THEMEDIAONLINE / 03 MAY 2019 - 17.45 / GLENDA NEVILL & MICHAEL BRATT
Small black-owned media and advertising agencies are battling to stay afloat in the face of dominance by multinationals, and hope the plan to create an Economic Development Fund out of massive fines paid by media companies after a Competition Commission investigation into price-fixing will come to fruition soon.
If not, says the owner of 10 year old agency, June15, a number of them could go under. Mxolisi G Buthelezi says there is a “serious issue of racial exclusion of black-owned agencies, and the chief culprit is BEE. Well established multinationals and local independent (white-owned) agencies can easily score BEE points and then the status quo remains. Most black-owned agencies (start-ups or not) cannot compete. So, in a nutshell, this aid should go beyond start-ups and include black SMME agencies,” he says.
For the past several months, The Media Online has been trying to source more information from the MDDA and the Competition Commission on progress in setting up the Economic Development Fund, an initiative ordered by the Competition Commission. The idea was to create such a fund from the fines issued to media houses as part of its probe into price-fixing and cartel-like behaviour of powerful media companies. The Competition Commission ordered that it should be overseen and managed by the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA).
People know that the fund exists, and that so far over R5 million has been paid into it, but that is about as many facts as can be established at present.
The MDDA responded with a generic sent statement in response to questions, which said, “The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and the Competition Commission of South Africa are currently in consultation with regard to finalising the administration of the Economic Development Fund,” it said.
“Once this current consultation phase has been completed, and the operation of the Economic Development Fund has been finalised, the Fund will be advertised, with details of how applications can be made to the Fund, being made public.”
The respondents also reiterated that, “The Fund was established by the Competition Commission to develop black-owned small media or advertising agencies that require assistance with start-up capital, and to assist black students with bursaries to study media or advertising, among others.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER