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Yearbook Jan 2019

23 SABC has to meet the challenges of the future... otherwise dolololo TELEVISION South Africa That the SABC is undergoing major shifts following years of mismanagement is no secret. But SABC TV has a plan to capitalise on its assets, and futureproof the broadcaster, says NOMSA PHILISO. ‘ The SABC is in financial crisis’ Nomsa Philiso, head of television ‘The public broadcaster is not able to meet its obligations’ ‘Production companies demand ministerial intervention in ensuring payment’ The reason for the profound concern, which is shared by all at the public broadcaster, about the future is not that the SABC is too big to fail, but if it does fail it will cause immeasurable and irreparable damage to South Africa’s creative and entertainment industries. As such, the SABC has a responsibility to ensure not only the survival of the public broadcaster, but that it flourishes. In the current environment, where headlines such as the aforementioned have become all too common, it is easy to become overwhelmed and forget that despite all the issues routinely reported on, the SABC remains the most significant player in the South African audio and video entertainment space, no matter which matrix is used to measure it. In television, for example, the SABC commands an almost 50% share of all-adult, prime time viewership, with SABC 1 exceeding 30%. The SABC still spends more money on the acquisition of original content across all genres than any other South African operator and continues to boast an excellent record of introducing new and exciting content. But we cannot rest on our laurels. While SABC 2’s audiences have stabilised after experiencing a long, gradual dip, SABC 3 has yet to recover from the strategy change introduced at huge cost in 2016 and then subsequently reversed. Former CO Hlaudi Motsoeneng ordered an 80% local content quota for SABC 3 in May 2016, which had a devastating effect on audiences and advertising. ~ Editor Even more important, is that as we go into 2019, the speed of change in the ever-evolving media and entertainment sector will only accelerate, particularly as analogue broadcasting is progressively phased at SABC out and digital-based alternatives, whether by satellite delivery or terrestrial networks, become available. Bandwidth will become cheaper, as a result of regulatory pressure and due to increased availability, following digital migration and analogue switchoff. This means non-linear services will move from being the preserve of the top SEM groups and become increasingly democratised in terms of all levels of the economy gaining access. The SABC will need to play in this space, too. The ned to change From a SABC TV point of view, in order to remain the nation’s first choice, we will need to change – but this change will be built upon what we do best and that’s to acquire great content, aggregate it, distribute it and build the brands that South Africans love. The


Yearbook Jan 2019
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