Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TStv CONTENT SCANDAL: TStv's list of lies over TV channels grows - it has no deals to carry channels from Discovery Networks, Viacom International or FOX Networks either.

TStv, Nigeria's new pay-TV operator, is engulfed in a growing content piracy scandal over false promises and lying about channels and content that it has no contracts for, with multiple more channel and content distributors who are coming forward to deny that they have any carriage deals with TStv.

UPDATE Friday 13 October 2017 19:00 - TStv has now taken down its "All Channels" list on its website, although it can still be seen and accessed on the internet cache of the TStv webpage.

Last week Turner Broadcasting System confirmed to TVwithThinus that TStv doesn't have and isn't allowed to advertise and market CNN International that TStv claims it has a right to.

Qatar's beIN Media Group, also confirmed to TVwithThinus that TStv has no rights to its 10 beIN Sports channels.

Now several more content and channel providers are confirming that TStv is making fake claims about a fast-growing string of TV channels on its pay-TV platform that it simply doesn't have and isn't allowed to broadcast.

After its 1 October launch the white TStv decoders are unavailable for sale with TStv CEO Bright Echefu that on Saturday at the company's green-painted head office in Abuja, Nigeria, suddenly moved the date for its "commercial availability" to 1 November and again repeated false claims that it has a right to CNN International and the beIN Sports channels.

TVwithThinus can reveal that TStv (Telcomm Satellite TV) that on its website displays its list of "all channels" to potential customers is lying not just over having CNN International and 10 beIN Sports channels but also has no right or contracts to carry TV channels like FOX, National Geographic, Nat Geo WILD, Discovery Science, Investigation Discovery, MTV Base, EuroSport, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 or Nickelodeon.

These are the channels TVwithThinus has so far been able to confirm having no carriage agreements with TStv despite them being advertised by TStv, with several other channel operators who have not yet responded to media enquiries.

On its website TStv also lies and says it "will show the EPL matches and other soccer leagues live" - pay-TV sport content rights that MultiChoice and SuperSport secured exclusively for DStv in the sub-Saharan Africa region.

TStv hasn't responded to multiple media enquiries made since last week seeking comment and asking about the growing TStv content piracy scandal.

In late June the satellite operator ABS, headquartered in Bermuda, in a press statement from its CEO Tom Choi, announced that it has signed a multi-transponder satellite agreement with TStv to deliver its direct-to-home (DTH) service in Nigeria on the ABS-3A satellite.

ABS publicist Penny Hill didn't respond to media enquiries seeking comment from ABS over TStv claiming to carry TV channels it doesn't have authorisation to.

Global video content providers supplying news, entertainment and sports channels have warned TStv to stop using their content and to immediately stop the display and use of their brand logos, with Turner Broadcasting System and the beIN Media Group that have already sent TStv cease and desist letters.

TStv lied to Nigerian media in a press conference and in statements, as well as to consumers on social media, claiming that the cease and desist letter "are fake", although TVwithThinus confirmed with the content providers directly who emphasised that the letters are authentic.

No agreements with TStv to carry channels
Turner Broadcasting System that runs CNN International told TVwithThinus that "Turner does not have an agreement with TStv to carry CNN and did send a notification letter to the platform not to distribute the channel".

beIN in response to a media enquiry told TVwithThinus that "TStv does not have authorisation from beIN to carry our channels, or use our trademarks. We take this matter very seriously and will take the necessary action to ensure that our intellectual property rights are not violated."

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) that runs MTV Base told TVwithThinus that TStv has no right to MTV Base or kids channel Nickelodeon.

"We are aware of the situation and that the TStv website is currently carrying certain Viacom trademarks: MTV Base and Nickelodeon."

"We are currently investigating the matter and confirm that we do not have any contracts with TStv - either through MTV Networks Africa or any other Viacom entity. We became aware of their claim to carry our channels a short while ago".

FOX Networks Group Africa responsible for the FOX entertainment channel, National Geographic, Nat GEO WILD and the FOX Sports channels told TVwithThinus that TStv isn't allowed to have its channels and has no carriage deals for any of these channels

"Despite advertised claims regarding the availability of FOX channels, FOX does not have an agreement with TStv regarding the distribution of the channels, but remains confident that TStv will normalise the situation prior to launch of the service to ensure the consistency between platform content claims and subscriber expectations," said FOX Networks Group Africa in response to a media enquiry.

Discovery Networks International (DNI) also confirmed to TVwithThinus that TStv isn't allowed to have any of its Discovery channels like Discovery Science, Investigation Discovery (IDx), TLC Entertainment or Eurosport.

Discovery Networks International confirms that they "have no agreement with TStv to broadcast their channels".

Meanwhile other pay-TV operators are aware of TStv's misleading claims to consumers and Africa's TV industry and they are concerned about infringement of secured content rights - some of which were acquired exclusively - as well as things like copyright and content piracy.

TVwithThinus understands that MultiChoice Africa is aware of, and monitoring, the situation although it declined to comment specifically on TStv.

In response to a media enquiry, MultiChoice Africa says that "MultiChoice can't comment on another provider as we are not privy to their channel agreements or business plans as they are an independent operator and thus this information would be confidential to them".