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SA government wants streaming sites to provide more local content

(Image credit: Supplied)

The SABC and government are trying their best to take more control over Netflix and Chill.

Government wants streaming sites to introduce a 30% local content quota, which to be fair, will boost South Africa's entertainment industry and allow for more representation in the media. However it is unclear if this is includes international streaming services too. If it is and the services reject it, bye bye Netflix, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video. 

This requirement is part of the changes proposed in the Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio-Visual Content Services Policy Framework.

"The South African broadcasting system should reflect the identity and the multi -cultural nature of South Africa by promoting the entire spectrum of cultural backgrounds in South Africa," said Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. 

The SABC wants to extend its definition of a TV set to include a number of other devices, so that these essentially can be charged under the TV Licence fee too. 

The licensing name will then be looked at as a broadcasting device. 

These devices, listed below, have created new media platforms and content dissemination channels, which directly affect TV Licence legislation, argues the SABC’s head of TV licences Sylvia Tladi. 

What the 30% quota entails 

Government have not yet deciphered whether international streaming services will need to adhere to the quota.  

“These South African content obligations can apply in a cascading manner distinguishing between individual and class licensees and whether the service is public, commercial, or community/non-profit in nature and should not exceed 30% of the video catalogue,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams in written responses to parliamentary questions from DA Deputy Chief Whip Michael Waters. 

Individual and class licences

On-demand services that had an annual turnover of R50-million to R99-million in the previous financial year will need to file for a class licence. 

Those services that have turned over R100-million or more in the previous financial year need to apply for an operating licence. 

Netflix will then need to apply for a licence to operate in South Africa but streaming giant YouTube will not. 

However, YouTube won't be in the clear entirely. The streaming platform will have to adhere to local legislation that includes rules around hate speech, incitement to violence and protection of minors.

What the SABC wants to include

The SABC wants to expand the definition of a TV, which will ensure that those who use other devices for entertainment do not slip through without having a TV licence. These include: 

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • IPTV
  • Internet
  • Decoders
  • Set-top boxes
  • Smartphones