MultiChoice ‘cannot speak for the poor’

Through his spokesman, the communications minister has again lashed out at MultiChoice, accusing the company of making “super profits” from its customers. By Duncan McLeod.

Yunus Carrim

Yunus Carrim

MultiChoice “cannot speak for the poor” and “has no mandate from them”. It also can’t speak for consumers, from whom it makes “super profits”.

That’s the latest broadside directed against MultiChoice by the ministry of communications as the war of words between the Naspers-owned pay-television operator and communications minister Yunus Carrim shows no sign of abating.

The situation became inflamed at the weekend when MultiChoice took out full-page advertisements in Sunday newspapers accusing Carrim of advancing the “narrow commercial interests” of “certain” broadcasters, in a clear reference to e.tv.

E.tv and MultiChoice are engaged in a high-stakes battle over whether the set-top boxes that consumers will need to watch digital television when the country switches off analogue broadcasts should contain a control system based on encryption technology. Carrim had been trying to reach a compromise agreement between the warring parties, but that now appears impossible.

Carrim accused MultiChoice of making claims in its ads that were “astonishingly inaccurate” and said that they served to “substantially weaken the case of those opposed to the government’s policy”.

He also labelled MultiChoice a bullying monopoly.

On Wednesday, MultiChoice upped the ante, accusing Carrim of not telling the truth when he claimed that the company and its partners were misrepresenting the situation. It said it was “extremely disappointed at the response to date” and urged him to put the interests of consumers and the poor first.

“MultiChoice cannot speak for the poor,” Carrim’s spokesman, Siya Qoza, said on Thursday. “It has no mandate from them. It is the poor, after all, who are excluded from watching MultiChoice, including major sports events, over which it has exclusive control.”

Qoza added that MultiChoice also cannot speak for consumers “from whom it makes its super profits”.

“If it cares so much for consumers, why does it charge so much for its services and exclude the poor?”

Qoza says MultiChoice has 98% of the pay-TV market in South Africa and “fears competition”.

“It is this that explains its position and its sudden ‘concern’ about the plight of the consumers and even the poor. Its representatives have been extremely aggressive in the negotiation process and want to take part to the extent that they get their way,” he says.

“Many emerging black manufacturers support set-top box control. Others, who don’t, have decided to accept the current government policy,” he adds.

The National Association of Manufacturers in Electronic Components and and the Association of Community Television South Africa, which were signatories with MultiChoice to the newspaper ads, are “dependent on DStv to differing degrees”. MultiChoice owns DStv.

Qoza says there is “nothing unique” about government’s policy on set-top box control. “At least 15 other countries are using a set-top box system similar to that in our policy, even if it’s not set out in government policy in those countries. Unlike other African countries using a similar system, we have it in government policy because South Africa has a local electronics manufacturing sector we have to protect and we provide a subsidy for the indigent.”

Set-top box control has been cabinet policy since 2008, Qoza adds. “It was cabinet that decided on the current policy on 4 December 2013. It was not minister Carrim’s personal choice, as MultiChoice well knows. It’s an insult to suggest that other cabinet members blindly followed minister Carrim like sheep. MultiChoice’s personal attacks on the minister are really a sign of its desperation.

“The policy is consistent with the ANC’s Mangaung resolutions and other government policies, and will benefit the poor and disadvantaged, who will not be able to afford new digital televisions. It will also, over time, contribute to lowering the cost of pay TV for consumers,” he says.

Qoza says that despite “MultiChoice’s behaviour, the doors of the facilitation team remain open”.

“But are they serious about negotiating a consensus? Until now they have not been,” he says.  — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media

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  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    >>MultiChoice “cannot speak for the poor” and “has no mandate from them”. It also can’t speak for consumers, from whom it makes “super profits”.

    …and by the same reasoning; Oprah, Bono and the likes of Bill Gates can’t.

    This would obviously come from the same person who also wasn’t aware that there is competition in the Pay TV space which has squandered substantial government funding just to keep afloat.

    I would have to say that Multichoice has done the public the same favor as Thuli Madonsela by exposing the caliber of minister we have steering the communications portfolio.

