Better late than never right? NetOne has become the latest of many players rushing to get in on the Video-on-Demand craze that’s currently gripped the nation. Kwese is in on it, TelOne is in on it and a bunch of other players are rushing to this field. AMH already applied for a licence (and got one) and now NetOne is joining the party. They have applied for the licence and they put a notice in the :
Take Notice that the Applicant has applied for a Broadcasting Service Licence in terms of section 10 of the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06).
Details of Applicant
Name of applicant: NetOne Cellular (Private) Limited
Type of licence Applied for: Video On Demand (VOD)
Applicant’s Head Office: Kopje Plaza Building, 1 Jason Moyo Ave, Harare
Complete details of the Applicant have been lodged with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
Any person who wishes to comment on the application may, within fourteen days of the date of publication of this notice, contact the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabbwe, at 27 Boscobel West Druve, Highlands, Harare.
Tel: +263-24-2443465-67, email: email@example.com
Considering that BAZ has been giving out these licences generously I don’t see how NetOne won’t get this licence. This application becomes a mere formality once we consider that NetOne is state-owned which means there won’t be any of the problems that Econet faced to get the licencing.
Is NetOne ready to make this kind of move?
It will be interesting to see how NetOne approaches their VoD offering. With 2.9 million subscribers I think NetOne might be better off actually opening this up to all networks because competing with the likes of Kwese (which is accessible to 7.9 million Econet subscribers) will be a daunting a task. Econet has become the masters of exploiting network effects and if NetOne is not careful their VoD offering will suffer the same fate.
Of course, if their content is compelling enough they could make the platform exclusive to their network. Zimbabweans have shown they don’t really have a problem with opening a separate line as long as the value being proposed is worth it. This is exactly why NetOne’s OneFusion promo was such a hit and why NetOne was devasted earlier this year when they revised that offering.
The reality of these VoD services
Thus far TelOne and AMH’s Heart and Soul Broadcasting Services have promised to deliver on the local content and I think this will be the key for whoever ends up being crowned in the VoD segment in Zim. Acquisition of tv shows is very hard (just ask Kwese TV) and because this is the case players in this space are now creating their own content. Netflix is doing so, HBO is doing so and players such as Disney, Apple and Facebook who are expected to enter the VoD space will be doing so too. This means most shows will become exclusive and content acquisition will only get harder going forward.
If local players don’t take the bold step of creating a new entertainment industry locally they will be left to gather whatever crumbs are left in Hollywood and I don’t think customers are too familiar with these crumbs so they will still lose. Local content is risky but I think it is the way forward.