You're reading it here first.
The SABC has told the South African government in no uncertain terms that the public broadcaster's switch-over in the process to digital terrestrial television (DTT) without massive additional funding ''will lead to the corporation not being financially sustainable''. The SABC wants R408 million for DTT as soon as possible.
The South African public broadcaster is asking the government for substantial assistance, saying that the switch-over the SABC will start in 2012 from analogue broadcasts to DTT - a process known as digital migration - will financially crush the broadcaster if the government doesn't intervene. The SABC is requesting government to ''permit additional borrowing'' as part of the government's loan guarantee granted through Nedbank and an additional R408 million to fund digital migration.
It's funny that some journalists last week wrote that the SABC isn't asking the government for more money although I already wrote last month that the SABC has made it blatantly clear to the South African government that it needs millions more - and soon.
Not only did the SABC tell parliament that it needs additional funding to pay severance packages for the downsizing (story RIGHT HERE) that is looming because of the ''bloated'' staffing levels of the SABC (story RIGHT HERE) - the SABC reiterated and added more reasons - like DTT - in a second parliamentary appearance. The SABC is warning the South African government that it will not be able to ''carry out the project'' - referring to DTT - ''without the necessary funding''. The SABC wants to launch its DTT multiplex in the 4th quarter of 2012. The SABC is also using R66 million to start its new 24 hour local South African news channel that it wants to launch by 1 October on MultiChoice's DStv.
The SABC has also taken on additional ''operational costs'' for which it needs a big additional money injection: a ''turnaround planning unit'', a new ''digital media unit'' and website development, designing a new ''commissioning scheme'' (for programming) as well as various techonology projects.
The SABC says ''focus will be placed on the acquisition of new programming on both the local and international front so as to drive audience to channels.''