The SABC is looking to buy or build its own streaming service in the medium-term, says group chief executive officer Madoda Mxakwe.
Speaking at a media conference on Wednesday (23 October), Mxakwe said that the SABC cannot solve its sustainability issues without future-proofing the organisation from a technology and platform point of view.
“While we know we are behind on the technology side, the SABC does not intend to leave streaming TV services to our competitors,” said Mxakwe.
“Our SABC News app was the first example of what we can do with, combining some television and audio content on a mobile app. We intend to go much further, with the aim of putting all our content on our own streaming service.
“The SABC has developed an integrated OTT strategy with the goal that the SABC develops or acquires its own OTT streaming platform as a medium-term goal. This will allow the SABC to control its own destiny into the future,” he said.
Divide and data
Mxakwe also acknowledged that some of the audiences and households which make use of the SABC’s services are amongst the poorest in the country.
“We have a duty to ensure that subsidies for boxes and TVs are found to help our analogue audiences make the shift to digital broadcasting.
“With OTT and mobile app services, the SABC and government also have a duty to ensure that data does not remain an obstacle in the ability of all our people to consume all our content on any device, anywhere in the country,” he said.
To combat these issues, Mxakwe indicated that the national broadcaster may also look at entering into data agreements with telecoms companies to make this service more accessible.
“If SABC also becomes a fully-fledged streaming service, it would make no sense if the digital and data divide is exacerbated and millions of our audiences cannot access our services on their phones and other devices,” he said.
“The SABC will strive to conclude data deals with telecommunication operators to ensure that SABC’s mobile apps can be accessed by as many people as possible. As a policy goal it is still vital for data prices to fall as this will allow more people to access all the SABC’s content over their mobile phones.”