January 6, 4 minute read. Whether one normally consumes content through Internet, satellite or cable-based providers, change has now come to all, either through natural market demand or legislation.
The communications market reforms chapter of the economic arrangements bill — that passed in the Knesset in December alongside the to state budget — ushered in a number of changes that will increase competition in the television market and give consumers greater freedom to choose what they watch.
One clause required Bezeq to grant other telecommunication service providers — such as Cellcom, Partner and HOT — access to its nationwide underground network of fiber optic cables, so those companies can deploy their cables through the existing network.
This gives many Israeli consumers the option to choose between the cable-based HOT or the satellite-based Yes providers for the first time. The reforms also opened the door for the Internet- based broadcasting of Israeli channels and content.
That was good news for Cellcom, whose Internet-based Cellcom TV has since added many channels with Israeli content, including the Charlton Sports channels.
Since its launch in , Cellcom TV has used especially competitive prices to position itself as a noteworthy competitor to a market dominated by HOT and Yes.
In the previous year, subscriptions to Cellcom TV have more than doubled, and in October the company recorded more than , households as clients. Netflix also opened its services for consumers at the beginning of and was joined by Amazon Prime Video by the end of the year.
MK Nachman Shai Zionist Union has been working for the last five years for the state to allow an Israeli non-Hebrew language news channel to be broadcast in Israel.
While his fellow committee members expressed their consent to start drafting legislation that would bring this about, a representative of the Justice Ministry put a roadblock in their way.
According to existing laws, a news service cannot be owned by the broadcasting platform which provides it to consumers. Since i24news is owned by Patrick Drahi — who also owns HOT — the news service is not yet eligible for a state permit.
According to a representative of the Economic Affairs Committee, the members are working on a legal solution that will give i24 a unique and unprecedented legal exemption from existing restrictions and would require HOT to also allow its main competitor, Yes, the ability to broadcast the news channel to its customers.