So much more to offer

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Dressed in a black-and-white stripped shirt and black trousers, Lehlohonolo " Nolo" Letele oozes confidence.

He sips his tea as he talks about his passion; MultiChoice, which provides premium TV entertainment through its DStv bouquets.

Letele, MutliChoice's chief executive, is widely credited with introducing interactive TV on DStv and the dual-view decoder.

This is his 10th year as chief executive and his achievements have been many, including the Phil Weber Award in 2003.

He adds: "Another success is the Phuthuma Nathi empowerment scheme that gave 15percent ownership in MultiChoice Pay TV to black people. This took place after several years of engaging with top management."

On competition and other new service providers who are entering the market Letele says: "We target all ranges to enable us to keep up with the game.

"We have been introducing new bouquets and making them more affordable, like the R20-a -month bouquet.

"But competition attacks in different ways. Our staff is being offered better packages. This has prompted us to devise other methods to retain our staff, such as paying more attractive salaries."

Skills shortage has also affected MultiChoice greatly.

He says: "Engineering skills are scarce, though we focus and invest heavily in this field through sponsorships, funding and training programmes.

"Regarding specialised skills such as content, we have to develop these internally.

"Pay TV is a unique niche and has less talent, which creates a major shortage in skills, hence the need to create a pool of talent through various methods."

About MultiChoice's plans for the future he says: "Soon we will have a 24-hour news channel. DStv mobile is one of our soon to be launched products.

"The next generation PVR with high definition is another plan coming very soon and it will have video on demand whereby one can download videos. Our engineering and developer's team keep us well abreast of the technologies."

Letele, joined M-Net in 1990 as manager. He began his career as a broadcasting engineer at the Lesotho National Broadcasting Service. In 1988 he introduced Lesotho's first television service.