South Africa encrypts national TV channels

Rebecca Hawkes | 05-07-2013

Free-to-air TV signals from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and have finally been cut from the airwaves of neighbouring countries.

The move comes after a court appeal was dropped by the signal distributor Sentech which was ordered by the South Gauteng High Court to encrypt the signals of South Africa’s two free-to-air broadcasters by the end of May 2012, after being found “wrongful, negligent and in breach” by failing to prevent SABC 1, SABC2 SABC3, and being viewed illegally outside South Africa.
Sentech then lodged an appeal. However, the distributor has now dropped proceedings and adhered to the court’s ruling.
Millions of viewers across Africa have been watching South African broadcasters’ signals using free-to-air Chinese decoders such as Philibao, Wiztech and Fortec, or the Vivid set top box manufactured in South Africa.
eBotswana last year claimed SAR8 million in financial losses from Sentech’s failure to keep the popular South African TV content in South Africa, and the resultant negative effect on its viewership and ad revenue.