Wednesday, May 3, 2017

If you're wondering why StarSat and information about its content and programming is nowhere it's because StarSat doesn't care and hasn't done any publicity since October 2016.

You as a TV viewer and StarSat subscriber don't and won't see information in the media (a situation going on for months now) about StarSat and what it is showing across its various channels.

It's not because the press and TV critics don't care, but because StarSat can't care a flying ferret about its paying subscribers or the press, or telling viewers through the media what it actually has, why people should subscribe, and what is is showing on its service that is worth tuning in to, on what channel.

For literally months now StarSat hasn't had a PR person or any publicist, and doesn't seem to care to get or have any.

The media liaison person is supposed to deal with media enquiries and be the contact point between the press and the company, and to issue daily, weekly and monthly channel schedules, highlights, images and publicity material for StarSat's StarTimes channels as well as the third-party channels on its platform.

None of that has been happening since at least October 2016.

While you will constantly see programming and announcements for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in the media, shockingly StarSat is nowhere and even doing a worse - essentially non-existent - programming publicity job than the very bad SABC.

StarSat's last publicist is gone (fired? left? who knows?) without a word and the PR agency Burson-Marsteller that helped out on the corporate side media enquiries (and even programming enquiries and highlights) was also let go months ago.

While content drives subscriber uptake, awareness, combat churn and lets both subscribers and non-subscribers (the public) know what is actually on and being shown, StarSat can't seem to care about any of it at all.

It has a pay-TV service although On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa can't be bothered in the slightest to actually communicate what that service is doing and even more crucially - showing.

Executives at the Woodmead based pay-TV operation have made it painfully clear what their priority(ies) is  - and isn't - and that they just don't care if StarSat programming and channel info appear in newspapers, magazines, listings and online: The very things that make people see it and maybe go: "ooh, may I should get StarSat", or "ooh, I want to watch that".

Several media enquiries to StarSat executives - both South Africa and Chinese - the past few months just go, unanswered, into a void.

That is also sort of where StarSat overall remains as existing subscribers continue to complain bitterly, daily about bad programming, repeats, the unresponsive call centre, not getting answers about why channels are being removed, the bad video and audio quality of some channels, and why their basic questions are not being answered.

StarSat has now literally been without any publicist or front-facing PR help for half a year. Half a year. Let that sink in.

That is completely unheard of for any modern-day company, let alone a service provider company like a pay-TV operator.

It's not that StarSat, ODM and StarTimes Media SA doesn't care about trying to get any so-called "good press" for its content or company - it's that it doesn't even care about getting "bad press" or no press.

A local South Africa show like Point of Order is being produced and broadcast but is basically dead in the water - nowhere because of zero publicity from StarSat.

Are StarTimes executives like Michael Dearham and Debbie Wu (apparently StarSat acting CEO but who even knows?) even aware about the ongoing damage StarSat is suffering by being without a person who deals with and interacts with the media? Do they even care?

When not even the media knows what is on StarSat and its channels, how can subscribers, or people thinking of signing up for the service?

It's also a massive disservice from StarSat to distributors and content providers giving channels to StarSat but whose content, line-ups and programming are not being marketed and publicised  - something that is StarSat's job.

From Viasat Life to StarTimes One and from Fine Living and Zee TV and MSNBC, none of any of the TV channel brands on StarSat exist because they're not given the programming publicity push sell-through they deserve.

It's trash-bad that StarTimes wants to hullabaloo that it has 8 million African subscribers and getting close to rivaling MultiChoice, yet can't seem to really bother, or be concerned about StarSat subscribers in South Africa getting a very bad service and the media getting no service at all.

As a journalist and a TV critic I've dealt with On Digital Media (ODM) ever since it launched TopTV in May 2011 and eventually rebranded as StarSat.

It always had at least one in-house publicist although none managed to last, used some PR companies and had someone who could at least point to where to find the door to knock on.

Sadly StarSat doesn't seem to even have a door anymore. At least not one even I anymore know where to find.