Friday, 13 April 2018

I Think Gupta-Linked Zee Edged Us Out, Says Glow TV Boss

On Saturday, 31 March 2018 Glow TV was still a glow on DStv channel 167 and by Sunday, 1 April at midnight, the channel was snuffed out and now it looks like this:

The channel itself hasn't shut down because it's still available on OpenView HD and StarSat so what's going on?

TVSA has been receiving a blitz of queries from Glow fans asking what's going on and why the channel's soapies are no longer airing on DStv so we've been trying to find out - which has been easier said than done!

When only one channel doesn't get renewed.

The story starts last month when DStv published a press release stating that Glow TV would stop airing on DStv, with no reason given. All the release said was that Glow's contract has come to an end and the rest was an extended plug for other channels that also feature Indian soapies. This from the release:

Glow TV’s contract with MultiChoice is coming to an end, which means the channel will stop airing on DStv from 31 March 2018.

Fans of Indian-specific content needn’t worry - DStv has ensured that there are plenty more telenovelas, talk shows, music and movies to watch on Zee World (DStv channel 166), Zee Bollywood Movies (DStv channel 114) and eBella (DStv channel 159 from 5 March 2018).

Three things happened after this:
1. Glow TV launched an urgent application in the Johannesburg High Court against DStv, disputing the shutdown of the channel. The court ruled that Glow and DStv should resolve the dispute through arbitration.
2. The Glow TV soapie teasers disappeared in the crisis. TVSA has tried to get them from the channel but they haven't been available.
3. TVSA sent this query to MultiChoice:

"Please can we get comment from MultiChoice on why Glow won’t be on DStv anymore? We‘ve carried the Glow soapie teasers for years so we’d like to find out why to give readers insight."
We received this one line response from the MultiChoice Corporate Communications department which didn't answer the question:

"The contract has come to an end."
D-Day looms

On Thursday, 29 March, Nazeer Noormohamed, CEO of Glow and Managing Director of Nis Media (the South African-owned company who own Glow) launched an urgent court application to try to keep Glow on air until the arbitration between DStv and Glow has been completed.

The arbitration hasn't happened yet so Glow applied to stay on DStv until this has been done. The court refused the application, stating that the channel is on air because of its availability on OpenView HD and StarSat.

On Thursday evening, TVSA spoke with Nazeer after the court judgment. He told us that Glow would still be proceeding with the arbitration but he was concerned about the amount of time it will take.

"We're still going to continue an arbitration," Nazeer told us, "but these guys could now delay, delay, delay and before you know it it's six months or a year that we've been switched off.

"If we were switched on and then there was a delay, we wouldn't mind but now we're switched off and you know, a court process, so we could go for two years and then say, 'Yes, you're right, they can't switch you off,'but is there any point to that?" W.H.Y.

We asked Nazeer what reason DStv gave to Glow management for the switch-off and this is what he said:
Nazeer: "They first told us that we're not performing well so we said, 'Show us our stats, show us how we're not performing,'but they refused to show us how we're not performing, where we were not performing".

We think they're promoting Zee TV. We came to find out that they're paying Zee TV to be on air and they're not paying us so Zee TV's got an advantage over us. Zee TV owns a share or owned a share with New Age, which is the Gupta family and there was a link between the two.

"We feel that that was done through those kind of schemes you understand, to say, 'Listen here, get this guy out,' because if you say we're not performing...if I say your kid is not performing in school, the first thing you're going to ask is, 'Show me the report,' You can't just say he's not performing..how much did he get out of 10, out of 100? How much did he get? They're not prepared to show us that.

"I think Zee was behind it."

"You know, MultiChoice didn't want encryption on the government set boxes, and the minister, who was the last minister, was the one who was supporting DStv, you know that, politically, although the ANC was against it".

"The ANC said they wanted encryption but the minister himself and the president was supporting MultiChoice/DStv and that's what we believe, it is our belief that the Guptas influenced whoever to say "Support DStv" and DStv in turn supported the Guptas with Zee TV and now all this has to come out and how and when - do we have the energy to take it on? I don't know.

We're going to go for the arbitration, even if it's just academic, it's fine. But wait, the plot thickens...This isn't the first time that Nazeer and the Guptas have made the headlines when it comes to matters of TV.

In September last year City Press reported that Nazeer and a consortium that he headed-up (Southern Star Mega Investors Group) offered the Guptas R600-million for their Infinity Media (which includes ANN7), which the Guptas sold to Mzwanele Manyi for R450-million instead...what about e?

Interesting to note is the shutdown of Glow comes in the same month that eBella launched on DStv, which, as DStv's press release emphasises, also has Indian soapies. The launch of eBella takes the e stable of channels on DStv to five.

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