BMA's View | Could DStv And StarTimes Help Fund "Public-Service Broadcasting" In Africa?
News this week from the South African media landscape has, in the main, centred on how the South African Department of Communications is actively considering, even planning to mandate Pay-TV company Multichoice to collect TV licences that go to fund the country's public broadcaster - the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation.
Listening to the South African Deputy Minister, Pinky Kekana, who, last week told her parliament that "to address the problem of low compliance with TV licence fees and its impact on the adequate funding for the SABC, that third parties organisations like Multichoice could be "forced" to collect TV licence fees from their subscribers.
Should the South African situation be viable, and Multichoice, via the DStv platform, is successfully used to collect TV usage taxes from the population that could fund public service television and broadcasting services. Many regulatory and governmental agencies across Africa will take note to see if this can be applied within their respective jurisdictions.
The BMA view that as interesting as the South African proposition is, there are multiple issues that it will engender. Still, the question has got to be asked: "Should the folks that already pay for access to subscription satellite television in Africa be saddled with paying for public service programming? Or, as many industry watchers are saying, why not? Why should the Pay-TV providers not be used to help fund public service television across Africa!