SABC: All Smart, Internet-Enabled Media Devices Must Be Up For Licensing
It's now not just about the traditional TV set. But, if broadcasting must continue to serve public interest programming needs, then the definition of what qualifies for TV Licence payment must be revisited. This is the view of the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) with regards to the ability to use the TV license facility as a funding platform for public service broadcasting.
Asserting this on behalf of the corporation is the SABC head of TV licences, Sylvia Tladi, who has said that the public broadcaster is seeking urgent review to the nation's broadcasting regulations and policies to expand the definition of a "TV Set" to "media receivers" and that these should include all smart and internet-enabled devices such as Laptops, Tablets, IPTV, Decoders, Set-top boxes and of course Smartphones.
The SABC contends, and most analysts agree, that presently in South Africa, its TV and Radio content is being consumed on many of these devices without the consumers being liable to pay required licence fees. The SABC said therefore that what constitutes TV set ought to be expanded because the 'traditional' TV set is no longer the only means of receiving a television broadcast.
Sylvia Tladi said that the SABC is therefore of the view that other entities must be compelled to report on the sale, lease or usage of these 'television sets' or 'viewing devices' and that "pay-TV operators should be obliged to hold their subscribers accountable for registering or having a valid television licence before the subscription, purchase or rental of a decoder, is granted".
SABC says that "The proposed amendment to TV licence Fee Regulations is critical to the SABC's ability to benefit from the opportunities created by the convergence of the media and other technological developments in the broadcasting industry."