Safaricom introduced Skiza tunes many years ago. The product allowed musicians, among other content creators to make money from call back playbacks. Skiza is very popular and continues to be so. Other platforms have since come up, including Viusasa that supports local talent to create and distribute music, films, and shows. The Viusasa app supports additional services such as online streaming of news from local media houses. Viusasa is popular because of its payment model that allows customers to access content for as little as KES 5.
In today’s national address, President Uhuru Kenyatta has proposed a system that will change the operation of Skiza and Viusasa, mainly through the collection of revenues associated with the products.
The announcement is defended by the President as a move to support service providers through what he calls a multi-pronged approach. Here are some of the major points that arose from his speech:
Existing structure is limiting
According to Kenyatta, the current structure that encompasses content service providers that work with digital products such as the aforementioned Skiza and Viusasa will be eliminated.
Well, the products and the people behind them are not part of the national revenue collection management organizations.
Registration of rights holders
To this end, the President has tasked rights holders to register with the National Rights Registry.
Furthermore, content service providers who want to receive royalties will be required to channel payments of royalties through a single and centrally managed account at the Kenya Copyrights Board (KECOBO).
The regulator will be able to track payments and ensure that the collection and distribution accounts are auditable.
KECOBO and the ICT Ministry has reportedly examined and agreed on the tariffs that will be used for 2020.
The tariffs, as usual, will be gazette and from the framework on which compliance to royalty distribution will be based.
Also, the ICT Ministry in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General has been asked to gazette the new tariffs in the next 30 days.
Stringent rules for content providers eliminated
The President has asked the Ministry to remove conditions that require artists, among other digital creators to only work with registered license providers. This move will effectively make musicians, for example, work with the Skiza platform directly instead of going through providers such as Safaricom.