Just when you think that the SABC couldn’t get any sillier, they go and shoot themselves in a foot that nobody knew that they had. According to a report from Channel24, SABC CEO James Aguma told parliament today that the national broadcaster wants the Broadcasting Act changed so that the poorly-run outfit can charge TV license fees for things that aren’t TVs. Things like smartphones, PCs, and tablets.
According to the report, Aguma and other SABC executives would like to see the Broadcasting Act altered because it would “…broaden the collection base for SABC TV licences which in turn would help to increase the potential revenue the public broadcaster could collect from this income stream.”
And there’s no denying that the potential income stream could be substantial, given how popular smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and other internet-connected devices are in South Africa. What would be less popular would be requiring that anyone wanting to purchase one of these items has to turn over cash to the consistently-mismanaged SABC.
The point seems to be that more and more viewers are turning away from more traditional methods of TV, including actually watching content on a TV which in turn equates to a loss of revenue for the SABC. In an age where you can get Netflix or Showmax streamed to your home without needing to plug in an aerial, we’re not surprised that the SABC is expecting to see less cash coming in from TV licenses. We’re less surprised that the broadcaster would seek to change the Broadcasting Act in order to allow for greater revenue collection without having to, you know, do anything useful like improving on their financial management, services or offerings.