SABC3 rev­enue plunges

CityPress - - News - Charl Blignaut and Lloyd Gedye

Per­haps the big­gest vic­tim of Mot­soe­neng’s new con­tent regime is SABC3, with SABC2 limp­ing in sec­ond.

Be­fore his an­nounce­ment that TV would meet an 80% lo­cal con­tent quota, SABC1 had a 95% lo­cal con­tent rate, SABC2 a 75% rate and SABC3 had 45%.

SABC in­sid­ers said they only heard about the lo­cal con­tent quo­tas in the news­pa­pers, and some said they were called to a meet­ing a few days af­ter the an­nounce­ment and asked how it could be achieved.

Huge losses were com­pounded by Mot­soe­neng’s chang­ing of sched­ules, es­pe­cially for Se­sotho news, which he felt was on too late at night. Fur­ther losses were made by now un­us­able in­ter­na­tional con­tent that had al­ready been bought or li­cenced.

In­sid­ers say that in Oc­to­ber, SABC3 posted a loss for the first time – with the chan­nel meet­ing 50% of its ad­ver­tis­ing quo­tas, earn­ing only half of what it had earned in ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue this time last year. Au­di­ence share is drop­ping month by month on both SABC2 and SABC3.

SABC3’s most pop­u­lar show, The Bold and the Beau­ti­ful, for ex­am­ple, was com­mand­ing just shy of 1.5 mil­lion view­ers in June, be­fore the new sched­ules were im­posed. In Oc­to­ber, it had just less than 1 mil­lion view­ers. SABC2 view­ers also con­tinue to de­cline. Fig­ures show that the new sched­ules and quo­tas had an al­most im­me­di­ate ef­fect, with prof­its on SABC3 down by al­most 35% in July al­ready, and con­tin­u­ing to slide.

Act­ing SABC chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer Bessie Tug­wana said the chan­nels had been slid­ing for years, while Mot­soe­neng said that he was a risk-taker and that, for the chan­nels to suc­ceed, risks must be taken and lo­cal con­tent of­fered.

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