South African regulator launches pay TV probe

South African regulator ICASA has launched an enquiry into pay TV in the country to address a perceived lack of competition in the market.

The enquiry will led by ICASA Council member Katharina Pillay, working with deputies Nomvuyiso Batyi and Botlenyana Mokhele.
Announcing the enquiry, Pillay said that ICASA had “the responsibility to ensure that all communications and broadcasting service markets are open, competitive and sustainable”.

She said that the encquire would address “concerns raised by industry stakeholders as well as for the Authority to determine why despite multiple attempts to introduce competition in the subscription broadcasting market, only two licensees have been able to launch services and the two entrants have been plagued with sustainability challenges and the others yet not begun operations.”

Pillay said that ICASA had to understand the challenges faced by new entrants to the market. The enquire will begin gathering information this week through stakeholder questionnaires, meetings and written submissions ahead of publishing a discussion document for putlic comment.

Pillay said she expected the enquiry and possible further action under the ICASA Act’s section 67 process – which includes possible pro-competitive measures and the declaration of operators with significant market power – to be completed by end of this year.

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