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We can’t make money from YouTube, the SABC says, so help us compete with Netflix and Spotify

We can’t make money from YouTube, the SABC says, so help us compete with Netflix and Spotify

A year after it first announced such plans, the SABC is now looking for information on the kind of technology that would allow it to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify.

It can’t make enough money out of YouTube, the national broadcaster says, hence the need to explore its own over-the-top service.

The SABC wants to check out options that allow for both subscriber payments and advertising during streaming content.

It is planning around having up to 10 million simultaneous users on its platform.


Almost exactly a year after it publicly talked about plans to compete head-on with Netflix, the SABC has requested information from technology companies that could help it set up an over-the-top platform with that kind of capability.



Its current approach isn’t working, the SABC said in a request for information first reported by TechCentral.

For a number of years the SABC has relied on the likes of YouTube, websites and social media platforms in order to publish its content,” the national broadcaster said. “Unfortunately, these platforms do not allow the SABC to be competitive enough and to monetise content to its fullest marketing value.”


It wants something, the SABC said, “similar to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify”.

The solution: set up its own streaming service, with an over-the-top platform capable of carrying the content from all its television and radio stations, via a dedicated app it currently describes as an “SABC Mobile Application (SABC iPlayer)”.

iPlayer is the name used by British public broadcaster BBC for a service that provides free streaming of its content, typically to a geographically restricted audience, so that those who already have TV licences in the UK can access the service, while it can still be monetised in other parts of the world.

The SABC’s OTT RFI shows it is considering a range of options, including subscribers paying for its service, and the insertion of ads during video or audio streaming. It needs the capability for both “freemium and premium models”, the broadcaster told possible technology partners.

It is also exploring live streaming, offline viewing, and a “worst case scenario to reach low bandwidth end users”.

In its top-end scenarios, the SABC is planning around 10 million simultaneous users of its service, who would have access to up to 10,000 hours of TV and 500,000 hours of radio content stored on the platform.