Windhoek – Namibia’s first commercial and free-to-air television station, One Africa Television, yesterday confirmed that it would close down its local news department that has been running for the past 14 years.
This move will result in the retrenchment of up to 12 employees, mainly from the station’s newsroom.
In a press statement yesterday, One Africa CEO Cyril Lowe said the cost of producing local news is of such a nature that the company cannot grow or sustain a news service that would remain competitive and relevant in an environment where the public have access to an increasing number of alternative services via satellite and online.
“Our priority now is to streamline our operations to cover our costs,” he said.
“Changes in the media landscape and the economic climate are once again forcing the company to reassess its situation and to find a more viable [option] for its broadcasting operation,” he added.
Lowe told New Era that December 15 would be the station’s last day for the broadcast of local news.
He said that during the last there years the company has come under severe pressure, mainly due to escalating costs in an industry where supply of content and distribution of their signal are done in foreign currency.
He said the restructuring process has begun and will continue over the next few weeks. He added that the company currently employs 35 staff members and up to 12 staff members may be affected by the process.
“We are currently in consultation with the affected staff members,” Lowe, a former general manager at Namibia Media Holdings, said.
Originally covering only Windhoek, Rehoboth and Okahandja, One Africa Television has grown significantly, with its signal broadcast via 29 analogue transmitters across Namibia. In 2013, One Africa Television joined the digital age, and the station is now available on NBC’s digital terrestrial television network, as well as on MultiChoice’s DStv Namibia platform, according to online information.