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OPENVIEW HD SUBSCRIBER NUMBERS SOAR

After a rocky start, commercial free-to-air satellite broadcaster OpenView HD, a sister company of e.tv, is adding subscribers at a remarkable rate of knots, though revenues are proving elusive.

After a rocky start, commercial free-to-air satellite broadcaster OpenView HD, a sister company of e.tv, is adding subscribers at a remarkable rate of knots, though revenues are proving elusive.

Listed parent company eMedia Holdings revealed in its annual results for the year ended 31 March 2016, published on Wednesday, that the number of OVHD subscribers has jumped by 245% in the past year, from 112 715 to 388 812.

But OVHD is not proving to be a money spinner for the group — at least not yet.

“The group continues to invest in its multi-channel platform, OVHD, and in producing channels for the multi-channel environment. Further investment of R261,9m (2015: R245,1m) is included in the financials for this year with very little revenue recorded,” eMedia Holdings told shareholders in notes accompanying its annual results.

Although OVHD uses satellite technology for distribution, the group said the slow pace of digital terrestrial television (DTT) roll-out is also hampering its ability to generate significant revenue from a multi-channel environment. DTT allows the group to offer more than the single channel, e.tv, that is has been able to provide on analogue broadcasts.

E.tv, it said, is struggling as a “lone channel in an ever-increasing multi-channel environment”.

“Management believes that the investment in quality channels and a multi-channel platform will stand the group in good stead when the DTT roll-out ramps up.”

E.tv, which the group considers its core asset, came under pressure due to a reduction in advertising revenue after the channel lost substantial market share in the 2015 financial year.

“This necessitated that management review the schedule of e.tv and implement changes to correct the falling market share. These changes were implemented in the latter half of the 2015 financial year and the first part of this financial year. It has seen the market share of e.tv recover, once again becoming the most watched English channel in South Africa,” the group said.

Source: Techcentral – Duncan McLeod