Telkom Media readies for launch

By Damaria Senne, ITWeb senior journalist
Johannesburg, 20 Nov 2007

Telkom Media is setting up its infrastructure and content capacity, as it gears for the mid-2008 introduction of its satellite and online services. This includes infrastructure planning, as well as the appointment of a chief content officer.

Telkom Media is a 66% subsidiary of fixed-line utility Telkom, which has committed to investing R7.5 billion in the new company.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA recently granted the company a commercial satellite and cable broadcasting licence.

Telkom Media is expected to provide stiff competition to incumbent pay-TV broadcaster MultiChoice Africa. Other pay-TV licensees are E-sat, Walking on Walk and On Digital Media.

Still green

Telkom Media spokesman Chris van Zyl says the company is engaging with technology suppliers, as well as providers of entertainment and sports content.

"One thing to remember is that we are a greenfields operation. We have no legacy broadcasting systems that need upgrading," he says.

Telkom Media will provide services over satellite, online and IPTV. Van Zyl says the company has researched best of breed technologies to ensure it is able to provide its content over the various platforms.

This allows Telkom Media to choose the best, cost permitting, he says. The lack of legacy systems also allows the company to get to market faster, he notes.

Beefing up

Last week, Telkom Media`s board confirmed the appointment of former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) COO Solly Mokoetle as chief content officer.

Mokoetle has more than 25 years of experience within the media and broadcasting industry, says Telkom Media. He spent 13 years at the SABC, and for the past seven years was COO at the SABC and executive director of the SABC board, the company says.

Van Zyl notes that Telkom Media has 90 staff members. "As we will also be providing a 24-hour news channel and creating our own content, we will also have a substantial news-gathering team under [head of news] Jimi Matthews."

Related stories:
Telkom Media appoints chairman
Pay-TV operators, SABC square off