Pay TV seeks African data part­ners

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

AFRICA’S big­gest com­pany by mar­ket value, Naspers, is seek­ing part­ner­ships with mo­bile op­er­a­tors on the con­ti­nent to boost its video-on-de­mand busi­ness and help com­pete with US gi­ant Net­flix. The owner of Africa’s big­gest provider of pay TV is plan­ning to build on a joint ven­ture agreed last year with Kenya’s largest com­pany, Sa­fari­com, to roll out online ser­vice Show­max at more af­ford­able data prices. Sa­fari­com is 40 per­cent owned by Eng­land-based Voda­fone Group. “We will be tar­get­ing the whole of sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa for mo­bile part­ner­ships,’’ Naspers chief ex­ec­u­tive Bob van Dijk said on Wed­nes­day at the an­nual meet­ing of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, Switzer­land. While the Cape Town-based com­pany’s satel­lite pay-TV busi­ness has long dom­i­nated the sub-Sa­ha­ran African mar­ket, it was hurt last year by falling cur­ren­cies against the dol­lar and new com­peti­tors such as Net­flix and Econet Wire­less Global of Zim­babwe. “There’s not a lot of ca­ble on the con­ti­nent and never will be,” Van Dijk said. “The video-on-de­mand busi­ness will have to be a mo­bile play through af­ford­able data.” Naspers shares fell 0.54 per­cent to close at R2 175 on the JSE yes­ter­day.– Bloomberg

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