The South African pay-TV environment has changed considerably over the past twelve months. On Digital Media (ODM) and Super5Media have now said they intend to begin offering commercial services in competition to market leader MultiChoice in 2010 with other offerings such as Walking on Water following closely behind.
MyBroadband explains where each provider is currently positioned within the local pay-TV market.
At present MultiChoice is the sole provider and therefore market leader in the South African pay-TV environment. The company recently announced a number of increases across its product range which will come into effect in April.
In December MutliChoice also revealed that it would be adding two additional channels to its High Definition offering, namely SuperSport HD and Discovery HD, as well as releasing a second HD PVR manufactured by UEC.
This has gone some way to bolster the provider’s HD offering. Despite this, a group of subscribers have criticised MultiChoice for failing to implement DStv on Demand and Series recording with its HD PVR package.
On Digital Media
After months of speculation pay-TV operator ODM confirmed that it would launch its ‘Top TV’ broadcast service in May and confirmed the initial channel packages it would be offering. These include the likes of Kerrang, Q, Discovery Science, Discovery 10, Discovery Travel and Living, Star, Fox Entertainment and BBC World among others.
Pricing of the company’s pay-TV packages will range between R99 per month and R249 per month and subscribers will be required to purchase a Top TV decoder and reposition their existing satellite dish or install a new 80cm unit in order to receive the service.
Top TV subscribers will also be able to choose the channels they wish to view. This is one of ODM’s biggest value propositions.
According to ODM CEO Vino Govender the company plans to directly compete with DStv’s Compact and Select packages and to reach customers in a lower income bracket who are not served by the existing pay-TV offerings.
Labelled as the other hopeful for pay-TV competition Super5Media, previous known as Telkom Media, is due to launch commercial services in the second quarter of 2010 says company Director Tian du Pisanie.
Recently the company was embroiled in a High Court case in which competitor ODM filed an interdict in an attempt to prevent Super5Media from going forward with its commercial launch. This was due to alleged irregularities in the regulator ICASA’s issuance of a broadcast licence to Super5Media.
The case was however dismissed with du Pisanie adding that Super5Media is now “able to proceed with regulatory uncertainty behind us”.
At present little is known about the channel offerings Super5Media intends to incorporate or how its packages will be priced. The company has however confirmed that it will follow MultiChoice’s bouquet model in which customers will subscribe to set packages.
Walking on Water
Walking on Water (WoW) has distinguished itself from the other prospective pay-TV operators in that it plans to implement a family friendly service which will exclude programming that features nudity, sex, violence or coarse language.
At present the company is awaiting licensing confirmation from ICASA and hopes to offer between three and five channels upon commercial launch in 2010.
The company also added that it plans to cater for High Definition subscribers.