The uptake of OpenView HD, a subscription-free satellite TV service, has been slower than expected for a variety of reasons, though the pace of set-top box take-up has picked up over the past few months.
That’s the word from Maxwell Nonge, managing director of Platco Digital which operates OpenView HD, and is a sister company to E-tv.
Nonge was responding to questions asked after electronics manufacturer Ellies said in its financial results that a large drop in its earnings for the year ended April 2014 was due to the poor uptake of the service.
News of the launch of OpenView HD was first reported during July 2013, and the service became commercially available at the start of October with a bouquet of 15 channels.
The first decoders from Ellies/Elsat went on sale for around R1,000, and a full installation cost upwards of R1,600.
Over the following months, the retail price of the Elsat OpenView HD decoder decreased to around R850. Space then entered the market with a decoder of its own at a recommended retail price of R999.
Asked what the uptake of OpenView HD has been over the past nine months, Nonge said that 37,606 households now have OpenView decoders, which he said amounts to approximately 188,000 viewers.
Nonge said they had hoped that South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) would have started by now, driving general consumer interest in digital television and the conversion from analogue to digital.
In addition to seeing an encouraging upward trend of OpenView HD set-top box activations in the past few months, Nonge said they have other plans to boost uptake.
“OpenView HD has also embarked on a programme with the Department of Communications to enhance learning in schools around the country by providing big screen television sets and OpenView HD decoders,” Nonge said.
There are two education channels currently available on OpenView HD: Mindset Learn, which has content aligned with the South African school syllabus; and Da Vinci Learning.