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09 August 2009

SABC decisions may destroy TV Industry - News24

SABC could destroy local TV industry

The SABC's decision not to commission new local content to reduce costs will kill the television industry, affected parties said on Thursday. The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) warned that cuts at the SABC could lead to a 67% drop in local content productions.
About 50 producers, directors and actors, who attended a meeting in Johannesburg to report back on discussions with the communications minister and consider future steps, voiced their concern over their bleak future if cuts did take place.

It said the industry would lose over R500m in income over cancelled or deferred productions, would see production costs increase and crew and cast losing their jobs.

The broadcaster's new strategy would also mean more programme repeats at prime-time, which could drive away viewers and advertisers. It could also affect diversity of voices and cultures as well as local content quotas which the public broadcaster was expected to provide.

The organisation also said the SABC still owed them R25m.

Bulk commissioning

It also came out strongly against the SABC's bulk commissioning proposal, saying it was a "dangerous" as only a few companies could make use of it.

Suggestions from the floor ranged from putting more pressure on the broadcaster by organising another march, to setting up a fund to sustain the TVIEC and taking legal action.

An interim board, which the TVIEC said had taken issues seriously, was recently appointed at the SABC to turn its finances around.

The board would come back to the organisation within 10 days to say when their money would be paid.

The public broadcaster is said to be drowning in debt and is hoping for a R2bn bailout from the government.

On June 4 a large group of associations and television industry workers marched to the SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg to hand over a memorandum highlighting these issues and asking to be paid for work already done.

At that time the SABC owed them an estimated R60m.

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