Vodacom in talks with Naspers over content


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African mobile phone operator [DATA VOD: Vodacom] is in talks with pay-TV giant [DATA NPN: NASPERS] to deliver movies and television programmes to mobile devices, it said on Monday, part of a search for new sources of income from fast-growing data consumers.

“We are on record as exploring a partnership with Naspers to deliver video content onto mobile devices,” said Tshepo Ramodibe, head of corporate affairs at Vodacom. “These discussions are still ongoing.”

Vodacom and its closest domestic rival MTN Group are struggling to grow sales from voice calls at home as they slash tariffs to defend market share.


In response, they are rolling out high speed networks to meet strong demand for data as customers increasingly use their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet, stream videos and download applications.

For Naspers, a company that went from an Afrikaans language publisher into a $54 billion e-commerce and pay-TV multinational, the deal will give its pay-TV business a new distribution platform.

The deal would also establish a competitor for Netflix, a U.S. TV and film streaming service that has said it had plans to enter South Africa with its video-on-demand services by year-end.

($1 = 12.9129 rand)