Vodacom in talks with Naspers: report

Vodacom Group is reportedly in discussions with South Africa’s media and internet firm Naspers over access to its television content.

This is according to Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The talks, Bloomberg said, are at an early stage, which may lead to Vodacom accessing content from Multichoice, the broadcast division of Naspers, to offer to users of its phone and Internet network.

In a recent interview with CNBC Africa, Vodacom Group CEO, Shameel Joosub hinted that there was an opportunity for the operator to unlock value by partnering with a pay-TV provider like DStv.

Vodacom’s lead executive was questioned whether partnering with a DStv type television service provider was a part of Vodacom’s short-term thinking.

“Where we are, from a short-term thinking perspective, is making sure we build the networks that can carry it (content), so that we have the best video experience, the best data experience. At the same time that presents you with an opportunity because you have the customer base,” Joosub said.

“Having a portal with different TV stations, basically having their product available and… providing the connectivity and the billing mechanism and so on to customers, I think could be very beneficial.”

“I’d say there is an opportunity to unlock the value both from a presenting of content perspective, and that could mean partnering with existing players that are out there, and maybe introducing some new ones into the market. At the same time making sure there is a clear network advantage,” the chief executive said.

“With connection speeds rising and data prices continuing to fall, the delivery of music and video content via mobile is becoming increasingly viable,” Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman told Bloomberg in an e-mail.

“We’re exploring a number of opportunities along these lines but it’s too early to comment in detail.”

Meloy Horn, a spokeswoman for Naspers, declined to comment.

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Vodacom in talks with Naspers: report