The government has a new plan to undo unemployment as well as to rocket revenues. I’d like to share it with you.
The Film and Publications Board, (FPB), those fine people who forced Scope magazine to put stars on top of anyone brave enough to wave their assets about back in the seventies, have decided that they should do something about all these unregulated videos and pictures online.
I don’t know about how you feel about the FPB but I think they are as useful in today’s world as blacksmiths two decades after cars replaced horses.
However, this time they have come up with a winner. Their plan is simple. Regulate any video or publication that may be seen online in SA. As you and I know, everything online can be seen in SA.
I quote: This includes self-generated content uploaded on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, feature films, television programs and certain computer games which are distributed online by streaming through the internet.
So, what exactly does it mean to regulate all the videos on the web? I don’t know, but let’s look at just one facet of the web – Youtube – so that we can see the genius in this idea.
Youtube is the gorilla of web video repositories. They receive 300 hours of video uploads every minute.
That’s 110% up on last year. This is growing much faster even than the cost of gardening in KwaZulu-Natal.
This year alone Youtube will receive:
365 days in a year
x 24 hours in a day
x 60 minutes in an hour
x 300 hours of video/minute
= 157,680,000 hours of video.
One government employee, working full-time with no interruptions, with time off for sick-leave and holidays, will work 221 days each year.
(365 days – 52 weekends – 2 weeks ill – 4 weeks leave – 10 public holidays)
At 8 hours worked each day, that is 1768 hours each year. Assuming, of course, there is enough electricity.
Just watching the flood of videos, on Youtube alone, would gainfully occupy 89,186 people. (157680000 hours ÷ 1768 hours/person)
That’s without the supporting infrastructure to hire them, train them, manage them, pay them, and so on. Say 110,000 additional jobs. (A bonus for local recruiting firms as well.)
And that’s lowballing because they haven’t yet done anything useful. We have not yet added the time needed certify each video into its age-appropriate bracket. Nor to advise each producer of their decision. Nor to confirm that each video has subsequently been stamped with our government’s approval.
But how to pay for these extra jobs? I am glad you asked. The only rate I could find on the FPB site for new movies is R1959.
So let’s redo those calcs. Since the average Youtube video is 4.33 minutes, there are about 13 of these in an hour up an hour.
The government could expect annual income starting at R 4,015,636,560,000 per year. In English that is a lot of money. And all this just from Youtube. (157,680,000 hours * 13 videos/hour * R1,959/certificate)
It’s also good for the US economy. Just think of all the people that Youtube will need to employ to process these invoices and deal with the fallout when a spider falls off the raft.
But what about Twitter where a 140 character tweet is much easier to classify? There were 200 billion tweets last year, and at R19 – the board’s lowest fee – that is another 3,3800,000,000,000 – and heck that’s going to need a few more workers.
At a minute a tweet – without stopping to send the invoice, they’re going to need another 35,822,021 workers, more than we have, even including illegal immigrants.
This year, Twitter is set to reach about 350 billion tweets. We could employ everyone south of the Sahara. Woot!
The more I think about this, the more excited I get. Add iTunes, Facebook, and the like, and we will be able to gainfully employ the entire indigent population of Africa, paid for by overseas firms.
Of course, it might just be easier to switch off the web and go back to Riaan Cruywagen on SABC1 News broadcasting the party line while Mark Saxon entertained us on Springbok Radio.
* I derive no income for advertising these splendid efforts by the government.
* You can download the Draft Bill here: http://fpb.org.za/profile-fpb/legislation1/514-draft-online-regulation-policy-2014/file
* I am as concerned as you about the wellbeing of children, especially my own. Spending a smidgeon of this kind of money on building better filters would seem an easier route to test first.
* There are 11.2 million children of schoolgoing age in SA. Just the Youtube contribution to our national coffers would be about 358,000 per child per year.
* The numbers quoted are as accurate as I could extract from the FPB site but the Minister has not yet determined what s/he expects to charge per certified tweet, or per certified video featuring naked cats.
* This article is intended to be tongue in cheek.
I have one last question. How do you stick your certificate on your tweet?