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Digital Migration SA


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This presentation discusses the Digital television regulations proposed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)

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Digital Migration SA

  1. 1. Digital Migration in South Africa October 2008 Save Our SABC Libby Lloyd
  2. 2. What does it mean to you? <ul><li>How should civil society be interacting with DTT migration? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Digital Migration <ul><li>International Telecommunications Union has resolved that analogue television frequencies will not be protected anymore after 2015 </li></ul><ul><li>This is to free up frequencies for new services </li></ul><ul><li>Both more channels for SA and other broadband services (about 8 digital channels for each one analogue frequency?) </li></ul><ul><li>The Digital Dividend </li></ul>
  4. 4. How it works <ul><li>Digital Terrestrial Television System </li></ul><ul><li>Production </li></ul>STB TV
  5. 5. DTT changes the nature of television <ul><li>Technology features </li></ul>Multi-channel Better quality pictures and sound Potential for Interactivity (with or without return path) Can have multiple language tracks <ul><li>PROS </li></ul><ul><li>More channels potentially allows more audience choice </li></ul><ul><li>Bouquets for specific interests – greater viewer differentiation </li></ul><ul><li>Quality can be controlled per channel or per event to optimise resources </li></ul><ul><li>More capacity to deal with specific needs </li></ul><ul><li>CONS </li></ul><ul><li>No signal in marginal areas </li></ul><ul><li>Multichannel makes it harder to attract viewers to a given channel </li></ul><ul><li>Need regulation to ensure diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Decoders complex – need for aerials? </li></ul><ul><li>Expensive for viewers and broadcasters </li></ul>
  6. 6. DTT Impacts on Broadcasters’ on Different Levels <ul><li>Content Production, Packaging and Programming </li></ul>Signal Distribution and Transmission Signal Reception and Devices <ul><li>Broadcasters need to digitize archives, studios, and production networks </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcasters will need to develop and test new DTT channels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transmitter Network rollout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Costs of signal distribution will rise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design of Electronic program guide (EPG) needs to be undertaken – may require co-operation of different broadcasters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>STB specs to be developed which will determine what kind of services can be offered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revenues and business models will be impacted: license fee collection, interactive service revenues </li></ul></ul>DTT migration therefore requires the co-operation of multiple stakeholders
  7. 7. History in SA <ul><li>2005: </li></ul><ul><li>Minister sets up Digital Migration Working Group (DMWG) </li></ul><ul><li>Includes all industry players </li></ul><ul><li>2006 </li></ul><ul><li>DWMG submits recommendations to Minister </li></ul>
  8. 8. DWMG key recommendation <ul><li>“ That government should establish a joint body with industry to develop an action plan for the switch-off of analogue television broadcasting, to monitor the switchover process and promote consumer awareness”. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Background cont… <ul><li>2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Cabinet announces in Feb digital signal will be switched on 1 Nov 2008 – switched off 1 Nov 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Three year “dual illumination period” </li></ul>
  10. 10. An Aside… <ul><li>Dual illumination </li></ul><ul><li>When analogue and digital signal running together </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose: </li></ul><ul><li>to test signal, </li></ul><ul><li>to persuade consumers of benefits and to get ready for switch-off </li></ul><ul><li>to ensure ongoing universal access </li></ul><ul><li>Very expensive for existing broadcasters </li></ul>
  11. 11. Back to history <ul><li>2007 cont… </li></ul><ul><li>March: </li></ul><ul><li>Government issues a draft policy and strategy doc </li></ul><ul><li>Asks for comment within two weeks as urgent </li></ul>
  12. 12. Promises, promises, promises <ul><li>Government repeatedly states policy will be out “shortly”, “next week”, “next month” </li></ul>
  13. 13. No policy but… <ul><li>May 2007 Budget speech Minister announces Digital Dzonga </li></ul><ul><li>But…only in next budget speech details other players who will sit on Council </li></ul><ul><li>Includes broadcasters, signal distributors, unions, consumer bodies…. </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible for “ consumer awareness and education, liaison with the regulator and monitoring of implementation “ </li></ul>
  14. 14. Finally <ul><li>Finally – almost 18 months later </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Migration policy is launched </li></ul>
  15. 15. But <ul><li>Not detailed enough </li></ul><ul><li>Only released specs for STBs at same time </li></ul><ul><li>… and only 3 months till switch-on </li></ul>
  16. 16. policy <ul><li>Repeats switch on 1 Nov 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Switch off 1 Nov 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Phased increase in transmission coverage </li></ul><ul><li>On 1 Nov major urban centres (50% of population) </li></ul><ul><li>By 2010 80% coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Promised by switch off everyone will be able to receive </li></ul>
  17. 17. Distraction…. Signal distribution <ul><li>All transmitters need to be converted </li></ul><ul><li>Sentech (signal distributor) says needs R950m for conversion </li></ul><ul><li>R917m for dual illumination </li></ul><ul><li>BUT only awarded R600m </li></ul>
  18. 18. Policy: which broadcasters <ul><li>All existing terrestrial tv channels will be accommodated during dual illumination period </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SABC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-tv </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>M-Net </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No new players licensed during dual illumination </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. ICASA draft regulations <ul><li>ICASA issued regulations for comment on 3 October </li></ul><ul><li>Comment due in by 7 November </li></ul>
  20. 20. Broadcasting during dual illumination <ul><li>Government Policy does not state how many channels each will get </li></ul><ul><li>DWMG suggested: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SABC five (3 existing and two regional?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-tv two </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>M-Net three </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Costs high for broadcasters – new content and double transmission </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. ICASA draft regulations <ul><li>Reserve two “multiplexes” for existing broadcasters </li></ul><ul><li>One multiplex for public and community television </li></ul><ul><li>One for commercial </li></ul><ul><li>Each multi plex can carry 8 channels. </li></ul>
