CASE IN POINT | OpenView HD
by Andrew Ngozo
Pay Once Enjoy Forever
It’s been some months since OpenView HD launched as South Africa’s first free HD (high-definition) digital satellite TV platform. Maxwell Nonge, who heads Platco Digital, the technical arm of the e.tv group of companies that falls under parent company Sabido Investments, spearheaded this exciting initiative that promises to give ordinary South Africans access to local and international programming. The uptake of the brand has been positive, with increasing installations nationwide.
OpenView HD offers a wide variety of local and international entertainment, educational, lifestyle and religious channels suitable for the entire family. The platform supports the local film and TV industry, in the process showcasing home-grown local stars and productions. The brand’s promise is simple: “Pay once and enjoy quality programming forever… guaranteed!” All that is needed is an OpenView HD decoder, a satellite dish which costs around R1 699, including installation. This unique product offering does away with the contracts and monthly fees associated with pay TV channels and is a first for South African viewers.
A Value Proposition that Differentiates
Speaking to me on the phone from his office in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, Nonge’s upbeat disposition seeps through the line. He says: “Though we can’t speak [about] numbers yet, we are happy with the rate of uptake from consumers. It looks really good and we are excited about our future plans.”
According to Nonge, the strength of the product lies in its ‘differentiating value proposition’. He reveals that the television market is made up of 13-million households, five million of which are on pay TV, with eight million still on free-to-air, which only has three SABC channels and e.tv. This, he indicates, confirms the demand for local content. In the light of this, OpenView HD is aiming to capture part of the eight million households and also switch current pay TV audiences to OpenView HD’s local content.
At its launch last year, OpenView HD had fifteen channels, and has since added five more. Nonge explains that, by the time the whole country fully migrates to digital terrestrial television (which is scheduled for June 2015 for Africa regions according to the relevant United Nations treaty), OpenView HD will have over 25 channels on offer, giving viewers more variety. These channels will include local-content broadcasters like Tembisa Midrand TV, Alex TV, and so on – a feature that also aims to empower local-content producers. “There’s been a lot of local production that people could not get to air because their options were limited to the few local broadcasters. They will now have a platform to reach audiences,” declares Nonge with added emphasis.
Other creative ways in which OpenView HD is opening up the market is through a recent partnership with the Free State Department of Education. The initiative has seen OpenView HD donating 10 decoders to boarding schools. This will afford young learners in the Free State access to educational TV programming through channels like Mindset Learn, which is designed for teachers and learners in a classroom setup.
High Definition for Free
OpenView HD is South Africa’s new HD satellite TV, with 20 channels that offer endless excitement by way of local and international entertainment, movies, and educational, children’s and spiritual programmes, some in high definition.