Acting Chairperson of the SABC Board, Prof Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe
SABC Board Members present here
COO of the SABC, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng
SABC Group Executives, other senior executives, management and staff
Colleagues from Parliament, other government departments and state-owned enterprises,
Representatives of the various broadcasting organisations and aertising industry
Ladies and gentlemen
We are gathered here today to celebrate the best of the SABC’s classic programming and relaunch these favourites into the new digital future for a new generation of viewers.
I am addressing you as someone who grew up in televisions heyday – the 1980s and 1990s. For those of you who are too young to remember, this was the era of the Video Cassette Recorders, VHS video cassettes and TDK radio cassettes.
In this golden era of local entertainment, we were mesmerised by musical stars such as Tshepo Tshola and Sankomota, Brenda and the Big Dudes, Yvonne Chaka, Chicco Twala, and Ray Phiri and Stimela.
On every television screen in every home across South Africa Nkwesheng, Laqasha and Sidumo, Mopheme, Thlaranhlope, Lesilo, Sergeant Samadula, Motsie, MadlaNduna and Shaka Zulu were not only popular names and celebrities, but became part of our families.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think you will agree with me that from all of those names – Tsutsuma and Vho-Mulimisi are the most popular!
In our apartheid past the SABC as the state broadcaster had the monopoly on televised content it was the only content television producer in the country and remained the largest by far on the continent. Citizens had no choice but to watch the SABC – not because it was the best South Africa could offer, but because the apartheid government’s stranglehold on information limited citizen’s access to information and cultural expression. The unintended consequences of this monopoly ensured that the SABC, as the only public service television broadcaster in South Africa, accumulated years of content in its archives and maintained its dominance as the largest commissioner of local content on the continent.
It took broadcasting leaders like the late Zwelakhe Sisulu, Madala Mphahlele, Sesi Ivy Matsepe Cassaburi (may their souls rest in peace) among others to move away from the racially classified TV1, TV2 and TV3 to the Contemporary Community Values Television (CCVTV) which embraced the new South Africa that celebrates the diversity of its people. This was the forebear of what we now know as SABC 1, 2 and 3. These leaders redefined the SABC’s relationship with its audiences and gave life to the vision of a new democratic South Africa.
In a liberalised broadcasting environment with multiple broadcasters, the SABC competes for audience share and aertising revenues. It has to consider various commercial opportunities, look at new and different distribution platforms to extend its television productions to the public and to grow its audiences. The challenges of differentiation in this changing competitive media landscape, which has been subject to enormous changes due to the growth of digital and online technologies, dictates that the SABC should be innovative for it to remain relevant to its audience.
Thus, the decision by the SABC Board to establish partnerships with external service operators to distribute its content to various broadcast service operators is welcomed. Such an approach which can only enhance the SABC’s financial and brand performance, will allow it to respond to the fundamental shift in the way people watch and consume television content.
My analysis shows me that broadcasters across the globe are launching various content services, which are branded differently, for broadcast in partnership with telecommunications operators and over the top TV service providers. These partnerships follow rigorous evaluation of the partner’s history of platform stability and reliability, and ability to monetise their content. This is a sensible business decision, and any shareholder that would oppose this would be failing in their fiduciary responsibilities. Across the globe, this is part of new channel strategy for pay television operators.
I am excited about this channel agreement and partnership concluded between the SABC and MultiChoice to distribute certain SABC programmes. Given our relatively small content production market, I encourage other broadcasters to develop partnerships between competing channels so that we can fill the additional channels created through the digital migration initiative. As indicated at various platforms, South Africa continues to promote public-private partnerships (PPPs) and for the SABC this has been part of its overall strategy to secure its long-term financial sustainability.
I want to applaud the SABC management’s change of strategic direction to embrace the new broadcast landscape. I ask each of you to look at the SABC through different lenses – don’t be part of the detractors that would not want to acknowledge the SABC’s success over the last number of years in a very competitive media landscape. Mr Motsoeneng you have led from the front and these successes have borne fruit under your leadership. As a former member of the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Communications I can say that it is through this leadership that we have managed to unlock the 2 albatrosses that have been hanging over the SABC’s neck – the implementation of the SABC News Channel and the launch of this classic entertainment channel – SABC ENCORE. These have been on the to-do list of the SABC Board and Executive for a number of years.
I am made to understand that the new channel is targeted at South African audiences of all ages, will showcase some of South Africa’s old favourites and classics of loved comedy, drama, kiddies and lifestyle shows from 1980s and 1990s and will allow lots of nostalgic moments and provide viewers to reminisce about the good old days with a daily doses of their favourite programmes from Agter Elke Man and the hilarious Sgudi Snaysi to the ground-breaking use of tech-animation in Interster and the goings-on in Pumpkin Patch. Thank you for bringing back our favourites.
I am guessing that many of you don’t know that the SABC used to have world class animation and language dubbing facilities in television. I humbly request the SABC Board and executives to look at reviving this capacity and I am convinced that these divisions can create sustainable jobs for our youth, and meet our mandate for language diversity.
The SABC, with the launch of channel SABC Encore on DSTV channel 156, will have 5 television channels in total I urge you to take aantage of new distribution opportunities, and to make the necessary investments to be part of the emerging distribution landscape being shaped by the internet and boldly confront the choice between “adaptation or decline” in the new content landscape.
I also wish to thank the Board for their sturdy resolution and support for the SABC Executives in ensuring that this channel is launched. You have remained true to the cooperative and decisive spirit of the five (5) interim Board members led by Ms Irene Charnley.
As we prepare to launch the broadcasting digital migration communications strategy, I am appealing to all of you to be our ambassadors in this regard.
I would also like to extend my appreciation at the positive contribution of your public service announcements towards fighting and discouraging attacks on foreign nationals.
Ladies and gentlemen
It is my honour and pleasure to declare the SABC Encore on DSTV channel 156 officially open!
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Communications
Source : South African Government