SABC To Charge South Africans For Their Devices

May 10, 2017 • Hardware, Southern Africa, Top Stories

SABC to attempt to amend the Broadcasting Act.

SABC to attempt to amend the Broadcasting Act.

SABC CEO James Aguma sent shock waves through South Africa on Wednesday as he disclosed to parliament that the SABC are looking into the possibility of amending the Broadcasting Act to include additional charges for those who have more viewing devices. This means that, if the amendment gets passed, people will need an SABC TV licence for their computers, cellphones and tablets.
The revelation was made as Aguma, SABC executives and the SABC’s new interim board appeared before parliament’s portfolio committee on communications to brief members of parliament about the latest situation at the crisis-riddled public broadcaster and its revised corporate plan, according to reports by Channel 24.

The controversial public broadcaster is reportedly expecting a decrease in revenue from SABC TV licences this year. The supposed changes will see people having to pay a TV licence fee for their various devices which they view content on in an attempt to raise the revenue of the struggling parastatal.

The decrease in TV license revenue is arguable linked to the rise of the video-on-demand, digital broadcasting and video content chanelled through various devices. Currently South Africans are required to pay for devices that receive TV signal but as millions are turning to their computers, laptops, cellphones, tablets and other devices for content, the SABC licensing model is suffering

Aguma explained to parliament that if the suggested changes to the Broadcasting Act are made, it will allow for the expansion of the collection base for the SABC TV license and thus would the revenue from the licenses would increase as the public broadcaster could collect from this new income stream.

It is still unclear what other changes will be made and just how the changes will be implemented, but what the move does signal is a desperate play from the state enterprise to stop the bleeding.

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