SABC sells out prime-time adverts for the first time in 5 years

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has delivered significant growth in advertising sales over the past few months, boosting revenue across a number of its operations.

It said that despite the difficult operating environment, its revenue strategy has begun paying dividends.

“The SABC has faced one of its most challenging trading conditions to date. Despite popular misconceptions that the corporation is a government-funded state-owned enterprise, the SABC only receives a 3% grant from the state,” the public broadcaster said.

“Financial pressures on the organisation have been further worsened by South Africa’s technical recession, a shrinking global economy hit by COVID-19, and corporate advertisers consequently reducing their marketing spend.”

It said it has achieved numerous milestones towards generating revenue to keep its business afloat, including significant growth in its prime-time advertising sales.

The SABC said that in November 2020, it achieved sell-out status on SABC 1 and SABC 2 during prime time for the first time in over five years.

December 2020 saw the best achievement in sales at 92% success against the set target, it added.

“Radio revenue achieved 105% of its set budget in the same period, marking the first exceedance in that financial year,” the SABC said.

“The broadcaster’s TV commitment book is peaking beyond expectation while collaboration across all SABC platforms is at the highest they have ever been.”

Turnaround plan working

The SABC said its turnaround plan, which was developed to ensure the long-term existence of a resilient and financially sustainable public broadcaster, is starting to bear fruit.

This judgement is supported by the high volume of advertising slots sold, the SABC said.

“Maintaining the momentum of growth, December’s revenue also surpassed the previous year by +7%.”

“These accomplishments speak to the SABC’s commitment to turning the organisation around and becoming a financially sustainable entity,” the public broadcaster added.

“It also validates that the SABC’s approach to re-engineering the way business has always been done, providing innovative media placement solutions for brands to advertise across multi-channel platforms, and looking for ways to add value to the organisation’s bottom line, is working,.”

Blackout threats

The SABC’s newly revitalised operations have faced the threat of blackout in recent weeks, following unions protesting the retrenchment of more than 300 employees.

The SABC initially planned to retrench 600 employees, but it has since reduced this figure to 303.

The final numbers of redundancies are dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives like Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) and Early Retirement.

After unions threatened to induce a broadcasting blackout at the SABC via protest, Minister for Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams ordered the SABC board to resolve issues over job cuts.

She reportedly directed SABC board members to return to negotiations with labour unions and attempt to end the ongoing dispute over lay-offs at the public broadcaster.

She advised that the board “upskill, reskill, and train affected staff for redeployment” and make COVID-19 TERS benefits available to those who have been retrenched.

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SABC sells out prime-time adverts for the first time in 5 years