COMMENT: How serious are SA’s pay-TV broadcasters?


Any serious broadcast player cannot afford to skip MIPTV where one has the world’s most creative and innovative product on display from more than 100 countries. MIPTV is a global hub for networking, acquisition and clinching deals.

With the presence of Telkom Media at MIPTV, we are led to believe that this pay-TV broadcaster may still be serious about launching their service later this year. Last week Telkom made the surprise announcement that it was selling off its R7,5bn interest in Telkom Media. Telkom has a 66% stake in the pay-TV broadcaster and intends to retain only 10% of this interest. Anant Sing’s company VideoVision Entertainment has a 10% shareholding (see Telkom Media Ditched By Parent Company on our website).

Telkom Media has five executives attending MIPTV, namely chief content officer Solly Mokoetle (formerly COO at SABC), content developer Hannelie Bekker, head of programme acquisitions Margaretha Schultze, head of local channels Gugu Sibeko and programme buyer Mlungisi Dolamo.

Last year communications authority ICASA awarded four pay-TV licences – e.Sat, Telkom Media, On Digital Media and Walking on Water – to break MultiChoice Africa’s dominant position in the market place.

Now with the noticeable absence from MIPTV of On Digital Media and Walking on Water, it appears that MultiChoice need only sit back to see its potential competition slowly dissipate. Readers will recall that at the end of last year, e.Sat (sister company of announced that it had opted to become a 24-hour news channel instead of a platform operator. It does not bode well that the new subscription broadcasters appear to be dropping by the wayside.

But we have some potential good news to impart from Cannes. We bumped into Anant Singh on the South African Pavillion and he told Screen Africa that some major news will be announced about Telkom Media at the end of the week. Judging from his positive demeanour, we are not about to lose Telkom Media as a subscription broadcaster.

Angela van Schalkwyk


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