TopTV: Discovery channels disappear

2013-05-03 08:48
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – Discovery Networks International's three Discovery TV channels disappeared from TopTV without any warning or explanation on Thursday - a day after the struggling South African pay-TV operator celebrated its third birthday.

Discovery Science (TopTV 302), ID: Investigation Discovery (TopTV 303) and TLC (TopTV 453) all went dark without warning as TopTV was scrambling to fix the problem.

All three channels – similar to all of the Discovery channels on MultiChoice's DStv service – are provided by Discovery Networks International CEEMEA (Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa region).

TLC (DStv 172) and ID: Investigation Discovery (DStv 171) - which ironically aired a show entitled Disappeared on Thursday evening – are both also available on DStv and broadcast of these channels on DStv remain uninterrupted and unaffected by the TopTV debacle.

TopTV could not explain the cause

Channel24 approached Discovery Networks International CEEMEA about the missing Discovery channels, but there was no immediate answer. When TopTV was approached for comment about the Discovery channels blackout, TopTV said they were "trying to get the problem sorted out with Discovery".

TopTV could not explain what caused the Discovery blackout, why it happened, what went wrong, or when – or if – the three Discovery channels will be restored.

Angry TopTV subscribers are fuming about the missing Discovery channels with no indication of why Discovery Science, ID and TLC suddenly disappeared.

TopTV failed to talk to its customers or to give bewildered subscribers any reasons for the missing channels. This loss of content follows the loss of several TV channels on the operator's platform - which is currently in business rescue.

Likewise, Discovery Networks International CEEMEA did not offer an explanation as to why subscribers are having to pay for channels they cannot access.

The three missing Discovery TV channels simply displays an on-air sentence: "We apologise for the break in transmission and will be back shortly."

TopTV subscribers at a loss

This message is exactly the same one TopTV displayed when other TV channels on its bouquet ceased - and never returned. This leaves TopTV subscribers – especially pre-paid customers who pay their monthly subscriptions upfront at the start of the month – at a loss.

While TopTV's normal channel offering keeps dwindling, TopTV has put focus and effort behind a second attempt – which was approved by South Africa's broadcasting regulator Icasa – to launch a separate porn bouquet with three adult channels from Playboy.

No start date for the porn channels has been announced. The porn bouquet will carry a classification of R18 and fTopTV now have to register as a porn distributor with South Africa's Film and Publication Board (FPB) before broadcasting the adult content.

TopTV would have gone dark on Tuesday night as channel and content suppliers were ready to turn off the taps to their content if ODM failed to get approval for business rescue plan bail-out proposed by Chinese media group StarTimes. Shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the bail-out deal.

Owing millions to content providers

It's possible that Discovery Networks International decided to pull their channels off of TopTV at the end of April anyway, similar to what Manchester United Television (MUTV) did in November and Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) did in December when Turner yanked its three channels – Showtime, Silver and Star! – from TopTV's line-up.

It's now come to light that TopTV owes millions to several content providers who've decided to pull their TV channels from TopTV due to outstanding debt.

TopTV owes Fox International a massive R43.8m which amounts to 3% overall of TopTV's debt to creditors. Warner Bros is owed R25.4m, Paramount is owed R13.1m and Manchester United Television - R9.5m, Turner Broadcasting - R6.4m and The Walt Disney Company R7.2m.
* Channel24 and DStv are owned by Naspers.


  • Teunis Rooseboom - 2013-05-03 09:09

    Aliens hijacked the satelite to watch porn

      Belinda Matanha - 2013-07-19 17:39

      top tv sucks,we are cancelling it

  • Teunis Rooseboom - 2013-05-03 09:09

    Aliens hijacked the satelite to watch porn

  • Ephraim Le-Nation - 2013-05-03 09:51

    what do you need discovery channel for when you have unlimited access to porn? what do you need to watch animals mating while you can watch human beings doing it?

  • Theo du Bruyn - 2013-05-03 10:05

    I think it is time to cancel TopTV!! My wife already said we must since TopTV going to show porn, even if we won't get the porn channels we actually still indirectly support a broadcaster that is showing porn.

      Marinda Cruywagen - 2013-05-03 14:06

      Very wise wife you have.

      Cherri Pye - 2013-05-03 16:19

      Bones, we don't have a choice on the taxes, that's got to be paid to thieves, but a pay tv subscription is a whole different matter

      Sean Goldie - 2013-05-03 17:23

      Ohh my GOD...any how did you come to be....sacrilege...your mother and father did the unthinkable...they pornographed....and out popped your sorry ass 9 months later....get over yourself...scumbag

      Fotseka Mafoetseka - 2013-05-04 05:52

      Theo you sound like a vomit, 'you think its wife already said'. So is wifey not you who needs nothing more from TopTv? Dude you got dragged with your nose to decide that, hehehe, Theo.

  • zuko.mqolo - 2013-05-03 11:13

    I couldn't careless I've got my dstv @home ill only sub to toptv once porn channels are up

  • Michelle Benade - 2013-05-03 13:03

    Discovery channels were on when I went home last night.

  • Marinda Cruywagen - 2013-05-03 14:05

    Discovery channel has disappeared to make room for the 'discovery' of other inappropriate things. Top TV is not into educating the nation with worth while information, rather they have opted to promote their very distasteful channels.

  • Robert Godfrey - 2013-05-03 17:44

    Some free to air channels.

  • Jan-Hendrik Van de Venter - 2013-05-04 01:46

    I wish the Mzanzi channels could disappear from DSTV!

  • Jonathan William King - 2013-05-08 15:48

    Soon TopTv will disappear completely. At least they tried to compete with DSTV. Unfortunatly DSTV has been around too long and has gottwn themselves a healthy monopoly in South Africa.

      Sunnyboy Babili - 2013-05-27 12:17

      I aqree,myself ive been mistreated .when i lounch a complain.its like im boring first it was nice but now is bad

  • pages:
  • 1