Consumers flock to prepaid TopTV - TechCentral

Consumers flock to prepaid TopTV

Eddie Mbalo

It’s not all bad news at TopTV. The company has revealed that its new prepaid offering is proving successful, with the financially troubled pay-TV operator activating more than 500 prepaid vouchers a day in recent weeks.

To date, TopTV says it has sold nearly 70 000 vouchers on consignment to distribution partners. It’s the first broadcast player in South Africa to offer pay television on a prepaid basis.

“Considering that the majority of national retailers will only start selling the vouchers in late November … it is clear that the best is yet to come,” says acting CEO Eddie Mbalo in a statement.

News of the prepaid sales comes a week after the company said it had decided to seek a “business rescue” under section 129 of the new Companies Act. This, it said, would provide a “protective bubble” around it and “buy it some time to complete the search for a strategic equity partner”.

TopTV was launched in 2009 and was the only licensee of five operators licensed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa to launch commercial services to take on Naspers-owned MultiChoice and its DStv service.

Based on the performance of the prepaid offering, Mbalo says TopTV will launch “complementary products” in the next few months.

“Most significantly, we are able to grow the business without increasing the administrative burden. That’s important, because it allows us to contain costs,” he says. “We believe that we have now found the right business model: one based on flexibility and that understands the current realities of doing business in South Africa, where many South Africans are unbanked and financially excluded.”

The company says one of its objectives in launching prepaid access was to entice lapsed subscribers to reconnect to the service. “With more than 400 000 decoders installed in households, but only on average 150 000 active paying subscribers each month, TopTV decided to target this section of the market first, and it seems the strategy is working.”

Of the thousands of prepaid vouchers that have been sold and activated to date, nearly two-thirds of these have been activated by customers whose subscription had either lapsed or been disconnected.  — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media

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