  22. 22. ICASA proposals on allocating channels <ul><li>“ allocation must aim to increase the number of channels falling under the public wing of the SABC for the purpose of public service broadcasting including regional broadcasting </li></ul><ul><li>“ Digital incentive channels must be assigned proportionally to …commercial channels… including etv, m-net and the commercial wing of the…SABC” </li></ul>
  23. 23. What this means <ul><li>Presumption that commercial and public split continues </li></ul><ul><li>No query of if model works </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of fair competition </li></ul>
  24. 24. What it means cont… <ul><li>Propose: </li></ul><ul><li>2 commercial channels for SABC (SABC 3 and another) </li></ul><ul><li>Five channels for public section (SABC 1, 2, 3, 4 and another) </li></ul><ul><li>1 for community </li></ul><ul><li>2 e-tv and 4 m-net </li></ul>
  25. 25. How propose allocate? <ul><li>“ Authorisation of channels for public broadcasting …will be subjected to a public value test and may be subjected to a public process” </li></ul><ul><li>Define public value test as meaning that the channel … should seek to meet the programming objectives set out in relevant section of regulation and may be subjected to further public processes </li></ul>
  26. 26. Proposed programme objectives <ul><ul><li>Level of educational programming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribution of different languages – emphasising marginalised (isiNdebele, siSwati, XiTsonga, TshiVenda) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotion of cultural diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programming aimed at persons with disability, children youth and women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The social development of persons in the Republic including programmes providing entertainment and information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi Genre programming </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. How define “public process” <ul><li>“ May include any or all of following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publish a notice in gazette of application for channel authorisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invite comments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give a chance to SABC to respond to comments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct a public hearing </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Problems <ul><li>Nice idea </li></ul><ul><li>Limited public involvement prescribed </li></ul><ul><li>Missed chance to define how public broadcasting is distinct from public commercial </li></ul><ul><li>Presumption that model will continue </li></ul><ul><li>Not clear how determined what is of public value </li></ul><ul><li>No requirement for SABC to conduct research into public value </li></ul>
  29. 29. content <ul><li>More channels </li></ul><ul><li>More content </li></ul><ul><li>Expensive </li></ul><ul><li>What will local content quotas be? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there capacity in independent production sector? </li></ul>
  30. 30. Content development <ul><li>DMWG </li></ul><ul><li>Need government support for content development </li></ul><ul><li>Government policy </li></ul><ul><li>Vague </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Content Generation Hubs will be developed </li></ul><ul><li>But When? </li></ul><ul><li>Any financial support? </li></ul>
  31. 31. Consumer Issues <ul><li>STB’s : R700 </li></ul><ul><li>5 million will not be able to afford this </li></ul><ul><li>Government subsidy “Scheme for Ownership Support (SOS): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>70% of cost for those on government grants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Estimated 5million people </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Subsidy scheme <ul><li>R2.45 bill </li></ul><ul><li>BUT </li></ul><ul><li>Not clear where funds will come from: </li></ul><ul><li>Suggested Universal Service and Access Fund maybe </li></ul><ul><li>But … </li></ul><ul><li>telecommunications operators unhappy </li></ul><ul><li>USAF – capacity to manage such a large roll out? </li></ul>
  33. 33. Consumer Issues <ul><li>Need clear rules on subsidy system </li></ul><ul><li>Need to know how will roll-out </li></ul><ul><li>Need massive awareness campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Need to have campaigns to show how to use STB </li></ul>
  34. 34. STB’s <ul><li>Launch with no STB’s </li></ul><ul><li>No-one will be able to watch – except 500 people chosen to test </li></ul><ul><li>STBs will be manufactured in South Africa </li></ul><ul><li>STBs will only be available from mid 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>most basic box will have inbuilt capability to facilitate e-government applications to enable users to receive and send back messages, download information on government services and submit, for example, application forms </li></ul>
  35. 35. What does it mean to broadcasting policy? <ul><li>Need to review entire broadcasting policy and legislation – currently only allows a private company to own one tv channel </li></ul><ul><li>Need to review laws – SABC public and public commercial </li></ul><ul><li>Need to review funding for public broadcasting </li></ul>
  36. 36. Funding of public broadcasting issues <ul><li>SABC will need more money for more channels and for dual illumination </li></ul><ul><li>Need to rethink funding model </li></ul><ul><li>Public and commercial division not worked – still all commercial </li></ul><ul><li>SABC previously raised potential for using STB to monitor payment of licence fees… </li></ul><ul><li>UK and France relooking at public broadcasting funding in light of multi-channel environment </li></ul>
  37. 37. Need to review all regulations <ul><li>Local content </li></ul><ul><li>Must carry rules for public broadcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency spectrum </li></ul><ul><li>How will licence new players? </li></ul>
  38. 38. “… the introduction of new channels will fragment audiences …drive down advertising rates. It is unlikely … that advertising spend … will increase – it is more likely that the available spend will have to be shared across more channels. As more channels mean higher costs for broadcasters, this will have an adverse affect on incumbent broadcasters.” Marcel Golding e-tv CEO
  39. 39. Issues for SOS? <ul><li>Monitor roll out of STB’s to ensure universal access </li></ul><ul><li>Engage with subsidy scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Engage with roll out process… </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to ICASA position paper – public value </li></ul><ul><li>Question funding model for public broadcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Use to advance call for rethink of broadcasting policy </li></ul>