Pay-television operator On Digital Media (ODM), which owns StarSat (formerly TopTV), has won a significant victory at communications regulator Icasa that will allow the company finally to emerge from a three-year-long business rescue.
“Icasa approved the application as it met the applicable regulatory requirements,” the authority said in a statement on Monday.
The ODM application was published for public comment, subsequent to which a public hearing was held on 6 August 2015, Icasa said. “Following this process and the analysis of all relevant information, Icasa approved the application,” it said.
“Icasa believes that the decision is in the public interest and will promote competition, investment and consumer choice in the broadcasting sector.”
ODM was placed into business rescue under the Companies Act in October 2012 after it ran into financial difficulty.
China’s StarTimes — which already operates a dozen pay-TV networks across Africa — has acquired a 20% stake in the business. However, StarTimes has a 65% economic interest in ODM, meaning it participates in 65% of any profits.
In a recent interview with TechCentral, ODM director Eddie Mbalo said he expected the relationship with StarTimes to “bring in new innovations” and allow it to compete more effectively with rival MultiChoice, which owns DStv.
Already, pay-TV incumbent MultiChoice and StarTimes are fierce competitors across Africa, especially in subscription digital terrestrial television. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media