The Kenyan government has announced plans to regulate over the top content providers like You Tube and Netflix arguing that they have been operating in a legal grey area which has posed a threat to consumers and local content providers.
“Over-the-top providers like Netflix are causing unfair competition to other broadcasters and do not pay taxes to the exchequer,” said Communication Authority Director General Mr Francis Wangusi. Over-the-top providers such as YouTube and Netflix use the internet to stream their content and are thus able to extend their services to virtually any market globally at little to no infrastructure costs.
INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT “We have been looking at how to regulate over-the-top providers possibly through the 2016 ICT Policy document or through additional amendments to the Communications Act,” Wangusi said. The plan to regulate the streaming service comes a few months after another Government agency warned Netflix that it would block the service if it aired inappropriate content.
This comes even as broadcasters reap the benefits of digital migration which had earlier led to a bruised battle between the regulator and local broadcasters opposed to the migration.
Still broadcasters have complained of hiccups in the transition. “Digital migration is now hailed as a success and we appreciate the steps that have been made and the regulator’s support over the same.”
The regulator is reaching out to broadcasters in the country to evaluate the progress of the digital migration so far and provide support where necessary. “Broadcasters have raised a number of issues, key among them being reduced revenues as the internet eats into the advertising market share,” Wangusi explained.