THE Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN) will be live within the next 18 months after deservedly clinching a free-to-air licence on Friday.
ZTN is part of diversified media group, Zimbabwe Newspapers 1980 Ltd and was among six applicants to secure the licence from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) out of a pool of 14.
ZTN general manager Nomsa Nkala
The others include, Rusununguko Media (Pvt) Ltd trading as NRTV, Jester Media trading as 3K TV, Acacia Media Group trading as Kumba TV, Fairtalk Communications trading as Ke Yona TV and Channel Dzimbahwe trading as Channel D.
Friday’s process is in line with the constitution, which brings to an end ZBC’s monopoly, and also part of government efforts in media reforms.
BAZ board chairman, Charles Sibanda said the six successful applicants have 18 months to go on air.
“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe wishes to advise the public that the process of licencing new television services has been completed.
“The authority processed the applications in terms of the requirements of the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06} including conducting public inquiries to determine applicant’s suitability to be issued with broadcasting services licences.
“The new licensees shall have eighteen (18) months to rollout their plans and go on air, in line with section 11 (7) of the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:6].
“In the event of failure to broadcast, the licences will be availed to other aspirants through a similar process,” he said.
In response, ZTN general manager Nomsa Nkala said they are ready to meet BAZ requirements.
“We have put in a lot of work creating and building the ZTN brand, so we are excited that we have come this far. We are also looking forward to the next phase of our journey especially contributing to the growth of film and television in Zimbabwe. It’s an exciting time for us.
“Expect ZTN to be live within the 18 months set by the regulator. We are getting ready to launch our channel.”
Meanwhile, Zimpapers Group Chief Executive Officer, Pikirayi Deketeke said they are humbled by the recognition of ZTN.
In a statement, Deketeke said:
“Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited is excited following the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s decision to award Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) a free-to-air broadcasting licence.
“We are both humbled and enthused by the Authority’s recognition of the value that ZTN has added to Zimbabwe’s media landscape and the broader knowledge and information industry. It is testament to our capacity to deliver a world class broadcasting service commensurate with the company’s existing investments in production infrastructure, skills and content production.
“Since July 2018, ZTN has been market-testing its product, broadcasting on multiple digital media platforms. Its content mix, comprising entertainment; sport; news and current affairs, has expanded the pool of information on Zimbabwe and provided diversity.
“As stated in our licensing bid presentation in October 2020, the majority shareholder in Zimpapers are the people of Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust. As such, it is incumbent upon Zimpapers to ensure it leads the development of the country’s media landscape.
“Globally, the evolution of media hinges on convergence of multiple content platforms – print, radio, digital media platforms and television. The focus is on content and technology as audience preferences and tastes continue to change. Therefore, the Zimbabwean story is only effectively told in text, voice, video and graphics.
“The awarding of the licence boosts our ability to tell that story fully – a story that we have been telling predominantly through newspapers and radio.
“We already employ over 1 000 Zimbabweans, most of them young graduates; and expansion into television will see us employ much more and also benefit independent content-creators downstream.
“The Zimpapers Group is also grateful to viewers of ZTN whose goodwill and positive feedback cannot be understated. Audiences are central to any media business, and many have already begun the journey with ZTN.
“We will continue to deliver quality content, guided by the National Interest and Public Benefit.”