Although it hugely damaged the TopTV brand and the company's public reputation, On Digital Media is launching its new StarSat brand with the pornographic bouquet of sex channels from December in time for the consumer festive season.
The struggling South African satellite pay-TV operator got permission from the South African broadcasting regulator to broadcast pornographic TV channels at the end of April 2013 and will now start showing those from December when the TopTV brand is dumped for the new name StarSat.
The Playboy bouquet with an R18 rating supplied by Playboy TV UK / Benelux Limited in England will run from 20:00 to 05:00 daily with three channels, Playboy TV and the hardcore Desire TV and Private Spice.
The separate Playboy bouquet will form part of StarSat's new bouquet which China's StarTimes and On Digital Media (ODM) will launch together with a new high definition (HD) capable StarSat decoder.
StarSat won't be carrying any HD channels yet but will phase in HD channels and content over time. Meanwhile some free new TV channels will be made available on StarSat on the Variety package during the month of November without an additional charge.
ODM and StarTimes are looking for a new start with StarSat after TopTV was pummeled the past two years with bad press over customer service issues, billing system problems, a lack of sport content, a lack of HD channels and a lack of PVR roll-out despite initial promises, as well as the desire to introduce pornographic TV channels while ordinary TV channels kept disappearing which were never replaced despite promises.
ODM has been in business rescue since the end of 2012 and is waiting for regulatory approval regarding stakeholder shareholding changes following a bail-out by China's StarTimes which is getting a foreign effective 65% economic interest in ODM.
StarTimes, a Chinese conglomerate involved in digital television ventures across several African countries already, has already pumped more than R30 million rand into ODM.
ODM will add a number of new TV channels like the newly renamed Nat Geo Gold to the new StarSat overall bouquet. The TopTV bouquet saw serious deterioration and atrophy the past year and a half with the loss of numerous TV channels due to financial troubles, debt and the breakdown of relationships with content distributors.