Monday, May 9, 2016

Kagiso Media's loss-making Indian channel, Glow TV, abruptly shutting down on DStv, StarSat and OpenView HD on 30 June due to bad South African economy.

In a shocking move, Kagiso Media is abruptly shutting down its loss-making Glow TV channel for Indian viewers with Glow TV that will be snuffed out on midnight 30 June after failing to lure enough viewers and becoming a financially viable operation.

Glow TV says it is shutting down over the sharp fall of South Africa's rand and the negative impact it has on rising programming costs, as well as the bad South African economic climate that negatively impacted Glow TV.

Kagiso Media and Urban Brew Studios will not replace Glow TV with a new TV channel. 

Glow TV was Kagiso Media's first attempt at a free-to-air TV channel which it called "the logical next step for Kagiso Media". 

Glow TV that catered to Indian viewers and launched with big fanfare in 2013 will go dark on MultiChoice's DStv channel 167, Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) channel 108, and On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat channel 570.

Some Glow TV programming was also made available on PCCW Global's streaming service in the form of a Glow TV package.

The unexpected shuttering of Glow TV after two and a half years comes just a few months after Times Media's struggling VIDI video-on demand (VOD) streaming service was closed down, both failed ventures belonging to Tiso Blackstar.

Glow TV broadcasting eastern-inspired Indian soaps and dramas, was packaged and supplied by Urban Brew Studios, also responsible for the [ED], Dumisa and One Gospel channels on DStv.

Urban Brew Studios says Glow TV, a collaboration between Kagiso Media and Nolava Television, is shutting down because of the bad economic climate in South Africa and the higher cost of programming. 

The closure comes after a big schedule shake-up that was introduced in August 2015 but didn't yield a big enough bump in viewers, including offering different audio tracks, a prime time soap block, and children's programming on afternoons.

Last month Glow TV suddenly stopped broadcasting new episodes of its flagship soap Saras. Glow TV suddenly began rebroadcasting Saras from the first episode with no explanation to its viewers why, which is now obvious - it won't be wasting more money on new content for a channel closing down.

"Glow TV viewers have been supportive, loyal and dedicated," said Trish Taylor, Urban Brew Studios CEO, in a statement. "They are the ones most affected by our decision".

There's nothing from Naz Khan, who used to be Glow TV's channel manager. 

Also nothing about what will be happening to local content like the Pick n Pay sponsored, advertiser funded show Food for Living and whether that's getting repurposed to Urban Brew's other channels like [ED].

Glow TV says the channel "would like to thank its valued viewers, advertisers and the satellite platforms for their support since its inception".

Mark Harris, Kagiso Media group CEO says shutting down the loss-making Glow TV is in the best interest of the group.

"We are in the business of making great television but we also have to make sure that the business models associated with channels and programming work for the broader group".

"We will continue to produce and supply our viewers and media partners with the best content and formats available," says Omar Essack, Kagiso Media deputy group CEO.

Editor's note: It's shocking and bad for Glow TV viewers losing their channel, and sad that Kagiso Media is dumping Glow TV.

It's content definitely had an audience, and a potentially even bigger audience.

Looking back, one thing I remember is that Glow TV was also one of those TV channels that never bothered to invite TV critics to its media launch event, or to even tell the relevant media beforehand, or even afterwards that it actually launched. 

After that, Glow TV never regularly bothered, or knew how, to properly keep media and TV critics informed of its programming. I never met anybody from Glow TV in over two and a half years of the channel's existence even once; never got a call once.

One has to wonder if Glow TV would have, could have, performed better or could have had a higher awareness under viewers if it actually made more effort and communicated better and more, and more regularly, about its actual programming.

If viewers and the media - for instance TV critics who write and talk and whose job it is to inform people about it - don't know about your channel and what's on it, where does a TV channel think its ratings and awareness and viewership is going to come from?

Everybody wants to launch a TV channel these days; few sustain it. And even fewer bother to actually involve the press, know the right relevant media, and use them to help create ongoing awareness.

You never bothered to get us to really care. Goodbye, Glow.