TopTV has said that it is shocked by media articles this week that imply its association with “illegal’ adult content channel PSat.TV, which intends to launch in January 2012. However, TopTV has applied for authorisation to launch its own adult content channels.
A statement from TopTV reads: 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 , 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.
According to TopTV 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.