The new Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio-Visual Content Services Policy Framework, proposes that digital broadcasters feature more local content…

The government’s draft documents also show that the SABC is trying to find a way to force Netflix and other digital streaming services to cough up for the share of advertising revenue and audience they are effectively attracting away from traditional broadcast platforms.

The SA government has released a number of white papers and reports for public comment. The documents describe how the SABC is losing revenue to new broadcasters on the block, and how the state-owned enterprise aims to try to recoup some of the income lost to the digital and private streaming services like Netflix and DStv.

They want your TV licence fees even if you don’t own a TV

In October this year, it was reported that the SABC wants pay-TV operators like MultiChoice (which runs DStv), China’s StarTimes (which runs StarSat), as well as subscription video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Showmax and others who operate in South Africa, to collect SABC TV licence fees on their behalf.

They even want to collect licence fees from those who don’t own a TV, but choose to stream their entertainment services on digital devices.

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More local content and access to sporting events

The SABC is also proposing that the digital platforms feature more locally produced content – up to 30% of their offering in order to “promote local content and languages.”

The draft White Paper On Audio And Audiovisual Content Services Policy Framework also calls for more free access for citizens to national sporting events.

“Recent events suggest that the regulator struggles with determining which events should be on the list. The, draft white paper proposes amending the legislation to include criteria to guide the regulator in determining regulations,” noted the paper.

“The draft white paper proposes the listing of national sporting events which are in the public interest should apply in legislation not just to broadcasting, but also to the broader AAVCS market to ensure the public continues to enjoy free-to-air and free -to -view access to listed events.”

Investigation into advertising revenue for digital platforms

Current legislation doesn’t allow income from advertising to exceed income from subscriptions for digital platforms.

“Legislation permits subscription broadcasters to draw revenue from subscriptions, advertising and sponsorships, however advertising and sponsorships may not be the largest source of annual revenue,” according to the white paper.

“Television advertising and online video advertising compete for the same budgets and the same advertisers in the same way, even if the services do not play the exact same function for advertisers. There are differences in the rules around advertising which creates a regulatory imbalance as advertisers may be able to do things online which the rules would not permit on television,” notes the white paper.

“There is a need to harmonise rules for all audiovisual content services on misleading and comparative advertising and a need to address disclosure and disinformation for political advertising online.”

The paper proposes an inquiry into the growth of digital advertising, and its impact on traditional broadcasters in the near future.



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