As Uganda prepares to kick of it’s delayed digital migration exercise, a new satellite powered Azam TV, joins an already crowded market comprising players competing to attract more subscribers towards pay television services. Six million Ugandans own TV sets with only 15% on pay television services according to the New Vision.
The Tanzanian based company joins the likes of Dstv, GOtv, Zuku, StarTimes all struggling for a subscriber base of at least 90,000 people. The cost of pay TV decoders are still high as companies now have to pay 6% withholding tax and the 18% Value Added Tax, which they still consider as a hindrance for new subscribers to join. There is also the technological costs involved like paying for satellite space and buying local and international content.
According to the country general manager for Azam TV Simon Arineitwe while speaking to the media on the sidelines of a training workshop his company organized at Hotel Africana said that:
[signoff predefined=”Movie Review Signoff” icon=”icon-username”]STBs need to be as cheap as possible because they serve as cardinal steppingstones for the public to start enjoying the digital dividend currently offered by private operators. Public either deserves subsidies or more tax cuts on STBs to enable more people owning television sets get on board so that they are not left out as the country transits from analogue to digital broadcasting, commonly referred to as digital migration,[/signoff]
Just like in any other sector, Pay TV players believe that reducing the costs of doing business will cut user costs and boost pay television penetration. The local charges for the first connection with dishes are between sh200,000 and 120,000 while the Digital Terrestrial Transmission (antenna powered) service providers charge between sh70,000 and sh65,000.
The Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director Eng. Godfrey Mutabaazi said that his body was working around the clock to make sure that it switches off all analogue television sets before end of next year to realize full digital migration. He advises public to either join the current pay television service or buy free-to-air decoders being sold locally.You can get more details about Azam TV HERE.