Local and Digital Content Development strategy (as part of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy)
Introduced in 2009-2010. Digital migration refers to the switch from an analogue broadcasting system to a digital broadcasting system -
- Accelerate the growth of the industry by increasing local content output
- Facilitate the rapid entrance by new role players, particularly from a historically disadvantaged background
- Unlock the potential of the content industry in SA to create jobs
- Create a highly competitive content industry that has a string export potential, in accordance with the National Industrial Policy Framework
- Use content development as a vehicle to foster regional integration
- Position the country as a regional content hub.
This strategy links to the 2005 Convention in the following way:
The Local & Digital Content Development strategy was formulated in anticipation of the multichannel environment presented by the broadcasting digital migration to spur content development & furthermore create jobs. In the context of this strategy, local context means texts, images (moving &/or still) that is of a cultural & or creative nature that is written & presented, & or otherwise contributed to & owned by persons from South Africa transmitted over electronic platforms.
The strategy primarily covers 2 main areas relating to funding & infrastructure investment so as to address developmental goals relating to:
- the imbalances of the past particularly around access.
- building national identity & social cohesion.
- building competitiveness in the content industry & fostering regional integration.
Sustaining this content industry is as important as building it. Sustenance relates to stimulating & sustaining production activities, & the following are encouraged by the strategy.
- effective utilization of content lying in the museums as they provide valuable material for generating diverse & original local content
- development of content in multiple languages, as it is a high priority not only in building an inclusive information society, but as a way of stimulating content development amongst the rural communities. This achieves the following:
- promotes linguistic diversity
- enhance access, increase consumption
- encourage innovation without linguistic hindrance or constraints, &
- maintain the originality of content.
In accordance with Chapter 8 of the National Integrated ICT Policy Green Paper, the South African broadcasting system has a three tier system in place (public, private and community broadcasting). This three tier system is one of the key means in the current regulatory framework to facilitate freedom of expression and ensure objectives relating to, for example, the diversity of ownership and content are met, which is in line with the principles of the 2005 Convention.
The Public broadcaster has a specific mandate to fulfil key public goals such as universal access, providing a range of programming in all official SA languages and airing educational programmes.
The current policy recognizes the role that the Private broadcasting sector plays in fostering diversity of services, content, employment of producers and artists as well as increasing diversity of ownership.
The Community broadcasting sector further extends diversity of ownership and content to the community level.
CASA (Independant Communications Authority of South Africa) is the driver of this strategy, as commissioned by the Department of Communications
The White Paper on Broadcasting (1998) however, made provisions for a Broadcast Production Agency to support the development of SA content. The Minister of Communications authorised the establishment of the South African Broadcast Production Advisory Body which makes recommendations to the Minister to enable the Minister to determine:
- policy and strategies to give effect to the production and display of local content
- financing strategies to support the production of local content
- policies to enhance the production of local content for the multichannel and digital broadcasting environment
- The advisory body shall consult the National Film and Video Foundation and the broadcasting industry prior submission of recommendations to the Minister
The MDDA (Media Development & Diversity Agency) has been responsible for the promotion and support of emerging media projects as well as this strategy in respect of the following :
- Research & skills development
Challenges identified in the implementation of this measure:
- Audience development in terms of appreciation of local content that cuts across the diversity of the country
- Broadcasting to all parts of the country is still a challenge as geographically large parts of the country are still rural and semi-rural-
- Demand for local content is not as high as it 'should be', in order for broadcasters to make local content decisions that correlate with the objectives of the policy
- The broadcast migration from analogue to digital, is still in progress with a tender to produce & distribute set-top boxes
- Copyright and Intellectual Property Management is still not optimum (an increase in local content usage needs to be balanced out by fiscal reward for the usage of the IP)
- Cheaper overseas movies & TV programmes
- Licensing issues between producers & broadcasters