New satellite TV operator steams ahead

New free-to-view satellite TV operator, Platco Digital says it has entered into partnerships with a range of companies including satellite providers, leading set-top-box (STB) distributors, major retailers and broadcasters.

Platco aims to launch OpenView HD in October 2013 – a free-to-view, direct to home (DTH) satellite TV offering with approximately 15 channels.

The group remains coy as to who its new partners were, however, Ellies, the JSE-listed electronics distributor, on Tuesday (23 July), talked up its involvement in the new venture.

OpenView HD will carry licensed free TV channels locally and, ultimately, in the rest of Africa.

In any territory where it operates, Platco Digital will work with licensed broadcasters to provide viewers with access to channels licensed to operate in those territories.

“Platco Digital will therefore always be in compliance with national broadcasting laws and regulations,” the company said in a press statement.

Platco’s South African DTH platform, OpenView HD, will not be engaging in any licensable activities on its own behalf as it merely provides technical platform services to licensed free-to-air broadcasters on the basis of their existing licences, it said.

Viewers wishing to access the OpenView HD offering will need to purchase and install a satellite dish and set top box from retail outlets.

Other than these initial set-up costs, the offering will be free – making OpenView HD the first of its kind in South Africa.

Platco Digital is owned by Sabido Investments, the holding company of free-to-air broadcaster e.tv.

It has been established to provide solutions for multi-channel carriage and distribution on DTH, digital terrestrial television (DTT), and mobile TV in South Africa and in the rest of Africa, the group said.

“We are excited about participating in the digital television space – there are vast opportunities to grow free television in Southern Africa and drive digital migration, and we believe satellite, DTT, mobile TV and other digital platforms can play an important role. It is mainly consumers who will benefit as they will have additional choice,” said Platco Digital MD, Maxwell Nonge.

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New satellite TV operator steams ahead