NBC pulls NBC1 from GOtv citing competition issues

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By Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK – The national TV broadcaster NBC has removed its channel from GOtv, MultiChoice’s most affordable digital pay television service whose monthly premium starts at N$60. The removal was effected yesterday.

MultiChoice Namibia, which owns both the premium DStv satellite television service and GOtv, on Friday said it was “instructed by NBC to remove the NBC channel (NBC1) from the GOtv platform in Namibia”.

The move follows NBC’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) that required households to buy DTT decoders to continue watching NBC television.

New Era reported in its Friday edition that households who have for years failed to pay their TV licence opted to subscribe to GOtv in a bid to avoid paying outstanding annual licence fees and accumulated penalties, a requirement to buy the DTT decoder.

The news of NBC pulling its channel from GOtv was not well received by the public over the weekend with some saying NBC opted for a collective punishment of all GOtv subscribers, including those whose TV licences are fully paid up, but prefer GOtv channels, as opposed to the NBC DTT decoder.

Nevertheless, NBC says the removal of NBC1 from GOtv is not a response to people avoiding to pay the TV licence but because NBC is also looking at offering pay television channels, similar to GOtv packages.

“Things are changing as we move into the digital era. As we are looking into offering pay channels, it is in the best interest of the NBC as a whole to remove the NBC1 channel from GOtv,” said Commercial Manager for DTT, Ockert Jansen.

Jansen’s comment is contradictory to the one he made on Thursday last week when he said households moving to GOtv do not pose competition or a challenge to NBC’s TV licence collection efforts, as “GOtv is not and was never part of NBC competition in terms of DTT”.

MultiChoice Namibia says its GOtv channel line-up is uniquely placed to allow it to become the home of African television with local channels made in Africa for Africa. “[We] believe that the public television broadcasting service should be as widely available to the public as possible, and are keen on carrying the NBC1 channel to make it available on the GOtv bouquets. However, given the NBC’s instruction to remove the channel from all GOtv bouquets, the matter is beyond our control. MultiChoice Namibia continues to engage with the NBC to find a solution,” says Roger Gertze, General Manager of MultiChoice Namibia.

NBC says it has thus far successfully migrated 16 of its 56 transmitters from analogue to DTT and it remains confident in its ability to reach the global deadline for DTT switchover set for June 17, 2015.

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