Recent reports have revealed new rules that will affect subscription TV and free-to-air sports broadcasting in South Africa. According to our industry sources, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has set new regulations for broadcasting sports, intending to balance the inequalities in how television is accessed by people and the nature of individuals’ services.
Although there are 8.6 million pay-tv subscribers in South Africa, much of the population still relies on free-to-air for sports and other programmes said ICASA. Additionally, the regulator has also observed that the trend is most prominent with national sporting events whereby the primary live broadcast is on subscription TV such as DSTV. Many South Africans cannot afford this service, added ICASA.
Further, the regulator has acknowledged that the sports industry relies on the sale of broadcasting rights as their primary source of revenue. Sporting bodies that submitted a representation to ICASA substantiated the statement and maintained that the best commercial offers came from pay-tv broadcasters.
As a resolution, ICASA has proposed that the parties must determine the periods and scheduling of advertisement of national sporting events in their commercial agreement on fair, open and non-discriminatory terms. Several sporting events for live or delayed by free-to-air broadcasting services were listed on a five-year review basis. Also, ICASA proposed strict fines for broadcasters who did not adhere to the new regulations. A review is set to be conducted before a final regulation can be implemented, said ICASA.