Politics

Openview free-to-air satellite TV now in 3m households 





After almost a decade in existence, South Africa’s first free-to-air satellite TV service platform is celebrating a major milestone after reaching over 3 million households. 

eTV made the announcement in a statement celebrating the milestone; stating, “This is a big milestone for the business and we are proud that 3 million South African homes who chose us as their entertainment partner”.

One of the major driving forces behind this growth is the impending end of analogue television signal as a result of changing government regulations in favour of digital migration. 

Why is South Africa migrating from analogue to digital?

According to the government, the move from analogue to digital TV is one vital part of the global strategy to properly manage spectrum.

This is a move that has been years in the making with a slew of legal woes for the government along the way.

One of the parties championing the public interest in the matter was free-to-air broadcaster eTV, which appealed the Pretoria High Court’s dismissal of its bid to stop government’s 30 June 2022 deadline – previously 31 March 2022 – for broadcast digital migration.

The private broadcaster argued that the switch-off date was unlawful, as it would result in millions of poor households being cut off because they don’t have access to set-top boxes to access digital television. Set-top boxes like the ones that allow people to watch Openview.

Government had opposed eTV’s appeal application.

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At the end of June 2022, Justice Nonkosi Mhlantla said Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s implementation process to switch off analogue signals was irrational and unconstitutional.

Ntshavheni was ordered to consult properly on the determination of the analogue switch-off date with all stakeholders.

Justice Mhlantla said the minister should do this “in a manner that is consistent with the prescripts of legality”.

It is unclear how this judgement affects the country’s plans for digital migration. 

What is Openview?

Openview launched almost nine years ago and has seen steady growth with daily activations having grown exponentially since the early years. 

The platform is South Africa’s first free-to-air satellite TV service and hosts a variety of TV and radio channels broadcast via a set-top box purchased as a once-off cost with no additional monthly fees occurred by the viewer. 

Openview promises “something for everyone”, however, the platform’s most popular content is currently the Afrikaans-dubbed telenovelas on eExtra. 

The platform also features Indian and Korean content on StarLife, Zee One, Glow TV, and eExtra as well as animated kids’ entertainment on eToonz. 

According to the channel, eMovies and eMovies Extra are a movie lover’s paradise as they provide endless high-end dramas, action and comedy. 

“eReality is the most watched channel in its category. eExtra, eMovies, eMovies Extra and eReality rank amongst the top of all satellite channels available in South Africa.”

Earlier this year, the platform added eXposed (a raw, unfiltered lifestyle and entertainment channel aimed at Gen Z), ePlesier (showcasing the most loved Turkish Telenovelas dubbed in Afrikaans), and The Home Channel + (Homemakers and Gardeners delight). 

eTV also promised that there are more additions to Openview planned for later in 2022.

Compiled by Kaunda Selisho, additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe

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