Monday, 28 November 2022

In Leisure

UPICtv: The Botswana Equivalent of Netflix

Conceived in 1997 by Reed Hastings, Netflix is a name that comes to mind when talking about online video streaming and internet-connected screens. Following this model, Botswana launched its own channel called UPICtv in 2020.

But what is Netflix? Netflix Inc. is the world’s leading subscription streaming entertainment service with over one hundred and sixty-seven (167) million paid streaming memberships in over one hundred and ninety (190) countries. Netflix uses a model of Internet protocol television (IPTV)- on simpler terms, IPTV is the delivery of content over the internet, and these include; TV series, documentaries and feature films. 

Members can watch as much as they want, at any time, and anywhere on any internet-connected screen. Also, members can play, pause and resume watching, without the disturbance of commercials.

How does this model actually work? What happens is that the ability to provide content to the members so that they can watch depends on studios, content providers, and other rights holders licensing rights, including distributing rights, to such content and certain related elements thereof, such as the public performance of music contained within the content. However, the IPTV can also produce its own content. After acquiring such rights, the IPTV then sells the content to the members for viewing or watching through internet-connected screens for a certain amount of money payable mostly in subscriptions. There are subscription plans to choose from, the customer can choose the plan that best suits their interest and budget.

Back to UPICtv.

Launched on the 24th of October 2020, there is no best time than this for Botswana to launch its version of IPTV. With the Corona Virus Disease aftermath, the creative industry has been greatly affected, this channel comes as an answer to artists’ prayers as they would be able to produce content and sell it to the channel for distribution, publicity and of course income returns.

For a longtime now artists have been decrying of lack of or limited air time on the national television station, Botswana Television (BTV). Now with the launch of UPICtv, there is more than enough room for all. Producers and artists can sell their already available content and still create some more and even more. 

The best thing about IPTV is that, unlike traditional TV, there is no limit to the content that can be uploaded- while a traditional TV has a limit of twenty-four (24) hours air time, IPTV has unlimited space. While traditional TV content is time sensitive and seldom repeated, IPTV content is readily available to the customer to watch any time they want. Is there a better solution to the creative arts and the entertainment than this?

UPIC TV offers a digital content platform that will showcase Botswana’s storytelling and entertainment. “The IPTV platform will be a significant contributor towards the commercialization of the creative and arts industry, as outlined in our country’s Creative Industry Strategy.”  “It is important to note that the creative ecosystem that supports the film industry goes beyond the engagement of writers, editors, actors, fashion designers and make-up artists. 

Through our films and stories, we will also be able to share our national heritage sites, tourist attractions and our hospitability industry with the global community, which has the potential to create sustainable wealth for our country and our people.” His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi said when launching the IPTV.

Over time, Netflix has grown to be a multi-billion company, making billions of dollars in revenue year in and year out. By the end of 2019, the total revenue for Netflix stood at twenty point two billion US dollars (US$20.2 billion) which is roughly two hundred and one billion pula (BWP201 billion). Total fully employed individuals stood at eight thousand and six hundred (8,600) by the end of 2019.

It is expected that by the third year of its operation, UPIC TV would have created employment opportunities for nothing less than five thousand and eight hundred (5800) Batswana.

The success of this IPTV is entirely in the hands of the creative industry players, it has the potential to showcase their talent to the world and make them millionaires just as Netflix has. Through determination and benchmark on the successful IPTV models, UPICtv can surely be the next big thing.

Sources:,, DailyNews

Cabanga Media Group publishes of thoughtful economic and business commentary magazines and online media, in several African markets, that include South Africa, Botswana, East Africa Community, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria, and Zambia.