Friday, August 1, 2014

BREAKING. StarSat of On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes South Africa lose yet another 2 TV channels as NHK and CNC are abruptly cut.

StarSat subscribers woke up today to discover that yet another two TV channels had abruptly disappeared from the South African satellite pay-TV operator's bouquet run by On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes South Africa.

Japan's NKH World 24-hour TV news channel is suddenly missing, and the Chinese CNC news channel has also been yanked - the latest TV channels to simply disappear from StarSat with no prior warning to StarSat subscribers or the press.

StarSat subscribers today saw a post-dated on-screen message on the blacked out channels telling subscribers that "CNC and NHK will stop broadcasting at midnight on 31 July to make way for great new channels".

As with previous TV channels discontinued on StarSat, formerly known under the TopTV brand, the satellite pay-TV operator again tries to placate angry subscribers with the generic promise of "great new channels" although StarSat is yet to actually replace several of the TV channels that was cut with new ones.

In November 2013 the Woodmead based satellite pay-TV operator promised subscribers and the press that it would have "over 100 TV channels" by the beginning of 2014 - a hollow promise which has so far gone unfulfilled.

StarSat is currently standing on 78 TV channels - or 76 after the loss of today's two - on its StarSat Super bouquet for R199 per month which is its most expensive package.  

Both NHK World from Japan and CNC from China are big rivals to CCTV News which remains on the StarSat platform.

With the financial bail-out of China'sStarTimes which came to ODM's rescue following the company being placed in business rescue, a litany of CCTV channels like CCTV 9, CCTV 4 and CCTV Mandarin Entertainment were added to the new StarSat bouquet.

NHK World was added in May 2012 when TopTV lost Al Gore's CurrentTV channel which ceased operating. The shortlived CNC was added in November 2013 and has been dumped after nine months on air in South Africa.

No kids channel has so far replaced KidsCo, no channel replaced TLC. The pay-TV operator recently added FOX Movies and the time-shifted FOX Movies +2 and StarSport 2. There's also plans to add FOX Life.

Neither StarSat nor its PR agency Burston-Marsteller has so far responded to a media enquiry as to why NHK World and CNC were suddenly dropped from StarSat's line-up, or why subscribers and the press are not given advance warning of channel terminations.

"If you are going to only have a programming schedule on screen then you should really make sure that it is available on screen. And then to top it all a message this morning to say that NHK had been discontinued. Come on guys, get your act together," wrote irate StarSat subscriber Margie Wilson.

"The Japanese channel was fantastic and gave more than just news. Now we are once again sliding backwards. Very frustrating to say the least".