Brazil approves pay TV law
By Chris Forrester

The long-awaited Brazil ‘Bill 116’ which sets out a new broadcasting regime for pay TV has received its final assent. Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff made only two minor veto amendments, but the rest of the Bill now passes into the rule book.

The two minor exceptions cover call center activity, and content classification, which stays in the hands of the Ministry of Justice. The general consensus is that the veto items do not materially affect the beneficial thrust of the legislation.

Among the new law’s main points, it has been established that there will be no limits on foreign capital for cable TV, thus enabling América Móvil (Embratel) to formalise its control over Net, the nation’s main MSO, owned jointly with Globo. Telefónica might follow the same steps with TVA. In turn, telecommunications operators will be able to effectively introduce IPTV, as planned by GVT and Oi, among others.

According to the law, three and a half hours of national content must be broadcasted weekly through movies, series and documental channels in prime time. Half of such content must be generated by Brazilian independent producers. The Brazilian National Cinema Agency will be in charge of controlling such content quotas.