South Africa – the Department of Communications has announced it wants Mobile TV, in the DVB-H format, licensed for SA by end of Q1 2009. Apparently there has thus far been delay due to the finalising of the policy – and that has been slowed because of cross-media ownership issues.
The Electronic Communications Act imposes strictures on companies and individuals controlling newspapers from owning commercial broadcasting services under certain conditions. MultiChoice currently dominates the satellite pay TV market and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of newspaper giant Naspers. MultiChoice is keen on entering the mobile TV market and has run a trial of DVB-H broadcasting with mobile operator Vodacom. It also on-sells some of its satellite bouquet to Vodacom for broadcast over 3G. MultiChoice yesterday said it was “excited and encouraged” by government’s new push for mobile TV. But Naspers’ dominance in the newspaper market and satellite environment may affect its mobile TV prospects.
Vodacom has said that it is going to wait and see on the outcome of the DVB-H license process – it already streams around 24 channels to 31K Mobile subs over 3G.
So South Africa is “next in line” to get Mobile TV – and again DVB-H is the planned bearer. Certainly when multiple bodies (Content partners, Operators, Regulatory) are involved, there does seem to be a swaying towards recognised and supported standards. Let’s see how this one plays out…..