Multichoice and Sentech could remain the dominant forces in
pay-television at least until the end of next year, as licence
approvals are put on hold so as not to “undermine” the communications
department’s implementation of the digital migration strategy, writes Thom McLachlan in Business Day.

This could also mean applicants would have to wait for the end of a moratorium, or change their applications to utilise cable as opposed to satellite delivery, according to the department’s draft strategy document released last week.

“Other than the licensing of the existing subscriptions operators, MultiChoice, M-Net and the introduction of new cable-based subscription services, other subscription television services using spectrum, including satellite and terrestrial means, are not to be licensed… and shall be subject to a moratorium until December 31 2008,” the document reads.

This is likely to entrench the power of the current players.

“If the strategy is implemented it is likely to further entrench MultiChoice’s status as dominant player in the pay-TV market and will also give Sentech time to set itself up as a market force with control over the country’s terrestrial-based broadcasting network,” said Renaissance Specialist Fund Managers portfolio manager Khulekani Dlamini.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.