A week after SABC proposed licence fees for Netflix

in partnership

Good morning. “We are not a collection of angels, but we’re doing our best to serve you” – What the Nigerian Police Force tweeted on Monday night. How’s that for damage control?

In today’s edition:

-TV Licence
-Funding news
-Digital evidence


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“The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) can confirm that it is planning to launch its video and audio streaming services…”

If the SABC was a private company, that announcement would not make this newsletter.

Instead, the SABC is the national broadcaster and is now acting as the regulator of South Africa’s broadcast and streaming space.

This means that its decision to launch video and audio streaming services will put it in competition with the companies it wants to regulate.

First, some background:

  • Under South African law, no person can own a television set or use one without a valid TV licence
  • No matter what you watch on your TV, you are liable to pay an annual TV licence fee of R265 ($16.36)
  • The TV licences, a major source of revenue for the SABC, must be paid by TV owners no matter which broadcaster’s programmes they watch.
  • Today, only a third of of households in SA pay their annual TV licence
One of the reasons why South Africans are not paying for TV licences is that they are using platforms like Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Spotify.

It’s a sucker punch to the SABC….When South Africa made its TV licencing laws, it didn’t see a future where people would stream video and audio on their phones and tablets.

But SABC is trying to make up for lost time and revenue.
SABC is proposing that South Africans should pay TV licences when they watch Netflix, stream DStv’s Showmax or listen to music with Spotify.

I don’t own a TV! SABC’s proposal broadens
the definition of TV licences and says that even if you’re streaming on a tablet or watching on a phone, you will pay.

The bottom line: An insolvent national broadcaster (losses of $29 million in 2019) is looking to force people to pay fees for streaming services. Even if it succeeds with its proposal, how will it improve on its current TV licence fee collection rate of 30%?


Udok, a South African healthcare startup has secured R10 million ($616,000) in funding from FinX capital.

What Udok says it does: “Founded in 2018 and located in Paarl, Udok has created patent and innovative technology that facilitates the delivery of online doctor consultations.”

“The platform focuses on patients and acts as a ‘connected care app’.”

What it really feels like: telemedicine with extra steps.

In Nigeria, the fintech startup, Evolve Credit has received $25,000 from Microtraction.

What Evolve Credit says it does: Evolve Credit’s platform allows users to
compare loan products and access unbiased, personalised information around available loan funding from personal to business.

What it feels like: When I used Evolve Credit’s loan tool, it told me I had 89 loan offers. It also showed me the companies offering these loans as well as their rates.

My takeaway: there are 89 loan companies in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, the government is asking that now familiar question: will you believe your eyes or will you believe me?

Six days after timestamped videos and one Instagram live stream showed that Nigeria’s security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters, the government is refusing to budge.

The government’s
narrative so far is to deny any killing at the Lekki Toll Gate and the Army has also denied that its men were at the scene. This curious denial has seen the government invent its alternative facts in the public space.

But Olamide Samuel says that digital evidence will make it harder for the government’s version of events to stick.

Here’s an excerpt: “Until now, the Nigerian government has relied on a three-part strategy of oppression: stifling information flows about its repressive acts against citizens, a crippled judicial system, and a monopoly of the use of armed violence to maintain

This could explain the past confidence of Nigerian armed forces to threaten, kill and even fail to dispose of the physical evidence of their actions.”


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