Approved: Extension of the existing situation regarding payment for the distribution of Internet channel broadcasts

Knesset Economics Committee, chaired by Ha"As Michael Bitton, today approved the government’s proposal to extend the existing situation regarding the payment for the distribution of Internet channel broadcasts, in accordance with what the committee approved in the Arrangements Law for the years 2017-2018. During the hearing, the Acting Attorney General of the Ministry of Communications, Adv"D. Bruria Mendelssohn, that the extension of the existing situation is necessary since the ministry is currently working on a large and comprehensive reform, following the conclusions of the committee headed by Ha"As former Roy Folkman. there were"R. Bitton asked to know if a year would be enough for the ministry to finish work on the reform, and Mendelssohn replied that it was in doubt and that a year’s hazelnut was very challenging.

At the beginning of the discussion there were tensions"R. Bitton harshly criticized the fact that the request to extend the current situation in the year reached the committee just before the expiration of the directive. He demanded that such requests be made three months in advance, so that the committee could discuss them seriously.

Representative of the Ministry of Communications, Adv"D. Alyssa Kadouri explained that the Broadcasting Law includes an arrangement whereby the commercial channels Network and Arc, as well as the corporation and the Knesset channel, which are distributed on Idan Plus, will be distributed free of charge to platforms that provide content via the Internet. However, a five-year temporary provision was set, which was expected to expire at the end of the year, according to which if there were previous payment arrangements between the channels and platforms (such as Cellcom and Partner) then they would remain in force under the best terms provided by other content providers.

The Ministry of Communications requested that this arrangement be extended by one year, until a comprehensive reform of the market is implemented, in accordance with the recommendations of the Folkman Committee. In view of the estimates that a year will not be enough, during today’s discussion a proposal was made to allow the Minister of Communications an extension, in an order approved by the Economics Committee, for additional periods not exceeding one year.

Adv"D Noga Rubinstein, who represented the commercial channels Network and Rainbow, said that in 2017 the channels were a tool in the hands of the government to promote competition from Partner and Cellcom in Hot Weiss. She said the government wanted to help the new competitors get the popular commercial channels, but even before the bill was passed the platforms reached agreements with the channels and the government chose not to intervene on the assumption that there might be reform during those five years. According to her, the period has passed but within a year there will be no reform and the market needs certainty, so it is not right to allow an extension for short periods but to allow an extension of one year and the possibility for the minister to extend the existing situation for another year.

Ha"As Shlomo Qarai opposed the extension, saying that today the platforms pay for the channels and if the arrangement expires the content provider will be able to get the channels for free. there were"R. Bitton mentioned that this is a regulation from the days of the previous government and that this should be accompanied by a comprehensive regulation. H"Keari objected to giving the minister authority to allow for further extension, declaring it a new issue.

Following this decided were"R. Bitton not to discuss the possibility of authorizing the Minister to approve a further extension, since Ha’s claim"As a rupture, it was obliged to stop the debate and refer the matter to the Knesset committee for a decision. However, h"Keari sought to present further reservations to the bill, but his reservations were rejected. The committee also rejected the reservations submitted by h"As Uri Maklev and the proposal, as stated, was approved as initially presented.

Photo: Knesset Spokeswoman – Noam Moskowitz

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