Free to air channel BOStv has been off air for some time now amid irregularities with their licensing as a satellite broadcaster. The troubled channel was also at the centre of a storm in Botswana last year after a rival station accused BOStv of screening SABC content illegally in Botswana.
Over the past few weeks, I have been speaking to BOStv’s Executive Director Nyasha Muzavazi about the issues surrounding BOStv and today he revealed that the stations should be coming back on 1 April as a paid channel in line with their licensing regulations.
However, the company is currently waiting for the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to amend it’s licensing provisions to allow them to introduce a paid satellite broadcasting service with multiple channels.
Their current license allows BOStv to broadcast in Zimbabwe as a paid channel on the My TV Bouquet and at this stage, My TV seems the only practical return route for BOStv by 1 April.
Mr Muzavazi has been quoted in the media claiming that BOStv satellite TV service will have 40 channels and that the company needs $10 million startup capital. Today he told me that the resources to setup/startup the satellite BOStv bouquet are in place, and should the regulators approve their licensing amendments, BOStv will be coming back as part of a wider BOStv bouquet.
BOStv had provided a respite for thousands of viewers locally and in the region after Santecg pulled the plug on the SABC signal reaching regional countries. BOStv was particularly popular for airing SABC soaps which are popular throughout the Southern African region.
Definitely a lot of Zimbabweans will be looking forward to its return, but the question is are they willing to pay for it?