  • Master4real

    @vusumuzi – You appear to be a spokesperson of Multichoice. How much do you get paid for that?

  • Noah Sage

    Vusumuzi, how many years have you been working for Multichoice?…

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    >Many emerging black manufacturers support set-top box control

    Well, obviously! Without STB control, they have to compete directly with Chinese manufacturers and don’t have an unfair advantage, ie. the BEE money train hits a wall.
    If Carrim dismisses Multichoice’s opinion, has has to disregard the opinions of eTV, SABC and the STB makers too.

    Unless I’ve missed it, I still haven’t seen justification from Carrim how STB control will benefit the poor. He implies that nobody but him can speak for the poor, so speak! We all know how it’ll benefit eTV and the STB makers. But those aren’t good reasons. We all know it’ll burden the consumer with needing a STB for FTA TV until the end of time, which is bad.

  • Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    i don’t really think that “the poor” should be worrying about being able to watch Multichoice.

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    You’ve gotta just Love TC… from being an idiot voting troll accused of being a spokesperson for the cANCer and now to being a paid spokesperson of Multichoice.

    Can we just focus on placing the interests of the masses first which are the people with the real power in a democracy; and when we once again have the opportunity to appoint a minister in this portfolio, make sure that they are the caliber of person capable of effectively leading us into the digital future.

  • Noah Sage

    Hi Greg,

    We had this discussion before, but you keep on bringing up the same points.
    STB control was decided by policy makers and industry experts in 2008, when the project was in its inception. There are many valid reasons why we need STB control and unless you can tell me what is your professional background, many of them will be beyond your grasp!

    The fact is, that the poor do not have access to this conversation. They are being offered subsidised STBs by their government – something that no other government has done before. It is within the government’s right to decide how to protect its investment, to promote the local industry (which you referred to as unimportant) and to allow for fair competition in a monopolistic environment.

    With regard to your claim of STBs being a temporary solution to be overtaken by digital TV – you really do not understand the demographics of this country! The poor people of South Africa will not be able to afford a digital TV for at least the next 10-20 years, and the South African government will not be able to subsidise Digital TVs! As a tax payer, you should understand that!

    As Minister Carim has stated in the past, the economic playing field hasn’t changed fundamentally over the last 20 years, at least government is facilitating this process. Why would you promote this monopoly which charges exorbitant amounts for repeat shows? Why must one pay over R700 a month to watch sports?… Multichice and Naspars have taken us all hostage and are busy fighting the rescuers – are you one of the kidnapers?!!…

  • http://www.InTheCube.co.za/ InTheCube.co.za

    Well said. Looking forward to Greg’s response, not that I completely disagree with him. You both make some valid points.

  • http://www.InTheCube.co.za/ InTheCube.co.za

    The cANCer have given us nothing but unqualified and/or incompetent and/or ignorant ministers, who have found far more important duties like filling their own pockets than doing what is best for the country, its economy and people.

    Not that I agree with your statements against Minister Carrim (I find him to be the most capable telecoms minister of all time since 1995), how DO WE get effective and capable people into positions of power?

  • Pro Poor SA

    The following post was removed by Channel24 from their one sided article (http://www.channel24.co.za/TV/News/TV-biz-begs-against-digital-TV-encryption-20140319). To anyone who ever had doubt of the monopoly we are subjected to, I hope that this will make you understand!

    “Funny thing – Channel24 is owned by Naspers, owners of Multichoice…

    Despite the fact that this article was released yesterday,
    there is no mention of the response from the DoC (last Thursday), nor any
    opposing opinions to the claims in the article. can you get more one sided than
    that?

    For those who do not want to be blinded by the monopolists
    who are trying to convince the public that the government is not looking after
    the interest of the poor, Multichice is – please have a look at
    http://www.techcentral.co.za/multichoice-cannot-speak-for-the-poor/47064/ to
    get some perspective…

    The SA government is full of corruption, there
    is no deny, but in this case they are spot on!! Multichoice is desperate to
    prevent competition and keep the monopoly for repeat content at huge
    subscription fees!”

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    >>With regard to your claim of STBs being a temporary solution to be overtaken by digital TV – you really do not understand the demographics of this country!

