In a recent statement, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has announced that free-to-air broadcasters are not pleased with the number of advertising DStv acquires.
The regulator has stipulated that it may cap advertising time given to subscription broadcasting platforms like DStv.
“ICASA has found that stakeholders have raised concerns that the subscription broadcaster is allocated more time to transmit its advertisements,” the regulator indicated.
“As a result, the stakeholder has suggested that the advertising time given to the subscription broadcasters should be reduced.”
The regulator’s response is founded on reports from South African broadcasters informing it of the impact of current advertising laws on their financial capability.
eMedia, owner of eTV, indicated that it reckons the impact of advertising laws on subscription broadcasters is lesser than that of free-to-air services.
Furthermore, eMedia implied that the MulitChoice monopoly position deteriorated the impact on their financial capability. Therefore, the suggestion from the organisation is that the regulator cap the number of advertisements permitted on pay-tv broadcast services.
“Thus, it is only fair that the advertising laws be read in conjunction with any regulations in the pay-tv broadcasting service, with the purpose of capping the number of advertisements on the latter broadcasters,” eMedia stated.
MultiChoice disagrees with the notion. According to them, the present advertising laws, which have been in effect since 1999, hinder the broadcaster’s ability to adjust to difficult economic and operating conditions like those felt during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pay-tv broadcaster indicated that the regulations have been in effect for more than 20 years and are currently not in line with the environment driven by digital advertising,” MultiChoice stated.