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Sentech prepares full rollout of OTT streaming platform

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 23 Feb 2023

South African signal distributor Sentech says it is preparing to rollout the second phase of its over-the-top (OTT) platform, to provide an infrastructure for broadcasters and content producers to stream their content.

In 2019, Sentech outlined its plan to expand its service offerings, by rolling out a video streaming platform, as part of its content and multimedia services.

In the first phase of its streaming offering, Sentech developed a streaming platform currently used by the SABC and Faith.TV, a religious streaming service. The signal distributor previously said that in the second phase of the rollout, it would extend the platform to other broadcasters.

Speaking this week, at Broadcast Media Africa’s OTT Streaming Conference, in Cape Town, acting Sentech chief marketing and sales officer Kopano Thage explained the signal distributor had identified the challenges of customers in developing their own streaming services – due to lack of infrastructure, expertise and resources – in their quest to deliver content to their respective viewers and listeners.

The distribution model, he noted, is made possible through a collaboration effort with ecosystem partners.

“The success of the ‘TV Everywhere’ digital content distribution model is 100% dependent on the collaboration and partnership among all key stakeholders in the ecosystem. Sentech, based on its mandate to enable universal access for everyone to free-to-air (FTA) broadcasting services, has focused on developing digital infrastructure and the technology platforms.”

Sentech is a state-owned enterprise operating in the broadcasting signal distribution and telecommunications sectors and reporting to communications and digital technologies minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

It provides broadcast transmission services to the SABC, Etv, MNet, community broadcasters and over 150 radio stations countrywide on a daily basis.

It also provides connectivity and infrastructure services to the retail, telecommunications and public sectors.

The organisation says its OTT infrastructure service diversifies the company’s distribution technology, enabling content distribution over IP, in addition to terrestrial and satellite platforms.

This, according to Thage, will enable custom OTT platforms that meet individual broadcaster / content provider needs, with multiple technology platforms to distribute their content.

Sentech has collaborated with the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa), which will anchor the homegrown OTT platform, which is expected to go live over the next few months.

Also speaking at the conference, Stanley Similo, president of the South African Broadcasting Association, said he supports Sentech’s move into the OTT space.

“This is aligned with the vision and work of OTT broadcasting in Southern Africa. These are great strides made by Sentech, and it is something that must move forward.”