The SABC faces an increasingly serious financial crisis, having announced this month a loss of R1 billion in the last fiscal year. The SOS Coalition released this media statement in response, highlighting the numerous efforts to advise the SABC on the urgent need for a new funding model, advising on the risks associated with its decision to switch the analogue signal prematurely and the detriment of administrative issues such as the delaying of SABC Board appointments.
The IPO is one of the member bodies of the SOS Coalition, whose purpose is to lobby for the strengthening of public and community broadcasting in the public interest, with the aim of ensuring excellent programming for South African audiences, particularly from the SABC. We are in the process of engaging with the SOS Coalition on research which details a new model of government funding. The research grant was supplied by the NFVF following a joint IPO and SOS application.
We have consistently argued over the years that the SABC is the process of death spiral and that new funding models need to be implemented if it is to fulfil its mandate to build social cohesion and democracy through a plethora of compelling narratives. The SABC has been working on a public/ private hybrid model and during this time has become increasing reliant on advertising revenues. The fragmented nature of the broadcast landscape powered by the internet and other new technologies has meant a sharp decline in revenues for the broadcaster. This in turn has led to far less local content and a significant decrease in locally produced premium content. We will update you on the conclusion of the research and further engagements with the Coalition as we progress.