Netflix and other international streaming services are likely to have to reduce their libraries to meet new local content quotas planned by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, according to City Press report.
The department recently released a broadcast notebook 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 white paper is to secure the future of the South African broadcasting sector,” said Colin Machile, the department’s chief policy officer. he said recently.
While Netflix shows over 40 South African films and 20 plays and series, the department’s argument is that this is too small when compared to the wide range of international films and series – numbering in the thousands.
Adding South African productions would take time and would be an extremely expensive exercise for these companies, however, which meant reducing their international supply would be the only option, the City Press said.
By reducing the number of international shows and movies, Netflix, for example, could meet its local content quota without having to produce more South African shows.
Department spokesman Mish Molakeng told City Press that those streaming services that failed to meet the quota would not be penalized initially, but did not expect any resistance from companies.
“They comply with these types of requirements in other countries and we believe they will be in South Africa.” If there are challenges, they can join ICASA. “Our approach is cooperation and understanding,” Molakeng said.
A spokesman for MultiChoice – owner of Showmax – told City Press that its 59,000 hours of local material across DStv and other platforms already exceed the minimum requirements.
TV streaming license fee
The government also plans to extend the payment of TV license fees, including streaming services, by expanding the definition of “broadcasting service”, including online offers.
If this proposal passes, it means that people will need a TV license to watch streaming services.
This is part of an effort to increase revenue and compliance with TV licenses, which have come under pressure over the past few years.
The annual report of SABC for the financial year 2019/2020 revealed that less than a quarter of TV licenses are paid in that period.
The broadcaster said TV license revenue fell 18% year-on-year to R791 million, adding to the company’s financial woes.
Television journalist and analyst Tinus Ferreira runs a South African news television website TV with Tinus, previously told MyBroadband that the plan was “crazy” and “parasitic”.
“If SABC is not able to profitably and practically collect SABC TV license fees, it is pathetic to want to impose that burden on the management systems of subscribers of private commercial companies,” Ferreira said.
“SACC does not want or cannot do the right or proper hard work and wants to shift the burden of its own inability to places that manage their interaction with their clients well and know who they are,” he said.