Porn to stimulate TopTV recovery?

TopTV owner, On Digital Media (ODM), believes that adult content is a potentially lucrative segment that could kick-start its recovery.

The digital TV operator began business rescue proceedings in November 2012, as per the new Companies Act (under Section 129), in order to stay afloat financially while it searched for an equity partner.

And on Thursday (14 March), ODM went before a public hearing called by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to argue its case for screening adult channels on its satellite pay TV platform.

“ODM is in business rescue. Adult content is by no means the panacea to solving ODM’s financial difficulties (plans to launch these channels were in fact started long before the company filed for business rescue) but it is a potentially lucrative segment that could kick-start ODM’s recovery,” it said in a presentation to Icasa.

ODM said its business employs around 250 people and indirectly supports several thousand more through its installer base.

The group stressed that it provides vital competition in the Pay-TV market – important for suppliers, customers and the regulator.

“As a commercial broadcaster ODM is required to operate as a sustainable and profitable business. Two of the key drivers of subscriber take-up in the Pay-TV business are sport and adult content. ODM’s competitors currently have the rights to the majority of premium sport content; ODM therefore sees adult content as a key competitive driver which will boost its subscriber base and grow revenues,” it said.

The group pointed out that adult content is already available in SA, but only on eTV on Friday and Saturday; DSTV does not currently provide regular adult content. “ODM thus believes it has an excellent prospect of bring fresh new content to a currently under served segment,” it said.

In an update on the status of its rescue proceedings last month, TopTV said it “received a formal written conditional offer from one of the parties that initially expressed an interest in December 2012”.

ODM added that a further two separate expressions of interest had been received. The group said it would consider the offer and expressions of interest, along with its professional advisory team.

“A further report…will be circulated in early March (2013),” its report read.

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Porn to stimulate TopTV recovery?