Yup, you did not read that headline incorrectly. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has proposed that Netflix users bear the brunt of TV licence fees.
Netflix users in SA could pay TV licence fees
This wild proposal was one part of three income generation strategies the national broadcaster submitted to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications, on Tuesday, according to My Broadband.
The ministry of communications’ second-in-charge Pinky Kekana told the committee to consider expanding TV licence regulations to include oversight over streaming services.
In this scenario, Kekana proposed, streaming services like Netflix, Showmax and Amazon Prime Video would be required to collect TV licence fees on behalf of the SABC.
It is not clear, this early into the proposal if this would force streaming services to increase their premiums or offer the payment option as an add-on feature on the respective platforms.
“Including engaging with those who have been carrying the SABC programmes on their pay-TV, how do we through ICASA make sure that they too are able to assist us to collect TV licences?” the deputy minister asked.
SABC chalks up a reason for this wild proposal
Part of the outrage we’ve seen since this story broke out has to do with the simple fact that, a majority of Netflix subscribers access the content on laptops and smartphones.
However, Kekana had already furnished the SABC’s stance on this. In simple terms, the national broadcaster suggests that South Africans are liable to pay TV licence fees so long as they are consuming content, irrespective of where it is consumed.
“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 noted.
Netflix has yet to issue a response to this notion. After all, it’s a proposal that still needs to be considered by the parliamentary committee.