SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe has stated that the public broadcaster wants to migrate to digital broadcasting platforms and launch an over-the-top (OTT) streaming service to compete with international players like Netflix.
Mxakwe was speaking during an MMA Freedom Week event at the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg.
“As we migrate to digital broadcasting platforms, the SABC will leverage online platforms to allow customers to access SABC content and services anywhere,” Mxakwe.
“It is not commonly known that SABCNews online is the second-most accessed online news source in the country. We aim to be number one but are pleased with the progress so far.”
Mxakwe acknowledged that the SABC was behind other OTT players in terms of technology, but said it does not intend to leave the streaming service market to its competitors.
“We intend to go much further, with the aim of putting all our content on our own streaming service,” he said.
“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 added.
Content and deals
The SABC said that it would also aim to conclude data deals with telecommunication operators to ensure that its OTT platform 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,” Mxakwe said.
“Even though we have not been able to invest in new compelling content, our existing content is still in huge demand and commands the biggest TV audiences in South Africa.”
He added that the SABC believes the transition into digital broadcasting is a key strategy to ensure its survival.
“The SABC cannot solve its sustainability issue without making sure we future proof the organisation from a technology and platform point of view,” Mxakwe said.
“Sustainability of the public broadcaster may seem like a pipe dream to some, but it is a very real, necessary and achievable goal for the board and management.”
He also stated that the current state of the SABC is “exciting and historic”, as it allows the public broadcaster to address its shortfalls and position itself for sustainable growth in the future.