Netflix has signed a distribution agreement with the Film and Publication Board (FPB), meaning the multinational streaming company must now obey local classification rules in the distribution of its content in South Africa.
In a statement on its website, the FPB said it is “delighted to welcome Netflix on board licensed online content distribution platforms following the recent signing of a distribution agreement between both parties”.
Netflix joins Showmax, Google and Apple, among others, to become the ninth online distributor to contract with the FPB, the regulator said. This will ensure compliance with the Films and Publications Act and relevant classification guidelines.
“These classification guidelines are aligned with social norms and values as tested with the South African public, aimed at providing advisories and age ratings that protect children and other vulnerable consumers,” it said.
“The signing of this contract is the culmination of a series of discussions on the prioritisation of safe content consumption for our citizens, where materials distributed in the country are accompanied by ratings that prepare the consumer for the type of content they are about to view,” said FPB acting CEO Abongile Mashele. “This allows parents and caregivers to make informed choices on the content to which their children are exposed.”
The Films and Publications Amendment Act requires all distributors of films, games and certain publications to register with the FPB and ensure that their materials are classified prior to reaching the consumer.
“The consumer will then see the FPB classification triangle, look out for the age rating (for example, 7-9PG) as well as the consumer advisory (for example, SV for sexual violence) and decide on the suitability of the content for themselves and children in their care,” Mashele said.
Netflix and other online distributors use a self-classification system for their content. Following the signing of the distributor contract, the FPB will engage Netflix in “intensive training” on the classification guidelines and the methodology of self-classification before the ratings can be applied.
“Quality assurance will be done by the FPB on classified material and there will be continuous engagement with the classification guideline by both parties. The public can rest assured that the films they view on Netflix will be aligned to South African rating standards,” the regulator said. – © 2020 NewsCentral Media