ICASA Investigates The Impact Of Must-Carry Regulations
The regulations that were implemented in 2008 are aimed at making public broadcast service television available to all South Africans.
Must-carry regulations manage the degree to which the subscription broadcasting services must carry the television programmes provided by the Public Broadcast Service Licensee.
These particular regulations force pay-TV operators in South Africa, such as Multi-choice, Deukom and StarTimes Media SA’s StarSat to carry the SABC’s public access channel, namely, SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3.
Although they are forced to carry these channels, pay-TV operators do not have to pay for the SABC channels. Operators get these channels for free because due to the broader availability and reach that comes hand in hand with being under DStv and StarSat, the SABC channels and content are seen by more people, and it can charge higher spot prices for 30 second TV commercials.
The SABC has now expressed that the must-carry regulations are unfair and that change must be implemented in order for pay-operators like Multi-choice are not only made to carry the channels but must also be forced to pay for them.
ICASA said the regulations form part of the all-round service and access duty imposed on subscription television services.
The authority has issued a poll requesting data to assist it in making an informed conclusion on whether to review the must-carry regulations.
Interested stakeholders have until 26 October 2018 to send the questionnaire back to ICASA for consideration.