SABC tears into Platco over OpenView HD - TechCentral

SABC tears into Platco over OpenView HD

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The SABC has torn strips off new free-to-air satellite television platform Platco Digital, which plans to launch OpenView HD in mid-October, denying that it plans to carry its three television channels on the new platform.

In a harshly worded statement, the SABC says it “categorically refutes a statement made by the newly launched satellite television service OpenView HD where they claim that they will carry SABC television channels 1, 2 and 3 on their bouquet”.

Platco Digital MD Maxwell Nonge formally launched the platform at a media event on Wednesday, saying 16 channels would be offered, including the three SABC channels. Platco is a sister company of e.tv, both of which are ultimately subsidiaries of the JSE-listed Hosken Consolidated Investments. The new platform will carry e.tv in high definition.

In response, Platco says it “notes with interest” the SABC’s statement. “Platco is surprised by the statement issued by the SABC,” it says. “Platco will be carrying SABC 1, 2 and 3 from the launch date. The SABC as the public broadcaster has various obligations and any attempts by [it]to prevent Platco from carrying [its]channels would be unlawful.”

The SABC, in its statement, says it “acknowledges the growing digital television broadcasting environment in the country”.

“However,” it says, “the OpenView HD pronouncement that SABC television channels will form part of their bouquet is not true, as the public service broadcaster does not have any agreement with the newly launched satellite television service.”

The public broadcaster says it “views this matter in a serious light as the said satellite provider is misleading the public”.

“It is imperative to note that the SABC and signal distributer Sentech have reached an agreement to have SABC channels on a free-to-air basis on the Sentech universal access direct-to-home satellite platform by the end of September 2013. The corporation therefore appeals to OpenView HD not to confuse the public with false advertising of their services.”

Sentech announced in late August that the SABC had agreed to broadcast its channels on its new Freevision satellite platform, which will compete with Platco Digital.

In the statement, SABC acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng says: “As the SABC, we are willing to give an ear to all possibilities that will see the public service broadcaster grow and change the lives of all South Africans. However, we will not allow anyone to use the SABC’s name falsely to advance their business interest.”

The corporation says it “reserves all its rights” in the matter.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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