New pay-TV challenges DStv

2010-05-01 00:00

ON Digital Media (ODM) launches new pay-TV system TopTV today, giving long-term monopoly Multichoice competition for the first time.

And TopTV are adamant that their more affordable product will thrive.

A price war has erupted between newcomer TopTV and DStv, with the veteran TV-pay operator introducing a cheaper package to secure market share.

TopTV are offering four packages ranging in price from R99 for 20 channels to R249 for more than 50 channels a month.

Multichoice launched a similar new bouquet yesterday called DStv Lite. The new offering will cost R99 per month and comprise 25 video channels, 32 radio and 10 DMX music channels.

This product will be in direct competition with TopTV’s packages.

But Vino Govender, chief executive of ODM, is confident that TopTV will thrive.

“The majority of South Africans who can afford to pay between R99 and R249 a month will have access to world-class television entertainment across all genres.”

Packages on offer from TopTV are Variety, Kids and Music, Entertainment and Knowledge and Ultimate Movies.

There will be a combination of international and local programming, with nine locally developed channels that will offer programming from South Africa and around the world.

Gugu Sibeko, ODM’s general manager of local channels, said: “Under the Top TV brand, we are able to combine quality international programming with popular local shows, creating channels with South African appeal.”

ODM said it is also proud to introduce 34 “new-to-the market” channels, nine music video channels and 25 new music audio services. Well-known channels such as Fox, BET, MSNBC, BBC, Warner, Disney and Discovery will also be available.

TopTV has been criticised for its meagre offering of sports channels, but publicity manager Melinda Connor said there should be no concerns as “people who wish to watch sport will use the SABC channels and Setanta Sports”.

“Our team is currently in the process of setting up more sports channels,” said Connor. ODM is one of four pay-TV operators to be awarded a licence by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.

The three others, Walking on Water (WOW), Worldspace and Telkom Media, are yet to launch.

Once all these products are made available, viewers who are willing to fork out for entertainment will be spoilt for choice.

But Multichoice is confident. Nico Meyer, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa, said: “We are very excited about the latest DStv offering. We always look for opportunities to improve and grow our services by adding value and choice.”

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