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How feasible is getting giants like Netflix to 'collect' tv licenses for SABC?

20 October 2020 8:39 PM
Tags:
SABC
The Money Show
DStv
Bruce Whitfield
Multichoice
South African Broadcasting Corporation
Netflix
Arthur Goldstuck
World Wide Worx
PAY-TV
TV license

Arthur Goldstuck on the SABC's licensing proposals - an attempt to get its hands into the new broadcasting 'cookie jar'.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation's announced it wants new regulations enacted so that the definition of a TV licence can be expanded.

The national broadcaster also wants content providers like MultiChoice and Netflix to be required to collect TV licences on its behalf.

RELATED: SABC wants you to buy a TV license for your phone - even if you don't own a TV

Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana presented the proposals to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications.

Viewing on devices other than TVs should also require a license she said.

"We also have other platforms where people consume content... that is where we should look at how we are able to get SABC licence fees from those gadgets."

Online viewing, Netflix on iPad. Image: 123rf

Bruce Whitfield gets comment from media analyst Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of World Wide Worx.

The proposal may sound like fantasy says Goldstuck, but it is in fact feasible.

Do you realise that you're already paying VAT for Netflix?

The initial reaction to that is, how are they ever going to convince giants like Netflix to issue a license... and where do you pay for your license? Do you pay every time you sign up...?

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

But when Sars first raised the idea that you would have to pay VAT for ordering from Amazon and everyone scoffed at the idea. Then, a couple of years later suddenly it was a reality!

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

Now even for Netflix you're paying VAT... That raises the issue - you're already paying a tax and now they want Netflix to charge you what's in effect an additional tax.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

Logic says that if content providers like Netflix and MultiChoice are required to play the role of collection agents, they would surely need to be compensated for providing that service.

Or does government hold the license to trade as the big stick over them? asks Whitfield.

That's exactly the big stick. That is in fact what brought the likes of Amazon and Netflix into the VAT regime in this country.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

Government decreed if you want to do business here, you've got to play by the local rules... That means they will abide by what they're told to but the real issues are firstly the practicality of it. You'd need a central data base of license holders...

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

... and when you see the archaic nature of their data bases [collection agencies] and contact with them if they phone to threaten you because you seem to have the same address as someone who hasn't paid their license for 30 years because they died... It's going to be a bit of a nightmare.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

The other issue Goldstuck raises is whether TV license fees should be required at all in the era we now live in.

Is it not a symbol of a broken business model at SABC? That has got to be addressed as well.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

It's further complicated by the fact that the Broadcasting Act is about to change because the very concept of broadcasting as a definition of what SABC is doing, is antiquated.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD - World Wide Worx

Listen to the though-provoking discussion on The Money Show:


This article first appeared on 702 : How feasible is getting giants like Netflix to 'collect' tv licenses for SABC?


20 October 2020 8:39 PM
Tags:
SABC
The Money Show
DStv
Bruce Whitfield
Multichoice
South African Broadcasting Corporation
Netflix
Arthur Goldstuck
World Wide Worx
PAY-TV
TV license

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