    I would have to say that anyone in this country would understand the demographics well enough to know that there are more than just 5million poor households.

    I’ll also go on to add that any South African who understands how all the well intended schemes conceptualized at national level are eventually abused when it comes to getting them implemented at grass roots will know very well that it’s going to be a very small fraction of these subsidized STBs that will reach the people they’re intended for.

    As for the STBs being a temporary solution… I would argue strongly that they are not a solution at all for FTA and that there are plenty of manufactures who can be roped in to deliver on addressing the problem rather than reinventing an already functional wheel by trying to create a local industry that will be only benefiting the privileged few.

  • Pro Poor SA

    Vusumuzi,
    I am still convinced that you are working for the Naspars group…

    >>it’s going to be a very small fraction of these subsidized STBs that will reach the people they’re intended for.

    This is exactly one of the reasons why STB control is needed! Without it, you cannot disable stolen or misused STB which is what I referred to as government protecting its investment.

    I am not sure what wheel you are talking about, but the STB is a well established wheel and also its control system (BTW, Multichice uses Set Top Boxes with a control system by Irdeto, which is also owned by Naspars).

    Regarding benefiting a chosen few – you really have no idea of the local electronic manufacturing industry and you definitely have no idea how this manufacturing opportunity, which will revive and strengthen the local industry, will be allocated…

  • Pro Poor SA

    Minister Carim is not ANC, he is from the communist party. I agree with InTheCube WRT him being one of the most effective and capable ministers this department had in many years!

  • Master4real

    Its in the interest of the public to protect the local manufactures which create jobs. When there is 50% of unemployment in the country, the govt takes the blame. So, its necessary to have encryption to protect local jobs. Our manufactures will not compete against the Chinese cheap labour.

  • Master4real

    Protect local jobs

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    >to promote the local industry (which you referred to as unimportant)

    I don’t think I said that – I said creating a sheltered industry that cannot be competitive in a global marketplace is just totally the wrong way to go.

    >The poor people of South Africa will not be able to afford a digital TV for at least the next 10-20 years

    Last time I was at Game I actually took the time to check – the cheapest TVs were actually el cheapo LCD panels, the salesperson couldn’t give me a reason why they even stocked the 1 or 2 dusty CRTs they had on the shelf. Analogue TV sets are basically dead. You have to go out your way and pay extra to get one now. Next time anyone buys a TV, it won’t be a CRT.

    >Why would you promote this monopoly which charges exorbitant amounts for repeat shows

    I don’t promote it. But the solution isn’t to cripple the current player, it’s to empower the new entrants to become competitive with Multichoice. If you make Multichoice worse, and (say) TopTV better, consumers will lose, as the overall quality will have gone down.

    >Why must one pay over R700 a month to watch sports

    Because they’re incredibly expensive to buy. I agree 100% it’s a rip-off. They’ll have to pass legislation to force the guys selling the content to charge less. The ridiculous salaries managers and players earn have to come from somewhere! DSTV is running at around 22% profit margin – so there’s probably space to drop subscriptions by 10%, but I’d imagine people would still moan about “R630/month for sports”.

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    Surely the fact that no other government in the world is going the route of subsidizing STBs in the digital migration process should be an indicator that it’s not the smartest idea.

    I’m sure Minister Blade Nzimande could find good use for the money in his department… the point of digital migration is to free up spectrum which will also expand the benefits of broadband communication to more underprivileged communities and there will be job creation opportunities that don’t involve competing in an industry dominated by BIG name manufactures.

    You are right about one thing… its necessary to have encryption to protect the local jobs created by having a closed digital plan but we are living in the global digital village and to be successful we need to find the niche where our strength is and not reinvent the wheel which is available cheaply from much Bigger players.

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    If you are going to be setting the standard based on his predecessors then there’s not much that you’re aiming at…

    …and so even a clown fully dressed with red nose and all; will do just fine running into a brick wall over and over again because we’ll end up with the same result;

    Yes! it will be viewed by some as being the most capable of all time but you weren’t setting high standards to begin with.

