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3K TV presses ahead towards station launch

WORK is progressing smoothly towards the highly anticipated launch of independent television station 3K TV in the first quarter of this year.

Emmanuel Nyamayedenga, 3K TV’s seasoned general manager, told the Daily News yesterday that everything was on track, with the station now “trialling” its equipment, systems and processes ahead of launch.

“All key personnel is in place and all critical equipment has been sourced and installed. We are now at trialling stage in preparation for the big day,” he said.

With regards to equipment, PlayBox Technology — one of the leading channel-in-a-box providers for media companies worldwide — has availed a comprehensive broadcast playout platform to the station.

3K TV turned to PlayBox to allow the station to commence operations as quickly as possible, given that successful applicants have just 18 months from award of licences to get their new channels on air.

By choosing an integrated playout software platform from PlayBox, 3K-TV ensured there were no technical constraints to getting its service on air.

The new broadcaster, supported by Harare-based system integrator Solution Centre, selected a Channel in a Box Neo server, a CaptureBox Neo ingest server, and playlist and graphics preparation workstations.

The key contract also included a comprehensive training module.

“The Zimbabwean people have long sought a broader choice of free-to-air broadcasters,” said Daniel de Beer, technical manager at Solution Centre.

“As a new broadcaster, 3K-TV was free to choose the most appropriate technology, and we see PlayBox as delivering high reliability and simplicity in operation, at a cost-effective price,” he added.

PlayBox Technology is a media and entertainment technology company delivering over 20 000 master entertainment streams every day.

Drawing on its 15 years’ experience of innovation in channel-in-a-box technology, it has developed a highly sophisticated playout engine, capable of serving multiple channels and platforms at resolutions up to 4k Ultra HD.

PlayBox software, running on standard computer hardware, includes content servers, scheduling and graphics tools, as well as mission-critical playout automation.

The system is designed to support all users through intuitive and tailored user interfaces, with the ability to make simple modifications to suit each installation.

“It is always exciting to see new channels take to the air,” said Philip Neighbour, chief operating officer at PlayBox Technology.

“Because our solution is designed to be logical and intuitive, we can help entrants to the market to realise their goals without getting bogged down in complex engineering.

“The opening up of the market in Zimbabwe is an exciting opportunity for everyone,” Neighbour added.

Nyamayedenga said recently that the countdown to 3K TV’s much-anticipated launch had begun, and that it was “all systems go until the momentous kick off”.

“We are on the home straight now in terms of our preparations and everyone involved is champing at the bit to go on air and become the television station of choice for Zimbabweans.

“There is an enormous appetite for excellent, independent and locally-produced television content in Zimbabwe and among Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

“With the tag line ‘The Best of Zimbabwe’, 3K TV is well set to meet this hunger for riveting, 24/7television programming from day one,” Nyamayedenga said.

“We will offer unmatchable content on and about Zimbabwe, including quality home grown entertainment, current affairs programmes and absorbing documentaries — all tailored to the rich history, cultural diversity and socio-economic circumstances of Zimbabweans.

“Indeed, our audiences and their experiences will be at the centre of all our broadcasts as we deliver innovative and distinctive content that is unbiased and non-partisan.

“In that regard, we will be showcasing the very best of Zimbabwe all round, with our content produced by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans wherever they are,” Nyamayedenga added.

This comes after the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz) licensed six new television stations in November 2020, including 3K TV — thereby ending six decades of monopoly by State broadcaster ZBC TV.   

Following an open and rigorous application and vetting process by Baz, 3K TV — a sister venture to Zimbabwe’s iconic and number one business newspaper, The Financial Gazette, as well as the inimitable Daily News and the Daily News On Sunday — emerged tops after the keenly fought adjudication proceedings.

Buoyed by this overwhelming vote of confidence from Zimbabweans, Nyamayedenga said viewers were “in for a huge treat”.

“As our principals and board of directors have said, ours is not an experiment, even as this marks the first venture by our Group — the fastest growing and most influential media conglomerate in the country — in the key broadcasting sector.

“In this light, we have engaged many experienced and upcoming content creators to cement our winning formula, this time on television. Viewers will not be disappointed.

“Similarly, we have had very fruitful engagements with our business partners, to extend the excellent and mutually beneficial relationship that we have had with them in print to television,” Nyamayedenga said.