SABC to take on Netflix and Spotify with its own streaming services

The SABC is planning to launch both video and audio streaming services, bringing it in direct competition with international services like Netflix and Spotify.

SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo confirmed to MyBroadband that the state broadcaster would roll out video and audio streaming platforms of its own.

“The SABC can confirm that it is planning to launch its video and audio streaming services in line with the ever-changing industry trends and consumer needs,” Seapolelo said.

“At this stage, the SABC is not in a position to provide more detail due to the commercial sensitivity of the information.”

While it was not able to provide further detail, the SABC said last year that it wanted to launch an over-the-top streaming service to compete with international players like Netflix.

The public broadcaster said at the time that it had developed “an integrated OTT strategy with the goal that the SABC develops or acquires its own OTT streaming platform as a medium-term goal”.

A number of reports state that the launch of this streaming service is slated for 2021, with the service reportedly set to function similarly to the SABC News app.

It seems to have now expanded this plan to include the development of audio streaming platforms, which will see the SABC competing with services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Deezer.

There is currently no information available on the type of content which will be available on the SABC’s audio and video streaming platforms, or whether it will partner with other local players to enable these services.

Licence fees from Netflix

This follows after the SABC recently proposed that new regulations be implemented which would allow it to collect “TV licence” fees from Netflix viewers.

Deputy Communications Minister argued that the expanded definition of a TV licence is outdated and needs to be adjusted to current realities.

She said regulation is needed which would require pay-TV service providers like MultiChoice (DStv) and video on demand providers like Netflix to collect TV licences on behalf of the SABC.

This would be similar to municipalities collecting traffic fines and motor vehicle licence discs.

“Including engaging with those who have been carrying the SABC programmes on their pay-TV, how do we through ICASA make sure that they too are able to assist us to collect TV licences?” Kekana said.

“But we are not only limiting it to TV. We also have other platforms where people consume content and in all of those areas, that is where we should look at how we are able to get SABC licence fees from those gadgets.”

This means that the SABC wants users who watch content on devices such as laptops and smartphones to also pay licence fees.

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SABC to take on Netflix and Spotify with its own streaming services