FREE-to-air broadcaster e.tv has submitted an application to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to allow it to bump news broadcasting out of its prime-time schedule.

The channel wants to broadcast its 6.30pm eNews Direct bulletin during off-peak times instead.


According to its current licence conditions, the channel is required to broadcast at least two hours of news programming a day, with at least 30 minutes packaged and aired as a single programme during prime time.

eMedia Investments’ group chief operating officer, Mark Rosin, said the digital age called for them to rethink their strategy.

“Our viewers are consuming news on demand. The idea of relying on a single prime-time bulletin has inevitably become antiquated and e.tv needs to be able to take this into account with regard to its overall programming scheduling.

“We have a long history of broadcasting quality news on e.tv, and while the prime-time condition may have catered to our audience’s needs in 1998, when we first launched the service, it no longer makes sense now,” Rosin said.

He said e.tv has about 17 million daily viewers.

“The English news bulletins in prime time had seen a rapid decline in ratings across all free-to-air channels over the last few years.

“Having always met and often exceeded our news requirements, we have seen our English prime-time news audience decline rapidly, despite numerous attempts to retool the bulletin.

“And we are not alone – our competitors have experienced the same thing.

“As a commercial broadcaster generating most of its revenue in prime time, this presents serious revenue challenges, which ultimately lead to commercial viability challenges,” he said.

Source – Cape Argus