Broadcast Regulation

Kwese TV’s Broadcasting Licence Bid Is Big On Sports But Lacks News

Pan African broadcaster, Kwese TV hopes to enter the local free-to-air market and has told the Independent Broadcasting Authority (ICASA) its presence in the media space will ensure that it delivers a quality service.

In its submission during the public hearings held by Icasa for an application for a free-to-air licence, Zolile Ntukwana, Kwese’s Head of Regulatory Affairs said the company would leverage its existing business capabilities and its strong funding capabilities to boost its South African operations.

Kwese plans to run five channels, with a focus on sports content, which would comprise of a 49% share of local sports, if it were given a licence.
The VOD service provider said that it would be the first free-to-air broadcaster in the country to offer an exclusive sports channel. According to research done by the company, sport is the most watched content on the continent.

However, the company said that it had no immediate plans for news content, which is a crucial requirement for the licence application.
Ntukwana stated that news was very costly to produce and requested an exemption from the requirement.
Icasa councillor, Dimakatso Qocha declined that request.

Ntukwana later stated that Kwese would consider the requirement to include current affairs in its business plan.
As an esteemed player in the African continent, Kwese submitted that it had shown so much potential to international media giants such as ESPN, Netflix, and IFlix, resulting in significant investments from these global content partners to expand their reach in South Africa.

Royal Bafokeng holds a 45% share in the Kwese, Mosong Equities, which is an extension of Mosong Capital.
South Africa’s only commercial free-to-air broadcaster was launched in 1998, and Icasa says there is an obvious need for more competition in the television broadcasting market in South Africa.

In May, the channel cautioned Icasa that the free-to-air TV industry in the country was under threat and needed protection from the increasing reign of pay-TV.
The company is competing with Infinity Media Networks, Tshwaranang Media and Free to Air TV for the licence.

Icasa plans to wrap up the licensing process before the end of March 2019.

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