Africa Market Briefing 2013 - Page 5

africa2_africa 30/10/2013 09:34 Page 4 StarTimes plans Africa DTH growth tarTimes Communication Network Technology, the Chinese system integrator, technology provider and network operator, has signed a 10-year contract on SES-5 at 5 degrees East to expand its media footprint in Africa and deliver direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast services across the continent. StarTimes, which is the fastest-growing digital TV operator Africa and has over 2.6 million digital terrestrial television (DTT) subscribers, also acquired SES’s 20% shareholding in South African pay-TV operator Top TV. The contract will see StarTimes use four transponders from October 2013 and a fifth transponder from February 2014 to grow their DTH subscribers in Africa. The Chinese broadcaster will continue to broadcast TopTV on SES-5 by using three of the newly-contracted SES transponders that were formerly leased by ODM (owner of Top TV). The other two out of the five SES transponders contracted by StarTimes will be used to complement their DTT offering in remote and non-urban areas and grow their pay-TV business. S TopTV relaunch in trouble? South Africa’s TopTV is seemingly in trouble again. Its owners, On Digital Media, filed for bankruptcy protection (‘business rescue’) almost exactly a year ago in November 2012, and over the past months had been in the process of being rescued by China-backed StarTimes Media Group. It emerged midOctober that On Digital Media’s exit from business rescue had stumbled. On Digital Media said the launch “has been slightly delayed due to regulatory processes”. But it hopes to still re-launch before the end of 2013. On Digital “The recent success of StarTimes’s strategic investment in ODM will allow us to reach new audiences in South Africa. The partnership with SES enables StarTimes to have a DTH platform in addition to the existing DTT and mobile TV (CMMB) platforms in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the high-powered SES-5 at the prime orbital location of 5 degrees East is ideal in overcoming the challenges of terrestrial coverage to reach large audiences. This will allow us to extend our broadcast reach across the continent and ensure excellent service and picture quality for our viewers,” said StarTimes Group chairman and president Pang Xinxing. “We are honoured that StarTimes has chosen to work with us to complement their DTT business across Africa and to deliver more exciting content to Africa’s dynamic markets,” said Ferdinand Kayser, chief commercial officer of SES. “The new partnership with StarTimes will illustrate how the combination of DTH and DTT is a key enabler in Africa’s migration to digital TV and also help set the pace in the continent’s digital migration race.” Media’s shareholders had supported the sale of TopTV to StarTimes. South Africa’s media regulator ICASA spokesman Paseka Maleka said the regulator “received an application in September for transfer of individual electronic communications network service (I-ECNS) licence from On Digital Media to StarTimes Media” and it was still under consideration. Management changes for MultiChoice MultiChoice is reorganising its senior management at its South Africa pay-TV business, following the resignation of MultiChoice South Africa CEO, Collins Khumalo. “Collins has played various roles within the PayTV environment and has been a stalwart in assisting the company to build the pay-TV business across the continent. The company would like to thank Collins for his sterling service to the group and wish him well in the future,” MultiChoice said in a statement. MultiChoice, a subsidiary of Naspers, said that in view of the evolution of the business, MultiChoice South Africa will now report directly to Imtiaz Patel, Group CEO, MultiChoice. MultiChoice opposes state STB scheme MultiChoice chief executive Imtiaz Patel has called into question government plans to install conditional access control into the set-top boxes, which it will supply to about five million South African homes, suggesting that it would set back the country many years technologically. The government is looking to appoint set-top box manufacturers for its digital terrestrial television migration project, with a planned move to digital signal broadcasting from analogue from 2015. The state plans to subsidise up to 70% of the cost of a set-top box in homes that qualify for its subsidy programme. The launch of the project has been held up by an ongoing impasse between free-toair broadcasters SABC and and the government over the move to include conditional access control in the set-top boxes. Patel contends that the set-up costs of including CA would require maintenance teams including call centres, which were costly. DStv parent MultiChoice spends about R1 billion annually to subsidise set-top boxes to its paying subscribers. Patel’s issue is that technology is moving towards integrated television sets. “It’s complete nonsense. In some ways it’s a bit of an arms deal situation where there are people who want to make money off ???????????m??t????????????????????????????????)???????QX?????????????????)????????????????????????)???????????????????????????)?????????????????????Q????e?????)??????????????m??t?????????)????????t?????????()I% ? ????????((