by Thinus Ferreira
The South African public broadcaster will start to broadcast Covid-19 public service announcement commercials from CovidComms SA at a heavily discounted rate during primetime programming like during SABC1's Uzalo and Generations - The Legacy, the SABC's two most-watched and most expensive shows to advertise in, to inform the public about the coronavirus, the looming 4th wave and to combat misinformation and falsehoods about the virus, its spread and the importance of Covid-19 vaccines.
With the 4th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic looming and set to hit South Africa from early December 2021 and with the country that is currently experiencing its third wave of Covid-19 infections and cases, the SABC is partnering with CovidComms SA to broadcast an awareness campaign.
CovidComms SA that was created in March 2020have so far produced 200 information products, many in at least 6 South African languages.
Chris Vick of CovidComms SA says "What we really need is primetime viewers to be exposed to vital public health messages. We have been in discussion with a number of media houses about what we are calling a primetime challenge".
Calling on MultiChoice and its DStv Media Sales division, M-Net, SuperSport, e.tv, radio stations and other broadcasters, CovidComms SA says that "We are calling on broadcasters, in particular, to make primetime slots available at no cost, or at least a significantly discounted rate".
Chris Vick says that "The SABC has responded particularly well and has offered us, at significant discounts on TV and radio, airtime. We believe, to make the make the commitment really meaningful, we need corporate South Africa to come onboard and to support the flighting of our fourth wave material on high visibility platforms across the commercial media".
So far 150 community newspapers in South Africa have also committed to distributing CovidComms SA's Covid-19 information at a discounted rate.
Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, says "At the heart of this is the need to advance the national interest. It is very expensive to do this because, as the SABC, we always have to ensure that we display that we are doing it because it is the right thing for the country. We've had to discount quite heavily."