 40 years ago, SSB is one of the largest family-owned companies in East Africa with turnover in excess of $800m and over 8,000 employees. It’s businesses include, flour, water, juices, ice cream, milk, packaging, fast catamaran services to Zanzibar, Azam FC (soccer team) and television. Azam Media is wholly owned by the Bakhresa family so there are no external shareholders. Azam Media was founded in 2013 and started offering the “azamtv” service on 6th December that year, initially in Tanzania. There are two parts to Azam Media: azamtv which is the satellite DTH PayTV service; Uhai Productions Limited which is our production house including a massive “state of the art” studio complex (opened in June this year by the President of Tanzania) and five fully equipped Outside Broadcast units.
Q. Can you please list for our readers countries where Azam Media is present?
A. We are present in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda Burundi, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Zambia (in partnership with MuviTV. We are currently in discussions with potential partners in DRC, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and more.
Q. Is Azam Media planning to deployment its services in more countries?
A. Our footprint on Eutelsat 7B is the whole of sub-Saharan Africa so we plan to roll out as soon as possible.
Q. What about deployment over new technologies?
A. We will launch a new DTT FTA channel in Tanzania later this year. We are also conducting trials of OTT and mobile content services.
Q.Can you tell us more about the Set-Top-Boxes (STBs) that Azam Media are using?
A.We are currently using Newland STBs with their middleware and we are in discussion with Newland and a third party for an advanced STB middleware.
Q. What are the plans of Azam Media for the High Definition channels?
A. We have one HD channel at the moment, “Azam Sports HD”. It was only launched a month ago but take-up is encouraging.
Q. Video-on-demand is gaining popularity on the African continent. Is Azam Media planning to launch a VOD offer?
A. Yes, we will offer a trial movie on demand service as from next month in the countries where we are present.
Q. Can you give an overview of the content available?
A. We transmit live football matches (often in HD) from the Vodacom Premier League in Tanzania, the Azam Uganda Premier League, the Azam Rwanda Premier League, the FKF League in Kenya and the Primus League in Burundi. We also cover other local sports such as basketball, cricket, motor rallying etc. In addition, in Tanzania we show all matches from the Spanish League live and in HD. Concerning movies, apart from other play-through channels we have our own Kiswahili movie channel “Sinema Zetu”. Until the UPL studios were opened these movies were all bought in. However, we have just started to commission our own with a target of 6-8 new movies per month.
Q. How is Azam performing versus the competition in the above countries?
A. Tanzania is the home territory so it has the lion’s share of our subscribers as the Azam brand is well-known and trusted. We have already out-stripped the other DTH suppliers (DStv and Zuku). StarTimes is a major player with its DTT service. In other countries we are still pretty much the new kid on the block, though we have already made big in-roads in Uganda.
Q. And what about the total number of subscribers?
A. As of last night we had sold over 430,000 decoders.
Q. How is Azam Media distributed and what are the payment methods?
A. We have established Azam Media offices in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda and Burundi. However, these are predominantly “flag ship” stores with over 95% of sales coming from a nation-wide network of agents. Elsewhere we work with partners e.g. MuciTV in Zambia, Homebase TV in Ghana, iCan TV in Sierra Leone etc. Concerning payment, it is mainly done in cash in our stores or agents. However, over 90% of subscriptions are paid through mobile money.
Q. One last question, what is the average revenue per user?
A. Actual ARPU is commercially confidential. We offer a range of bouquets starting at $5 per month and going up to $20 for over 80 channels, including sports in HD. The kit costs roughly $100. Amongst the 80 channels, 5 of them are our own.
Below: Efe Atiyio, Azam Media.