Zimbabwe’s digital migration which is meant to ensure that the country adopts international standards for broadcasting and content distribution through digital channels is 34% complete.
According to a report in the Herald, this information was shared by the CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Mr Obert Muganyura during a recent familiarisation tour of the BAZ offices where he also highlighted the outstanding payments of $42,4 million to be made to Huawei and other service providers that have been brought on to assist in the digital migration exercise.
Money is still the challenge
A total of $125 million was required for the digitisation project and the funds were secured through the sale of digital spectrum to one of the State’s mobile network operators, NetOne. Muganyura pointed out that the implementation of the digitisation project is now being hampered by delays in the release of funds from the Central Bank.
Some of the project milestones so far have included securing of Satellite access from Eutelsat, acquiring equipment such as editing suites and HD cameras, the setup of securing of 400,000 set top boxes from a Chinese distributor as well as the engagement of content producers to populate the 12 channels and web TV option created in the process.
These changes in viewing options and content delivery are also expected to lead to the introduction of subscription based TV and the termination of the TV licence system with Zimbabweans expected to pay between $3 and $5 a month to access television content.
There are hopes that this will help create consistent revenue for the national broadcaster ZBC, which has in the past faced cashflow challenges due to viewers’ reluctance to pay their TV licences.