Home Technology SABC to launch its own streaming service, giving it the power to charge a TV license for all smart devices

SABC to launch its own streaming service, giving it the power to charge a TV license for all smart devices

2 min read
Pay up

With a selection of streaming services currently available, the last thing that anyone wants to pay money for right now is an SABC subscription. Anyone with an Internet connection has gravitated away from the local broadcaster’s sub-sub-sub-par selection of programming, content so atrociously bad that it has actually helped the likes of Netflix and Showmax establish themselves as streaming alternatives.

Unless you’ve got the library of Disney or Hulu, you’d have to be a fool to start a new streaming service in the current glut of online entertainment. That’s the reaction that people have expressed with the news that the SABC wants to start its own on-demand streaming service, but here’s the rub: It’s actually a clever ruse to get you to fork out money for a TV license if you watch content on any screen, whether it be a tablet or a smartphone. It’s like ordering a Steers burger and being forced to pay a Wimpy tax for your meal.

While the idea of the SABC wanting the likes of Netflix and Multichoice to collect TV license cash for it sounds bonkers, the state entity having a VOD platform could help get its foot in the door. Currently, if you buy a new TV you have to have a TV license as the SABC can argue that your device has the potential to access their content even if you don’t intend to.

With a digital platform, the SABC can argue that you’re also capable of streaming in its content, and thus you have to pay for a TV license to do so. If there’s a screen in the country, the SABC is going to want its pound of flesh from it. It is worth noting that for now, this push is in the draft phase and is open for public comment. Angry tweets and comments won’t help your voice be heard, so now’s the time to submit your views to government.

Last Updated: October 22, 2020


  1. In pool at the pub we call this, calling all pockets.


  2. Banana Jim

    October 22, 2020 at 13:15

    Or you can just not pay, that worked perfectly as a means of activism (through outa) against government’s ridiculous toll plans.


    • Mark Treloar

      October 22, 2020 at 14:40

      except you may not have a choice though. If its a government regulation they could force streaming services to add on a tax to your subscription fee.


      • Banana Jim

        October 22, 2020 at 15:46

        Then there are two options a) vpn and watch and subscribe the US version of Prime (netflix is canceled and I’m never resubbing)

        Or b) vpn and piracy like the good lord intended.


  3. CrAiGiSh

    October 22, 2020 at 13:40

    Tsek …


  4. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 22, 2020 at 13:55

    “With a digital platform, the SABC can argue that you’re also capable of streaming in its content, and thus you have to pay for a TV license to do so.”

    That’s a laughable argument, and anyone seriously posing it should be laughed out of the room.

    I don’t have to pay for a VOD service that you choose to create and have full control over who can access it simply because I own a device that could potentially access it. That’s like saying i have to pay CoCT an annual parking fee for a new parking garage they want to build because I own a car and I could park in it.


  5. MaSeKind

    October 22, 2020 at 14:15

    Yeah my friend has just started his prison sentence for the murder he is capable of commiting after buying a gun.
    (Disclaimer: I don’t have any friends and don’t know about anyone buying guns. Don’t arrest me)

    I just want to know how they are going to enforce this? You’re going to need to tax every one with internet access. Or will it only apply to certain demographics?

    And then what about tourists and other foreigners? They will have streaming capable devices. You going to tax them when they land or depart? Or will they be exempt? In that case, given the fact that people like Julius keep on saying whites should go back home to Europe, are we then also going to be exempt from this? I can get behind that logic


  6. D4m@E

    October 22, 2020 at 14:20

    uhm, so by that argument, everyone subscribed to any streaming service needs to pay those people a tv license fee as well?
    They can only TRY to enforce this if you actually subscribe to their streaming service though.


  7. Kenn Gibson

    October 22, 2020 at 14:40

    Got give the Gov props. I mean they really try find every possible way to squeeze every possible cent they can from their population…


    • Chris Summers

      October 22, 2020 at 16:42

      Have you SEEN the cost of a Ferrari / Bentley etc these days???

      Do you expect government officials to rough it in a 3 series BMW or something, you bloody agent?


  8. Lu

    October 22, 2020 at 14:51

    Dear Mr X

    While you do not own a television, smartphone or tablet, our audit has found you have owned a Samsung Smart Fridge for 4 years now. You owe us R3452 in back dated TV license fees.

    Kind regards
    South African Bureau of Corruption


    • Banana Jim

      October 22, 2020 at 16:10

      Dear Mr X,

      While you do not own a television, smartphone or tablet, our audit department has discovered that you own a kettle braai, and you have been using it to entertain yourself in the evenings by braaing chops, sausages and chicken. You owe us R12 456 in back dated TV license and public entertainment fees.

      Kind Regards,
      South African Bureau of Communism.


      • Lu

        October 22, 2020 at 18:42

        hahaha classic


  9. Mark Treloar

    October 22, 2020 at 14:56

    So if the SABC opens an Ice Cream shop, do they also get to charge a tax for milk? Its a filmy argument to make the assumption that because who have a service you are entitled to be paid for it.

    So if this is a device dependant strategy, What do they define as a device that can stream content, and where do they stop with what you have to pay for?

    Again, how will the SABC determine who has a capable device and how will the cost be charged?


  10. Allan Roodt

    October 23, 2020 at 09:35

    Hang on, a streaming service like Netflix etc. is subscription based meaning you have to register an account with them and pay a fee to access their content ie. a choice to pay and consume their content or not. Reading this article the SABC wants to start a streaming service and says anyone with internet can access it thus the user must pay……….so only South Africans have to pay whereas anyone else on the planet can watch and access for free? ( not that anyone would want to )


    • Gavin Mannion

      October 23, 2020 at 11:50

      I assume it would work the same as the online BBC stuff where it’s region locked outside of the country


  11. Muhammad Muham

    October 23, 2020 at 10:41

    Shame on SABC! I bought TV sets and sent them to family in Zambia 4 years ago. I had to pay TV license that time in order to buy them. I can’t believe that SABC still keeps worrying me to pay annual TV licence fee for tvs that are in Zambia! If that’s not pure extortion, I wonder what it is!


  12. Gatvol

    October 23, 2020 at 18:22

    I’m trying to find where the !@#k I can lodge my support against this !@#@ing South African government idea. Every second news article is about corruption and pretend civil duties and fake tenders… yet it seems the government and its parastatals find new ways to keep the corruption alive each day in the country plus to top it off … it seems they love being in the news … under corruption issues. More money from hard working South Africans for government officials to steal .


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