Guptas seek national TV licence - TechCentral

Guptas seek national TV licence

Atul Gupta

Atul Gupta

The Gupta-controlled Infinity Media Networks, which owns the 24-hour news channel ANN7 — broadcast on MultiChoice’s DStv pay-television platform — has applied to communications regulator Icasa for a commercial, free-to-air TV licence that will allow it to broadcast nationally on South Africa’s digital terrestrial TV network.

Icasa is holding public hearings in Midrand this week to hear representations for a number of applicants interested in receiving free-to-air TV licences. The authority is holding the hearings ahead of the commercial launch of digital terrestrial TV in South Africa, which will allow for new broadcasters to enter the market. It’s the first time new commercial free-to-air players will be introduced since was licensed in 1998.

If its application for a broadcasting licence is successful, Infinity Media intends to launch only ANN7 on a terrestrial platform — it does not plan to launch a bouquet of channels, it said at the Icasa hearings on Wednesday.

Shareholders in Infinity Media include Atul Gupta, Chetali Gupta, Rajesh Gupta and Arti Gupta, along with President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma (see table from the company’s submission to Icasa below).


ANN7 is widely described as Gupta TV because of the controversial Gupta family’s control of the company. The Guptas are seen as close to the president. Their newspaper, The New Age, along with the paper’s business breakfast briefings, enjoy strong financial support from a number of state-owned enterprises and government departments, along with political support.

Infinity Media minority shareholders include Nazeem Howa, the CEO of The New Age, and Moegsien Williams, the editor in chief of both ANN7 and The New Age.

In its Icasa application, Infinity Media lists its directors as Laxmi Narain Goel and Arpit Goel (Indian nationals and both of the Essel Group) as well as Nazeem Howa, Atul Gupta (founder of Sahara Computers) and Varun Gupta (all South African nationals). Senior management is made up of Howa (CEO), Williams (editor in chief) and Ricky Naidoo (editor).

ANN7, which is short for African News Network 7, was launched in August 2013. At the time of the launch, it was mocked heavily on social media for a series of technical glitches as well as mistakes made by untrained presenters.  – © 2015 NewsCentral Media


  1. Time to get out the popcorn, if this is going to be as entertaining as Ann7 was at launch.

  2. Seeking? Faith and Hlaudi gave ’em a TV licence years ago at one of the Gupta newsrag breakfasts. You know, that ‘newspaper’ that mysteriously exists without a single advert in it.

  3. Ann 7 start up was full of normal glitches as like most start ups. Now they are OK. Gupta TV should go for conditional access and Internet connection. Show government, SABC and Sentech how TV 2016 should be done. Make use of all the latest and modern technologies. Go for it. Make a success with your CA and Internet and then offer it to SABC.

  4. Greg Mahlknecht on

    I’m not sure why you’d need conditional access on a free-to-air 24-hour news channel?

  5. This application will without doubt be fully and quickly approved by “I”CASA.
    So what is available on DTT already: the 3 SABC channels, SABC News, and Encore, I believe.

  6. Logic? You miss all the logic in front of your eyes. The Guptas will start with Ann 7 and ends up with a bouquet of channels including premium content, Sport, Blockbusters, etc.
    How can you not see it?

  7. Well JZ will be happy in terms of media freedom – the application by his Gupta cronies extends his ambitions to regulate what is broadcast to the masses. I see much ANC advertising diverted to this new TV network.

  8. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day on

    Don’t see very many black faces among those directors – does the ANC know this?

  9. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day on

    and anc propaganda, don’t forget anc propaganda, all paid for by the taxpayer, of course.

  10. William Stucke on

    Really, Antonio. Please.

    You need to start reading what other people say, and actually understanding it, before you start firing from the hip with your, by now very boring, Conditional Access and Internet Connection nonsense.

    Greg posed the very reasonable question about why one would need CA for FTA news channel? Which contains no HD blockbuster movies at all or any other “high value” content that might be worth pirating. You failed to answer that and started rabbiting on as usual.

    Also, I answered the question – giving three separate reasons – why an Internet connection on a DTT STB is an idiotic idea, months ago.

  11. Dear William. Please read my statement “Show government, SABC and Sentech how TV 2016 should be done. Make use of all the latest and modern technologies.”
    Guptas will never ever settle for 1 news channel only. Talk to them. Read about their plans. If you think that the Guptas are going to run one single news channel you are seeing blind.
    Internet on set top boxes are thriving in your own country. Just look at Apple TV and all the thousands of Android TV players connected to the Internet.
    Naspers just bought WBS. Fibre optic to the home is growing by the day. LTE is all over. 3G is cheap nowadays.
    Now why on earth is it idiotic to exclude Internet on set top boxes?

  12. The Emperor has no clothes... on

    >Naspers just bought WBS.
    In what warped reality of yours did this happen?

  13. Let me help you: “Multisource, backed by former top bankers Paul Harris and Michael Jordaan, plans to capitalise Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the parent of iBurst and Broadlink, to build a 4G/LTE network that replaces the company’s older iBurst technology and, over time, builds a next-generation mobile telecommunications network with national scope.

    That’s the word from Duncan Simpson-Craib, who has been appointed to lead Multisource as CEO and oversee the plans to use WBS’s valuable spectrum assets to build the network.

    Multisource recently secured the final approval it needed, from communications regulator Icasa, to buy WBS. It had already secured the green light from the Competition Commission earlier this year.

    Simpson-Craib tells TechCentral that WBS’s spectrum — especially its access to the 1,8GHz and 2,6GHz bands — is one of the main reasons that Multisource’s shareholders saw it as an attractive acquisition opportunity. The spectrum, he says, has not been utilised to its full potential.

    “If you look at what is happening in the world of data — where the incumbent operators’ growth in data year on year is enormous — we see a big opportunity to leverage that spectrum and roll out a next-generation data network,” he says.”

  14. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    The real mistake I would say is proclaiming to be a spokesperson for the Guptas; or is it spokesperson for the poor masses; or spokesperson for local content producers – No, actually it is indeed just a bullsh*t spokesperson and nothing else to it.

  15. SABC 4! I guess they have to do all they can to maintain the wealth & priveliges gained from comrade Zuma & the ANC.

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