Goodbye analogue, welcome digital!

No longer a well-kept secret: at the summit the Free State-based SELA TV launched and is ready to distribute what it claims is the most converged broadcasting system available today, which has been two years in the making.

According to SELA TV’s managing director Thabo May the demise of the analogue market is imminent and the company is ready to migrate Africa, connecting it “from Cape to Cairo” and changing the present scenario where less than 10% of South Africans have access to digital technologies.

“SELA TV is a digital broadcasting, media and production network, developed by Africans for Africa, pioneering the advances of wireless broadcasting through 3G/4G IP. We are no longer tied to the cable,” said May. “We are also keeping it local, with our cloud servers in South Africa [run] through MTN.”

Apart from its extremely aggressive pricing strategy, its significant advantage is being wireless, so no satellite or ADSL connection is required — and content can be delivered via television, iPad, tablets and other devices.

“SELA TV goes beyond the current common broadcasting model by creating true, interactive, multi-media convergence, combining interactive, live, ultra-HD TV, on-demand content from movies, documentaries and music to sport; internet access to popular media platforms like Facebook and [it] can be used as a workstation, supporting a spectrum of applications from email to gaming, also offering Adobe Acrobat, MicroSoft Word and MicroSoft Excel. Telecommunication services include voice over internet protocol calling.

“It is a multi-channel, multimedia, transactional and multi-cultural platform — a one-stop station for all diverse cultures’ media and transactional needs. Television viewers increasingly want to manage their viewing time and content choice,” said May.

Job creation

The company has taken things a step further and has established DreamCatcher production studios, which May said will set an unparalleled, high-quality standard in content creation.

SELA TV’s content director, shareholder and co-founder Ponolo Sheti said: “The studio serves as a fresh stage for producers, artists, actors, presenters and brands, creating new job positions in the entertainment sector. 

“Content shapes society and morals. Over the years, American content has created a gangster mentality and it is time for us as Africans to change this.”

According to Sheti, a key element to digitisation is having one world with no borders, where for example, programmes produced in the United Kingdom that could not be viewed in Africa will be a thing of the past.

“Digitisation will also benefit Africa through giving power to education, as the decoder can connect in any classroom.

“SELA TV targets in 10 to 15 years to deliver content to a client base of over 100 million through television and mobile phones. Even then we will only just be getting started on our work to drive the majority of the population online through captivating content,” said Sheti.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

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Rebecca Haynes
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