In less than a month television consumers will have a lot more choice on their television screens.
Today, the e.tv stable which is housed under holding company Sabido Investments, announced the launch date of its new free satellite television offering OpenView HD.
The new television service will launch on October 15, with set-top box and satellite dish packages in stores by the beginning of October and installation beginning from October 7.
The new television service’s tag line is “pay once, enjoy forever”, because consumers will only have a once-off cost of buying a satellite dish and decoder, which will be R1 599 including installation.
After that there are no monthly charges and no contract for the service.
Consumers who have a Top TV satellite dish installed will not need a new dish as the service is transmitted using the same satellite as the pay-TV operator.
However, consumers will have to still buy a decoder to access the service.
Platco Digital cannot confirm the price of the decoder on its own currently, but a spokesperson said it would be less than R1 000.
Viewers will not be able to receive the service on a DStv satellite dish.
The alignment with Top TV appears to be a smart move as the pay-tv operator had above 400 000 subscribers at one point and is reported to have only about 100 000 active subscribers presently, which means there are 300 000 installed satellite dishes in the market not being used.
The free satellite service will be run by platform company Platco Digital, who today announced the offering would have twelve additional channels aside from SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and e.tv channels.
These will be spread across the genres of entertainment, culture and lifestyle, children and education and religion.
The new channels that have been announced are eKasi+, eAfrica+, eMovies+, Zest TV, ASTV, Deen TV, eToons+, MindsetTV, Da Vinci Learning, English Club, Spirit World and Inspiration TV.
Asked about the lack of sporting content on the platform, Nonge said: “Sport has been a pay-tv business and it is just not affordable to broadcast sport right now.”
The service will also have its own electronic programme guide.
Platco Digital’s managing director, Maxwell Nonge, said more channels would be added but there would be no additional costs for the consumers.
Nonge said OpenView HD was targeting 200 000 customers in its first year and 2 million by year five, which it has identified as the break-even point for the new platform.
Nonge said there are 12 million television households in South Africa, with 8 million of those only accessing free-to-air television because the pay-tv options in South Africa were too expensive.
He said OpenView HD was targeting people in LSM (Living Standard Measure) 5-7.
Nonge said when OpenView HD had secured its business in its home market, it would look to roll out in all English speaking Sub-Saharan African countries, which would all be covered by the current satellite distribution deal.
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