Broadcasting Services

SABC: PayTV Platforms Might Have To Pay To Carry Broadcaster Content

If the new proposals been pushed by the government of South Africa becomes a reality, PayTV platform such as Multichoice DStv might be obliged to pay for the "must-carry" content and channels from the country's public broadcaster - the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
The SABC has been grousing that PayTV and satellite broadcasters benefit from the content it generates and which they use for free due to the must-carry rules that were designed to fulfil the universal access regulations around the public broadcaster's content.
SABC executives say that for example, its SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 channels are among the most-watched on MultiChoice's DStv and its series such as 'Generations' have brought huge audiences and advertising revenues to the platforms without the SABC receiving any financial benefit.
The government policy is therefore looking at the viability of asking PayTV broadcasters and other platforms to pay for carrying SABC content via what is being called the "retransmission fees". This type of 'fee' or 'payment' has been used to effect in the United States media market and could be a lifesaver for the SABC.

In a recent white paper, South Africa's Department of Communications posited that while requiring PayTV companies to carry SABC channels may be serving the universal access purposes, it is also "distorting the market in the face of increasingly intense competition for audience and content."

Credit: contribution from Sowetan Live

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