The launch of South Africa’s second commercial satellite pay-TV service on 1 May has not only given local TV viewers new options but opened up a potential source of work for the country’s hungry independent production sector.
"TopTV is of the opinion that local content is king as it builds loyalty and drives viewers," says TopTV head of Local Content, Gugu Sibeko. "So we will definitely be commissioning local programming once the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) approves our Commissioning Procedures document, which was submitted on 26 May. The approved document will be posted on our website, www.toptv.co.za, in due course."
As to the issue of intellectual property (IP) for commissioned programmes, Sibeko notes that TopTV may be willing, depending on the particular deal and on whether producers themselves are prepared to take some risk, to share rights. TopTV is also open to entering into co-productions with other broadcasters.
A minimum of 10% of TopTV’s channel acquisitions budget must be spent on channels with South African content as per Icasa conditions. Sibeko confirms that the broadcaster achieved that percentage at launch and will look to increase it down the line.
Read more in the June 2010 issue of Screen Africa