ZBC to benefit from new licencing fees following digital switchover

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The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) plans to introduce six new channels following the switch from analogue to digital with encrypted content which can only be viewed after paying a monthly ‘Access Fee’ of US$3-5 per TV set.

ZBC acquired this 12 channel OB van from China
Fraud and corruptions scandals, together with poor production qualities, have seen advertisers shun the national broadcaster

The access fee will replace the old TV licence fee of $30 per annum and must be paid by everyone with a TV set – even users who only subscribe to DStv.

Fraud and corruptions scandals, together with poor production qualities, have seen advertisers shun the national broadcaster which saw its audience share fall to just 25% in October, 2014 (source: Zimbabwe All Media and Products’ Survey).

ZBC has also struggled to collect enough licence fees to cater for its financial needs – seeing the number of viewers from whom fees were collected decline 27% from 200,560 in 2002 to 146,000 in 2006. A fee boycott saw the Corportion’s monthly revenues fall to just US$275,000 per month in early 2014 against a budget of US$2.3 million (source: Report on State Enterprises and Parastatals).

Phase I digitalisation of analogue transmission sites located on or near borders with neighbouring countries is scheduled for June 17, 2015, together with the digitalisation of six new sites. There will be a simulcast period for remaining sites until 18 new sites are digitalised by the Phase II deadline of December, 2015.

A new report from Dataxis – Pay-TV/ FTA Broadcasting in Zimbabwe – shows the country had 3.43 million households end-2014 with a TV household penetration rate of 53%. Pay-TV services accounted for approximately 145,000 households meaning that free-to-air broadcasting is still the primary access method in over 90% of TV households.

There were 1.67 million FTA users across Zimbabwe end-2014. DTH was by far the largest access method accounting for 60% of total users, followed by analogue terrestrial with 40%. DTH is the only Pay-TV service at present with services provided by DStv and MyTV.-Nehandaradio

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