June 2015 is finally here, and along with it, the countdown to what most people have been talking about for years now; digital migration. In fact, if you check your calendar, we’ve got just over 2 weeks until the big day when we all have to cross over into all things digital.
By now, most of us have an idea what the whole exercise will mean in our lives. There are promises of better TV programming, more TV channels, there’s better quality of content delivery and whichever way the wind blows, we are looking at one of the largest disruptions to mass content distribution for local television.
There are other realities that this migration means though. One significant issue is how we are going to migrate to a subscription based model for ZTV.
Instead of the annual licence model that has seen ZBC play cat-and-mouse games with us trying to enforce, we will pay monthly subscriptions in pretty much the same way we fork out money for pay-tv service, DStv. This model has been rallied for by a lot of decision makers because it’s set to help ZTV earn more revenue.
As it stands, no definitive price has been set, but the closest to an actual subscription figure has been the suggestion of $3 a month that was put forward by KPMG, the firm that completed an audit on ZBC. These guys came to this amount after considering the sort of value we currently get from DStv’s entry level $10 package, in terms of channels, and drawing a relationship against ZTV’s 6 channel offer.
If all things sail smoothly, KPMG estimates annual revenues of $15 million that a paid-for ZTV will bring ZBC, against the current $5 million that has been pocketed every year. That’s a huge leap in earning potential for the national broadcaster, and anyone can see easily how this is easy to recommend. However, there are other considerations here that pay TV comes with.
Once we start paying monthly fees for ZTV, it’s easy to stack it up against other monthly entertainment options. The first being paid ZTV’s inspiration, DStv.
Sure, there’s $7 between DStv and ZTV, but it all comes down to the guarantee of content delivery that stays fresh, meets certain demands of quality and doesn’t feel like a huge experiment on propaganda tactics. Freedom from all these potential headaches ought to be worth an extra $7.
Then there’s competition from the booming street market for DVDs. You can find all the latest TV series, movies, sought after documentaries, music videos and sports matches on the streets. At a cost of 50 cents for each disc, these guys have given everyone involved in content creation and distribution a run for their money. ZTV has to be worth more than these guys, because, after all, their businesses have thrived because of poor delivery from ZTV in the first place.
This whole subscription service looks like the final nail in the ZTV coffin. Consumers are now being wooed by many providers of content and the pricing and content variety continues to get more and more competitive. ZTV has to really come with a strong offer to regain a monopoly in entertainment whose last grasp will be loosened by an open market pay TV approach.
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be a prophet of doom and ask if you’d pay $3 or any amount for ZTV?
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