New funding for TV?

2014-07-17 00:00

THE SABC must fix SABC3’s broadcasting footprint before focusing on a new funding model, former Cope MP Juli Kilian said yesterday.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said in a parliamentary debate a new strategy must be found to finance the public broadcaster. Muthambi said stabilising the SABC is also on top of her agenda.

Kilian said the SABC could not move viewers to a channel with a weak signal and then expect advertisers to pay. “First fix it, then focus on funding,” he said.

He said advertisers had already started to withdraw because the SABC has a weak programme schedule.

“The SABC does not know their market and this is one of the many problems,” Kilian said.

Sparks flew when the SABC on Monday announced the Afrikaans news and other Afrikaans programmes will move from SABC2 to SABC3.

Alana Bailey of AfriForum said a lot of angry viewers had already called to complain and some did not want to renew their TV licences.

One such a person was Anina Vorstman Barnard, who wrote on sister paper Beeld’s Facebook page that she is considering cancelling her licence, saying if her language and culture was not good enough for the SABC, then her money was also not good enough.

Although TV licences form only a small part of the SABC’s total income, Kate Skinner of the SOS coalition thinks a licence boycott by Afrikaners could still have serious repercussions for the SABC.

“The viewer must always be the top priority,” she said, warning that advertisers will follow the viewers.

Skinner said the SABC definitely needed a new funding model, advising that the broadcaster must first “pull up its socks” and then move over to public funding.

In the SABC’s annual report for 2013 the chairperson of the board Ellen Tshabalala admitted the SABC had missed almost all its targets in its core performance areas.

The DA’s deputy spokesperson for communications Veronica van Dyk said a new funding model was irrelevant. “The move of Afrikaans from SABC2 to SABC3 is against the SABC’s own editorial policy and cannot be allowed. The new financial model must be planned in the context of the SABC’s rules and regulations.”

At the time of going to press the SABC had not responded to questions.

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