by Gugu Lourie
TURKEY, Antalya: A combination of increased demand for smart television sets and inadequate broadband bandwidth speed has opened up opportunities for content providers. As a result Samsung Electronics SA is developing a strategy around content to enable South Africans to enjoy the benefits of modern television.
This development is likely to usher in a new era for television in the country, where increasing numbers of viewers are ditching their old-fashioned cathode ray tube (CRT) television sets for slim, high-definition (HD) liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma display units.
The boom in sales of digital and HD TV sets, which are becoming more affordable, raises expectations of an acceleration of video-on-demand content on TV sets.
Samsung is partnering with South African content producers to deliver video-on-demand for the ordinary viewer. Not
surprisingly, various players in this industry are already positioning themselves to benefit from this development.
Samsung has partnered with eNCA to provide viewers with easy access to Africa’s latest news, and is working with SuperSport to offer sports highlights, live scores and player information across Africa.
From April, the global TV manufacturer will also provide customers with a one month’s free movie content from VIDI,
which gives Smart TV viewers in South Africa on-demand access to the latest Hollywood blockbusters and popular TV
series. Samsung will also team up with the streaming app Simfy to provide unlimited access to a world of music.
Furthermore, this year Samsung’s Smart TVs, including the premium SUHD line-up, will be powered by Tizen, an open-source platform that supports web standards for App TV development. Most importantly, it ensures that consumers will have access to a much broader range of Smart TV content and services.
Commenting on the development, Samsung Electronics SA’s deputy managing director Matthew Thackrah says: “It’s really about us positioning ourselves as a market leader from an innovation perspective. So, we know we have the technological prowess. We know we have the best-designed TV sets. We know we have the best-performing TV sets. It’s about how do we get the content onto them.”
Samsung wants its Smart TV sets to be more appealing to consumers by ensuring that they have high-quality content to allow viewers to enjoy the use of their equipment.
“We position ourselves to be a leader, when a consumer thinks of a smart TV they think of Samsung, and there is only
one way to do that and that’s through good content. And that’s really our drive,” explains Thackrah.
The intention is to make sure that the consumers are aware that they are “buying a TV with additional content availability”, says Thackrah.
As part of this strategy to ensure that Smart TV sets provide the best possible viewing experience to viewers, Samsung has also partnered with Vox Telecom. This partnership aims to make internet TV affordable.
Every Samsung Smart TV purchased via participating retailers comes with one terabyte of data from Vox Telecom, which
is valid for a year and “is unthrottled, unshaped, premium-grade ADSL”.
Netflix, the US-based global company that provides a subscription service for watching TV episodes and movies is
planning to come to SA in the next two years.
One wonders whether Samsung will seek a partnership with Netflix. “That would be our intention, but you never commit to something like that,” says Thackrah. “But our intention would be to partner with good content partners. We want to make sure that our content is always relevant and is in demand.”
One thing is certain – Smart TV is dictating a new era for television and Samsung is likely to face competition from
its rivals such as Sony and LG, which could also come up with their own content strategies for the South African market.
Lourie attended the Samsung Africa Forum Conference in Turkey as a guest of Samsung.
This article is also published in Finweek