SABC+ streaming service goes offline for “exciting new offering”

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has advised that its SABC+ video streaming service could experience issues or downtime due to the launch of an unspecified “exciting new service offering”.

The SABC said the migration of the SABC+ service to a new technology system might result in a temporary pause of services for “no more than 48 hours”.

“It must also be noted that services will be limited, so don’t be alarmed with the new offering, as it is part of the migration process,” the broadcaster said.

“This update underscores the SABC’s dedication to continue providing audiences with an optimised and enriched SABC+ experience.”

“This will ensure that in future there is an enhanced and more robust digital content delivery for our valued viewers,” it added.

The SABC did not specify a time or date for when the platform migration began or would begin, or when it would be completed.

At the time of our visit to the SABC+ website at around 11:30 on Friday, 1 December 2023, it was already unavailable.

The screenshot below shows the message we were presented with when trying to access the service on the web.

The SABC stressed the interruption was temporary, and efforts were being made to expedite the transition process.

“Regular updates will be provided to keep our audience informed about the resumption of SABC+ services and the exciting improvements to come,” the broadcaster stated.

However, it cautioned it would continue to implement new features and modifications to the service post-migration, and asked audiences to be patient during the transition period.

The current platform on which SABC+ runs is the same as the one used by TelkomONE, which the SABC took over in November 2022.

Subscriber numbers revealed

The broadcaster recently told MyBroadband that it had grown the SABC+ subscriber base to roughly 600,000 a year after it launched.

It inherited about 135,000 of these subscribers from TelkomONE.

The service streams all of the SABC’s free-to-air channels and radio stations, while also offering a catchup catalogue for recent episodes of its series and soaps.

Coverage of several matches in the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) gave the SABC+  a “huge” boost in sign-ups.

The largest number of concurrent viewers on SABC+ during the tournament was over 210,000 in the final between the Springboks and All Blacks.

While the service ran smoothly for most of the tournament, it experienced downtime due to “unprecedented” demand during the Springboks’ first game against Scotland.

Some of the errors shown to viewers trying to access SABC+ during the Springboks vs Scotland game in the 2023 RWC.

This resulted in numerous viewers being unable to watch most of the match.

The SABC rectified the issues by increasing capacity thresholds with its service provider to accommodate the spike in demand.

A number of users continued to experience some intermittent issues with the platform in subsequent matches, but by the knockout stages, the service seemed to be holding its own.

The platform migration might be due to the SABC seeking larger subscriber capacity, wanting to launch new features not supported on the current platform, or aims to cut costs with a more affordable system.

Now read: SABC appoints former DStv and MTN executive as new CEO

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SABC+ streaming service goes offline for “exciting new offering”