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Africa and Middle East video spotlight: Netflix could face sanctions in South Africa over licensing fees

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Africa and Middle East video spotlight: Netflix could face sanctions in South Africa over licensing fees

In this monthly feature, SNL Kaganprovides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other onlinevideo initiatives in different African and Middle Eastern markets.

* SouthAfrica's Film and Publication Board threatened Netflix Inc. with sanctions if the subscription video-on-demandgiant does not comply with local regulation within two weeks, Standard Digital reportedMarch 17. The FPB reportedly charged Netflix with licensing fees for monitoring,grading and censorship, which the company has not paid yet. In January, Netflixfaced similar hurdles in Kenya, as the country's regulators clashed over censorship of Netflix content.

* Africanstartup VysilHq Network debutedthe beta version of video streaming app Video Moja, IT News Africa reported March28. The free app allows mobile and desktop access to various Nollywood films acrossgenres such as drama, comedy, action and romance. New films are reportedly addedto the platform per week, with more content from Ghana to be included soon. VideoMoja also has a Wi-Fi only connection feature, according to the report.

* A newsubscription video-on-demand service called uHuru TV has been in Zimbabwe, NexTV News Africa &Middle East reported March 24. UHuru TV can be accessed via its website, and isreportedly available for a free one-week trial. The service is being run by VivaMobile, a yet-to-be-launched mobile virtual network operator in the country. Originallyset to debut in March 2016, Viva Mobile is still awaiting approval from Zimbabweantelecom watchdog POTRAZ, according to the report.

* said March 16that preschool children's channel CBeebies(UK) will launchin the Middle East and North Africa on April 1, exclusively via Qatar-based 's direct-to-homeservice. CBeebies will be broadcast for 24 hours in English, with beIN's DTH customersgetting access to shows such as "Go Jetters," "Hey Duggee,"the second series of "Sarah and Duck," "Clangers" and the secondseries of "Katie Morag." BBC Worldwide is the commercial arm of the

* Netflixpicked up worldwide streamingrights to Image Nation Abu Dhabi's Emirati feature film "Rattle the Cage"(Zinzana). The psychological thriller, which stars Ali Suliman and Saleh Bakri,follows the story of a man trapped in a prison cell who is forced to play a madman'sgame in order to save his family's lives, Image Nation Abu Dhabi said March 10.Additionally, StudioCanalacquired theatrical distribution rights to the film for Germany and the U.K., whileVox will release the film theatrically in the Middle East.

* its exclusive content dealwith Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, granting the UAE-based pay TV operator first andsecond pay window rights to MGM films, TBIVision reported March 2. OSN will also have over-the-top rights to the MGM filmlibrary under the deal, which includes the James Bond and Rocky franchises, as wellas recent and upcoming titles "How To Be Single," "Me Before You,""Ben-Hur," "Barbershop The Next Cut" and "The MagnificentSeven."

* UAE-basedICFLIX Media FZ LLC hasrolled out a video-on-demandapp for Apple Inc.'s AppleTV platform, Rapid TV News reported Feb. 29. The app reportedly offers easier searchcapabilities, as well as expanded interactive functions. Apple TV users can usethe VOD app free of charge for one month, according to the report.