South African signal carrier, Sentech has proposed a content deal that could see local viewers watching South African and some of Zimbabwe’s popular films locally.
Sentech approached the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) with a content deal to offer popular South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) programmes on a local channel.
Under the proposal, SABC will create a regional channel which will offer SABC and ZBC programming.
The channel’s signal will be distributed by Sentech and can also be accessed throughout the SADC region without use of a decoder.
Sentech Chief Operating Officer, Mr Kgangi Matabane said the proposed new channel is a response to viewers’ complaints after the signal carrier changed its encryption software.
ZBC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Happison Muchechetere said the two companies will explore ways of legally enabling viewing of popular SABC programmes under the auspices of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
There was an outcry from Zimbabwean and other regional viewers on 30 June when Sentech changed its encryption software form DVB-S to DVB S2 to disable illegal viewing on wiztech decoders.
South African soaps such as Generations, Isidingo, Muvhango and 7 de laan were popular on the free to air decoders.
ZBC has however, of late grabbed not-so-positive headlines and rather been associated with broadcasting ‘boring’ programmes. If the deal is to materialise, this would most likely be a relief to millions of Zimbabweans who cannot afford to subscribe to DSTV.
What worries, however, is the fact that ZBC has since mid last year been accused of not paying its workers – a development that would certainly affect staff enthusiasm towards executing their duties effectively and efficiently. So disgruntled are the State broadcaster’s employees, who have reportedly not been paid for the past three months, that they ended up appealing to President Robert Mugabe to intervene and address their plight.
In a letter dated May 30, 2013 the employees said they were failing to buy food, pay rentals and school fees for their children because they were not being paid by the country’s sole broadcasting authority.
The letter, which was not signed for fear of victimisation, was copied to the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu and ZBC management. The employees said the management was arrogant whenever they asked for their salaries and better working conditions.