Celebrating Multichoice Namibia’s 25th Anniversary with Roger Gertze
Give us insight into MultiChoice’s history. The past twenty-five years?
MultiChoice Namibia, is the first joint venture with MultiChoice outside South Africa. We’ve got two shareholders being Kalahari Holdings as a Namibian entity which is the majority shareholder and MultiChoice Holdings as the other partner. MultiChoice Namibia is responsible for subscriber management – that’s really the core of what we are doing here in Namibia. To provide a customer first service.
Tell us about your journey with MulitChoice, your favourite moment, memories, highlights?
Shortly after I was appointed, we celebrated 21 years of existence in Namibia. It was a great experience to join an organisation that has been in existence for 21 years. Not only been in existence for 21 years but doing so successfully. I had the privilege to lead the company for another four and a half years and now we are 25 years old. We have been listening to our customers for 25 years and we have been able to cater to their entertainment needs. Bringing them the latest in sport, movies through our express from the US, and technologies in terms of the decoders that we have on offer. I mean who would not love to have an Explorer these days. We also provide leading content through Catch Up, our Box Office on DSTV.
I also had the privilege to launch GOtv in Namibia, during my tenure. We now have a sizeable base of customers also making use of that offering. It is great fun to be working for MultiChoice and to be offering our customers the kind of content that we’ve got on the platform. Which we believe is internationally recognised as key content, but also providing customer service which is our key strategic intent – to make sure that our customers get the best support they need.
How is MultiChoice enriching lives by making great entertainment accessible?
Enriching lives is really what we are all about. Making sure that whatever we offer from content, to hardware, to customer service that we enrich the lives of our customers. You must also understand that we’ve got service channel partners in the form of agents that do interface with our customers. A retail network that supports our business and all of these are third party organisations that work with us. So in as much as we do provide direct opportunities in Namibia, direct work opportunities in Namibia and for the past 25 years we have employed directly in excess of three thousand staff members who obviously have moved on and some have stayed on. We’ve got an agent network of thirteen agents countrywide. Those are small to medium enterprises that do employ, at least on average, two to three Namibians in their businesses. We’ve got 130 accredited installers and each one of them also employ, on average, two to three staff members. We enrich the lives of Namibians in the form of the business opportunities we give them.
Through our MultiChoice Resource Centre Program we have now installed DStv, dish kits, flat screen televisions and Explorers in over 350 schools. We believe through the testimonies that we are getting from the learners at these schools, the teachers as well as the Minister of Education, that, that the english proficiency at schools, especially in the rural areas has improved.
The general knowledge of the children making use of the system and also teacher support in terms of subjects like Mathematics, Geography, History – subjects needed for people to go to university and study in the fields of engineering and medicine. All in all, I would say that this company hasn’t been in existence for 25 years by accident. Through our mission and purpose of enriching lives, we have been able to contribute widely to both our customers and our service providers as well as the schools and learners in Namibia.
What does the MultiChoice Resource Centre mean for education in the Namibia?
We’ve got the Memorandum of Understanding with the Minister of Education and our aim was to join the Minister of Education to improve the results of learners. We all know the country is vast, the numbers are not always making sense, in terms of numbers in the far remote areas
In some of the schools where we launched, it was the first time in 25 years that those children were exposed to a television, let alone the type of content that we are providing. The type of support they are now getting through, material in terms of additional mathematics classes on Mindset. The exposure to wildlife, the history channel and our national broadcaster service, the news, so that they are also part of the conversation even if they are in rural areas.
What contribution is MultiChoice making with regard to job creation? How has this changed the lives of people that work for MultiChoice as well as other service providers?
Multichoice Namibia has three branches and then our Head Office here in Windhoek. We’ve got thirteen agents countrywide in Oranjemund, Luderitz, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Gobabis, Walvis Bay, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Rundu, Katima Mulilo and Ondangwa. All of these agents are third party vendors, most of them are SME operators, and they then also appoint staff to work in their agencies. Most of these agencies are with MultiChoice Namibia for more than twenty years, providing job opportunities in those areas.
We’ve got 130 accredited installers. Operating across the country and in turn also then appoint support staff that are trained. Most of these installers are with the company for twenty years or longer. We do make use of the agents and retailers countrywide to sell our decoders and accessories and, we do believe that in that regard we also contribute to employment creation in the country.
Let’s talk a bit about local talent that appeared on DStv or GOtv over the past 25 years and what’s Multichoice’s view on local content going forward?
We are happy that we have been playing a role in making sure that local talent is also exposed on the DStv as well as GOtv platforms. Back from the early days, when Michelle McLean became Miss Universe.
We would like to believe that if it wasn’t for MultiChoice’s existence, back then already, that would not have been possible. That was followed up with Frank Fredericks running in the one hundred and two hundred metres events across the globe and, we as Namibians were glued to our TV screens. There’s quite a number of Namibians that have featured on our platforms and the fact that Multichoice was in existence we could then, first of all screen those events, locally but these athletes and actresses benefited from being exposed to the outside world. We are extremely happy that we could play a part in that – Dillish winning a Big Brother Africa and David that was able to win TLC’s Next Great Presenter. Our 25th anniversary that is slated for June, July this year shows again we were able to live our value of enriching lives.
In the area of local content, we are in discussions with a number of producers locally, and broadcasters like One Africa Television and NBC to see how far we can take this dream of creating and bringing accessible local content onto the platform. This will in turn give the work of the producers mileage locally, but also taking it to other African countries and later internationally.
How is MultiChoice encouraging the spirit of generosity through the charities MultiChoice sponsors?
Yes, we do believe that we are playing a role in corporate social investment. We have made quite a number of donations to worthy socially needy individuals, groups, and organisations. Of late we’ve made a contribution to an orphanage in Swakopmund, which we believe were worthy recipients of the contribution. We will be making a donation to the Ministry of Health and Social Services, to provide them with a number of incubators, something that the Ministry is in dire need of as these facilities are currently only Windhoek. Imagine, those small babies need to be transferred to Windhoek from all over the country to stand a chance to live and therefore we feel that this contribution will go a long way in supporting the Namibian nation as well as our customers and prospective customers.
What’s shall we expect from MultiChoice in the future?
We will continue to live our vision of enriching lives, exploring opportunities of providing better content and service to our customers. We will also make sure we continue to grow and enjoy the support of our customers so that we can provide much needed jobs in the economy and continue to support the socially needy and vulnerable communities in Namibia.
Do you have any final message for the customers?
I would like to thank our valued customers for their loyalty throughout the years. We are not perfect but we will continue to develop products and services as well as, self service platforms so that we can improve the type of customer service that we provide to you. We trust that you will continue to support us for the next 25 years to come.