South Africa is now targeting licence fees from users who watch Netfix in the country. The South African Broadcasting Corporation has proposed that a regulation be implemented to expand the definition of a TV Licence to include streaming services such as Netflix.
Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana presented SABC’s proposal to the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee. The leading broadcaster argued that the expanded definition of a TV licence currently in use is outdated and needs to be amended to reflect the current situation.
SABC said that the proposed regulation would see Pay-TV service providers such as Multichoice (DSTv) and streaming services such as Netflix, collect licence fees from users on behalf of the leading broadcaster.
According to Kekana, allowing SABC to collect fees from non-TV users would help the government achieve its goal of improving SABC’s financial position.
“Including engaging with those who have been carrying the SABC programmes on their pay-TV, how do we through ICASA make sure that they too are able to assist us to collect TV licences?” Kekana said.
“But we are not only limiting it to TV. We also have other platforms where people consume content and in all of those areas, that is where we should look at how we are able to get SABC licence fees from those gadgets.”
This means that consumers of Netflix and other streaming services who access the service on their devices such as phones and laptops, will also be expected to pay licence fees.
In its proposal, SABC also wants improved access to National Sports Rights, and specifically at improved rates. It argues that “national sports must be made available to it at a very affordable price”.
SABC in its proposal to parliament also wants the ‘must carry’ rule which makes it a requirement for subscriptions providers with more than 30 channels to include SABC’s three free to air channels scrapped.
The current regulations state that SABC “must offer its television programmes, at no cost to subscription broadcasters.” The condition eliminates any chance of commercial negotiations between the parties.
SABC is looking to negotiate for a fee with Pay TV providers, who they note are favoured by the one-sided regulation.