Azam TV, which offers a basic 100-channel service for US$5 a month, has launched its services in Zimbabwe, its seventh country, and has partnered ZBC TV in broadcasting Africa Cup of Nations games from Cameroon.
The station seriously undercuts other pay television stations with its packages ranging from US$5 to US$15 a month and is already operating successfully in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi as it makes major investments into its African operations.
Speaking at the launch in Harare last night, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa commended Azam TV for its investment and its packages for providing a combination of local, regional and international content, and hoped the extra platforms would see the development of local talent in content creation in arts, sports, culture and documentaries and introduce these to wider African audiences.
Minister Mutsvangwa was encouraged that Azam TV viewers will access TV on the go with Azam Max mobile phone application.
“Not only is the availability of these platforms bringing value for money for Azam TV viewers and listeners, it is worth celebrating achievement of universal access to information. This is also a direct contribution to the digital economy theme as envisaged in National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
“My ministry looks forward to your content providing excellent choices to the people of Zimbabwe. We encourage continuous engagements with local broadcasting firms to form profitable synergies that can transform the broadcasting sector into a million dollar industry and making contributions towards economic growth as envisaged by Vision 2030,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said an investment of this magnitude should provide downstream employment opportunities for Zimbabweans involved in the sale and distribution of products and services of Azam TV as well as installation of TV equipment.
Azam TV chief financial officer, Mr Kedarnathrao Bedare, said packages included sports, movies, cartoons, documentaries, news, drama and series, among others.
He said they have three main categories which are Azam Pure shows 100 channels that cost US$5, Azam Plus shows 120 channels at US$10 and Azam Play shows 130 channels US$15.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Government was determined to create a conducive investment climate in the media that will spawn business growth and benefit for both the economy and its people.
Recent media reforms spearheaded by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa were not cosmetic but a well-thought strategy that will help the country to achieve Vision 2030 anchored on the National Development Strategy 1.
“My Ministry will strive to create a conducive investment and operating environment that will enable business growth and further investments in the media to benefit both the economy and our people. This is in line with the Second Republic’s thrust of liberalising the airwaves and being open for business,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Our reforms in the media sector are not cosmetic but total commitment by Government to promote the growth of the sector. We repealed the dreaded Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and enacted the friendly Freedom of Informatiom Act to allow for the realisation of access to information and freedom of expression.
“There are other Bills that we are still working on that will ensure journalists execute their duties without being harmed or being denied access to information. We know we have not reached that level where we can totally excite all stakeholders but what we have achieved so far working together warrant praise,” she said.
At least 21 community radio stations including campus radio stations have been licenced in line with the universal access to information.
Government has also licenced six broadcasting television stations and it is hoped that more would go live on air this year.