The SABC wants MultiChoice (DStv parent) to pay to carry its channels on DStv pay-television platform. Over the past years, MultiChoice has been able to offer the channels free of charge in terms of so-called “must-carry” regulations.
SABC has written to the regulator, ICASA asking it to conduct a review of the regulations that allow MultiChoice and others to carry SABC1, SABC2, and SABC3 for free. The regulations were introduced in 2008.
“Contrary to the enabling legislation, which provides for ‘commercial negotiations’ between the parties, the regulations state the SABC ‘must offer its television programmes at no cost’ to subscription broadcasters,” the SABC said on Wednesday.
Are they no ways the rights can be leveraged far more effectively than at present, to improve the return-on-investment done the local broadcasters.
In the letter, SABC chairman Bongumusa Makhathini said that the must-carry regulations have “had a serious impact on the SABC from a potential revenue point of view”. They effectively “zero-rate” the three SABC channels and have created a “precedent-setting, non-commercial negotiating environment”.
Asking DStv to pay can help in the improvement of broadcasting services.
“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 terms of ZBC, the channel is available on Kwese and DStv.
One of Kwese TV requirements was that they should introduce ZBC on their bouquets.
While ZBC is slow on covering current events like the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe, the state broadcaster was busy showing Talking Farming. Media reform will be a key part of Zimbabwe’s transition. There isn’t much of an independent media culture in the country, despite the constitution listing it as a right.
If Kwese and DStv paid for the ZTV, maybe the programming of ZBC could improve.
According to Information, Media and Broadcasting Services ministry permanent secretary George Charamba, ZBC was mooting the introduction of sport, movies and 24-hour news channels hence the introduction of broadcasting rights fees could go a long way.