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R2K raises questions around SABC and eMedia’s new agreement

28 March 2021, 12:35 PM  |  SABC  | 

Lobby group the Right2Know (R2K) Campaign has raised a number of questions over the new SABC and eMedia Investments’ agreement for the Openview satellite free-to-air platform.

The SABC has announced that Openview will soon carry SABC 1,2,3 and SABC’s 19 radio stations. It will also add three more SABC TV channels – starting with SABC Sport. The R2K campaign’s Michael Graaf has raised questions over the future of the SABC’s already-existing platforms.

“We would like to know what are the terms of the agreement? Is the SABC going to gain revenue from this, besides advertising? Is it going to get direct payment from eMedia? We are wondering why if it has the capacity for more channels, why are they not using more channels? Why are they not using the channels that are already created for digital terrestrial TV? SABC is not supposed to be motivated only by commercial considerations, it is a public broadcaster and our education system is in a crisis. It raises the question now of what becomes of its other platform, which is still hardly used, which is the digital terrestrial TV.”

South Africans to get more quality content

SABC COO Ian Plaatjies says the partnership will give South Africans access to more quality content in the language of their choice.

“We haven’t finalised the other two channels but the first one will be the sports channel. The strategy is to exploit our very rich content. Our initial go-to-market will be about 80% existing content and 20% new. The channels will be self-sustaining. For the first time our audiences, our listeners out there will not be limited to their location or to data. They will be able to listen to their favourite radio station on the eMedia platform at no cost to them,” says Plaatjies.

The launch date of a SABC Sport channel will be announced within a month, while that of the other channels are expected within the next three months.

SABC and eMedia launch:

Commenting on the new multi-year signal distribution and channel carriage agreement, eMedia Investments COO, Antonio Lee, says, “This is an exciting development for both the SABC and ourselves.  The agreement ushers in a new level of collaboration between a private free-to-air satellite platform and public free-to-air broadcast services.

There is no doubt it will boost the offering of Openview and will extend the SABC’s audience reach.  We can now offer our Openview audience additional quality content and access to digital broadcast radio in the widest variety of languages possible in South Africa.”

Lee says eMedia Investments hope this is the start of a stronger and more fruitful relationship between Openview and the public broadcaster.

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