HumanIPO reported last week ICASA had approved a request from On Digital Media (ODM) to broadcast three adult channels on the financially ailing TopTV.
ODM has been attempting a business rescue of TopTV since October last year and is hoping to avoid liquidation by seeking approval for a financial injection bail-out from Chinese company StarTimes or South African consortium Dynamic TV.
The three approved channels are Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice, provided by Playboy TV United Kingdom/Benelux Limited, England. The channels are to be featured in a separate bouquet with an age restriction of 18.
Channel24 reported that ICASA’s authorisation of TopTV’s adult channels sparked a record reaction, with it receiving more than 285 submissions. However, TopTV said it is “pleased” with ICASA’s decision and will not comment further on the issue because it is under business rescue.
According to Channel24, pay-TV executives and other industry insiders were reluctant to comment on record because they feel their views may not mirror that of the company’s stance and their off-the-record comments are divided.
The off-the-record comments state there is a market for the adult content and people are “hungry” for that sort of content.
Another said the adult content helps to drive uptake though at the risk of alienating and losing core subscribers, which are described as the broadcaster’s “bread and butter”.
Another believes its “high time” for such content, while another said it will not stimulate the local TV industry.
The South African Film and Publications Board (FPB) said it supports protecting children from being exposed to adult content and hopes TopTV’s adult channels will not compromise the protection of children.
The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) believes ICASA’s approval “will create a more competitive broadcasting industry with more vibrant players; in turn giving viewers more choice and value for money.”
The Family Policy Institute (FPI), which is a Christian organisation, said they are disappointed with ICASA’s decision.
“The only recourse we have is to intensify the nationwide boycott. We are calling on all South Africans to cancel their TopTV subscriptions immediately,” said the FPI, which has support from various church groups in South Africa.
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) also supports the call for a nationwide boycott by the various churches. The MJC feels ICASA’s decision is “shocking.”