TelOne launches video-on-demand service

TelOne managing director, Chipo Mtasa

TELECOMMUNICATIONS firm, TelOne, launched its video on demand service on Wednesday, as it pursues a diversification strategy away from its traditional voice offering.

TelOne has partnered South Africa’s Discover Digital to package the Digital Entertainment on Demand (DEOD) service.

As interest in Zimbabwe’s state-dominated linear television service continues to ebb, enterprising firms have moved to capitalise through video-on-demand services. Currently, apart from global market leader Netflix, Zimbabweans also access video-on-demand from the Econet group’s Kwese iFlix and Multichoice’s Showmax.

TelOne says its video-on-demand services will be bundled with its broadband offering. Subscribers will have the option to sign up for DEOD packages, which range from news, sport, drama series, children’s shows, movies, music videos, documentaries and lifestyle programming.

Customers can also rent the latest movies and individual library movies not included in their chosen subscription on-demand package, even without a subscription.

At a time when local subscribers are struggling to make payments to some foreign services due to the current forex shortages, DEOD has payment channels which will allow customers to subscribe using mobile money and other digital payment platforms.

“TelOne is excited to be launching this ground-breaking service, which will enhance our service offering to our broadband customers. With the coming of our Fixed mobile Converged network, the partnership with DEOD (Digital Entertainment On Demand) will ensure that TelOne reasserts itself in the market as a giant in the digital communication and entertainment space” said TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa.

Mtasa addresses guests at the official launch of DEOD in Harare on Wednesday

Discover Digital managing director, Stephen Watson, says the new converged, linear channel and video on demand service offers Zimbabweans a one stop shop of subscription video on demand (SVOD), transactional video on demand (TVOD) and TV channels (Linear).

“This is an exciting launch on a number of fronts. But in particular because it is a significant move for a Tier 1 state-owned African telco business going to market with an advanced digital entertainment offering such as this,” Watson said.

“TelOne is an early adopter in Africa in terms of building compelling value added services to complement its data offerings. There is a strong realisation that as a telco, it cannot continue with a pure voice and data play, it needs to change its models and move with the times. Despite the stringent procurement criteria it is subject to as a state-owned entity, TelOne has moved quickly towards a sustainable model that delivers additional value to its customers.”

The evolving TelOne generated more revenue from data than its voice service for the first time ever in the first quarter of 2018, in line with the company’s pivot towards becoming a fully fledged technology entity.

Data from the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) showed that internet and data contributed 46.2% to TelOne’s first quarter revenues, eclipsing voice’s 44.8% contribution.

Broadband revenue increased by 3.7%, offsetting a 16% decline in voice traffic and helping hold total quarterly revenue steady at $28 million.