Shareholder issues force GOtv off air

MULTICHOICE Zimbabwe’s low-cost digital television service GOtv has been taken off air by the country’s broadcasting regulatory authority due to unspecified shareholder issues, The Source has established.

GOtv transmitters were switched off on January 31 2014 by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe without prior notice to the management of GOtv, Multichoice Africa or GOtv subscribers, according to a MultiChoice Zimbabwe statement issued yesterday.

The service was launched in February 2013 by the then Media, Information and Publicity ministry at an event in Harare.

GOtv is a joint initiative of MultiChoice Africa, DAE and Transmedia, pursuant to a shareholders’ agreement which was signed between the parties and in line with the GOtv model of public private partnerships.

MultiChoice Zimbabwe’s public relations manager Elizabeth Dziva confirmed GOtv had been laid low by shareholder issues and yesterday apologised in a statement for the service interruption.

She said GOtv stakeholders have, jointly and individually, been in discussions with the regulatory and government officials in order to resolve the situation.

“These discussions relate primarily to the shareholding in GOtv. No agreement has yet been reached on the matter. Unfortunately this is something beyond our control. However we will continue to engage the relevant authorities in order to have the GOtv signal restored as soon as possible,” Dziva said.

She added that the GOtv service is a viable and sustainable service which has already been successfully launched in nine countries and has enjoyed tremendous customer appeal, adding that the growth of the service in Zimbabwe was also quite promising — with good growth coming from a limited coverage area.

“The rollout of the service was on track, and was rendered unavailable due to issues beyond our control. The rollout plans remain on track, and we would be able to increase coverage and subscriber take up as soon as a decision is taken to switch the service back on air.

“Unfortunately, this decision is not in our hands. The matter is still under discussion, and although it is out of our hands, it is our hope that the service will be back up soon.”

In the interim, and in order not to disadvantage customers, GOtv is offering all active subscribers compensation of $75 or a DStv single view decoder, together with one month DStv access.

MultiChoice has started sending SMS notifications to subscribers advising them when to bring their GOtv decoder, remote control and antenna to MultiChoice Zimbabwe, Avondale. The compensation process started on Wednesday February 26 2014.

— The Source

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