TopTV’s parent company On Digital Media (ODM) will today plead its case for the industry regulator to grant it three new channels on which the broadcaster will flight adult entertainment content.
Meanwhile, the company, which filed for business rescue under the new Companies Act last October, is in discussions to sign up a potential strategic equity partner by the end of the month, according to ODM chief executive Eddie Mbalo.
TopTV, South Africa’s second subscription-based TV provider, is in a precarious position.
With no rights to offer popular local and premium sports content, it hopes that offering adult content will reel in new subscribers and its content sourced from international outfit Playboy Entertainment will be to its viewers what rival DStv’s SuperSport is to die-hard sports enthusiasts.
Mbalo, who spoke yesterday ahead of the public hearings, which are hosted by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), said the processes mentioned above were not interlinked.
“TopTV is not looking at this application as the saviour of the business,” he said, adding that two recognised key drivers of subscription uptake in the payTV business were sport and adult content and that the latter would serve a “currently underserved customer segment”.
ODM, which was humiliated after Icasa rejected a similar application by the company last year, said it was confident that the application would succeed this time.
The same religious and civil groups will be in attendance at the hearings to jeer the application, but TopTV has enlisted psychologist Dr Eve, who will present research to support the application.
Cosatu, which is invested in TopTV through Kopano Ke Matla, its investment arm, said it would also oppose this application. Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said: “In principle we would still oppose it because we feel pornography is a form of attack on women.”
Peter Bruce, the publisher and managing director of BDFM Publishers which includes Financial Mail and Business Day, sent an e-mail to staff yesterday advertising “two key jobs” at the company.
The first was for editor of Financial Mail. “We are looking for a visionary individual with a plan for the Financial Mail that takes it confidently (and affordably) into its next 10 years. Not only do I want a plan, I want the successful candidate to be open to new ideas. Once we have a successor to Barney Mthombothi, we will begin a consultation within and outside the FM on the way forward.
“This is a chance for everyone in BDFM to get involved in a critical way with a critical part of our stable. The job reports to the editor-in-chief.”
Regarding the group executive editor (GEE), Bruce, who said recently that he would be both publisher and editor of Business Day, said there was a need for a “group executive editor”. This was “another visionary job, upon which rests the success or otherwise of the integrated newsroom.
The GEE will, ultimately, be a “Super News Editor” with control over the entire integrated newsroom, including graphics, online and pictures, but who must pay particular attention to the contents of the news pages of Business Day… and ensure that the Financial Mail and BDlive (the publishing firm’s website) are adequately resources for whatever tasks they set themselves. “This is about the worst job I could give anyone. It will demand long hours, wrenching choices and almost no emotional reward.” He said the company would advertise these jobs “formally” in the next few days “but I thought it best to tell you all informally too, what it is I’m looking for”.
Maybe the publisher, managing director, editor-in-chief and editor of Business Day, should take on these two posts as well.
Just a thought.
The battle lines have been drawn between non-compliance companies and the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) after the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling, which sets aside the extension of the 2010 wage agreement.
The agreement was extended to all factories by the Department of Labour, including those that were not members of the bargaining council.
One of the applicants, the United Clothing and Textile Association (UCTA) celebrated the ruling, saying its voice has been heard and the court directive meant many manufacturers will not be able to continue to trade. In response, the union had developed a hardened attitude towards non-compliance factories.
Although they do not have much power to force UCTA to pay minimum wages, they do still believe that writs of execution might be the next step to take.
In real essence, the ruling does not favour any of the two parties instead it could give opportunity to clothing retailers to further exploit the non-complying factories by paying less for the manufacturing of garments. Or it could also rob Sactwu of a much wanted membership.
The ruling has obviously added salt to Sactwu’s wounds after the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) paper, which condones non-compliance factories.
Southern African Labour Research Institute researcher Simon Eppel has criticised the report for supporting sweatshops employment.
UCTA deputy chairman Alex Liu said yesterday that Eppel’s statements were slanderous and there had been many improvements in the factories.
He said the CDE report, together with the ruling, would set a fresh start to revitalising the clothing and textile industry.
UCTA said the judgment would have a huge impact on the future of all bargaining councils throughout the country who might be affected in the same as the clothing council. page 18
Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Asha Speckman Donwald Pressly and Nompumelelo Magwaza