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    >>you really have no idea of the local electronic manufacturing industry and you definitely have no idea how this manufacturing opportunity, which will revive and strengthen the local industry, will be allocated

    I really love how people on TC can make proclamations on someone when the smart thing to do would be to just Google that person because, as you may expect, people who use their actual names, unlike others (Pro Poor SA comes to mind) do occasionally speak from authority.

    Suffice it to say that as far as DTH, DTT, DAB and projects in the digital migration process are concerned, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved on quite an extensive level going back as far back as 2004.

    My real focus now is on OTT with the realization that life does go on and technology most definitely advances whilst the third world country, one is living in, continues to make absurd decisions around digital migration.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    If that’s the only good reason to go encryption, then it’s an awful, awful reason. These guys will be glorified box-packers – unpack shipment from China, flash with local firmware, put in box, double the price, and most the money goes to some fat-cat struggle buddy. It’d actually be silly to do it any other way – why reinvent the wheel when you can ship it in from China?

    If the ANC/DoC were serious about creating jobs in the comms industry, they’d do something to encourage infrastructure building and Telkom competitiveness – these are very labour-intensive jobs which will be in place for decades to come. Or instead of getting DSTV to drop their prices, get Eskom to drop theirs to stimulate foreign investment. Money coming in from off our shores is the sweetest kind of money. Creating and subsidizing a niche STB industry really is wasting everyone’s time for the relatively paltry few low-tech jobs it’ll create.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    He’s been put there to implement ANC policies (he says “The policy is consistent with the ANC’s Mangaung resolutions”). I think by now he’s done (or not done) enough for us to see he’s just another ANC puppet.

  • http://www.InTheCube.co.za/ InTheCube.co.za

    So how do you set high standards when Ministers are appointed by Zupta and the cANCer government? Do I need to provide a list of the usual credentials that are sought? Do you get my point? Will you answer my initial question in the previous post – how DO WE get effective and capable people into positions of power?

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    I would’ve thought that by now you’d have figured the answer to that; which has been repeated by myself and others on many occasions right hear on TC… but let me now phrase it differently so that you can hopefully get to hear what you’ve been refusing to hear for 20 years now:

    Working together we cANSir…

    You can choose to be part of the solution and work from within to get things right or you can be part of the problem and whinge and whine from the outside.

    No party is better than the ANC to run this country just like no individual is bigger than ANC. There’s a reason why the ANC will remain forever strong and that’s because the principles on which the party has been built will survive any test.

    The principles of the opposition however, are about having a BIG enough ego to feature on the list of candidates immediately below the elected leader and that is only if you aren’t able to become a leader through a court battle.

  • MuziMak

    “This is a red herring…”

    The red herring is MultiChoice successfully hooking you to a technology debate -which you do not have facts of- whereas the real nub of it is their monopoly being threatened and market competition being introduced in tv broadcasting and them fighting it off with their all. Control system is a red herring.

  • MuziMak

    “I’ll also go on to add that any South African who understands how all the well intended schemes conceptualized at national level are eventually abused when it comes to getting them implemented at grass roots will know very well that it’s going to be a very small fraction of these subsidized STBs that will reach the people they’re intended for.”

    @vusumuzisibiya:disqus, 2 points: You should know that what you call schemes (government policies) in South Africa are subjected to rigorous debates at many levels of society by all affected groups/communities and are subsequently gazetted for 30 days for any public person to comment before they are enacted as regulations or Law. Secondly, that the Policies, regulations and laws get abused, flouted or breached is no reason for government not to make them. South Africans understand that if you are caught on the wrong side the law, there will be consequences.

  • MuziMak

    “I don’t promote it. But the solution isn’t to cripple the current player, it’s to empower the new entrants to become competitive with Multichoice.”

    You agree with their falsehoods which means you promote their monopoly. Or, are you just unable to make your mind up? Maybe you do not understand that MultiChoice’s insistence to exclude control system in the DTT boxes is purely designed to to deepen their monopoly by weakening the policy and the STB Specifications. MultiChoice are bent on strangling at birth any likely competition. The cabinet’s considered approval for the BDM policy sought to ensure that MultiChoice is not crippled at all whilst competition is given a real chance to compete. It is not in the interests of the country to contemplate crippling the current player. Ushering of competition does not equate to that; hence the middle-path logic adopted by cabinet last December when approving the policy.

