South Africa Wants Netflix Users Pay License Fees


Pay TV service providers may be forced to collect license fees similar to those remitted by traditional TV service providers in South Africa.

This development, which is being pursued in the South Africa Parliament, was proposed by the South Africa Broadcasting Commission (SABC).

The regulation, should it be passed, would mean that services such as Netflix will help the Commission collect license fees.

According to MyBroadBand, SABC is arguing that the definition of a TV license is outdated and needs to be revisited to incorporate modern realities.

The modern realities, in this case, has seen a boom in video on demand apps such Netflix, Prime Video and Showmax, to name a few. The services, according to SABC, constitute what would be called modern TV.

The development cites MultiChoice as one of the platforms that should help SABC collect the fees. MultiChoice owns DStv that has one of the best sports rights, as well as Showmax that was launched as a rival to Netflix.

Of course, the main goal for the proposal is the need to improve SABC’s financial position.

What is more, the proposal is not limited to TV; people consume content on other platforms and devices – including smartphones and laptops – and SABC wants to collect license fees from those consumer devices.

Lastly, SABC wants sports rights revised. The packages should be distributed at an affordable price. Of course, the target here is DStv whose Supersport ownership has been exclusive to the platform, and distributed at not-so affordable prices.

It is not apparent how the proposal will progress, but if unchallenged, then letting users pay license fees for video on demand/streaming apps will be a first in the continent.