Fledgling pay-TV provider TopTV will not launch high-definition channels or a personal video recorder (PVR) decoder this year, pushing out their launch to the second quarter of 2012.
The broadcaster, owned by On Digital Media, had planned to launch an HD PVR later this year, but says it has been forced to push out the launch until next year.
“We are disappointed that we couldn’t launch it this year, but as a start-up business we have had to prod our plans a little to make sure that other important aspects like airtime sales have been tackled,” says vice-president of marketing, Elouise Kelly.
When the service launched a year ago, TopTV said it had no intention of offering HD channels. But it later changed its mind because consumers in its target market — people in living standards measures 5-8 — are demanding HD.
When TopTV launched a year ago this month, it brought the first competition in pay TV to M-Net and MultiChoice, which operates DStv.
TopTV’s first year has been a rollercoaster ride, says Kelly. “We had some great highs and some bad lows, but as a start-up business we have worked hard to get where we are.”
It has been plagued by a number of problems, most notably severe backlogs at its call centre in the weeks after launch.
Today, the company has “well over” 200 000 subscribers. Kelly won’t provide an exact number, saying the figures will probably be published in June when it expects to announce new channels.
She says the company plans to bring a stronger focus to advertising sales and has created a team to ensure service delivery and customer care are improved. There are also plans to improve the billing system.
“We have to make sure our customers are getting what they want, to prevent churn,” she says.
A video-on-demand service is also on the cards, aimed at hotels and gated communities. “I can’t say whether we will have this in the next six months, but it is something we are looking at,” Kelly says. — Candice Jones, TechCentral