We will abide by South African laws – Netflix

Netflix has told MyBroadband that it intends to abide by local laws and taxes in South Africa.

This comes after MultiChoice told local regulators that online players such as Netflix must be regulated the same way as traditional pay TV broadcasters.

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

It has also warned ICASA against the heavy-handed regulation of the pay TV sector, as this will ensure a swift death for its mature satellite TV business.

“Right now, it looks as though ICASA is focused only on what pay TV used to be, but it is moving from satellites to online,” MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela recently told MyBroadband.

In 2017, the regulator released a discussion document into the pay TV inquiry where it laid out options to address the issue of MultiChoice’s market dominance, through DStv, in South Africa.

These included forcing exclusive sports rights contracts to be shortened and forcing MultiChoice to license its rights to other broadcasters.

MultiChoice warned that over-regulating the sector will hand the South African broadcasting market to global online streaming giants.

Rather than imposing further regulations on MultiChoice, ICASA should liberalise the market and ensure that online services comply with the same regulations as local broadcasters, said Mawela.

PwC 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.

Netflix responds

A Netflix spokesperson told MyBroadband that 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.

“In terms of South Africa, we are continuing to grow our content investment in South Africa,” added the company.

“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: Netflix killing DStv in South Africa could cost thousands of jobs

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We will abide by South African laws – Netflix