Satellite pay-TV operator loses TLC channel

2013-12-20 14:00
Cape Town – StarSat is losing the TLC channel permanently amidst major technical transmission switch-over drama which saw all the TV channels on StarSat go black on Thursday afternoon leaving StarSat subscribers stunned.

Only a handful of channels came back later, but StarSat is losing the TLC channel permanently which was supplied by Discovery Networks International.

After brand name damage the past two years, On Digital Media (OMD) and China’s StarTimes just relaunched the struggling TopTV under the new StarSat name with a controversial, add-on porn bouquet. Now the “new” satellite pay-TV operator is however losing its first channel under the rebranded service.

On Thursday afternoon all StarSat channels simply went dead leaving subscribers baffled. A handful of channels returned eventually but technical problems persist with a lot of subscribers unsure of why they’re not getting certain channel’s they’ve paid for.

According to StarSat insiders the switch-over of the uplinking of channels from Germany to elsewhere didn’t go smoothly yesterday when the process was started when StarSat switched its broadcasting system from 12:00 on Thursday to a new service provider. StarSat expected “short interruptions” in transmission, but didn’t anticipate the unexpected black-out of the channel line-up which came as a surprise to even the Woodmead based operation.

“Yesterday a technical migration exercise where channels were being moved from one uplink site in Europe to another affected programming and created various blackouts,” says StarSat in response to a media enquiry.

“The TLC channel link was lost during this process. ODM will take every measure to ensure that such technical errors are not repeated in future.”

TLC dropped

StarSat told Channel24 on Friday that the South African pay-TV operator was informed some time ago by DNI that it will no longer make TLC available to the company due to exclusivity agreements with MultiChoice.

MultiChoice now runs the enhanced version of the channel, TLC Entertainment – a different channel feed from TLC on DStv. TLC Entertainment with programming blocks of Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) was launched in October, exclusively for MultiChoice’s DStv.

The dropping of TLC raised questions about the future of, and whether, Investigation Discovery (ID) which is also available on MultiChoice’s DStv, as well as the Discovery Science channel which is only available so far on StarSat, will remain on the platform.

“The TLC lifestyle and entertainment channel will be discontinued on Tuesday 31 December,” says StarSat. “This is a result of a decision by the channel’s owners to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with the competitor,” said StarSat.

"TLC will no longer be available on StarSat from 31 December, however StarSat subscribers will continue to receive Investigation Discovery and Discovery Science, featuring the best in suspense, entertaining and informative programming to satisfy curiosity," said Lee Hobbs, the channel director for emerging business for Discovery Networks CEEMEA in answer to a media enquiry.

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