SABC Plans To Introduce Internet Streaming In The Medium Term

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar

The SABC’s group CEO has said offering all their content on an online video platform is something they’re looking into implementing.

While we know we are behind on the technology side, the SABC does not intend to leave streaming TV services to our competitors.

The SABC has developed an integrated OTT (“over-the-top”) strategy with the aim that it develops or acquires its own OTT streaming platform as a medium-term goal. This will allow the SABC to control its own destiny into the future.

Madoda Mxakwe – SABC Group CEO

The CEO didn’t address whether this would come with a shift in the business model since right now South African subscribers pay by way of TV licences and SABC also uses advertisers to make a huge chunk of its revenue but of late it seems advertisers have been questioning

Bringing TV licencing to the internet is unheard of and convincing people to pay for SABC’s online service will be a tough and interesting sell considering that a number of people believe national broadcasters offer free content.

Whilst some in the South African media have termed this as a Netflix competitor, I’ll be surprised if that’s how high SABC are aiming and a more realistic aim would be to have a larger subscriber base than Showmax.

The group CEO shared that he had concerns about the cost of data being a barrier to entry. which is the case for many African internet-based businesses. Approaching mobile internet with a view to reduce the cost of accessing this future platform is being taken into consideration.

The SABC will strive to conclude data deals with telecommunications operators to ensure that SABC’s mobile apps can be accessed by as many people as possible. As a policy goal, it is still vital for data prices to fall as this will allow more people to access all the SABC’s content over their mobile phones.

Maybe the targeted advertising this could offer will be more attractive to advertisers than the reach being currently promised by the national broadcaster. What’s clear is that the SABC’s transition to this new broadcasting medium will come with some interesting lessons.

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