File picture: Reuters
File picture: Reuters

Netflix users should also pay TV licence fees, says SABC

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Oct 20, 2020

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Cape Town –The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said a regulation is needed that would require pay-TV service providers like MultiChoice (DStv) and Netflix to collect TV licences on behalf of the broadcaster.

In a presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications by Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana, the public broadcaster said the “outdated” definition of a TV licence needs to be adapted to fit current technologies.

Kekana indicated that TV licences could be expanded to include other devices and not only TVs.

The SABC said that such a regulation would be similar to municipalities collecting traffic fines and motor vehicle licence disks.

“How do we, through Icasa, make sure that they too are able to assist us to collect TV licences but we are not only limiting it to TV? We also have other platforms where people consume content and in all of those areas that is where we should look at how we are able to get SABC licence fees from those gadgets,” Kekana said.

Sorry, smartphone users, it seems like you won’t be excluded as this means that the SABC wants users who watch content on laptops and smartphones to also pay licence fees.

In the presentation, SABC has also called for the removal of the must-carry rule. The must-carry rule requires that all subscription broadcasters with more than 30 channels must carry the SABC’s three free-to-air television channels.

Breaking down the numbers

Netflix currently has three plans for South African viewers, ranging from R99 to R169 per month.

A TV licence in South Africa currently stands at R265 per year. First-time applicants for a television licence must pay the full annual fee of R265 and renewals must be made annually before the licence expires.

Renewal payments may be spread throughout the year at R28 per month.

Monthly payments are subject to a small premium for the convenience, therefore the total cost is R336 per year.


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