Tuesday, June 4, 2013

SABC claims to have spent R758 million on local content in 2012 but public broadcaster is awash in more old repeats than ever before.

The SABC claims to have spent R758 million on local content commissioning on 2012 although one look at TV schedules of the South African public broadcaster's three TV schedules reveal more repeats this year than ever before, ranging from 80s shows such as The Cosby Show littering SABC1 and SABC3, to old archive titles of local cheesy dramas and magazine shows on the SABC2 schedule.

It's possible that the overall cost of local programming on South African public television has risen so dramatically than the overall price is much more expensive whilst yielding less actual on-screen minutes. The SABC spent R649 million on local content in 2010 and R684 million in 2011.

The SABC no longer has the SABC News International 24-hour news channel which was locally produced, there's much more older foreign content, more omnibus repeat slots of foreign content which lessens the overall available programmable hours left to fill with local content, and the SABC is carrying more localy advertiser-funded productions (AFP), basically airtime the SABC is not paying for to produce but actually receiving a premium income on as part of contracted out sponsored airtime.

It's therefore hard to believe that the SABC spent R700 million in local content last year, unless its still to be shown or went to ever-increasing sports rights.

The SABC says local TV drama received R282 million of the spend - the genre which got the most money, while the SABC gave educational programming R57 million and children's programming R56 million.

The minister of communication Dina Pule released the figures in parliament of what the SABC claims to have spent per genre. Sport received R114 million and religion got R53 million.

Since January 2013 the SABC claims to have awarded local commissioning contracts to the value of R281 million.

Meanwhile individual scriptwriters are to blame according to the minister of communications since they're causing "delays" for the SABC. Apparently scriptwriters in South Africa fail to set up "formal entities" or businesses which hampers the process when it comes to commissioning contracts.