MultiChoice has applied for a commercial satellite and subscription broadcast license, as required by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
“This is a very significant development for our business and we have been working hard to ensure that we are ready to meet the submission deadline”, said MultiChoice South Africa CEO, Nolo Letele.
In its license submission, MultiChoice has focused on demonstrating that the company is able to operate a satellite and subscription business. It has more than ten years in this business and since its inception, developed the significant means and know how of the industry.
MultiChoice pioneered digital satellite television in Africa and had the courage to take a risk and set up from scratch, content provision and subscriber management services, initially with only 2344 subscribers. Today the company has over one million customers.
Says Letele, “We have come a long way and it has been an exciting but challenging journey. We launched with a handful of channels, and today MultiChoice broadcasts over 50 video and 60 audio channels 24 hours a day via our numerous bouquets.”
“We have close to 700 employees in South Africa and have created employment for many others in, for example, the previously nonexistent decoder manufacturing industry.”
MultiChoice’s pay-TV expertise and track record for technological innovation include Interactive TV, Dual View, DStv PVR and Mobile TV (DVB-H) a€” some of which are world firsts.
Before the legislative changes in 1999, MultiChoice and other satellite broadcasting services were not required to hold a broadcasting license. That changed in 1999, with the new Broadcasting Act requiring all broadcasters, including satellite services to have a license.
This new law however recognised that there already existing satellite services like MultiChoice’s DStv and Sentech’s Vivid, and that these needed time to prepare for their licensing process. The law gave these services permission to continue operating until such time as Icasa was in a position to complete the regulatory and licensing framework for satellite broadcasters.
Icasa has now completed this framework, putting MultiChoice in the position to apply for its broadcast license.
“The landscape will change and we expect to see new players in this market. As a business we support and welcome competition,” says Letele.
“We believe that competition will ensure more choice and diversity of content for consumers, it will be good for the Pay-TV industry, and most importantly, attract the necessary investment into the broadcasting industry and the South African economy” concludes Letele.