SABC Board member, Michael Markovitz, says regulations on free-to-air television channels have had a concerning impact on the public broadcaster from a revenue point of view.
The SABC says it wants a review of regulations on subscription broadcasters – being able to carry SABC channels 1, 2 and 3 for free.
The Board has written a letter to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa on the matter and says subscription broadcasters such as MultiChoice are benefiting at the SABC’s expense.
The SABC says three of its channels are among the most watched on DSTV.
Markovitz says, “We are not looking for a full policy review. The law actually stipulates in the Electronic Communications Act that it must be subject to commercial negotiation. So it doesn’t say how much MultiChoice must pay or whether it’s for free or not, it very specifically says ‘subject to commercial negotiation’. If you are saying in a regulation that something has to be for free, how can it be subject to commercial negotiation? ” says Markovitz.