The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) plans to invest over R1 billion in local and international content commissioning and acquisition during the 2013 financial year.
This was revealed yesterday when the SABC presented its long awaited medium term corporate plan to the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications. The SABC’s three year plan will be closely scrutinised by various stakeholders given that the public broadcaster has just emerged from near financial bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by the state to the tune of R1bn.
This is after the SABC had racked a mountain of debt with no sound plan to service it. This led to troubles for the SABC on many fronts including protest by the creative industry that the public broadcaster’s financial troubles were throttling local talent. In advancing the bailout, the state demanded a sustainable turnaround plan. The SABC leadership, executive and board has since been reshuffled, to feature Lulama Mokhobo as CEO and Ben Ngubane as chairman.
In its presentation to parliament, The SABC board and management said of the R1bn, over R800 million will be spent in local content commissions, as part of our key role in reviving and further developing our local production industry. It pointed out that this investment was despite the fact that the SABC receives only 3% of its revenue from the state. The organisation will be using revenue received from payment of television licences as well as our advertising revenue.
The SABC also announced that with the launch of new DTT Channels it will also provide our viewers with more choice and value, with a projected local content investment of over R1.7 billion in the first three years of launch of digital terrestrial television.
Going forward, a single Content Planning, Acquisition and Scheduling Process which is informed by Content Research on Audiences and driven by a 36-month transversal/cross-platform multi-channel schedule, will drive the SABC Programming and Content Strategy.
The SABC promised a lot in its Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and mainly meeting government’s guarantee conditions. It said it will accelerate its turnaround strategy and restore its liquidity through revenue enhancement and cost containment.