Matthews to head Telkom news

Jimi Matthews, former head of e.tv and SABC News, has been appointed by Telkom Media to run its 24-hour news channel, the company said on Wednesday.

Telkom Media is one of 18 applicants for a new cable and satellite television licence in South Africa, and will be launching internet-based television, IPTV, in 2008.

Chris Van Zyl, who handles corporate communication for Telkom Media, said while the company was waiting for the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to decide on who would be awarded the licence, it was going ahead with preparations.

"We can’t wait around if we get awarded the licence we would have to move," he said.

He said Matthews would head the company’s news channel that would focus on African news.

"Our news service is going to be entirely different. It will be interactive and on-demand. Consumers are no longer keen to wait for news in the traditional way – for scheduled TV or radio news bulletins, or their daily newspaper. Our news will be constantly updated, and available through many formats," Matthews said.

If awarded the licence Telkom Media will offer two media and entertainment services: satellite pay TV and cable TV.

Its basic bouquet would include the news channel, an entertainment channel, a movie channel, sport channel, music channel and home shopping and education channel.

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Matthews to head Telkom news