Advanced Television

TopTV under pressure

February 24, 2012

By Chris Forrester

South Africa’s TopTV, owned by On Digital Media (in which SES Astra has an investment position), is under pressure. CEO Vino Govender left the company early in February ahead of a restructuring although remains as a shareholder. Eddie Mbalo, the broadcaster’s chairman, has assumed the CEO role until a replacement for Govender is sourced.

ODM, in a statement, said Govender’s exit followed a series of meetings between the board and management to discuss the “future and possible restructure of TopTV to ensure that the company remains competitive and relevant”.

However, local press reports say that despite the broadcaster’s low-cost portfolio of channels it is struggling to hold onto subscribers. Some 360,000 decoders have been sold into the market, but bizarrely only about half are active.  The company is reported to have about 160,000-200,000 actual paying subscribers.

TopTV hit the headlines last month over plans to start transmitting late-night adult channels, although those plans were thwarted by the ICASA regulator.

TopTV has also apparently dropped its plans to launch an HD-equipped box and PVR device, originally promised for the end of last year.

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