The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has announced that it will soon launch a second SABC News TV channel, which, according to industry watchers, will be similar to the existing English-language one on MutliChoice’s DStv, with news and current affairs programming in local languages.
Following the relaunched of SABC’s News channel in August 2013 on DStv, it carried the Zulu, Afrikaans, Siswati, Tsonga, Xhosa, isiNdelebe, Sotho and Venda TV news bulletins done for SABC1 and SABC2 throughout the day on the SABC News channel. However, two years later, MultiChoice decided to expand the SABC News channel beyond South Africa into the rest of the African continent. As a result, the SABC altered the programming on the channel to an English-only format.
The result was that the SABC dropped TV news bulletins in all other languages besides English from SABC News in April 2015. The channel has been English-only for the past seven years, with SABC TV news bulletins in South Africa’s other official languages only available on SABC1 and SABC2 as once-off broadcasts and made available on YouTube.
The public broadcaster is now planning on bringing back and expanding these other TV news bulletins in languages other than English on a SABC News spinoff TV channel which will be made available on its SABC+ streaming service, as well as a digital terrestrial television (DTT) channel where it will sit alongside the existing SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and SABC Sports channels.
The SABC noted that the News channel would run 24 hours per day, similar to the existing SABC News channel, carrying TV news bulletins and current affairs programming in local languages.
Gugu Ntuli, the SABC spokesperson, said, “The channel will be launching officially soon and will be broadcast on DTT and SABC+.”
“In response to the millions of audiences yearning for longer and more quality bulletins and current affairs in African languages, the SABC will soon be launching its 24-hour African news channel to cater to the needs of these loyal viewers,” Ntuli said.
She said the channel “will also include more parliamentary content, including content from its committees.”