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Jean-Pierre Aquilina Malta Communications Authority 14 June 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Jean-Pierre Aquilina Malta Communications Authority 14 June 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jean-Pierre Aquilina Malta Communications Authority 14 June 2012

2 2 A brief history of key developments in TV broadcasting in Malta

3 ...1992...analogue cable TV is launched. 3...1981......TVM upgrades to colour. 1962......Malta Television is born.

4 More importantly, in 1991...... (TV) broadcasting is liberalised. Until then, TV broadcasting was provided solely by the national broadcaster. 4

5 Liberalisation led the path towards general interest TV programming. It established pluralism in broadcasting and gave birth to a number of private TV stations. 5

6 6

7 What do we mean by general interest? General interest means TV programming that: promotes cultural diversity, provides educational programming, objectively informs public opinion, and guarantees pluralism. 7

8 General interest TV is achieved in two ways: 1)Content available free-to-air. 2)Content available on pay TV networks (must-carry). 8

9 It all started with a policy that was adopted by Government in 2009. The Policy paved the way towards switching from analogue to digital TV whilst safeguarding general interest TV programming. The Policy ensured that general interest TV is universally available in digital and on a free-to-air basis (ie unencrypted). The Policy also established a number of key principles to safeguard general interest TV. 9

10 Key Principles: 1.The publics right to free-to-air viewership of general interest (GI) channels via unencrypted transmission; 2.An adequate number of GI broadcasters, balanced against minimal distortion of market mechanisms; 3.PBS, the national TV broadcaster, as the de facto public service broadcaster; 10

11 Key Principles: 4.The concept of GI broadcasting to embrace both the public service broadcaster as well as a number of private broadcasters; 5.The application for GIO status, by privately owned stations, on a voluntary basis; and 6.The award of GIO status only on the basis of stringent qualifying criteria. 11

12 The change from analogue to digital TV was managed through the Digital Switchover Programme. The DSO Programme brought stakeholders together, and facilitated coordination of the various activities. 12

13 Main activities (related to general interest): 1.Setting up an independent TV broadcast network to make general interest (GI) content available free-to-air; 2.Implementing the necessary legislative tools to select the GI TV broadcasters complementing the national TV broadcaster; and 3.Ensuring that the GI content is available on pay-TV networks and receivable by end-users through the same equipment provided by the pay-TV operator; 4.An extensive communications campaign. 13

14 Government appointed PBS, the national broadcaster, as the GI TV network operator. PBS was required to set up and operate the GI TV broadcast network on a non-commercial basis, joining the existing two commercial TV network operators. 14

15 In order to keep costs at manageable levels, it was decided that the GI TV channels are transmitted on the UHF channel using the readily available DVB-T standard and MPEG-2 coding technology. 15 MPEG-2

16 A selection process was initiated to select the GI TV channels. Detailed qualifying criteria was drawn up together with an eligibility test. Each TV channel was assessed against this criteria which ensured that the objectives of general interest were met. 16

17 Selection Criteria: Quality programming across the full range of public tastes and interests; Programming of an educational and cultural nature; News and current affairs programming; and A comprehensive and accurate information service in the interests of a democratic and pluralistic society. 17

18 Six GI TV channels were selected: 1.The two national TV channels qualified automatically due to their public service status. 2.A call was issued for private TV broadcasters to apply for GIO status – ie for their TV station to qualify as a GI TV channel. 18

19 Communications Strategy: Extensive public information campaign on TV, radio, and newspapers. Surveys to identify number of free-to-air households, target audiences, moust suitable communiation channels, etc. DSO Customer Support in Retailing: a voluntary scheme open to retailers and installers, in which participants were required to assist consumers in selecting the right products. 19

20 Making GI content available on pay-TV networks necessitates must-carry rules. Must-carry rules are based on the EU model and contain two aspects. 20

21 The first aspect of must-carry rules is must-carry status: the indication of channels which can enjoy the must-carry status (in our case, GIO status) itself. This status is complemented with a must-offer obligation on the channels broadcaster, requiring the broadcaster to offer its content for free on pay-TV networks (see next slide). 21

22 The second aspect of must-carry rules is a must-carry obligation. A must-carry obligation requires a commercial TV broadcast network operator to reserve part of its network capacity for the transmission of the GI TV channels that enjoy must-carry status. 22

23 Must-carry obligations are based on Article 31 of the Universal Service Directive: Obligations must be reasonable and to be imposed only where they are necessary to meet GIOs. TV channels are to be specified in advance. To include access for disabled users. Pay-TV network must be used by a significant number of end-users as the principal means to receive TV broadcasts. Obligations to be proportionate and transparent. 23

24 The MCA published a consultation and decision laying down its guiding principles: 1.When determining which networks are used by a significant number of users, the MCA will consider the state of technological and market development, market structure, as well as target markets. 2.When determining which networks are used as the principal means to receive TV broadcasts, the MCA will take into account, inter alia, the number of end-users with connections to two or more TV broadcast networks. 24

25 The MCA published a consultation and decision laying down its guiding principles: 3.Where must-carry obligations place an excessive or undue burden on the operator of a particular network, the MCA will, where it deems appropriate, consider alternative measures for the GI TV channels to be seamlessly available to all end-users of that network provided that no undue burdens are placed on end-users. 4.When determining whether remuneration for the retransmission of the GI TV channels should be provided, the MCA will need to satisfy itself that any remuneration provided can be justified. 25

26 To safeguard general interest TV: Ensure that TV channels qualifying for GIO status have unencumbered access to the airwaves as well as to commercial TV networks, where necessary. Transmissions should be unencrypted in order that they may be received on a free-to-air basis. Prevalent transmission technologies should be used to keep end-user costs at a minimum. DVB-T MPEG-2 boxes are available for less than 20. Prices of newer technologies are constantly falling. 26

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