SES looks to develop role in SA's digital journey

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 31-10-2011

Satellite solutions provider SES is hoping to grow its role in South Africa's forthcoming migration to digital TV, with meetings arranged with various stakeholders during November, according to Business Day.
The company reportedly sees Africa as an untapped market, and while much of the continent suffers from a lack of credible audience measurement data to attract the advertising needed to make digital TV a success, South Africa's Advertising Research Foundation All Media and Products Survey (AMPS) provides what an SES executive calls a "sophisticated" measurement tool.
However, Christoph Limmer, SES senior director of market development and marketing, Africa has warned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that even with this aid, enticing new content is ultimately the key to attracting viewers and advertisers to the public broadcaster's 17 proposed digital channels.
"There will be a lot more choice after digital migration happens and people will want to see new programming," Christoph Limmer of SES told Business Day.
"The SABC may need to look at how to repackage what it has, using next generation broadcast options like high definition, which could be used to make existing content more attractive and uses up more space on digital than normal channels," he reportedly added.
SABC already faces a growing amount of criticism on its lack of new programming, not least from the SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, which last week criticised the broadcaster for not commissioning any "significant" local content since 2008.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has also warned the migration to digital would be stalled if SABC did not provide an audience incentive in terms of strong programming.
"We can have the policy, regulations and set top boxes in place, but unless we can get an attractive content offering, it's unlikely we will attract migration to digital terrestrial television," said Willie Currie, Icasa councillor. "This is why SABC needs to get the funding necessary for the channels they are looking at.