The playing field must be level for all video services – Showmax

The playing field for all video services in South Africa must be level, Showmax spokesman Richard Boorman has told MyBroadband.

Boorman said Showmax operates in multiple countries, offering a similar service to Netflix, and the company believes streaming companies should be subject to the same regulations as local services.

The statement comes after MultiChoice told ICASA that online players such as Netflix must be regulated the same way as traditional pay TV broadcasters in South Africa.

MultiChoice said it is also working with Treasury to get global companies, like Amazon and Netflix, to pay taxes in South Africa.

“To be clear, the argument isn’t that international over-the-top services should be subject to more regulation than local services, it’s just that they should be subject to the same regulation as local services,” said Boorman.

“We’re 100% happy that competition should be based on content offering, product features, and pricing – the key is that this competition should start from the same base regulatory requirement.”

Regulation

Boorman said Showmax has all its content rated by the FPB, complies with local employment legislation, and is obliged to pay tax in South Africa.

This is in contrast to Netflix, which MultiChoice has stated does not abide by many regulations which local companies and broadcasters, such as its DStv service, are subject to.

PwC also previously stated that companies which supply content via online streaming or subscription services to the South African market do not have to comply with the same tax rules as their local counterparts.

Boorman said laws and regulations vary on a country-by-country basis, but in each of its major markets – Kenya, South Africa, and Poland – Showmax has set up a local operation and hired a local team.

Abide by laws

A Netflix spokesperson recently told MyBroadband it currently operates across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from its offices based in Amsterdam and London.

Netflix said it intends to abide by local laws and taxes in South Africa, however, and is continuing to grow its content investment in South Africa.

“As an example, we have the South African film Catching Feelings globally outside of South Africa, and have it as a post-theatrical release in South Africa.”

Now read: We will abide by South African laws – Netflix

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The playing field must be level for all video services – Showmax