26 June 2017

Botswana: New Broadcasting Players Urged to Utilise Licenses

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) acting Chief Executive Officer Tshoganetso Kepaletswe said the authority is worried by companies that are awarded licenses and do not use them. Kepaletswe said this on Friday when awarding licenses to new broadcasting players for Satellite Television and subscription Management Services.

He said in the past BOCRA had issued licenses under other categories but the licensees never progressed beyond holding a license. The four companies that were awarded licenses are Econet Media Botswana T/A Kweswe TV, Ovy Network, Alfaview and DeepVive Productions T/A Clouds TV respectively.

Alfaview, Ovy and Clouds TV will operate as Satellite Television Service providers broadcasting content as a single channel or several channels aggregated into a bouquet. The broadcast content could be locally produced by the broadcaster or commissioned from third parties in the form of a full channel or a packaged programme. The licensees will carry all the broadcasting obligations including responsibility over suitability of broadcast material for Botswana audience. Alfaview and Ovy will provide the service to the consumers on subscription basis, while Clouds TV will provide a free to air service.

Kepaletswe said these companies should use the opportunity that they are early entrants to their advantage. "I challenge you to go and change the broadcasting landscape. I believe you will not disappoint," he said, explaining that the reason for licensing more players is to see the industry grow and offer the consumer variety of choice. He said the authority pledges its commitment to provide suitable environment that will enable the broadcasters to thrive. On this note he called on the newly licensed broadcasters to make a strategic shift towards creating their own content.

He said creating of local content is vital to the society as it provides material that is relevant to the audience. Kepaletswe said having a local content broadcasting will contribute directly to the economic empowerment of Batswana.

In a bid to encourage broadcasters, BOCRA has since commenced initiatives to facilitate development of local content. Kepaletswe revealed that they are currently working with other stakeholders in the Local Content Committee to devise ways and means of facilitating production and consumption of local content. He therefore urged the broadcasters to take keen interest in this.

However, he cautioned the broadcasters to be cognisant of the quality of the content. While I urge you to develop content, I would like you to consider carefully the issues of quality. We desire you to make content that is not only destined for local platforms but rather even for international markets," he said. On behalf of all the licensees a representative from Econet Media Botswana (Kwese TV) thanked BOCRA for the opportunity presented to them. He said they will work hard to take a suitable content to the people. Kwese TV is said to have launched in nine other countries and is expected to launch officially in Botswana in August.

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