Government plans to break ‘premium TV monopoly’

The South African government has its sight set on premium TV content in South Africa with plans to introduce legislation to break up and prevent one broadcaster from having access to all premium entertainment and sports television.The government is set on crafting a new policy to bring an end to premium television content in South Africa – especially sport broadcasts – all being locked up by one broadcaster, the new minister of communications, Yunus Carrim has revealed. Carrim who spoke at the launch event in the Sandton Convention Centre of ANN7 (DStv 405), South Africa’s third 24-hour news channel, revealed that the Ministry of Communications is looking at changing broadcasting regulations in South Africa.It wants to prevent one content provider or broadcaster from owning all the broadcasting rights.

Various operators

In South Africa the satellite pay-TV operator MultiChoice which operates the DStv platform together with SuperSport and pay-TV broadcaster M-Net from the Naspers media stable dominate the local TV landscape, with the lion’s share of exclusive premium TV content, especially when it comes to entertainment and sports programming.

“We’re working toward finalising a new policy on broadcasting and we’ll have done so by the end of March 2014,” said Carrim. “The ministry is considering issuing a policy directive to the broadcasting regulator, Icasa, to open up competition in this sector and to give the public more choice on channels and programmes.”

“Currently premium content is locked up with one broadcaster – especially in terms of our country’s major sport – rugby and soccer needless to say, and cricket. We need to ensure that this becomes more accessible to the widest range of citizens possible,” said Carrim.

It means that South African pay-TV subscribers in future might not be able to get all their must-watch premium TV shows and sport from, or on, one system, but will have to subscribe to various operators for different content packages.

It also means that lower-tiered viewers – for instance free-to-air viewers who have access to less sport content – might get to see more of that content through differently structured deals with pay-TV operators.

Imtiaz Patel, MultiChoice South Africa’s group CEO who attended the launch event reacted and said on ANN7 he wants to correct the minister of communications. “All the best soccer in South Africa is available on SABC and all South African cricket played by the South African cricket team is also available on SABC mister minister so I hope you are listening.”


– NEWS 24 –



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