SABC wants DStv to pay to carry its channels

1 December 2017

Investment

Instead of giving away its channels SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 for free to subscription broadcasters like DStv, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) wants to be able to negotiate payment, reports City-Press. A large portion of DStv’s market watches SABC channels via their decoder and SABC1 remains the nation’s best loved channel.

In order for the “financially embattled” SABC to get money for its channels, regulations will have to change, said City-Press. Until now, the Naspers-owned broadcaster has been able to offer the channels free of charge under “must-carry” regulations. SABC has written to communications regulator ICASA asking it for an urgent review of the rules that allow MultiChoice and others to carry SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 at no cost.

The regulations were introduced in 2008. SABC says contrary to the enabling legislation, which allows commercial negotiations between the parties, the regulations state the SABC ‘must offer its television programmes at no cost’ to subscription broadcasters. The SABC will demonstrate in the public process that, on the contrary, the SABC must-carry channels have commercially benefited MultiChoice Africa at the expense of the public broadcaster.

In the letter to ICASA, SABC chairman Bongumusa Makhathini says that the must-carry regulations have had a serious impact on the SABC from a potential revenue point of view. The regulations seemed to have been drafted on the basis that the must-carry obligation was an onerous one for subscription broadcasters and that these broadcasters would be doing the public broadcaster a favour by carrying its channels as part of a subscription television bouquet, Makhathini said.

Source: City Press