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Naspers: “Not much growth for South Africa satellite TV”

Koos Bekker, chairman of South African multinational Naspers, which owns the Multichoice/DStv pay-TV operation over Africa, says that he does not see much by way of growth prospects for satellite-delivered TV.

Speaking to the Oxford Business Group, Bekker welcomed the development of DTT in South Africa which would help clear terrestrial bandwidth and permit improved broadband services. “Once the digital migration has been concluded the digital dividend will be released to boost internet access and penetration,” he said, adding, “On the content side, DTT will create the capacity for lots of new, open channels, bringing potential for different, thematic local content to gain a bigger presence. You will start to see special interest and language groups come out and advocate for a special language or regional station.”

Asked whether there was a future potential for pay-TV growth, he was not optimistic. “I believe penetration of pay-TV will not rise too much in the future, as in its current form it is quite a mature industry. I don’t see that much further growth for satellite-based TV. However, DTT opens up completely new potential, for the viewer does not need to buy a dish, only a cheap antenna, and – once all TVs become digital – will not need a decoder. All of a sudden, for just one small investment in an antenna, everyone will have access to numerous free TV channels. This will provide great new opportunities for content creators. I expect content generation to become the most attractive sector inside the TV industry.”

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