StarTimes licence transfer stumbles
February 3, 2014
By Chris Forrester
On Digital Media (ODM) is the official South African licence holder for DTH transmissions over the country for the TopTV service. The near-bankrupt ODM/TopTV business is being bought by the StarTimes broadcasting operation, and the transmissions licences were being transferred to StarTimes which took over TopTV in December.
That process is creating headaches. ODM chief executive Eddie Mbalo said on January 31st: “The delays experienced in obtaining Icasa’s [Independent Communications Authority of South Africa] approval for the transfer of the licence have been significant and have caused major frustration to the progress of the business rescue.”
ODM’s financial administrator, who is looking after the local version of Chapter 11, issued a progress report to shareholders on Jan 31st, saying that various objections were slowing down the transfer.
One stumbling block is a legal action running against ODM/TopTV and concerns the broadcasting of so-called ‘Adult’ channels. Another problem is an application before the courts by minority shareholders which could stymie the overall purchase.
Mbalo says the official licence can always be transferred at a later date once the legal problems have been resolved.