HARARE – Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), which publishes NewsDay, The Standard and The Independent, has been awarded a content distribution, webcasting and Video-on-Demand (VOD) licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).

Econet Wireless, Zimpapers, TelOne and Africom are some of the companies that have been granted the same licence by BAZ.

AMH says it has set up a broadcasting division, Heart & Soul Broadcasting Services, through which it hopes to provide video on demand and webcasting services.

“Broadcast journalism has moved on and content consumption patterns have also shifted. The phenomena present to us a huge opportunity to expedite our vision of a digital first business in a market that is fast becoming a digital society,” Heart & Soul Broadcasting Services chief executive officer and AMH chief operating officer Kangai Maukazuva said.

“Our shareholders are passionate digital citizens and were the first to have coined ‘a digital first strategy’ and we are proud to be the largest digital media business in this market.

“We also appreciate that our local regulatory authorities are moving with times and unbundling opportunities arising from new trends.”

AMH managing director Kenias Mafukidze said the licence would enable the company to expand its market share and give more value to its already huge internet following.

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On all its online platforms, including the three websites and their respective social media platforms, AMH has a following of over four million, according to the company.

“The way in which we consume news and entertainment has changed dramatically over the past decade, creating exciting opportunities for traditional broadcasters. Come to think of it: Millennials spend more time streaming content than watching it on television, and more than 20 percent of them are viewing shows on their mobile devices. Streaming services are growing rapidly, with around 60 percent of consumers using them,” Mafukidze said.

“Being able to offer VOD allows our users to select and watch and listen to video or audio content such as movies and TV shows whenever they choose, rather than at a scheduled broadcast time. This will complement our leading print offerings. We are committed to investing into delivery of content to our loyal customers.”

Mafukidze said “the future lies in being able to distribute content in creative ways to different audiences.”

Recently, the company named Nqaba Matshazi – the former deputy editor of NewsDay – as Head of Digital whose job it will be to steer the growth of AMH’s digital products and their monetisation.

AMH is owned by the Zanu PF-supporting media tycoon Trevor Ncube.