In one of the wackiest developments of 2020, the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) plans to launch its own streaming service in 2021. It will, according to reports, be similar to other video-on-demand services in the industry like Netflix and DStv Now (now just DStv).
Earlier this week, the SABC revealed that it would like viewers of other services that broadcast in SA, regardless of platform, to pay TV licencing fees. Now the struggling public broadcaster has announced that it is planning its own version of a video-on-demand platform. According to News24, we don’t have a lot of details on the planned service yet, but apparently, it is planning something similar to the BBC iPlayer app in the UK.
Imagine streaming some 7de Laan on SABC
It’ll look similar to the SABC News app (which we still need to check out). But at this point, we don’t know more than that. We do know that this broadcaster focuses on locally produced content, but with Netflix investing a lot into local content across the globe, its spot as a local broadcaster may be in peril.
Using the planned streaming service, the broadcaster will be able to bundle some of its own content into free and paid packages. Most of it should be free, but itmay plan a more robust paid-for option that’ll include exclusive content, potentially. This paid-for content will be accessible by entering a valid TV-licence, for instance. But we’ll need to see how they make it work.
This was confirmed by an SABC spokesperson to News24. “At this stage, the SABC is not in a position to provide more detail, due to the commercial sensitivity of the information,” says Mmoni Seapolelo, the spokesperson.
This is an interesting development, and could mean well for many South Africans who don’t have TVs and rely on only smartphones to consume content as well as news. Let’s see how this unfolds come 2021.