Broadcasting Services

South Africa: The Future Of SABC News Channel On DStv Is Still Unkown

Some heavy dust has been raised in the broadcasting sector in South Africa as Multichoice's DSTV is letting go of the rebranded AfroWorld View, and surprisingly, the country public broadcaster, SABC News as both organisations have not signed a new contract.

It is clear that should MultiChoice not extend the contract for SABC News; the channel will have to shut down on DSTV, just like SABC News International, the public broadcaster's first try at a 24-hour TV news channel which was terminated after bleeding the corporation off millions of rand only three years after launching.

The state broadcaster which is currently struggling and underfunded doesn't have the money to keep the channel running on SABC News (DStv 404) although it is supposed to be a free-to-air channel for digital terrestrial television (DTT).

The only available statement written and published by both media giants reads: "The SABC and MultiChoice are currently in discussions to carry the SABC News and SABC Encore channels on DStv. We will communicate the outcome once the discussions have been finalised. The channels will continue to air on DStv while the discussions are ongoing."

Following a leaked meeting transcript between MultiChoice and the SABC which held in November 2017 and leaked #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 (DStv 405) channel, now renamed Afro Worldview, multiple questions over possible corporate impropriety were raised. One other concern people had was the possible influence that a private pay-TV company could have in the country's efforts to switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.

In the script, MultiChoice told SABC that it would pay the public broadcaster a little less than $8 Million (R100 million) for the SABC News channel only when a written and signed obligation that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on Conditional Access (CA) for digital television is acted upon.


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