12 Nov 2019

Samoa's TV operators ask Govt to step in over broadcaster tariff

3:27 pm on 12 November 2019

Samoa's television regulator has set a monthly broadcaster tariff more than double what was endorsed by the prime minister.

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Photo: 123RF

The country's seven television stations are asking the government to intervene in what they say are "ridiculous" rates that will lead to losses and closures.

The television regulator, privately-owned Samoa Digital Company Limited (SDCL) is managing the country's transition from analogue to digital broadcast.

It has set the rate television channels each pay at $US13,400 per month, reduced to $8700 a month for the first six months, effective from November.

Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi had previously endorsed the regulator charging $5600 per month.

In a joint media release, the channels have asked the government to intervene on their behalf.

SDCL has a 20-year contract, which the broadcasters say has a capital cost of $2.24 million.

At the lesser rate of $US5600 per month, SDCL will earn $450,000 a year or $9.4m over their contract, which the broadcasters say is a reasonable return on investment.

At the rate the regulator is demanding, the return will be $21.8m over 20 years, which they say is excessive and unsustainable.

The regulator has ordered all broadcasters to accept the deal and pay their first installments by this Friday.