Netflix and other international streaming services will likely have to downsize their libraries to meet new local content quotas planned by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, a report from City Press.
The department recently published a broadcast whitepaper announcing plans to impose a 30% local content quota on video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV + and Showmax.
“The spirit behind this whitepaper is to create a future for the South African broadcasting industry,” said Collin Mashile, chief broadcaster of the department’s broadcasting policy. said recently.
While Netflix has over 40 South African movies and 20 dramas and series, the department’s argument is that this is very small compared to the wide range of international films and series – in the thousands.
However, adding South African productions would take time and be an exceptionally expensive exercise for these companies, meaning reducing their international supply would be the only option, the City Press said.
For example, by reducing the number of international shows and movies, Netflix could meet the local content quota without having to produce more South African shows.
Department spokesperson Mish Molakeng told City Press that those streaming services that fail to meet the quotas would not be punished at first, but they expected no resistance from the companies.
“They meet these kinds of requirements in other countries and we think they will in South Africa too. If there are any challenges, they can contact ICASA. Our approach is one of collaboration and understanding, ”said Molakeng.
A spokesperson for MultiChoice – the owner of Showmax – told City Press that its 59,000 hours of local content on DStv and its other platforms already exceeded the proposed minimum requirement.
TV license fees for streaming
The government also plans to extend the payment of TV license fees to streaming services by extending the definition of a “broadcasting service” to online offerings.
If this proposal goes through, it means people will need a TV license to watch streaming services.
This is part of an effort to increase TV license revenue and compliance, which has come under pressure in recent years.
This is evident from the SABC annual report for the 2019/2020 financial year less than a quarter of TV licenses were paid during that period.
The broadcaster said TV licensing revenues fell 18% year over year to R791 million, adding to the company’s financial troubles.
Television journalist and analyst Thinus Ferreira, who operates the South African television news website TV with Thinus, MyBroadband previously said this plan was “insane” and “parasitic.”
“If the SABC is unable to cost effectively and practically collect the license fees from SABC TV, it is sad to want to put that burden on the subscriber management systems of private commercial companies,” said Ferreira.
“The SABC does not want or cannot do the actual or right hard work and wants to shift the burden of its own incompetence to places that manage their interaction with their customers well and know who they are,” he said.
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