Friday, December 28, 2018

China's pay-TV operator StarTimes now wants to bring digital terrestrial TV to São Tomé and Príncipe.

China's StarTimes pay-TV operator that has aggressively invaded Africa and continues to take over African countries' digital terrestrial television (DTT) processes has now set its sights on São Tomé and Príncipe, the African island nation on the West-Africa coast.

StarTimes as a private company supported by China, is now going to "modernise" the São Tomé and Príncipe state-run television and radio networks to "help improve" the island nation's telecommunications there, STP-Press, the official news agency of São Tomé and Príncipe, reports.

STP-Press quotes Jorge Gu, StarTimes executive director, as saying that StarTimes will invest in São Tomé and Príncipe state broadcaster, after a meeting with Jorge Bom Jesus, São Tomé and Príncipe prime minister.

"We discussed how to bring digital television to all São Tomé and Príncipe families, and to improve its quality."

"StarTimes has the technology and the ability to produce content to operate and help local government."

Adelino Lucas, São Tomé and Príncipe secretary of state, says StarTimes' investment in the island nation's TV and radio will improve its education, culture, and tourism.

Adelino Lucas said São Tomé and Príncipe's broadcasting emitter park is "completely obsolete" but that São Tomé and Príncipe now "has the StarTimes team".

StarTimes, as it has done with other African journalists in other African countries, will now also send journalists from São Tomé and Príncipe to Mozambique along with other Lusophone Africa journalists, and also to the StarTimes headquarters in Beijing, China for "educationals" and training.

China's StarTimes is coming under increasing criticism for the way in which it has co-opted and to varying degrees taken over the DTT process of state-run and so-called public broadcasting in African countries by ensnaring African governments in seemingly corrupt contracts and massive loans that means the DTT broadcasting systems in nations would revert to Chinese control if governments fail to honour multi-year loan agreements.

StarTimes, with support from the Chinese government, is battling Naspers' MultiChoice for signing up and keeping a growing number of pay-TV households in South Africa and across the rest of sub-Saharan Africa as more and more consumers add subscription television services to their discretionary spending.

Naspers will spin-off MultiChoice South Africa and MultiChoice Africa as The MultiChoice Group during the first half of 2019 when it lists separately on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).