The South African state broadcaster hopes to launch its own SABC video streaming service, modelled after the BBC’s iPlayer, by the end of the current financial year, after a decade and a half of underinvestment in technology and content.
SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said that the public broadcaster wants to have a video streaming service in South Africa by the end of the current financial year, which is March 31, 2022. However, the SABC is late to the video streaming market, and when it does start, it will have been beaten to the door by e.tv, the country’s commercial free-to-air broadcaster, which launched its eVOD service earlier this month.
According to Makhathini, “The public broadcasters has underinvested on technology and content. Thus, the board has approved a digital strategy that will see the SABC develop an over-the-top (OTT) platform, “Makhathini added. He stated that the SABC wants to enter into more commercial agreements “like their one with TelkomONE and Openview, to gain more channels. The broadcaster seeks to genuinely become a multi-platform, multi-channel organisation that can survive and prosper in the digital era.”
The South African Broadcasting Corporation is 13 years behind the BBC in establishing a digital player, with BBC iPlayer launched in December 2007. However, the public broadcaster launched the SABC News app in April 2019. In the same year, the SABC informed parliament that it is exploring implementing a “freemium” model, in which primary access is free, but additional premium programming requires a tiered pay-to-view system.