Zimpapers pays $173k content licence fees

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The Herald

Herald Reporter
ZIMBABWE Newspapers (1980) Ltd yesterday paid the $172 500 statutory fees required to secure its content distribution licence issued by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), effectively setting the group on the path to being the country’s only fully integrated media house.

Contrary to social media claims, the licence is not a frequency-based terrestrial television broadcasting licence, currently held only by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, but a content distribution licence like the one held by Multichoice and Kwesé TV

It was issued in line with BAZ’s invitation for applicants interested in offering content distribution, web-casting and video on demand services. BAZ chief executive Mr Obert Muganyura yesterday said apart from the national broadcaster, ZBC, no other applicant had been issued with a television broadcasting licence.

Zimpapers, he said, applied for a content distribution licence, which was approved by the authority subject to the payment of the requisite statutory fees.

“We have not issued any television broadcasting service licence other than the one issued to public broadcaster ZTV,” he said.

“Early this year we flighted an advertisement inviting those intending to provide broadcasting services that do not require frequency allocation to submit their applications to the authority. We gave examples of such services as content distribution, web-casting and video on demand.

“That advertisement excluded applications for terrestrial television licences which in any case use frequencies. Zimpapers applied for a content distribution licence which essentially entails the distribution of content aggregated within or outside Zimbabwe and the delivery of that content is via satellite.

“Essentially what Zimpapers applied for is a licence to provide services like DSTV and Kwesé which is different from a terrestrial television broadcasting licence.”

Mr Muganyura said BAZ was waiting for Zimpapers to meet its statutory obligations after which they would issue the content distribution licence.

“Following the assessment of its content distribution application, we have advised Zimpapers that their application for a content distribution licence has been successful and upon payment of the requisite statutory fees, that content distribution licence will be issued,” he said.

By end of day yesterday, Zimpapers’ payment of $115 000 licence fees and $57 500 annual contribution to the Broadcasting Fund had gone through to BAZ’s CBZ account.

In apparent reference to social media claims that BAZ was favouring Government-aligned institutions, Mr Muganyura said Zimpapers had not been issued with a television broadcasting licence, which only ZBCTv currently holds, but a content distribution licence similar to Multichoice and Kwesé TV.

Invitations for television broadcasting licences, he said, were still pending as Government was still working on the digitisation programme and the purchase of set top boxes.

Ahead of its successful application, Zimpapers had already set up Zimpapers Television Network as a production house.