South Africa’s public broadcaster SABC wants the nation’s digital pay-TV broadcasters, Naspers-owned DStv, to start paying to carry SABC’s broadcasts.
Currently, DStv can carry SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 free of charge. SABC is the country’s Number 1 channel in terms of viewer popularity.
SABC has formally written to the country’s media regulator ICASA to change the 2008 regulations which permitted DStv to carry the channels free of charge. Those regulations require SABC to offer up its channel without charge to pay-TV subscribers.
Responding to questions, general manager of corporate affairs at MultiChoice, Jackie Rakitla, said: “We don’t agree with the SABC that the ‘must carry’ regulations have failed to protect the integrity and viability of public broadcasting services, or that MultiChoice has commercially benefited from the regulations at the expense of the public broadcaster. The regulations had great benefit to the public broadcaster and the public at large as SABC channels were made available nationwide on all pay television platforms, including on DStv, to fulfil the SABC’s universal access mandate.”