Sunday, July 6, 2014

Icasa CEO: MultiChoice gives good product - but why can't you 'pay as you need?' Broadcasting regulator wants more pay-TV competition in SA.

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) regulating broadcasting in South Africa told parliament that South Africa needs competition in the pay-TV market, although new Icasa CEO Pakamile Pongwana appeared clueless about how the existing global pay-TV model actually works.

Icasa is the regulator of broadcasting in South Africa where, within the pay-TV sphere MultiChoice's DStv and pay-TV broadcaster M-Net currently dominate, along with struggling On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat.

Despite multiple attempts to licence more pay-TV broadcasters Icasa's process over the past decade has failed to ensure viable other pay-TV players within the South African subscription television market.

Icasa CEO Pakamile Pongwana told parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Friday that South Africa "needs more competition in the subscription television arena".

Members of parliament like Cameron MacKenzie told Icasa that MultiChoice is a great product and that it is successful as a pay-TV provider with the DStv service its been providing to South African pay-TV subscribers because MultiChoice gives people the content they want to see and all in one service.

"The issue around pay-TV and MultiChoice providing good product, the question that is a challenge for all of us - whilst it is a good product - is I don't need premium TV," said Pakamile Pongwana.

"I probably only watch 3 or 4 TV channels out of the totality of that DStv bouquet. And how many consumers are actually watching that way? Why don't you pay as you need? That is just a food for thought," said Pakamile Pongwana.