TelkomONE to become South Africa’s first streaming platform


South Africa’s telecom mobile operator, Telkom, has teamed up with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to launch a new streaming platform called TelkomONE.

The unique partnership will stretch over a five-year period and is set to showcase the country’s most popular and on-demand TV programs as well as radio platforms all in one place.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide all South African’s with free access to watch their favorite SABC content, online, when and wherever they want,” Sipho Maseko, Telkom’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said in statement. 

The mobile operator channel will house the public broadcaster’s free-to-air radio and TV channels. TelkomONE will stream live SABC television channels 1, 2, Sport and Education as well as all 19 SABC radio stations.

“TelkomONE will make it possible for subscribers to pause, go back into the programme guide (time-shift) and instantly watch a scheduled TV show they may have missed. Telkom is making digital TV functionality available to all,” Maseko added. 

Global mobile consumers spent 25 percent more time streaming shows and movies in 2020 than in 2019, mainly due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in a worldwide shutdown, according to a report from mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

In parallel, consumers spent 1.6 trillion hours on their mobile devices in the first half of 2020.

“Social apps blurred the lines with streaming providers as the percentage of Netflix’s iPhone users also using TikTok increased from 15 percent to 45 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter in the previous year,” the report highlighted. 

To capitalize on the rising demand of online video content in South Africa, Maseko noted that the mobile-friendly TelkomONE will include a plethora of other content over and above the SABC channels, such as comedy, lifestyle content and music for youth on-the-go.

“Telkom was a natural partner with whom to build a new platform for developing and disseminating South African content,” Madoda Mxakwe, CEO SABC Group said. 

Mxakwe added that the partnership is significant in ensuring that their content, in all its formats, reaches consumers everywhere at any time.

Pre-pandemic, 20 percent of streaming video subscribers cancelled at least one service in the previous 12 months, according to a survey by Deloitte. 

“Since the pandemic began, 17 percent of subscribers said they have already cancelled at least one service. The top reasons for cancelling: high costs (36 percent) and expiring discounts or the end of free trials (35 percent),” the survey highlighted.

However, during the pandemic, 47 percent of consumers said they used at least one free ad-supported streaming video service. The survey showed that the majority of consumers said they want access to cheaper, ad-supported streaming video options, both before (62 percent) and since the COVID-19 pandemic (65 percent).

“Through the new streaming channel, we will further promote universal access to popular SABC content for audiences and customers, in an affordable manner and with ease of access on mobile,” the SABC Group CEO said.

Mxakwe stated that the broadcasting company will work to bolster the opportunities for their talented local producers to showcase more of their work on a platform on which content can live longer than on traditional media platforms.

The SABC will provide its content to Telkom on a non-exclusive basis. In exchange, the SABC will receive a carriage license fee as well as share in the advertising revenue generated on the TelkomONE platform.