Gate­way’s growth path

Finweek English Edition - - Economic trends & analysis - BELINDA AN­DER­SON

AL­THOUGH African com­mu­ni­ca­tions provider Gate­way’s launch into pay-TV comes at a time when the South African mar­ket stands on the cusp of com­pe­ti­tion, it has no short-term in­ten­tion of com­pet­ing with Mul­tiChoice lo­cally.

Chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Mike van den Bergh said it hadn’t ap­plied for a lo­cal li­cence: “We see more op­por­tu­ni­ties in the short to medium term in the rest of Africa.”

Mean­while, 18 other po­ten­tial com­peti­tors to Mul­tiChoice have thrown their hat into the ring, ask­ing Icasa to grant them a li­cence, in a process that has yet to be ad­ju­di­cated.

Among the larger pos­si­ble en­trants are Telkom Me­dia,, and Sen­tech and the SABC; the last men­tioned in a strate­gic al­liance. There are also a host of smaller play­ers, and Mul­tiChoice must also for­malise its li­cence as part of the process.

Al­though Van den Bergh did not elabo- rate on its rea­son­ing for not ap­ply­ing for a lo­cal li­cence, it seems likely it didn’t con­sider the SA mar­ket par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive in the light of the po­ten­tial size of com­peti­tors, set against the back­drop of a dom­i­nant Mul­tiChoice.

So the two will com­pete solely on African soil out­side SA for the time be­ing.

Gate­way said its TV of­fer­ing would be avail­able from the mid­dle of the year, with a “phased” roll­out across sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa. Ini­tial coun­tries in­clude Kenya, Uganda, Tan­za­nia, Malawi, Zam­bia and Zim­babwe.

Van den Bergh told Fin­week pre­vi­ously that al­though South Africa re­mained a key coun­try of ex­pan­sion for Gate­way, it was still dif­fi­cult to plan given the con­tin­ued reg­u­la­tory “opaque­ness”. He said at the time that rel­a­tive to some parts of Africa, SA was not merely stand­ing still, it was fall­ing be­hind.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.