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12 April 2009

Update from the TV Industry Emergency Coalition (TIEC)  to all members and supporters the Coalition.

At the request of the TIEC, a meeting between the mandated TIEC team and the SABC took place, Wednesday 8th April.
A brief account of the 5-hour meeting follows (a more detailed report will follow shortly)
The SABC delegation was well represented and included the Chairperson of the SABC board, the Acting GCEO and COO, the GM of the Content Enterprises and a range of executives.
The SABC responded positively to the 5 key questions posed by the Coalition.
In brief the SABC has confirmed that the broadcaster:
·        Can and will meet its financial contractual obligations for the year
·        Will investigate outstanding payments immediately (a task team is already active on this) and attempt to rectify the situation as quickly as possible. (*N.B. A request for information to producers regarding outstanding payments will follow shortly).  A time line for addressing the backlog will follow soon.)
·        Is committed to most of the RFP’s and will clearly state which RFP’s may change, no longer be relevant and (specifically for Drama) which RFP’s will be for script development only, and not for production in this period.
·        Will investigate outstanding royalties, residuals and repeat fees (A request to all companies will follow in this regard)
·        Remains committed to the current levels of local content and will consult with the Coalition in its turn around strategy
A Task Team has been actioned with immediate effect to look into the payment issue. This will serve to re-ignite the IPO-SASFED/SABC Task Team that collapsed during 2008.  Levern Engel will head the Task Team for the Coalition.
It was also agreed that the IP Task Team (which is functioning well) will broaden its scope to include industry development, sustainability and advocacy. Rehad Desai heads the Task Team for the Coalition. 
Before June 2009, the industry will make a presentation to the Board with regard to the sustainability issues of the industry. This is seen as a first step to ongoing engagement between the industry and the Board.  Desiree Markgraaff will lead this process for the Coalition.
An official press statement, released this morning, follows.
The Coalition thanks all members who have participated in this matter to date.
Johannesburg, 09 April 2009- The SABC has assured the Television
Industry that it will meet its contractual obligations for the year.
This comes after the industry expressed its concerns regarding the
public broadcaster's financial situation and its possible impact on the
The SABC met with industry representatives to reiterate its position
that it is not bankrupt but merely facing a short term cash flow
problem. The representative body calling itself the Television Industry
Coalition is made up of South African Screen Federation (SASFED),
Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), Black Filmmakers Network (BFN)
and The Producers Alliance (TPA) , and non-aligned producers and includes
equipment suppliers and facilities representing many of South Africa's
most popular shows.
The Coalition, driven by concerns from its members reporting on
outstanding and missed payments, sought assurance from the SABC that it
intended to honor its financial obligations and consult with the
independent production sector regarding its proposed turn around
The Acting GCEO, Mr. Gab Mampone emphasised the fact that the situation
that the organization finds itself in is symptomatic of the global
economic situation. Being reliant on the advertising revenue has meant
that the SABC could no longer expect to receive the kind of revenue it
had initially projected.
"The SABC had projected revenue of 14% but given the current market
condition that can no longer be possible" said Acting GCEO, Mr. Gab
Mampone. He also noted, in particular, the decline of revenue from the
fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market.
Mampone says the credit crisis has also resulted in major studios
changing terms of trade increasing the upfront payments on content
All these things coming together at once have resulted in the cash flow
crisis that the organization currently finds itself in, Mampone said.
The SABC agreed to transparency and consultation with the Industry of
its plans going forward to ensure that it manages the situation.
Chairperson of the SABC Board, Kanyisiwe Mkonza acknowledged the
challenges currently being faced by the organisation but assured the
industry that the public broadcaster believes the health of the local
production industry and that of the SABC is clearly intertwined and
views the independent industry as a key stakeholder. Mkonza expressed
her wish for constant engagement between SABC and the industry and her
commitment to locally produced content. ,
The coalition welcomed her comments and agreed to a formal meeting with
the board with a view to providing mutual insights on the challenges
facing the sustainability of the independent sector and the SABC.
The SABC reconfirmed the importance of the Operations Task Team and
Intellectual Property Management (IPM) committees which were instituted
3 years ago. These committees will be reignited and scheduled into the
SABC annual calendar.  The mandate of these committees has been extended
to meet the current and future challenges which include sustainability
and advocacy, but the immediate focus will be to resolve any outstanding
The industry acknowledged the SABC budget constraints and agreed to work
together in finding common solutions regarding the SABC's funding model
and the industries growth and sustainability.
Overall, there was a common understanding that both the SABC and
industry share a common destiny and that both parties seek a
relationship that is based on a sustainable mutually beneficial
'The meeting has cleared things up and we look forward to a relationship
of mutual trust between us and the SABC.  The coalition has people that
we are accountable to and we are happy to be able to report back to them
from this meeting that the SABC  is committed to deliver on their
commitments,' said Rehad Desai, spokesperson for the coalition.
In a quest for broadcasting for total citizen empowerment and to deliver
on our public value, both parties have agreed to constantly engage each
other and strive to build a lasting partnership which can assist in
developing a comprehensive turn around strategy.
 Media Enquiries:  Kaizer Kganyago -  082 306 8888

* NB DFA Note: DFA has made a financial contribution to the TIEC on behalf of it's members, and previously confirmed it's commitment to the Coalition in writing. It has followed up the commission of it's name in this release, and has been assured it was an error, and in will be included in future TIEC correspondence). DFA members are welcome to make additional contributions to the funding of legal and other representation on this important Coalition if they are able. Contact: DFA has made a R2000 contribution to the Coalition and supports and monitors it on behalf of it's members.

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