Top TV hits the air waves


Top TV was launched on April 29th 2010, aiming to capture the market between the "free" SABC and e-tv channels and the more expensive DStv channel (see previous Afridigital’s issue).

An estimated 650 people, including former US vice-president Al Gore and minister of communications Siphiwe Nyanda, witnessed the historical launch of TopTV, an On Digital Media-owned pay-TV station Thursday, 29 April 2010, evening at the South African War Memorial in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

With a R499 starter kit that includes installation, there are seven Top TV pricing options, ranging from R99 to R249 a month. The newcomer will give viewers 20 to 55 channels, depending on the package, plus 20 radio channels.

The product goes on sale at retailers such as Game and Pep tomorrow.

Created by On Digital Media, a South African incorporated company with a BEE shareholding of 68%, the satellite network - which needs its own dish and decoder - will feature nine locally developed channels, offering audiences a mix of local and international content.

The chief executive of On Digital Media, Vino Govender, said South Africans who can afford to pay for Top TV will have access to world-class entertainment of all genres.

"Some of the highlights of these channels include the Top History channel, which will bring the history of South Africa to the fore as never before, BBC News, Eurosport News, six dedicated 24-hour movie channels, as well as services for the Portuguese and French communities in South Africa," he said.

Channels include Top Movies, Top One, Top Gospel and Top Crime, as well as a range of sought-after international channels.

(Balancing Act noted that Top TV’s break-even target is 300 000 subscribers.)

Minister of Communications Siphiwe Nyanda said he had no doubt that Top TV will make history by "changing the television landscape for the good of the majority of ordinary South Africans".

"Is it a coincidence that On Digital Media's Top TV is being launched in the year of the historic Fifa African World Cup? I wonder? I think not. When there are historic events afoot, it usually attracts more world firsts, more memorable and significant events," said Nyanda.

Author: Gabisele Ndebele for Timeslive.

For Balancing Act, it seems obvious from the weekend rush, which saw retailers selling the entire initial consignment of 50000 TopTV decoders in a day, that there is an untapped market in SA at ODM's introductory price of R499, including satellite dish and installation costs.