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What effect the quota rule could have on international streaming sites

(Image credit: Shutterstock / sitthiphong)

A white paper released by the South African government proposes a local content quota for streaming sites, including the international ones. 

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies explained that they aim to support local film and television content through this process. 

A similar programme was implemented by the SABC a few years ago, requiring 90% local music on radio stations. This was applauded, but, it was applied to a South African body.

The concern many have raised is the effect this quota system will have on the offerings by streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ in South Africa. 

Boosting local content vs. Diminishing offerings 

The idea behind the quota is to encourage (or, possibly, see: force) these players to invest in the South African film and television industry.

This is something Netflix is already doing, with its Africa branch investing and promoting locally produced content through its site with series such as Kings of Joburg, Queen Sono and Blood and Water. 

However, other sites such as Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ do not offer such content.

What some fear this will mean is that sites which don't have enough content won't choose to invest in local content heavily. Rather they will buy some local offerings but also remove a selection of international content to make it possible to fit into the quota. 

A more cynical, worst-case scenario view would be that they would remove themselves from the country altogether. 

Not just South Africa

South Africa isn't the only country to consider this measure to help their local content and production companies

Australia has previously looked at requiring sites to invest 10% of their revenue from the country back into the industry. 

The European Union also voted in favour of a 30% quota. This was finalised in 2018, and resulted in companies coming to the party.

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.