Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has officially launched the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s “golden oldies” TV channel, SABC Encore, in Johannesburg.
The repeat entertainment SABC channel will start running from 5pm to 11pm today on MultiChoice’s DStv channel 156.
Minister Muthambi said the new channel is targeted at South African audiences of all ages and will showcase some of South Africa’s old favourites and classics of loved comedy, drama, kiddies and lifestyle shows from the 1980s and 1990s.
“It will allow lots of nostalgic moments and provide viewers [an opportunity] to reminisce about the good old days with daily doses of their favourite programmes from Agter Elke Man and the hilarious Sgudi Snaysi to the ground-breaking use of tech-animation in Interster and the goings-on in Pumpkin Patch. Thank you for bringing back our favourites,” she said.
The SABC will now have five television channels in total.
The Minister used the occasion to garner support for the digital migration strategy.
“As we prepare to launch the broadcasting digital migration communications strategy, I am appealing to all of you to be our ambassadors in this regard,” she said.
Currently, the South African pay channel market is the domain of MultiChoice’s two services, Mnet (which has operated via decoder cable since 1986) and its newer satellite division DStv. Terrestrial television services are provided by the public broadcaster SABC and privately owned e.tv.
“I am excited about this channel agreement and partnership concluded between the SABC and MultiChoice to distribute certain SABC programmes.
“Given our relatively small content production market, I encourage other broadcasters to develop partnerships between competing channels so that we can fill the additional channels created through the digital migration initiative.
“As indicated at various platforms, South Africa continues to promote public-private partnerships (PPPs). For the SABC, this has been part of its overall strategy to secure its long-term financial sustainability,” she said.
Minister Muthambi also applauded the SABC management’s change of strategic direction to embrace the new broadcast landscape.
“I ask each of you to look at the SABC through different lenses. Don’t be part of the detractors that do not want to acknowledge the SABC’s success over the last number of years in a very competitive media landscape,” she said.
She said SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has led from the front and these successes have borne fruit under his leadership.
“As a former member of the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Communications, I can say that it is through this leadership that we have managed to unlock the two albatrosses that have been hanging over the SABC’s neck – the implementation of the SABC News Channel and the launch of this classic entertainment channel – SABC Encore. These have been on the to-do list of the SABC Board and Executive for a number of years,” she said.
Acting chairperson of the SABC Board, Prof Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe, said the launching of the rerun entertainment channel signifies great to come.
“When we officially migrate from analogue to digital TV, we won’t be caught off-guard,” he said.
Motsoeneng said: “It is a wonderful day for the SABC. It is important for the young ones to know where we come from. In this new channel, they will see pictures in black and white.
“SABC is on the move. There is no doubt about that… Financially we are sustainable.”