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    On this particular issue, I can recall a comment from yourself wherein, together with your explanation of BDM you made the suggestion that the debate be opened to the public; so it would appear by your own admission that this issue hasn’t been:

    >>subjected to rigorous debates at many levels of society by all affected groups/communities

    In your next remark:

    >>Secondly, that the Policies, regulations and laws get abused, flouted or breached is no reason for government not to make them.

    I am a little perplexed as to the logic of such reasoning. Surely since we all know that hindsight is 20-20 then we should always strive to have our foresight as good as our hindsight. So we can’t therefore simply make policies (schemes) without careful consideration.

    The Gauteng e-tolls (scheme) in hindsight did not adequately look into such considerations as non-compliance enforcement amongst a whole lot of other considerations, hence the situation in which we find ourselves now.

    BDM is not all about competition in Pay TV but about the freeing up of spectrum to expand broadband communications to underprivileged communities.

    The only good reason for government to include encryption to the policy is to protect the investment that would be made to try and create a local industry which won’t in anyway be capable of competing with already existing Big name manufactures who can just as easily be also roped in with incentives to effectively address the problem of providing affordable open platform digital products to poor households.

  • MuziMak

    That thread is still there. Please read or quote me properly. I said if MultiChoice wants that debate i.e. the “consumers and the poor debate” they are welcome! But that debate must involve the poor, the working class and the consumers so they can speak for themselves. MC cannot on their own express the feelings and views for and on behalf of the poor on this or any other subject. That was -and still is- my point. My suggestion must not be construed to mean that digital migration as a policy and the set-top box control as a technology were not subjected to rigorous debates. They were. Government policies are gazetted so that they are debated by all citizens.

    On that point, have you commented on the ICT Green Paper? If not, you have 9 days to do so.

    You say you are perplexed of my logic/reasoning on the consultative nature of South Africa’s policies; It will be helpful if you were to suggest how else can we (or any government) craft policies that will not be flouted at grassroot implementation level and laws that will not be broken.

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    >>I said if MultiChoice wants that debate i.e. the “consumers and the poor debate” they are welcome! But that debate must involve the poor, the working class and the consumers so they can speak for themselves.

    Your clarification of the point you were making is noted:

    Now lets apply some foresight to three questions that could be posed to the poor, the working class and the consumers given such an opportunity to speak for themselves:

    1) Given that BDM will ultimately result in everyone needing a digital TV or STB to be able to receive TV in the future: would your preference be to have 1 device to replace your existing TV or forever have an STB along with any TV that you may purchase in future?

    2) Answer YES or NO: If you had the opportunity to exchange your existing analogue TV for a discount on a leading BIG brand new digital TV – would you prefer rather; to have to always purchase the locally produced STB?

    3) Should government use your tax money to finance the ventures of private companies into pay TV rather than using the money to address real community needs?

    I have not commented on the ICT Green Paper and will certainly have a look at it… thanx! for the reminder.

    Finally – you would’ve most definitely heard the saying that some people in society subscribe to which is: “Rules are there to be broken”

    The point which I was making with reference to getting our foresight to be as good as our hindsight… is to always ensure that with whatever laws, policies or scheme which is to be implemented; there are significant measures in-place for successful implementation thereof as well as realistic enforceable deterrences and punitive measures to the breaking of the rules.

  • MuziMak

    “I would argue strongly that they are not a solution at all for FTA and that there are plenty of manufactures who can be roped in to deliver on addressing the problem rather than reinventing an already functional wheel by trying to create a local industry that will be only benefiting the privileged few.”

    Local manufacture of products -any and all products- is meant to generate local jobs, local taxes for government, local skills and expertise and does not equate to re-inventing of any proverbial wheel (your favorite phrase). SA makes Toyota cars, Ford, Mercedes Benz and BMW for local and export markets. Do you have a problem with that? I hope not. The DTI provides for the electronics manufacturing sector within the same industrial policy framework as the NMP. In a 20 year young democracy it should make good sense that the “plenty manufacturers” you are talking about who can be roped in should include your anathema – should include the black manufacturers. That they are black does not mean they will reinvent any wheel. They will manufacture for their markets (in Africa) just like China and Europe manufacture for their markets.

