In recent years, many South Africans made the move from satellite-TV to Netflix and other streaming services. Most of them did this with a big smile, because service delivery of major players in the satellite TV industry has been criticised, nevermind the rehashed nature of its content. Now, the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) has plans to take on Netflix — one of the biggest streaming services in the world.
This week, the SABC presented its case to Parliament. Following this, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies’ confirmed plans to have all streaming services that offer content in South Africa make sure that 30% of all their content for South Africa was locally produced.
The SABC cop-out
All of this comes a week after Netflix hosted a media sneak peak, in which it promoted its push for more local African and South African content. It also announced a Netflix special produced in South Africa. “Netflix has partnered up with the award-winning Ndlovu Youth Choir to perform a cover of the song called, Square Root of Possible, from the holiday film, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Adventure. The music video, shot in Johannesburg, is a beautiful display of Mzansi’s diverse talent,” Netflix South Africa announced.
And that’s just the start of more locally-produced content for the streaming service.
“These video-on-demand subscription services, when they come and operate in South Africa, everything that they show to South Africans in terms of their catalogue, 30% of that catalogue must include South African content,” says Collin Mashile, Chief Director of Broadcasting Policy at the Department of Communications.
In October, the Department presented its controversial Draft White Paper on Audio and Visual Content Services Policy Framework, which argues South Africa’s legal framework for broadcasting is a bit out-of-date. This means regulations need to be adapted to include services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You know what this is leading to…
Under this new proposal, a TV Licence should be extended to include the use of pay-TV services like DStv as well as video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
You can, however, have your say about the draft regulations. South Africans can comment until 15 February 2021. If you would like to have your say, read the proposals and email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.