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DSTV to get some competition

By Staff Writer
MultiChoice's DStv will finally be getting some competition after it was announced on Thursday that On Digital Media plan to launch its own pay-TV in May.

TopTV will offer consumers between 25 and 55 local and international channels for prices ranging between R99 and R249, depending on the package chosen.

The biggest draw card, however, will be that subscribers will get to choose which channels they wish to watch from about 25 channels within the bouquets.

ODM has been working on the product for the last four years and have spent R80 million on the venture, hoping to attract 5.5 million of the total 10 million households who currently use free-to-air channels.

The main channel will be Top One and it will be available on the basic bouquet offering a variety of children's programmers, entertainment, series and movies. Four of the basic channels will have Christian-based content and five will feature news as well as the regular SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and e.tv.

CEO Vino Govender said that market research proved that soccer was the most popular sport in their target market and, as a result, the only two sports channels TopTV will offer will be a soccer channel and an extreme sports channel called Fuel.

"Our competitor has tied up a lot of sporting rights but as soon as they come up again we will definitely bid for them," he said.

Govender also said that TopTV will make use of as much local content as possible, in order to promote the talent of South Africa.

He expects the company to break even in about 36 months - after they reach 380000 subscribers and said that any profits made will be used to develop the service.

Subscribers will be able to use their existing satellite dishes but it's recommended that TopTV's bigger 70-80cm dishes are used in order to ensure "more reliable coverage" during rain and thunderstorms. The prices of the dishes, installation and decoders will only be released closer to the launch date.

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