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    >>SA makes Toyota cars, Ford, Mercedes Benz and BMW for local and export markets. Do you have a problem with that?

    And that sir is the gist of the point which I’m making with “my favorite phrase.”

    If Apple can re-introduce the iPhone2 to market to the massive demand for affordable smartphones in India; then you can certainly provide incentive to a Samsung to introduce an affordable open standard digital TV which would be an earlier FreeView model to the SA market.

    No need to create a closed industry with encryption so as to give BEE manufactures and advantage and waste money which could be used elsewhere. Oh and as a control measure which you wouldn’t have by simply distributing STBs; you could have qualifying poor households exchange their analogue TVs in the incentive program with the Big brands and also track how many analogue sets have been exchanged for digital sets.

  • Mitchbiggs

    Who better to speak to the poor than Multichoice. Does someone see more empathy at SABC or in ANC????

    Does someone have more understanding of the poor at SABC or in ANC????

    At least they are out there providing a service to those who can afford it and have an awareness of what the next sociology economic group aspire to, and can afford.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    >SA makes Toyota cars, Ford, Mercedes Benz and BMW for local and export markets. Do you have a problem with that?

    I certainly don’t – and that’s kind of the point I keep trying to make – we don’t have some stupid conditional access on the cars we make here, and yet we compete in the global market – why are decoders so different? Why do we have to create artificial limitations on our STB to shelter local BEE industry?

    If decoders are something we make as well as cars, the local/export industry will thrive. If it’s something that’s needed to be propped up by government and BEE laws, it will and should fail.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    >You agree with their falsehoods which means you promote their monopoly. Or, are you just unable to make your mind up?

    Nope, not everything they do is false and wrong. They’ve done really great things in the internet industry in this country – do you think uncapped internet is good? Uncapped hosting? Free peering? All stuff spearheaded by Multichoice. I’m not a Multichoice fan, but I do recognize that they get stuff right sometimes.

    >MultiChoice’s insistence to exclude control system in the DTT boxes is purely designed to to deepen their monopoly

    Would it, though? They have all the content, and if another medium (CA DTT) became available to push it out on, what makes you think they wouldn’t compete in that space too? Sometimes I think this is a double-bluff by Multichoice as they could stand to MASSIVELY gain from it! A far better idea is all of Multichoice’s competition to team together, make a common CA STB and push all their content over it, as a united front against DSTV, and DSTV would never have access to it. You could get the DSTV DTT box and only get DSTV on it, or get the Not-DSTV box, and get packages from a dozen pay-tv companies on it.

  • MuziMak

    The car industry is as good as you point due to the MIDP (Motor Industry Development Plan) which protects the local industry, incentivises it and ensures its globally competitive, etc. etc. This is exactly what the STB Manufacturing Policy (which you criticise) seeks to achieve for the STB manufacturing sector. Decoders are different (from motor cars) as up to 8 million of them will be subsidized by government (familiarise yourself with the STB Manufacturing Policy 2008, please).

    The STB control system is a management tool for any
    broadcaster to manage their businesses. Government has to protect its investment (the subsidy of the poor TV households that have analogue TV sets). The control system discourages theft of the set-top boxes as they can be
    switched off if reported stolen and also boxes that are moved outside South Africa will not be able to decrypt our signal. The CA prevents the flooding in of boxes that do not comply with SANS 862; if this were to happen, why would government subsidise these boxes?

    For your information, SADC countries have harmonised the digital migration technical specifications for digital migration equipment including the set-top boxes. So, stop singling out SA as if we are acting out sync with other countries. Your expressed dislike for BEE is ill-informed and cannot be
    helped as it makes you fail the similar approaches in the MIDP and the STBMP. Governments of the world support (prop up is your negative expression) their local industries for many social and economic reasons which I cannot address in this post. That is what this government is also doing.

