No porn for prepaid TopTV subscribers

2013-03-14 15:10
 
Cape Town – TopTV has said that their prepaid subscribers will not be able to gain access to it's bouquet of porn channels, and that it will only be made available to contract subscribers.

The pay-TV operator is currently arguing its case before South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), at their head office in Sandton where the struggling South African pay-TV operator's public hearing over its "authorisation for channels" request is underway.

The struggling On Digital Media (ODM) which runs TopTV, and which is currently under business rescue according to the Companies Act, applied for a second time to broadcast three sex channels as a separate bouquet.

TopTV launched a prepaid offering in 2012, saying its targeting the large unbanked market segment and people who don't always have money in the bank accounts at the end of the month when debit orders has to go through.

Verification process

Pornographic subscription channels are however a huge driver of pay-TV revenue for pay-TV operators elsewhere in the world who do carry them, and subscribers pay a premium for access to these sex channels which carry a high age restriction and which operators don't usually advertise as openly as their normal bouquets and channel line-ups.

"ODM has systems in place in order to verify that all new subscribers to these channels are over 18," TopTV said in its presentation to Icasa.

If their bid is successful, all prospective subscribers to the porn bouquet will have to fax or email a copy of their ID to TopTV who will then verify their ID with the department of home affairs. Customers will also have to provide their banking details to TopTV which will also be verified.
 
Should they get the go ahead, TopTV will to broadcast Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice with a rating classification of R18 to its customers.

Broadcast to fall in watershed period

The sex channels are provided to TopTV by Playboy TV UK / Benelux Limited in England and are uplinked through SES Platform Services in Munich, Germany to South Africa.

Initially TopTV put to Icasa that it would not be "commercially savvy" to only broadcast the channels during the watershed period which falls between 20:00 and 05:00, but has since changed their minds in their latest submission.

"We acknowledge that there is genuine public concern about the protection of children from viewing adult TV content," said Eddie Mbalo, the acting CEO of TopTV.
 
"Even though we have strict mechanisms in place to give parents full control over the access to these channels, as an extra precaution we have made the decision not to broadcast adult material outside the watershed period, when children are likely to be awake," said Mbalo.

Read more on:    icasa  |  toptv  |  pornography  |  tv

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