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DStv may be forced to air some sports games for free

(Image credit: DStv)

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has put forward a number of new rules that may change the way we consume TV. 

One of its proposed rules is that DStv make a number of sports channels free-to-air for the public. 

The  Independent Communications Authority of South Africa began reviewing South Africa's broadcasting regulations recently. If changes are made, this could see a reshaping of how viewers can access sport channels. 

The department released a white paper last week detailing that events that are held and considered "public interest" be changed to include a number of new things. 

If these changes are made and DStv sport is classified as an interest to the public then the channels will be made freely available to South Africans without having a subscription plan.

“There is a growing need to level the playing field between traditional broadcasting, on-demand services providers – these includes catch-up TV service, video on-demand services as well as news portals – and video-sharing platforms. It has been quite a journey to get this draft White Paper to this stage. We are steadily moving towards the implementation stage now,” said Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams.

What qualifies an event as public interest 

The event would need to match the below criteria to be considered of interest to the public: 

  • The event must involve the South African senior national team (i.e. the most senior official South African team) or an individual representing the Republic
  • The event must be in a major sport, taking into consideration the number of South Africans who play it and/or watch it at the venue or on television, or listen to radio coverage
  • The event must be of major importance to South African society, and not just to those who ordinarily follow the sport
  • The event is appropriate to list, given its structure and duration
  • The event takes place in South Africa. The only events which take place outside South Africa which should be eligible for listing are international confederation sporting events such as a World Cup or Olympic event in which a South African team nor individual is representing the Republic.