Chinese TV company challenges Cape Verde cable monopoly

23 April 2007

Cidade da Praia, Cape Verde, 23 April – CVXTV of China, part of the Xianmen Xinnuoli company, is launching a subscription wireless television service next week in Cape Verde with a cost of around half that charged by monopoly operator ZAP TV of CVTelecom for its cable services, according to media reports.

The monthly cost of CVXTV’s 17-channel package from 30 April will vary between 1,500 and 2,000 Cape Verde Escudos (US$18.5 and 24.6), significantly lower than the current price for cable TV of over CVE 3,000 (US$37), media in the islands have reported.

Acquiring the new wireless TV package, including a decoder box and outside aerial, will cost around CVE 20,000 (US$246), which can be paid in installments by subscribers the new operator has said.

The Chinese firm’s CEO, Li Shu Yin, said this week that the new system would also be ready for use in vehicles within “a few months” to open the doors to a totally new market in Cape Verde.

“It’s an ideal system for cars,” a Chinese executive of CVXTV told a newspaper in Cape Verde last week.

The new wireless TV service will initially by offered in Cape Verde’s capital, Praia, before being expanded to give coverage to the whole of Santiago Island and eventually the entire archipelago.

The Chinese operator aims to attract nearly 3,000 customers in the first year of operations and 34,000 users by 2010.

Program highlights of the new TV package are nationally produced movie channels, educational programs in Spanish, French and English, as well as cartoon and music shows in Portuguese and Spanish.

To improve its offer to customers and increase programming autonomy, CVXTV has decided to buy program content in these areas from television stations around the world, rather than simply rebroadcast the channels concerned.

Seeking to improve its offer ahead of the threat to its cable TV monopoly, ZAP TV launched its IPTV service last year with 21 channels, as well as broadband Internet and video on demand, available via existing “copper” telephone networks.

Portugal Telecom has a 40 percent shareholding in CV Telecom, with sales of 54.6 million euros in 2005, which could soon face competition from another national operator.

The Impresa group of Portuguese media mogul Francisco Pinto Balsemão, which operates the SIC TV network in Portugal, is reportedly eying investments in Cape Verde.

Impresa is already involved in TV and media ventures in Angola and has 10 million euros ready for further international expansion. Cape Verde could be picked for this investment due to the reputation of the archipelago’s music scene across Africa, a company source said recently. (macauhub)