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Content Rules now Target Streaming firms, creators

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Broadcasters, film creators, and online streaming service platforms are expected to classify content under a new set of regulations.

Commercial TVs and radios will review 70 percent of the content aired to see if it’s appropriate age-wise for watching from a certain age while the Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB)will be doing the 30 percent.

This regulation comes after an expansion of the production and broadcast sector, coupled with the proliferation of unclassified content on electronic media platforms.

This targets pre-recorded programs such as movies, advertisements, and telenovelas apart from living shows like news and talk shows.

Digital platforms such as Netflix, Showmax, and Amazon are to also review 70 percent of their movies and affix KFCB’s age-appropriate symbols using the local film classification guidelines.

“Classification of one-day content can take one week and we are not able to keep up. So the involvement of the industry is to ensure compliance while coping up with digital expansion,” said KFCB acting chief executive Christopher Wambua.

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Currently, the law requires the KFCB to examine and classify 100 percent of all operators’ audiovisual content meant for exhibition in Kenya. For a movie of 45 minutes to one hour, the classification fees range between Sh4,500 and Sh6,000.

According to the Films and Stageplays Act, Chapter 222, Commercials are charged Sh1,000 while music items are at Sh300 per item.

Failure of classification will see the offending broadcaster or online streaming platform charged an Sh100,000 penalty for each violation and submission of 100 percent content to the KFCB for classification.

The migration from analog to digital TV transmission and the rapid penetration of the Internet has resulted in an increase in content production and distribution platforms, forcing the regulator to adopt frameworks that align with market dynamics.

“With the existing staffing levels, the film and broadcast content regulator, KFCB, cannot cope with the legal requirement to examine and classify all audiovisual content meant for broadcast, distribution, and exhibition in the country,” said the KFCB.

The new rules will facilitate an enabling regulatory environment for the broadcast sector in light of high competition from online streaming services.

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