A few days ago, Platco Digital, a new DTH operator over South Africa, said its OpenView service would be carrying South Africa’s Broadcasting Company’s (SABC) public channels when it goes live on October 15th.
‘Not so,’ implied SABC in a robust denial, saying that Platco doesn’t have the rights to transmit the channels. Platco Digital is a sister company of E.tv and is now being coy about whether they have signed a carriage agreement with SABC.
“The SABC, as the public broadcaster, has various obligations and any attempts by the SABC to prevent Platco from carrying the SABC channels would be unlawful,” said Platco Digital. However, TV channels on Platco Digital’s OpenView HD have to pay Platco Digital in carriage deals. Platco Digital says TV channels then get a wider reach and audience and can charge more for advertising. Regulator Icasa says that the so-called ‘must carry’ regulations whereby a satellite TV platform such as OpenView HD would just get the SABC channels because it has to carry them as public channels, doesn’t apply in this case because OpenView is a free service, and the ‘must carry’ rules apply only to pay TV.