Embattled pay-TV player Super 5 Media has been granted yet another extension by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to bring a commercial service to market.
This will be the third extension granted to the operator and it will now have until August this year to bring its channels to air.
Super 5 Media, formerly Telkom Media, was licensed, along with four other prospective operators to compete with incumbent pay-TV operator MultiChoice and its DStv service, about four years ago. Of the companies licensed, only On Digital Media has launched a product, TopTV.
Under its broadcasting licence obligations, it was supposed to have a service up and running by June last year. However, shareholder changes and other troubles kept it from launching any channels.
Its deadline was then extended to September last year and, later, until March this year. The company has faced several significant hurdles since it was licensed, not least of which was Telkom’s decision to divest of its stake.
Telkom’s 75% shareholding was acquired by Shenzen Media, a company in which businessman Briss Mathabathe’s Imbani Holdings owns 80%. The remaining 20% is in the hands of the Sino-African Development Group, a business owned and led by Chinese businessman Philip Xiao.
In July last year, TechCentral broke the news that Super 5 Media had retrenched all of its remaining employees — more than 40 people in total — and was facing the prospect of closure.
“Without a product, we couldn’t keep on a full complement of staff,” Muhammad Lockhat, a Super 5 Media director, told TechCentral at the time.
Company executives have since gone to ground, saying only that it is not ready to engage with the media. — Staff reporter, TechCentral