Don't believe it next time the South African pay TV provider TopTV says all of the sports rights and sports channels have already been gobbled up by MultiChoice for its DStv platform and wants to lament the "fact" that nothing is actually available.
TopTV was very well aware that the Trace Sports channel - now channel 129 on DStv and broadcast from today - is being created as a new TV channel and that the owners wanted to pursue the the aim of worldwide reach. That meant that the Trace Group wanted to also expand into Africa (and South Africa) at the same time as its global roll-out for the new channel.
TopTV was also aware and was told that the Trace Group from France was looking for a pay TV distribution platform in South Africa and wanted to try and is eager to sign a carriage agreement. And Trace told me they would be open to talk to whoever (and not just MultiChoice) and would be willing to take meetings with anybody when high ranking Trace executives visited South Africa in 2011 and 2010.
I asked TopTV about Trace Sports and The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) - both soon to start new TV channels at the same time - and the pay TV operator said they're looking into it.
So, there existed at least the possibility, at least right at the beginning, that Trace Sports could have been a channel on TopTV, but the sport entertainment channel which TV with Thinus scooped months ago is coming to MultiChoice, is now on DStv - and that's where it will stay. Because MultiChoice was quicker to grab it.
Here's the interesting sidenote: Trace Sports, if the TV channel were to have been on TopTV, would have unintentionally - beyond mere content - have helped to actually enhance TopTV from a brand name perspective and to entrench TopTV's "Top" moniker. Why? Well Trace Sports has many branded "shows" or segments and fillers - a lot of it in heavy repeat rotation, meaning viewers will see it often and over and over - and almost all carry the word "Top" in the title.
From Top Games, Top Money, Top Video Games and Top Fan to Top Female, Top Male and Top Gossip, its clear to see how segmented branded content actually carrying the same first word as your own overall brand name, would serve to enhance - and through that repetition - strengthen the 'Top"-form in subscribers' minds. Trace Sports would have been a great fit on TopTV for this reason - but it's not to be.