SABC wants to charge a licence fee on digital platforms

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If ever there was any further proof needed that the SABC is becoming increasingly desperate to secure new revenue streams – thanks to chronic mismanagement – one need only look to today’s events in parliament.

In case you hadn’t heard, SABC CEO James Aguma proposed to parliament that the Broadcasting Act be changed to allow the SABC to charge people watching TV through electronic devices a licence fee.

As it stands at the moment, the Broadcasting Act demands that only those who own a TV set that receives a public broadcast signal cough up for a licence. However, as more and more folks are turning to digital platforms – smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs – to get hold of their TV fix, Aguma apparently wants the Broadcast Act changed to include those devices too.

“The SABC has put as one of its objectives the radical move to ensure that it accelerates in presence in the digital media such that we can have advertising revenue from TV‚ radio and also the digital offerings‚” he said.

How this is going to work is anyone’s guess. Will consumers now have to buy a TV licence when they buy a tablet, smartphone or computer – in much the same way that they have to obtain one when they purchase a TV set? Is the SABC likely to be deterred by the argument that unlike the BBC, say, South Africa’s public broadcaster has no dedicated internet portal (YouTube doesn’t count)?

Does this plan have a cat’s chance in hell of ever being implemented? More news as we get it people. Feel free to burst out laughing at any time.

[Source: Times]