R90 per month for 20 to 40 TV channels

GoTV, the digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering from MultiChoice, will probably not be as rich an offering in South Africa as elsewhere on the continent when it launches here.

That’s the word from Naspers chief executive Koos Bekker, who recently explained to Moneyweb that this is because there are “so many constraints” due to South Africa being “hyper-regulated at the moment.”

Bekker also explained that GoTV DTT is not yet allowed in South Africa because regulation has been very slow.

South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting has been fraught with delays thanks to battles between industry players, and industry and the government.

Most recently, E-TV has taken high court action against Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, over the appointment of Sentech as the administrator for the so-called “set-top box control system”. E-TV contends that Pule had no legal basis to make such a decision unilaterally.

To illustrate what GoTV has to offer, Bekker used Kenya as an example where buying a satellite dish would cost the equivalent of $30-$50 (US), with a satellite TV subscription also priced in the range of $30-$50 per month depending on the pay-TV package.

Before you can get satellite service, though, the dish first has to be mounted on your roof which requires an installer and results in a three day delay.

Bekker said the service is very satisfactory, but it’s quite expensive.

Koos Bekker
Koos Bekker

DTT works on a different concept, Bekker said, as it broadcasts anything from 20 to 40 channels terrestrially and you don’t need a dish.

“Terrestrial” means like a conventional TV transmitter, Bekker said. You don’t need a dish and a decoder costs maybe $50, he added.

“You plonk it into your TV set with no installation,” Bekker said. “So you can buy a set at four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and be watching the Premier League that evening and because our cost structure is low we can also charge less, so we tend to charge $6 to $9 per month.”

Bekker explained that such a service appeals to a different class of customer than they’ve had so far.

“It’s basically bank clerks, teachers, police people but it opens up a whole new range,” he said.

According to Bekker, he thinks their growth will be in this sector: middle income, even blue collar workers all across the continent. “And quite a rapid growth of a cheap service,” he said.

“Now, of course, we make less money at $9 than we make at the full package at $50, but even so I think we can grow,” Bekker said.

Source: Moneyweb

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R90 per month for 20 to 40 TV channels