The new public protector says she will leave the dispute over the state capture report prepared by h.
The arguments that e.tv successfully used to get M-Net's open time closed were used against the free-to-air broadcaster's bid to enter the pay-TV market at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) hearings yesterday.
Black Earth Communications, e.tv's ally in the Icasa hearings, turned into a foe yesterday. Black Earth Communications argued that since e.tv has the only private sector free-to-air licence available in South Africa, it should not be allowed to enter the pay-TV game.
e.tv is pitching for a pay-TV licence disguised as an entity called E-Sat.
"There is a huge question here of unfair competition in revenue and marketing," said Black Earth Communications director Kubeshni Govender Jones.
She said the M-Net open time window, which only spanned two hours a day, was enough to have it removed from the bid, and the same should apply to e.tv.
"e.tv earns revenue solely from open-air revenue, and in effect E-Sat will be the satellite arm of e.tv. In light of the June 2005 ruling to remove M-Net's open time window, we feel that the there would be an unfair advantage to advertising for potential subscribers," Jones said.
E-Sat and e.tv channel director Bronwyn Keene-Young defended the bid saying: "e.tv can't be compared with M-Net. The two entities are two completely different companies with completely separate revenue streams. E-Sat will have to buy advertising on e.tv like anyone else, and possibly even compete for advertising."
During e.tv's proposal On Digital Media, which also made a presentation to the panel, brought the issue of staffing to the attention of the board. e.tv was forced to admit that the senior management team for E-Sat would still be overseeing operations at e.tv.
"We will begin to be profitable in the fifth year of operations, and that's a very conservative estimate," said e.tv and E-Sat chief executive Marcel Golding.
"We have the experience and expertise to provide a quality service and increase competition in the multichannel environment," he said.