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MSNBC's free satellite TV launched in SA

Satellite TV will never be the same in South Africa, as Free2view today, Monday, 21 January 2008, unveiled southern Africa's newest window to the world, MSNBC Africa. The launch, which took place at the Melrose Arch Hotel in Johannesburg, will see consumers gaining access to 36 ‘exciting' channels – if they can afford buy a once-off package of a dish and a digital receiver at R1400.
Great Media chief technical director Malcolm Ramsay told “We don't have to know you because you won't pay us every month and we won't switch you off.

“All you have to do is to purchase your 88cm dish and a digital receiver at Space TV or Ellis and you are connected ‘for life' to the whole world.”


Ramsay added: “With the recent flood of Pay TV operators in the territory, South Africans will find digital TV landscape to be a confusing and complex place. Free2view's success is built upon the simplicity of our offering, combined with a fantastic channel line-up.”

MSNBC Africa is a joint-venture between London-based Great Media Limited and MSNBC and is built on the worldwide resources of NBC News. The latter is owned by US giant General Electric.

The channels include a full schedule of live news of a world-class coverage and reporting, political analysis and award-winning documentary programming, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Ramsay said.

“The expansion is integral to NBC News' commitment to growing its business internationally,” Steve Capus, president of NBC News, commented.

“The opportunities are limitless and as MSNBC continues to grow and thrive within the US, the timing is right for us to increase its global presence as well.”

Satellite footprint

Currently MSNBC Africa is on what is probably Africa's most powerful and biggest KU band satellite footprint, Eutelsat WSA at 7degrees East.

“This will ensure that viewers from SA, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Angola, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Congo, Gabon, DRC, Malawi and Uganda will be able to have the opportunity to view America's fastest news channel,” Ramsay said.

Free2view, as the name implies, is southern Africa's only free-to-air satellite TV platform and aims to provide broadcasters and rights holders with a stable, advertising funded platform to deliver their content to the millions in the region who had been previously excluded from these content global streams.

For more information, go to or email or .

About Issa Sikiti da Silva

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to as a senior news writer.
What? Their site is not very content rich.
Posted on 21 Jan 2008 12:08
If their website is anything to go by, I'm not too excited. How can a company launch themselves without a website - or with one that has NO information on it? Shoddy.
Posted on 21 Jan 2008 14:51
News and documentaries? Plenty of that on DSTV thanks..
Posted on 21 Jan 2008 17:53
Makes me wonder...-
Definitely sounds like a great idea, with a lot of potential. But very little is given about it and the website itself isn't the best either. To be honest I am really not sure how viable this is, going on what I see from the website. Definitely interesting to see some competition out there though.
Posted on 22 Jan 2008 08:36
Saint Nicholas
Great Media chief technical director Malcolm Ramsay told “We don't have to know you because you won't pay us every month and we won't switch you off. This comment is amazing, not great marketing, along with the pathetic website and total lack of info ie Location, Programme details, etc , I would not rush out and give these guys my R1440. Who do we contact when it goes all wrong, NOT FREE2VIEW, cos they dont want to know us I SMELL A RAT... BE CAREFUL
Posted on 22 Jan 2008 12:04
Is this for real?-
This must be the non-marketing event of the decade. Website contains zip, nobody at Space TV knows anything about it. I also smell a rat, big time. If it is for real it's very scary as obviously no-one knows anything at all about marketing. Thinking of giving MSNBC a call to tell them about the shoddy represenation. I think you should investigate this, Bizcom!
Posted on 22 Jan 2008 17:12
looks fake-
if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is, i wonder where the author of this got his info from????
Posted on 23 Jan 2008 14:40
Licence to operate-
As a so called "Free To Air" provider - they will require a licence to broadcast in SA (the same as eTV). As far as I am aware, they do not have a licence. As for MSNBC - not great compared to CNBC.
Posted on 25 Jan 2008 09:34
Great Website-
From the look of their website they appear as good at advance business planning and organisation as Eskom. They haven't even gone to the trouble of listing just some of their programmes on ther website!
Posted on 25 Jan 2008 11:27
Why dont the people get up of thier backsides and go see if there is a carrier on satellite at 7 deg east W3A. I had a look and it does exist MSNBC and a few other french channels.
Posted on 5 Feb 2008 14:33
South African Radio Regulations (Icasa)-
In my posession is the complete radio Regulations and it can be uploaded to your site for all to read and nowhere does it mention that you are nor allowed a open satellite reciever or to recieve signals from outer space.It appears that certain Government officials have a finger in the ICASA PIE and the PAY Service Providers ie DSTV.
Posted on 6 Feb 2008 15:09
Free2view satellite tv.-
Free to view is a hobby to recieve any amount of satellites on the "C" and KU Band with an open reciever. You need a satellite finder meter and a open reciever with the appropriate LNB`s and you can tune into any satellite.The only requisite is that you have a standard tv licence isseud by the SABC.Use your search engine to find Satellite dish and acc. suppliers in JHB. Great Hobby and it is legal.To blazes with pay tv Pottie
Posted on 7 Feb 2008 19:02
According to the free2view web site they will start broadcasting on 15thMarch at Noon (that is by their count down timer). One can only wait and see what happens. I for one wish them the best of luck as Multichoice have had their own way far toooooo long and needs competition. If Multichoice can sell their service and broadcast into Africa, then why can't anyone wherever in the world beam into us for free. But allas free2view promised us programmes a long time ago using the Hellas Sat bird and nothing came of it. The Eutelsat that they are using does have a number of channels receivable in Cape Town appart from MSNBC, there are 2 Senegalese, 1 Muslim, 1 French, 2 Mauritian, 2 Madagascan, 1 Gabon & 1 Porn Channel (encrypted but subscriptions available).
Posted on 8 Mar 2008 09:12
Knowing there are alternatives-
As far as the content available on Free2View is concerned, I can not comment. Hopefully one day they will deliver the 30 odd channels they've promised. If not, there are a number of other satellites with good content available. If FTV doesn't make it, hopefully some people will have at the least discovered that there are alternatives to Multichoice. I haven't really seen any decent movie channels on the Ku band (most easily accessible by the smaller dishes) but the news and documentary channels are way up there. These are easily accessible by anyone.
Posted on 26 Apr 2008 00:05
Pirate watch
Licence is required-
If the satellite signal constitutes spillage, i.e. South Africa is not the intended market, a licence would not be required. There is nothing preventing anybody popping up a C-Band or ku Band dish and setting their decoder to view some of the satellite channels whose signals can be received in South Africa. However, it is quite clear that this is a service intended for South Africa and that equipment is specifically being sold at stores to receive this channel. Each year licensed broadcasters pay annual fees to ICASA which are then placed in the National Revenue Fund and form part of our country's national budget. MultiChoice, ODM, Telkom Media and Walk on Water all participated in a subscription broadcasting licensing process where they had to pay application fees, they are all on satellite and could have played the same game as Free2View claiming they don't need a licence. The fact of the matter is if you want to play in South Africa you have to apply for a licence and pay annual licence fees, if you play and don't do that you are nothing more than a pirate. As licence fees go into the national budget they assist in reducing the tax burden on citizens, so the real question to ask here is why is ICASA sitting on its hands. It was quick to act when Don't panic was broadcasting on satellite without a licence into South Africa, but of course that was porn and in SA that always gets a reaction.
Posted on 2 Jul 2009 21:37
What hapened to F2V website???? The sat also seems to be missing!!!!!!!
Posted on 2 Apr 2010 20:54