Broadcasting Services

SABC: Signal Distribution Costs Unsustainable, Asking To Explore Alternatives

Ian Plaatjes, the chief operating officer of the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has warned that the public broadcaster cannot continue to pay billions of Rands (Hundreds on million in US dollars) to its government-owned signal distribution partner Sentech.
Speaking to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, the SABC chief remonstrated that if it continues to use Sentech to distribute its broadcast signal - as it is currently obliged to by law - the danger of the SABC collapsing under the heavy load of having to pay, what is it his view, the exorbitant amount of money that will be due to Sentech.
SABC told parliamentarian over the past five years, the organisation have paid upwards of R3.2 Billion (US$ 195 million) to Sentech and that the massive distribution costs that are both owed and due constitute the second biggest drain in the SABC finances, following staff salaries and wage bills.
SABC is suggesting that it could be making a 94% saving on the signal distribution costs if it were allowed to explore alternatives out the current arrangement with Sentech.
According to Ian Plaatjes: "If we (the SABC) were to use private, third-party signal distribution suppliers outside of Sentech, we would be making a 94% saving. That is a huge amount to our bottom-line. That is about R400 million that we could utilise for content."
He also said mentioned that although "We do not have a strategy to use third-party providers outside of Sentech as of yet, but the price has to be right. It can't be 100 times the price our competitors are paying out there."

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