    It is false to infer that the control system creates
    artificial limitations. The same box made in France can work anywhere in the world where the policies were the same. The SA made box will work in SADC countries –excluding Angola which chose ISDBT, for example. When the set-top box control system policies allow, the exact same SA-specced box can work. And if the policies are not harmonised, the control system shall lie latent inside the box without the user even knowing it exists. Church time….

  • MuziMak

    I agree fully with that. They have done great things; certainly in broadcasting. Their letdown is when they lie about technology as they want to remain the only ones doing those great things.

    Yes, excluding the control system will deepen their industry monopoly. That is why they are kicking and screaming, fighting to exclude it. No film studio will sell you digital media rights if you do not show how you will protect their content. Finish n klaar.

  • MuziMak

    >Surely the fact that no other government in the world is going the route of subsidizing STBs in the digital migration process should be an indicator that it’s not the smartest idea.<

    This is the function of our unique Constitution and our envied Bill of Rights which together guarantee you access to information; whether there is migration or no migration; whether you are poor or well-off, you guaranteed your right to have news at 7:30 pm and other government information.

    Manufacturers and suppliers will tell you that most boxes are subsidised either at government level or by broadcasters themselves. Digital migration is government prerogative; so governments either fund or subsidise it like they do other developmental programmes and projects. Governments use taxes and subsidies, depending on circumstances, to do these things. That you don't like it does not mean it's not a done thing.

    P.s. The DSTV decoder in your lounge is subsidized by MultiChoice. Stop twisting "facts".

  • Vusumuzi Sibiya

    >>P.s. The DSTV decoder in your lounge is subsidized by MultiChoice. Stop twisting “facts”.

    Precisely the point!! and other private companies who want to play in the pay TV space should subsidize their own STBs… now is that twisting the “facts”?

    >>Digital migration is government prerogative; so governments either fund or subsidise it like they do other developmental programmes and projects.

    Digital migration is not about creating competition in pay TV or creating a closed STB electronics industry;

    …it is in fact about freeing up spectrum so as to expand broadband communications to under-serviced communities and:

    >>This is the function of our unique Constitution and our envied Bill of Rights which together guarantee you access to information;

    …and not so that one single broadcaster should hijack the process and turn it into a way for the tax payer to fund their ventures into pay TV

    …or that some few BEE individuals who believe that they are entitled to contracts based on being “black” should push for encryption so as to be given an unfair advantage in an industry that already has affordable products that can solve the problem of getting everyone to receive digital broadcasts.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    >Yes, excluding the control system will deepen their industry monopoly.

    I said the opposite of that – including a control system might help them entrench their monopoly even more. What would stop them using the government-sponsored CA? Unless you propose creating an artificial STB industry be including the CA, and then abusing the CA by creating regulation which lets them pick and choose who they let use it? This is going from bad to worse.

Why TechCentral?

We know that as a prospective advertiser, you are spoilt for choice. Our job is to demonstrate why TechCentral delivers the best return for your advertising spend.

TechCentral is South Africa’s online technology news leader. We don’t say that lightly. We believe we produce the country’s best and most insightful online tech news aimed at industry professionals and those interested in the fast-changing world of technology.

We provide news, reviews and comment, without fear or favour, that is of direct relevance to our fast-expanding audience. Proportionately, we provide the largest local audience of all technology-focused online publishers.

We do not constantly regurgitate press releases to draw in search engine traffic — we believe websites that do so are doing their readers and advertisers a disservice. Nor do we sell “editorial features”, offer advertising “press offices” or rely on online bulletin-board forums of questionable value to advertisers to bolster our traffic.

TechCentral, which is edited and written by award-winning South African journalists, cares about delivering top-quality content to draw in the business and consumer readers that are of most interest to technology advertisers.

We’d like the opportunity to demonstrate the value of directing a portion of your advertising budget to TechCentral, whether your company is in the technology field or not. Numerous opportunities exist for companies interested in reaching our audience of key decision-makers in South Africa’s dynamic information and communications technology sector. We offer packages that will deliver among the best returns on investment available in the online technology news space.

For more information about advertising opportunities, and how your organisation can benefit by publicising itself on TechCentral, please call us on 011-792-0449 during office hours. Or send us an e-mail and ask for our latest rate card and brochure.