What's Happening?


Introducing StarSat

So today marked the end of TopTV when it officially became StarSat. The embattled satellite TV provider, owned by On Digital Media, was going through many difficulties- financial, content and PR wise. Chinese consortium, StarTimes, which has made inroads in Africa when it comes to digital satellite transmitting, has pumped in more than R30 million into ODM. They now own 20% of ODM. StarTimes is the biggest DTT operators, with more than 2,5 million subscribers in the continent. According to a statement released by ODM, StarTimes has recently signed a 10 year contract with SES, a satellite company, which will enable it to expand it;s media footprint in Africa. ODM believes that this will be an opportunity to expand the pay TV offering in Africa at a much affordable rate. 

At the launch, which was held in Johannesburg this morning, StarTimes President, Pang Xinxing said that viewers are the ones who benefit when there is diversity in the broadcasting space. “We believe that diversity in the broadcasting space benefits the viewer the most, which is why we are so excited about the launch of StarSat here today: now South African viewers will have a wider range of choice of television services to which they can subscribe.” Interim CEO, Eddie Mbalo, formerly CEO of NFVF said; "...the entry of StarSat into the pay television market “promises a new viewing experience." 

ODM now has the licence to broadcast StarSat content and has now changed TopTV to StarSat.  It has also changed its tagline to Change Your View. 

From tomorrow (01 November 2013) TopTV subscribers will have new channels to sample during November in the will be added in the Variety package and in December, new channels and bouquets will be on offer. One of the bouquets includes the porn package. ODM receive permission from ICASA earlier this year, to broadcast porn. There will be a dedicated porn bouquet, Playboy TV. 

StarSat's decoder is HD, which means that soon StarSat subscribers will have HD content on their TV. But that will be launched later on in the year or early next year.

Other changes include channel names. The Top channels will now change, and will be prefixed with Star. The Top Movies channels, will now be StarMovies; Top One will change to StarSat etc. Most of the third party channels, like TLC, FLN, FX and Fox, will remain unchanged. 

Here's a fact sheet from ODM on the changes, when they kick in and what this means for current TopTV subscribers: 

StarSat previously operated as Top TV.
StarSat was officially launched on Thursday 31 October 2013.
The new programming will be available from 1 December 2013.
StarSat’s decoder is fully High-Definition (HD).
The new platform offers new revised program bouquets at competitive rates, with more channels in each package.
Existing TopTV customers will still be able to receive the StarSat signal on the old Top TV decoder.
Existing and new subscribers will be given promotional material regarding the new pricing structures.

After a rocky three years, ODM really needs this to work out for them. But will it? We sure hope so. 

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