OTT Streaming: “Regulators Must Evaluate OTT’s Impact On Competitiveness In Broadcast Sector” - ICASA
Ms Botlenyana Mokhele, a Councillor at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), says that ICASA is still in the process of evaluating the impact of OTT streaming services on competition in the broadcast sector, especially in the subscription broadcasting market.
Councillor Mokhele, in an interview with Broadcast Media Africa (BMA), in preparation for the OTT Content Streaming and On-Demand Summit taking place on the 19th – 20th February 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa, said that because OTT platforms are still a relatively new area in broadcasting, ICASA had decided to take a hands-off approach towards the influx of this innovation for now while the regulator explores how these platforms are impacting the more “traditional” forms of broadcasting in the country.
Below is the conversation that Botlenyana had with BMA on the forthcoming Summit, where she will be participating in a key panel discussion session:
BMA: Why did you decide to get involved in this year’s edition of the OTT Content Streaming and On-Demand Summit?
Botlenyana Mokhele: OTTs are a new area in broadcasting and marks the beginning of feasible and innovative business plans in broadcasting where content and infrastructure are converged. The Regulator, ICASA, is currently undertaking an enquiry on competition in the subscription broadcasting market, where OTTs are billed as posing a competitive threat to existing traditional broadcasting services. My involvement in this forum is to better understand the latest developments and innovations, particularly business and operating models.
BMA: What regulations is ICASA putting in place to ensure a level playing field for all players in the OTT streaming and On-Demand space?
Botlenyana Mokhele: At this point in time ICASA has adopted a hands-off approach as the issue of OTT also has policy implications because it requires a policy decision as to whether to include them within the ambit of broadcasting services. What ICASA is considering, however, in the subscription broadcasting enquiry is the impact they will have on competition in the broadcasting sector. The enquiry is currently underway, and the outcome will inform our approach going forward.
BMA: Could you please tell us what you hope fellow participants will take away from this industry event?
Botlenyana Mokhele: This is an industry and regulators forum where both sectors get to interact and share ideas on smarter and more efficient regulation. It is also an opportunity for the industry to share new innovations with the public. That is the benefit that I hope participants will obtain from the forum.
About Botlenyana Mokhele:
Botlenyana Mokhele is a Councillor at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).
Her expertise is in research, broadcasting policy formulation and programme management.
She has been in the sector since its transformational phase in 1994 and participated in related processes through the Centre for the Development of Information and Telecommunications Policy Development (CDITP).
Before becoming a Councillor, she was a Principal Consultant at Pygma Consulting, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Prior to this, she was the acting Chief Director in the Office of the Director-General at the Department of Communications (DoC); and the Chief Director 2010 Broadcasting, charged with monitoring implementation of the government ICT Guarantees for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Councillor Mokhele will be speaking at the OTT Content Streaming and On-Demand Summit in her capacity as a Councillor at ICASA.