SA regulator demands proof of intent from pay-TV entrants
Rebecca Hawkes
| 12 May 2014
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has requested written guarantees that the five new broadcasters it has provisionally licensed have the necessary funding to provide subscription TV services.

The provisional licensees include Kagiso TV, which is part of the Kagiso Media group; Siyaya, whose main shareholder is the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela community in North West South Africa; CloseTV, which will target South Africa's gay, lesbian and transgender communities; Mobile TV which will offer digital TV over mobile devices; and Mindset Media Enterprises' educational content venture.

If successful, the broadcasters, which predominantly aim to launch subscription-based digital terrestrial TV (DTT) services to lower and middle income households, will provide competition in a pay-TV market currently dominated by MultiChoice. Free-to-air operators and the South African Broadcasting Corporation are also upping the number of channels they provide once DTT is launched in the country.

Icasa is requiring extensive proof of the new operators' ability to go live, given only one of four previously licensed pay-TV operators ever launched. That service, TopTV owned by On Digital Media, has been renamed StarSat and is now in a business rescue process.