- April 6, 2016
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Media & Broadcasting
FREE-to-air television channel e.tv has submitted an application for the amendment of its individual broadcasting licence to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).
The channel wants the regulator to allow it to broadcast its current 6.30pm eNews Direct bulletin outside of prime time.
Under its current licence conditions, the channel — owned by eMedia Investments — is obliged to broadcast at least two hours of news programming per day, of which at least 30 minutes must be packaged as a single programme and broadcast during prime time.
Prime time in television broadcasting is from 4pm to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 7pm to 11pm on Sundays. Shoulder time is the period that immediately follows or precedes prime time.
In a statement on Wednesday, eMedia Investments’ group chief operating officer Mark Rosin said: “We are living in the digital age, and 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.”
The broadcaster said prime-time English news bulletins have 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,” said Mr Rosin.
He added that with the freedom to move the current prime-time news bulletin into shoulder time, the channel would be able to use prime time to showcase content that had a significantly greater audience demand, and to curb current revenue losses.