Home Entertainment SABC wants Netflix subscribers, smartphone, and laptop users to pay for a TV license

SABC wants Netflix subscribers, smartphone, and laptop users to pay for a TV license

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Got a TV and looking for something to watch? Chances are, regular TV like South African Broadcasting Corporation and E-TV aren’t on your viewing schedule. After all, why would you want to be told what and when you can watch something, when the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime offer you a choice of content that you can view at your own leisure?

For many, paying a TV license is something that we couldn’t be arsed about. Few of us care enough to support the SABC, and we’d rather grab some YouTube content on our smart devices. Or butter up that one member in our family who does have a license and use their account to grab a new TV that will never know what it’s like to display a Sunday night showing of 1997’s Anaconda on Eeeeeeeeeee-TV. Hi mom!

That could all change soon, as the SABC is looking to expand the definition of a TV license according to MyBroadband. According to the SABC, it wants services such as Netflix, MultiChoice (DStv) and video on demand to be included, as well as to handle the collection of TV license fees. What’s more, the SABC also wants people who prefer to watch their content on smaller screens such as smartphones and laptops to cough up some coin.

“Including engaging with those who have been carrying the SABC programs on their pay-TV, how do we through ICASA make sure that they too are able to assist us to collect TV licenses?” Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana said to Parliament.

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 license fees from those gadgets.

How the SABC plans to enforce this idea, could likely come down to people having to purchase a TV license on top of their new devices, or have the cost added to their monthly bill as well. I’m naturally expecting the reaction to this proposed amendment to the TV license act to be a resounding raising of a person’s three primary fingers and telling the SABC to read between the lines.

Last Updated: October 20, 2020

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