TopTV porn plans clarified

TopTV has slammed African Satellite Installations (ASI) and Porn Satellite Television (PSat.tv) for “misusing and misrepresenting the TopTV brand in the marketplace.”

This follows reports that ASI would be bringing the porn channel to South Africa using the same satellite that TopTV is using, along with advertising that states, among other things: “Calling all TopTV subscribers.”

TopTV’s head of marketing, Marius Liebenberg, said that they have already made urgent submissions to the relevant industry bodies and regulators and will be launching legal proceedings against PSat.tv.

Channel24 reported earlier that ASI’s John Solomon said that TopTV subscribers could disconnect their TopTV decoders and connect their PSat.tv decoders to the same dish used by TopTV.

However, TopTV said that this is illegal and ASI is in fact asking subscribers to conduct an unlawful activity by using TopTV’s infrastructure without the necessary authorisation.

PSat.tv advertisement on African Satellite Installations website
PSat.tv advertisement on African Satellite Installations website

TopTV to launch porn channels

The pay TV broadcaster has also confirmed earlier reports based on information from ICASA that TopTV’s holding company, On-Digital Media (ODM), has submitted an application to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for the authorisation of three additional video channels.

In a press statement issued by the broadcaster, TopTV said that it intends to broadcast adult content on these additional channels, that they will carry a strictly enforced R18 age restriction, and that the channels will only be accessible as a secure, encrypted and separate subscription package on the pay-TV platform.

Potential subscribers will need to provide proof that they are over the age of 18, TopTV explained, adding that subscribers will have to input a four-digit PIN code to access the content.

Subscription to the channels will require a conscious financial decision by the subscriber, TopTV said.

PSat.tv operations illegal

TopTV went on to say that it is not aware that PSat.tv has applied for, or been issued with, the necessary license to broadcast in South Africa.

By using TopTV’s dish, the broadcaster said that PSat.tv would be unlawfully using a portion of the downlink spectrum that has solely been authorised for use by TopTV.

Without a spectrum licence from ICASA, PSat.TV would be operating unlawfully, TopTV said.

The full press release is below:

TopTV has taken note of recent articles in the media that make reference to a new service identified as PSat.TV, which intends to launch an adult service from January 2012 (http://www.channel24.co.za/TV/News/24-hour-porn-channel-in-SA-in-Jan-20111204).The said article makes reference to TopTV’s existing services and satellite dish receivers.

TopTV would like it placed on record that it is not currently nor has it been in the past, in any discussions with PSat.TV regarding an adult content channel to be carried via the TopTV platform, nor is it in any way associated with PSat.TV. TopTV is not aware of, and neither has it approved, the channel referred to in the newspaper article, nor has such a service been discussed with or condoned by TopTV.

“We are not aware that PSat.TV has applied for or been issued with a broadcast licence from the country’s broadcast regulator, ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa).  In this regard, it would appear that the PSat.TV service is being distributed illegally and in contravention of the applicable laws whilst also negatively impacting on the operation of TopTV. This PSat.TV service is definitely not part of the TopTV channel offering,” says Marius Liebenberg, Senior Vice-President: Sales and Marketing of TopTV. “The service proposed by PSat.TV would amount to a subscription broadcasting service and to conduct such without a licence would be in contravention of section 7 of the Electronic Communications Act 36 of 2005, as amended.”

Whilst PSat.TV urges subscribers to disconnect their TopTV decoders, it fails to inform consumers that such an action is unlawful. Subscribers would be conducting an unlawful service infringing on TopTV’s rights as they would be using TopTV’s infrastructure without the necessary authorisations. Further, this would entail unlawfully using a portion of the downlink spectrum that has solely been authorised for use by TopTV. Without a spectrum licence from ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa), PSat.TV would be operating unlawfully.

“PSat.TV is misusing and misrepresenting the TopTV brand in the market place. We have already made urgent submissions to the relevant industry bodies and regulators and will be launching legal proceedings against PSat.TV,” states Liebenberg.

TopTV’s holding company, On-Digital Media (Pty) Ltd, has submitted an application to Icasa for the authorisation of three additional video channels, with the intent to broadcast adult content on these additional channels. They will carry a strictly enforced R18 age restriction, and will only be accessible as a secure, encrypted and separate subscription package on the pay-TV platform.

The additional channels will carry the highest degree of security and, because these are only available as a separate subscription, will not otherwise be accessible to the TopTV subscriber. Potential subscribers will need to provide proof that they are over the age of 18, and viewing of the channels will require the input of a unique, four-digit PIN code to access the content. Subscription to the channels will require a conscious financial decision by the subscriber.

“Television viewers have the right to choose what content they view in the privacy of their own homes. By offering these channels on a secure and encrypted pay-TV platform, it will not be possible for the three additional channels to be viewed inadvertently by TopTV subscribers,” explains Liebenberg.

Recent research has shown that there is a definite market for adult content and channels among South African television viewers. “As a pay-TV operator, we are constantly reassessing the market. We have established that there is a niche market for such a service and are ensuring that we offer it to potential subscribers in a responsible and secure environment,” comments Liebenberg.

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TopTV porn plans clarified