From Analogue to Digital: BTV launches Three New Channels

  • DBS challenged to ensure production of engaging content
  • Digital terrestrial to measure audiences accurately
  • More than 35K set-top boxes have been distributed


In a historic turn of events last Sunday, Botswana Television (Btv) launched three broadcasting channels under the BTV bouquets styled Btv News, Btv 1 and Btv 2. Prior to the launch of the channels, the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) officially switched off its analogue transmission for a few hours before it switched on the digital terrestrial broadcasting.

“Today’s events are a fulfilment of our obligation to the global agreement to migrate from analogue broadcasting to digital, commonly known as the Geneva 06 Agreement,” said the Minister of State, Kabo Morwaeng, at the launch held at the Mass Media Complex in Gaborone.


New channels
The introduction of the new and revamped Btv channels is set to enable the public to access more entertainment and more public services and information. Btv News is an all-news channel found on satellite TV Channel 289, Btv1 is an entertainment channel found on satellite TV Channel 290 while Btv2 is an information and educational channel found at Channel 3 on the set-top box.

Said Morwaeng: “As government, we have taken a deliberate decision to drive and unlock the potential of the creative sector to create jobs and improve livelihoods through government programmes and policies.”

“This platform is thus expected to inspire innovation in the content space. This can only be good for the creative industry. I therefore challenge my Department of Broadcasting Services to step up and ensure that more content, local content, is produced; local content that is attractive, useful and engaging.”


Accessing the new channels
Working in partnership with the private sector, DBS has ensured that viewers are able to access the new channels through set-top boxes. While a lot still needs to be done for Batswana to access the digital terrestrial services, Morwaeng emphasised that a considerable number of deserving people have been assisted with set-top boxes.
“To-date we have been able to supply 25 000 set-top boxes for free around the country,” he said. “I am informed that inclusive of the stock provided by the private sector, more than 35 000 set-top boxes have been distributed.”


From digital to analogue
Through a partnership with the Government of Japan, DBS was able to roll out 46 digital terrestrial transmitters that enabled the smooth transition from analogue transmitters. According to Minister Morwaeng, the choice of Japan was informed by Botswana’s needs and capacity to implement the change.

“It is our desire to grow our digital terrestrial audience base,” he said. “The use of this technology allows us to have more control over our signal. In addition, this will enable us to accurately measure audiences for a wide range of purposes. With the digital broadcasting, we expect interactive content that will engage our viewers more efficiently. This will also enable us to do data-casting to deliver targeted useful information to our viewers.”