first namibian to head MultiChoice

Marcus Burger is the first Namibian to hold the position of a managing director at MultiChoice Namibia.

Taking over from Kobus Bezuidenhout, Burger is, however, not new at the television network as he was their Financial Manager since 1997 before his appointment to the management position.

He is a holder of a BComm. (Accounting) from Potchefstroom University; has done courses amongst which he has received an advanced management program and a High Performance Leadership certificate at Wits Business School, South Africa.

Furthermore, he is currently busy studying in order to complete an MBA at Stellenbosch Business School also in SA.

“I am humbled indeed, proud and honoured at the prospect of leading MultiChoice Namibia.

Coming from a financial background, I see all facets of the new job challenging but hopefully rewarding as well. I am fortunate to have industry-specific experience as well as MultiChoice-specific experience to carry forward and apply in my new role,” Burger says.

MultiChoice Namibia, which is a part of MultiChoice Africa based in South Africa, has been operating in Namibia since 1992 and Kalahari Holdings is a majority shareholder with 51% shares. The business that started off as part of the first-paying TV channels to launch outside the United States has grown into a successful paying TV business with multiple products.

Digital Satellite Television (DStv) is a multiple channelled digital satellite TV on direct to home (DTH) African subscription broadcasting services. It operates from two satellites over Africa, broadcasting on Ku-band via Eutelsat W7 and Intelsat7, which only requires a small satellite dish. It currently includes nearly 100 video channels and over 20 audio channels.

In his new position, Burger’s role is to formulate, implement and monitor strategies and business processes. Burger, who is a sport enthusiaste and mostly plays golf and squash, understands that like in sport whereby team effort is important for the success of a game, plans on keeping emphasis on the welfare and motivation of the staff for a better service to the customer.

“I believe that in order to succeed in a new position, I must be able to listen to all the parties involved in making MultiChoice a leading business and rely on my whole team of staff and support structures. We live with the following values, which keep the staff motivated: team work, integrity, customer focus, mutual respect, ownership and accountability,” he points out.

He further notes that the secret behind the 20 years of MultiChoice Namibia’s existence is a blend of visionary and innovative leadership, a great product offering, with “the best and most dedicated staff”.

MultiChoice Namibia has a staff complement of 70 employees in Windhoek, with two branches in Ongwediva and Swakopmund. In addition, it is supported by an impressive network of 11 agents and 85 accredited installer companies countrywide.

“We constantly use technology and technological innovation to better our product and service offerings to our subscribers,” Burger emphasises. With the 21st Century being a time of innovation and high technological use in the world, he concurs, one needs to keep up with innovative technology in order to keep up.

Some of the technological innovations brought about by MultiChoice Namibia is the launch of the DStv–on-demand services on the PVR decoding, high definition channels and the DVB–T, which is the DStv Mobile.

Namibia was one of the few African countries to be part of the launch of the technology of mobile television. The mobile Television bouquet currently includes approximately 12 audiovisual and audio channels.

In a process which is very similar to that which occurs vis-a-vis the transmission of the DStv digital satellite subscription television broadcasting and the DTT service, the broadcast signals of the channels included in the mobile television bouquets are uplinked (for backhaul purposes only) to the IS 902 satellite. The signals are then down-linked to DVB-H sites in Namibia, where DVB-H modulation occurs.

MultiChoice Namibia does not interfere with the content on the channels on the mobile television service but simply receives, modulates and re-transmits the channel signals. The mobile television service is thus a re-broadcasting service.

When it comes to the contents that run on television, Burger notes that the television network does have a say on the content. However, they give their opinions and ideas on the programs to be aired in Namibia.

In essence, they are looking into making the local content more available on DStv, although for now, the local marketing is still small compared to bigger countries such as Nigeria that has at least five local channels incorporated in the DStv channels.

In order to keep improving, MultiChoice has invested close to N$1m into an integrated voice recognition system, which automates interaction with telephone callers enabling subscribers to retrieve information including DStv account balance via their touch telephone keypads, giving customers the options to assist themselves.

The subscriber remains the top priority for the business as they thrive to constantly deliver new and exciting programming that enhances subscribers’ viewing to be pleasurable. One way of meeting the subscribers’ needs was to launch the DStv-on-demand service and high definition (HD).

“There are lots of exciting developments still to come in Namibia. We will also keep on venturing to find new opportunities to serve our customers better and at their own convenience. We will constantly review and evaluate our product offerings as delivery methods of our products and services will stay abreast of the latest development and trends.” he explains.

However, he indicates that the business does not go without challenges, some include the non-availability of satellite transporter capacity, which in turn, affects their ability to carry as many channels as they want. Their ongoing challenge is to remain on the cutting edge of technological development in Africa.

“Finding a common ground is not always easy but balancing the needs of everyone, especially consumers, is what we strive for. Many of our viewers are not aware of the vast machinery that delivers DStv to them and rightfully so, our objective is to provide top quality entertainment while theirs is to enjoy the experience. We are committed to using every technology available to us to enhance that experience and developments on the horizon hold the promise of exciting changes. Putting new technology to good use is a challenge we relish,” he concludes. PF


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