SABC in partnership with Sentech lodged an application for a television subscription licence with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) on Thursday, 31 September.
According to Dr Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane, CEO of Sentech and Advocate Dale Mpofu, GCEO of SABC, the two state owned enterprises have formed a strategic partnership with the aim of establishing a subscription television platform providing TV and interactive services to South Africans at a more affordable rate. Entry into this market cannot be purely for commercial interest but must also serve the public interest.
“The entry of Sentech and the SABC and other players into the broadcasting subscription market will end the monopoly that has been in existence in the subscription broadcasting sector for over a decade and will broaden the base for South Africans who can enjoy the fruits of the recently promulgated Electronic Communications Act” said Mpofu.
“Sentech’s current permission to provide subscription television has been very well received in the corporate environment with the advent of Business Television and Radio. By applying for this licence, Sentech together with the SABC would seek to expand the current platform” said Mokone-Matabane.
A subscription broadcasting license would enable Sentech and the SABC to create additional platforms to provide South Africans with a wider range of programs that will provide more choice. The SABC will also use these platforms for growing the local content production industry and to tell the African story for the benefit of all citizens.
As the technology partner in the consortium, Sentech would provide the infrastructure and technology skills to enable the establishment of a subscription service. The SABC’s main contribution will be content provision as well as bringing to the table its muscle as Africa’s largest broadcaster.
Affordability, local content and choice are the key drivers behind the application.