South Africa: e.tv opposes DSO
March 3, 2022
By Chris Forrester
South Africa is planning to switch off its analogue broadcasting at the end of March. But privately owned e.tv is not playing ball. It has widespread national distribution and viewership to its analogue transmissions and has said it will not comply.
e.tv, owned by eMedia, is mounting a vigorous legal challenge to the Minister’s ruling. A potential e.tv court victory could mean it would not have to switch off its analogue broadcasts at the end of the month. eMedia CEO Khalik Sherrif declined to comment on the government’s decision saying that his company’s lawyers were studying the latest development.
The other risk is to the state-owned SABC broadcaster which has less wriggle room as far as staying on air in analogue is concerned. The worry is that if e.tv is permitted to carry on transmissions then SABC will lose a considerable market share. This is proven in those sections of the country where analogue transmissions have already ceased with only e.tv still on air in analogue.
Overall country-wide official viewer ratings (from TAMS) shows a 20 per cent decline in SABC ratings in the year to December 31st 2021. In those areas where analogue has ceased those ratings for SABC are much worse. Norther Cape ratings are down 46 per cent. North West are down 34 per cent.
A High Court hearing is scheduled to hear e.tv’s submissions on March 14th-15th.