Local television producers wait with bated breath for the expected
multibillion-rand boost to the sector that is expected to be driven by
the entry of three new broadcasters in the second half of this year, writes lloyd Gedye in the Mail & Guardian.

Analysts and stakeholders are predicting an investment between R2-billion and R5-billion from the three new entrants over the next few years, which has everyone eyeing a slice of the pie. The content-production industry is currently valued at about R3-billion per year.

Producers hope that the new entrants will be a shot in the arm for the dead hand South African Broadcasting Corporation-dominated sector.

The introduction of new competition in the market will further restore some power to producers when they negotiate licences for their content.

Currently broadcasters own the copyright to shows they purchase. This is a bone of contention for most producers, who are pushing for a move towards international best practice where content is licensed only for certain platforms.

In a converging media space, a model such as this makes sense because producers can license their content for multiple platforms separately, such as subscription broadcasting, free-to-air, mobile TV and web TV.

Telkom Media, one of the new entrants, has proposed just such a model for its new content requirements that were published in brief form late last year. Producers hope that this move by Telkom Media will put pressure on incumbents such as the SABC, M-Net and e.tv to follow suit.

"If there are more doors to knock- on for producers in the sector and a wider range of content, it will raise the game of the SABC , M-Net and e.tv," says Jeremy Nathan, head of production house DV8.

"The SABC has a very narrow view of the production sector. Broadcasters want to own what they commissioned you to produce," he says. "Everyone has been fighting against this for years."

Click here to read the full report, posted on the M&G Online.