At a recent conference, a speaker mentioned that licensing more Pay TV operators will have positive impact on the amount of local content we see.
I do not think that licensing more Pay TV operators will have much impact on the amount of local content we will see. In fact, it could make the situation worse.
This is because it is something like 5-10 times more expensive to buy locally-produced content (even though it is in rands) than geting cheap junk soaps and movies from the US (even though that is in dollars). This is something that some SABC people highlighed in a guest lecture at Rhodes a few years ago.
(Local content is expensive because it is a small industry, rather inefficient and lacking competiton, which needs expensive equipment)
Having more broadcasters will mean more competition, lower prices and fewer subscribers to go around (with which to market oneself to advertisers)... these thinner margins will force cost-cutting - which makes it very difficult for a broadcaster to shell out so much more on local content, as opposed to the cheaper option of syndicated trash.
I would love it if there was more local content. I'm sure most people would. I saw 'Bunny Chow' on an plane recently (about the only place that I ever watch movies), one of the best movies I've seen in ages.
But in reality, more local content? I think this is just a dream.
Obviously we could have sterner regulation in terms of content quotas... but this may force financial pressures on the new broadcasters that kill them off before they have had a chance to begin -- nobody would want that either.