South Africa has proposed the radical leisure of rules over foreign ownership in native broadcasters in addition to the scrapping of restrictions that forestall cross-ownership of broadcasting providers.
If applied, these changes might spark consolidation within the sector and lead to larger foreign direct funding into the nation.
A draft coverage framework white paper on audio and audiovisual content material providers, revealed by the division of communications & digital applied sciences on Friday, has proposed elevating the foreign ownership restrict on native broadcasters from 20% to 49% and eliminating this restrict fully for buyers from different African Union (AU) nations.
“The draft white paper recommends that the limitations on foreign ownership in respect of linear individual audiovisual content services (broadcasting services) increases to a maximum of 49%,” the doc reads.
“Also, the cross-media ownership (rules), together with the excellence between AM and FM licences and the opposite prescribed restrictions which can be presently relevant to industrial sound and tv broadcasting providers, are out of date and want elimination.
“In an environment where markets are disrupted by technology developments, where print media companies are no longer the largest media companies, and with the proliferation of on-demand content services, this proposed policy intervention will allow consolidation and the creation of synergies by various firms.”
Any anticompetitive behaviour by broadcasters that may circulation from this leisure of cross-ownership rules ought to be policed by the Competition Commission, the white paper mentioned.
Also, to be sure that elevated foreign ownership doesn’t dilute the “South Africanness” of broadcasting content material, communications regulator Icasa will want to monitor licensees intently for compliance.
The foreign funding restriction ought to fall away fully the place buyers are from different AU nations, supplied the foreign investor is from a member nation with a reciprocal settlement with South Africa.
News of the proposed changes comes every week after it emerged that French media large Groupe Canal+ has acquired a not-insignificant stake in South Africa’s largest broadcasting firm, DStv guardian MultiChoice Group, which owns MultiChoice South Africa.
Read: France’s Canal+ buys stake in MultiChoice Group
MultiChoice Group, which is listed on the JSE, disclosed the Canal+ funding in a press release on the stock alternate information service final Monday. Canal+ has purchased 6.5% of the corporate’s whole abnormal shares in problem, it mentioned.
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Duncan McLeod is editor of TechCentral
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