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Interview: Andrew Fraser on MultiChoice’s ANN7 deal

Andrew Fraser

Thank you for listening to the TechCentral podcast. In this episode, Duncan McLeod chats to independent marketing consultant Andrew Fraser, an expert on South Africa’s digital broadcasting migration project, about MultiChoice’s controversial payments to the Gupta-aligned 24-hour news channel ANN7.

In the podcast, Fraser discusses MultiChoice’s upfront payment of R25m to the channel and the increase in payments from R50m to R141m/year, and whether these are justified.

How should MultiChoice respond to the scandal that’s now clearly starting to pose a reputational — if not a commercial risk — to the pay-TV broadcaster? Will a parliamentary inquiry get to the bottom of suggestions that it may have used the payments in some way to try to influence government policy on encryption of digital broadcasts? MultiChoice has strongly denied this.

The discussion then turns to the migration project itself. How does South Africa fast-track the implementation of digital TV (Fraser believes the entire project should be scrapped in favour of satellite-based free-to-air broadcasts)? And what’s to be done about the mess around the local manufacturing of government-subsidised set-top boxes? Was it a bad idea from the start?

There’s also a lively debate on encryption of terrestrial signals, what it means and why it’s not necessary.

It’s a great podcast! Don’t miss it!

A special thanks for the team at the Milk+Sugar studio in Parkhurst, Johannesburg for the use of their facilities to record this podcast.

Andrew Fraser, left, with Duncan McLeod

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