18 May 2017

South Africa: In the Name of Democracy - No Easy Solutions for the SABC

analysis

Outstanding payment of TV producers contracted by SABC amounts to R150-million and counting. This has once again severely affected the fledgling industry - affected companies are now demanding full payment and are threatening to withhold programming unless payment is made. This is set to further erode the quality of the shows and in turn negatively affect advertising revenues. The future of the public broadcaster is not only in the balance, the recent attempts to turn around the situation face a huge conundrum.

The SABC operates as a hybrid model where it is part financed by the state and public, with the lion's share generated through advertising revenue. This model is in crisis internationally for two reasons. The disruption created by the internet and other technological advances has allowed for a proliferation of channels and platforms, fragmenting advertising revenue in the process and the onset of economic stagnation. In our case, the disaster has been compounded by political interference and a rampaging patronage network joined at the hip. The outcome, a R5-billion hole, leaving the SABC without sufficient reserves to pay their liabilities each month.

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