Pay channel Top TV has been in the news for more than one reason recently. If it’s not its controversial bid to broadcast porn, it’s about a possible new business deal on the horizon.
“I think we should be able to communicate next week formally,” Mbalo told TheMediaOnline on Thursday morning, responding to reports that the broadcaster was in talks with a potential equity investor.
Mbalo, whose company applied for business rescue in court in November last year, said he did not want to divulge any details prematurely.
“We do have an offer,” he confirmed, but added that he would be in a better position to talk next week.
Top TV, the country’s only competition to DStv, was launched in 2009. But it filed for business rescue last year, under section 129 of the new Companies Act, on the hope that it would buy some time to search for a strategic equity partner.
Earlier this month, Top TV made headlines when the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) held public hearings into an application by the broadcaster for a licence to broadcast pornography.
Mbalo said Top TV had had no feedback yet from Icasa.
“We don’t know yet. We think the hearings went okay for us, but we have decided that we will wait for Icasa to make a call before we make any comment. We think we made a good case.”
While the television channel did recieve some support for its application — including from well-known sexologist Dr Eve — there was no lack of opposition either.
The Family Policy Institute issued a media statement on behalf of “major Christian denominations in South Africa” to “join forces to launch a nationwide boycott of Top TV, its advertisers and sponsors”.
“The Christian Church is deeply concerned that the introduction of three 24-hour pornographic channels in South Africa will exacerbate the current crisis of rape and violence against vulnerable women and children,” the Family Policy Institute said.
“We are further concerned that an increasing number of children are being exposed to pornography on the internet and on television. Introducing three 24-hour porn channels in SA will significantly increase the risk of children being exposed to hard-core sexually explicit images. Pornography demeans and degrades women and reinforces the stereotype that women are mere sex objects.”
Mbalo declined to comment on the threat to boycott.
But when asked if Top TV has seen any affect from the boycott, Mbalo replied: “Not at all.”
* The denominations launching the boycott against Top TV are:
– The Apostolic Faith Mission of SA (AFM/AGS) – Rev Isak Burger (President)
– The Assemblies of God of SA (AOG) – RevErnest Hlophe (General Secretary)
– The Baptist Union of SA – Rev Angelo Scheepers (General Secretary)
– The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference – Archbishop Stephen Brislin (President)
– Church of England in SA (CESA) – Rev Desmond Inglesby (Presiding Bishop)
– The Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) – Rev Braam Hanekom (Moderator)
– The Full Gospel Church of SA – Rev Anton van Deventer (Moderator)
– The Methodist Church of Southern A – Rev Ziphozihle Siwa (Presiding Bishop)
– The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA – Rev Moss Ntlha (Secretary General)
– The Association of Vineyard Churches in SA – Rev Costa Mitchell (National Director)
– Family Policy Institute – Errol Naidoo (Founder & Director)
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