Unbundled pay TV channels “will cause serious harm”

MultiChoice and On Digital Media (ODM), South Africa’s satellite pay TV operators, have said that they will fight compliance notices they recently received from the National Consumer Commission (NCC).

The NCC wants DStv (Multichoice) and Top TV (ODM) to unbundle their channel bouquets to allow viewers to individually subscribe to channels.

Jackie Rakitla, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, MultiChoice South Africa
Jackie Rakitla

In response to questions on the matter, MultiChoice SA’s head of corporate affairs, Jackie Rakitla, said that the pay TV operator is not in a position to respond to any questions in this regard until the matter has been resolved at the Consumer Tribunal.

Vino Govender, CEO of On Digital Media
Vino Govender

ODM’s CEO, Vino Govender, said that the NCC’s demands threatens Top TV’s business model and “could force the only pay-TV alternative to Multichoice out of business.”

If ODM remodels its product structure it will cause its business serious harm, could lead to their closure, and could affect as much as 6,000 jobs nationally, Govender said.

Govender also said that ODM has taken legal steps to “repudiate the commission’s line of action.”

According to Govender, they considered offering “Pick ‘n Mix a la carte options” before launching Top TV, but found that the model made no financial sense.

“Content providers would have hiked the cost of channels substantially,” Govender explained, adding that from a systems and administrative point of view such a model is impossible to maintain.

The National Consumer Commission was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.

DStv, Top TV package uncertainty

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Unbundled pay TV channels “will cause serious harm”