South Africa: Super 5 Media goes all silent about on Delayed TV Launch

Super 5 Media, formerly Telkom Media, failed to release a new pay-TV product to the market on Tuesday as promised, and efforts to get an explanation from majority shareholder Shenzhen Media were unsuccessful. Super 5 Media, which is 75% owned by Shenzhen Media (which bought Telkom's stake last year) and which is in turn 80% owned by Imbathi Holdings, has had a difficult start, with regulatory problems and a dispute with minor shareholders, including Anant Singh's Videovision, thought to be delaying its media entry. It was hoped that Super 5 Media, like newly launched Top TV, would introduce competition into the lucrative pay-TV market which has until recently been dominated by MultiChoice. Unlike On Digital Media, which owns Top TV, Super 5 Media planned to launch its services in time for the World Cup in phases starting with hotels with IPTV and introducing pay-TV to homes later. Super 5 Media director Tian du Pisane told Tech Central last month that it planned to go live on Tuesday and was targeting 400,000 subscribers in its first 18 months, half on satellite and half receiving TV over cable. The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is withholding an individual electronic communication network service licence from the broadcaster, which wants to provide its own services across its own network. Broadcast network services are at present offered only by Orbicom and Sentech. Icasa has also expressed concern that Super 5 Media may have more than the 20% foreign ownership allowed, something du Pisane denied in his Tech Central interview. Icasa also disqualified Super 5 Media, along with MultiChoice and Mobile TV, from applying for the first mobile TV licence. In Super 5 Media's case it was because it did not hand in the required number of copies of its application.