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Cape Town TV Newsletter February 2019

Digital Broadcasting

What’s happening with digital broadcasting

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams this year set a deadline of July 2020 to complete the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting. Government has declared its intention to fast-track the process, which means that everyone who wants to continue watching free-to-air television will have to buy either a digital decoder or a digital TV set with the capacity to receive the DTT broadcasts.

The migration is planned on a province-by-province basis, with succeeding deadlines for the switch-off of analogue broadcasting for each province. Government has been pushing the migration process in the Free State, and has threatened to switch off analogue broadcasting in the province by the end of February, but it remains to be seen whether this will actually happen. It's probable that many people won't have their decoders or digital TVs in time for the switch-off, so free-to-air broadcasters will lose audience numbers - something that would have a major impact on the SABC as it lurches through its current funding crisis.

Digital content initiatives launched

CTV has been continuing to work with the government initiative to promote digital broadcasting. The initiative is called the Digital Television Content Advisory Group (DTCAG), which has been formed to advise on the most effective ways to ensure the supply of digital television content that will encourage people to go digital.

The DTCAG looks at how innovative digital programming can be created in South Africa and how new channels can be started to use up the available transmission bandwidth.

CTV's own digital initiatives thiis year include exploring its options in terms of expanding its online presence in what's called the "Over-the-top" or OTT space where video is either streamed or available on demand. The station already has a YouTube channel and this year could see the launch of a mobile app that enables users to view the channel live on their cell-phones and tablets.

CTV is researching platforms and partners with a view to bringing its independent production partners into the online space. Partners could have their own channels on a CTV app. The station will be running a workshop for independent production partners once the research has been completed in order to discuss what CTV can offer them.

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