Local content a winner for television audiences and production industry

03 January 2001

Like radio broadcasters, television channels are also complying with their local content requirements - in some cases, channels are exceeding the quotas asked of them. Television broadcasters spend, on average, one-and-a-half person days a week and one-and-a-half management days a week ensuring compliance with the quotas

Local programmes are very popular with viewers. The most watched programmes on all television stations tend to be local. However, local programmes are considerably more expensive than international programmes, meaning that the quotas have a direct impact on broadcasters` bottom lines.

As well as attracting significant audiences, local content on television helps to strengthen the domestic television production sector. The
number of South African production companies that have received work from each broadcaster was between 15 and 170, showing that work is distributed quite widely through the sector.

Television broadcasters with more than 40 percent local content spend between 70 and 80 percent of their programming budget on commissioning local programmes - a considerable investment in the local industry.

Based on the research, the NAB will make a number of recommendations in its submission to ICASA.

* ICASA should broaden its focus to include other strategies togrow the local television industry. These strategies could include
sourcing new talents, paying increased attention to marketing South African productions overseas and popularising co-productions.

* A points or weighting system should be introduced that offers incentives for certain types of local programming. These models are used
in Canada and Australia giving broadcasters could get additional credit for investing in more expensive types of local programming.

* Local content regulations should be expanded to take into account other activities that clearly support the aims of local content regulation. This should include other on-air activities such as sport and off-air activities such as training, payments into production funds and the sponsorship of events and awards that promote the South African production industry.

* The issue of repeats (both foreign and local) should be dealt with in each broadcaster`s licence conditions. In counting repeats as
local content, the NAB proposes that ICASA applies a weighting system, for instance, giving 100% credit for the first repeat and using a
sliding scale thereafter.

* The regulations should provide forbroadcasters to get credit towards the quota for their payments into funds and various financial contributions, for example, a contribution to market South African productions overseas.

* Each broadcaster`s licence conditions should contain the specific local content requirements that it is required to comply with, depending on the characteristics of the broadcasting service in question.



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