SPEAKING on the eve of the commencement of a dedicated local horse racing service, Tellytrack CEO John Stuart said: “Tellytrack has evolved over the last 10 years to being acknowledged as the world-class racing service that it is today. It is now time to embark upon the next phase of the journey of Tellytrack’s growth and that will commence with the creation of two separate racing services, one focused on local horse racing, the other dedicated to the best of international racing”
“A combination of ongoing requests from the Tellytrack community and the insistence by our international rights holders to receive a fair fee from bookmakers for permitting the display of their racing in licensed betting outlets and our inability to get bookmakers to agree, created the need to separate the international service from the local service and to deliver the international racing as a separate service.”
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“We approached MultiChoice for an additional channel on numerous occasions, but due to capacity constraints, this has not been possible. As a result, with effect from Monday 10 March, channel 239 will focus on local racing.
The Tellytrack international service will be on display at all racecourses and TAB and TAB Gold retail outlets. Tellytrack’s international racing service will also be made available to bookmakers licensed to display the intellectual property in their retail betting outlets,” added Stuart. Customers who wish to access the international service from home or the office will be able to do so via www.tabonline.co.za and/or www.tabgold.co.za. Initially, and to discourage piracy of the service, the display of these races will be delayed by about two minutes.
“We are exploring ways of making live international racing available on a more commercially secure basis including bet-to-view and/or pay-to-view services. We will make further announcements as soon as we can,” stated Stuart. “For many years, racing purists have asked us for a service dedicated to South African racing,” said Stuart. “More time can now be dedicated to the events in and around the parade ring, the canter past, immediate race-replays and the post-race interviews with owners, trainers and jockeys. Feedback from the Tellytrack community is that this will be very well received.”
Stuart also pointed out that “in special circumstances, such as the Dubai World Cup, where the rights-holders have granted permission, iconic international races may be shown as an integral part of both the international and South African racing services.”
Questioned on the impact of MultiChoice’s recent announcement terminating the Tellytrack service with effect from 27 March, Stuart responded: “The termination notice on account of ‘unsatisfactory performance’ came as a surprise and a disappointment to us. We appreciate that, in comparison to mainstream broadcast sporting channels, Tellytrack does not have a wide following, but ongoing research and customer dialogue confirms that it does have an extremely concerned and committed community, who care deeply about the sport and the service.”
Tellytrack has subsequently approached MultiChoice requesting a new short-term contract that will enable customers to view Tellytrack from home on the MultiChoice platform for an interim period so as to enable a seamless migration of these customers to an alternative service provider.
Stuart concluded: “Continuing to make our live racing service available for free to home customers remains one of our core objectives. We shall leave no stone unturned to achieve this! We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused during this period of transition. We shall make further announcements as soon as we can.”