SABC to push up TV licence fees

2012-03-08 14:03
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – Just over two and a half years since the SABC received a R1.47bn bail-out from the South African government, the cash-strapped public broadcaster is planning to raise SABC TV licence fees.

Meanwhile, the SABC is also telling the government that the broadcaster is projecting a massive cash flow shortfall of millions if the SABC is to invest in digital terrestrial television (DTT).

This warning heralds possible additional funding help from the government for the SABC, which came to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

Boost revenue

Latest report-back documents from the department of communications reveal that the SABC is planning a rate increase for TV licence fees which, according to law, is payable annually by all of the roughly 12 million TV households in South Africa.

A normal SABC TV Licence currently costs R250 per year.

The increase is set to boost the SABC's revenue derived from this source.

However, similar to several projects forming part of the SABC's turnaround-strategy, the broadcaster's TV licence increase is delayed and still pending approval from government.


The SABC has managed to improve its TV licence revenue collection from R868m in 2010 to R872m in 2011.

The SABC's target under its turnaround strategy is to increase this amount by a further R46m by March 2013.

The SABC is on track to make a net loss of R92m for this financial year - R105m lower than the R12m net profit that was expected at the beginning of the financial year.

Cash shortfall coming due to digital migration

The SABC is also already warning the department of communications that the public broadcaster will experience another new cash shortfall of R836m if the SABC is to invest in the process of digital broadcasting and digital terrestrial television, a switch-over process known as digital migration and something which all broadcasters have to undergo.

The SABC wants to increase its current three TV channels to 18 digital TV channels over the next two years as South Africa's broadcasting industry switches from analogue to digital TV broadcasts.

The SABC says it won't have enough money to do so without government help.

SABC3 'underperforming'

There is also concern about SABC3 - the SABC's only commercial TV channel.

The Monitoring Task Team (MTT) set up by the department of communications says SABC3 has been "underperforming in all aspects" with "declining audiences, declining revenue and brand integrity erosion".

A special SABC3 Channel Turnaround Plan will have to be submitted into the SABC's overall corporate plan for the next three years until 2015.

Content problems

According to the department's document, the SABC's content in general is also an apparent problem which has not yet adequately been addressed.

The SABC will have to prepare a special three-year commissioning and acquisition strategy and plan for both local and international programming that meets the SABC's mandate. This new three-year plan will also have to be incorporated into the SABC's overall corporate plan from this year.

While the SABC has managed to bring content and programming costs down, this cost-savings measure is happening at the expense of the local TV production industry since the broadcaster commissioned less shows and is spending less on programming.

"The low level of spending on content is worrying because of its long-term impact the quality of the content has on attracting audiences and advertisers," said the task team.


  • Burtfred - 2012-03-08 14:23

    Put up the license fees and they will get even fewer people paying.

      Willie - 2012-03-08 14:59

      Go the decoder route....then everyone has to pay or have the right of choice not to pay for the crap they broadcast!

      hayden.cajee - 2012-03-08 15:51

      Solutions: Stop paying massive salaries to incompetent pricks. Create variety for the non-vernacular. Try and broadcast live games, on time, which would be live. Stop the BEE process, because it aint working. Maybe, just maybe i'll pay to watch SABC.

      Johan - 2012-03-09 10:28

      "...payable annually by all of the roughly 12 million TV households in South Africa....costs R250 per year....licence revenue collection from R868m in 2010 to R872m in 2011." Do the calc. ALready only 29% of housholds pay for their licence.

  • Victor - 2012-03-08 14:26

    I don't pay to watch crap !!!!!

      richard.hipkin - 2012-03-08 15:28

      That's why there is crap.... eish, no brain..

      kgomotso.radise - 2012-03-08 16:15

      Everything goes up (Food, Fuel, e-Thief, EishKom and now South African Boring Channels)

      Warren - 2012-03-08 17:28

      But you do pay for their DSTV & their British prozzies.

  • Herman - 2012-03-08 14:29

    More money for the fatcats to wast. If they get rid of the low class entertaiment they are screening, they might get more people to pay and solve their financial problems

  • Barefoot - 2012-03-08 14:29

    So 'll have to pay more for channels i don't watch?

  • louwbester - 2012-03-08 14:36

    Well I will not pay the higher license fee. If they use the bonus money that they so easilly pay out to CEO's and who ever, use that money for their incapablility to budget properly it might help or is this higher fee for biger and more bonusses.

  • Ashwin - 2012-03-08 14:42

    someone call Cosatu. Another government rip off. Cosatu can do a protest against tolls, brokers and sabc.

  • Paul - 2012-03-08 14:43

    LOL...with all the reruns they don't need a budget.

  • Heiku - 2012-03-08 14:44

    Anyone who pays a tv license is getting ripped off already.

  • justin.pretorius - 2012-03-08 15:04

    Good grief - the state cannot run anything

  • Stormkaap - 2012-03-08 15:08

    Fire the fat cats!

  • Brendan - 2012-03-08 15:11


  • Donald - 2012-03-08 15:19

    Its all falling apart, slowly but surely, as was predicted pre 1994... just saying....

  • Leon - 2012-03-08 15:26

    I have never had an SABC license (That's what it is, NOT a TV license) and I never will.

  • Alan - 2012-03-08 15:29

    Does anybody pay in the townships? We had a HR manager who moved into a JHB North suburb a few years ago and he said the first thing he must get is a TV license.

  • nkatywa - 2012-03-08 15:29

    I really don't see the value of paying my TV Licence because SABC specializes in recycling the Programmes,,,Repeats after repeats the only thing worth watching is the news only....

  • Final.Punishment - 2012-03-08 15:31

    Where do I cancel my TV License? why I can'y I unsubscribe? This is dictated BS!!!

      an0nthinker - 2012-03-09 10:17

      I tried to cancel mine once. I was planning to move overseas. They wanted my plane ticket and proof of new address! I don't think it's possible to unsubscribe. I finally just replaced my tv with a computer screen & hooked up my dvd player cause I don't watch SABCak and refuse to pay for a tv that's not even being used.

  • Angela - 2012-03-08 15:31

    "...the SABC's content in general is also an apparent problem..". No, really? Problem: Cashflow shortfall. Apparent solution: The general public. Typical.

  • shauncro - 2012-03-08 15:33

    I own a TV, but i don't watch SABC, E, DSTV or actually anything that comes OTA. But i still have to pay this blutty license. It's not fair, I buy DVD's and play games, that is all! Quite honestly the Cr@p on tv isn't worth watching, all it is is repeats and adverts.

  • Ashuvha - 2012-03-08 15:44

    increasing fees will not help,decreasing corruption might.

  • Graham.Cooper2 - 2012-03-08 17:43

    Agree go the decoder route and none of you will have a job, don't force me to pay for something I don't use at all. Even your news is one sided so shove it.

  • kosmonooit - 2012-03-08 18:12

    The best TV that's ever come out of Auckland Park was the test pattern, back in '75 (?) - been downhill since then. Please someone post a how-to to prove you don't watch or listen to anything SABC and therefore are not liable for the License Fee.

  • Ken - 2012-03-08 18:48

    At the moment they say if you have a piece of equipment that is "capable" of picking up a signal you must pay. Irrespective of whether you watch SABC or not. So what happens with the switch to digital and you DO NOT buy a box top decoder? If I can't decode the signal (i.e impossible to watch) must I still pay?

  • Luvuko Nombembe - 2012-03-08 20:39

    ...calling zwelinzima vavi, calling zwelinzima vavi......

  • laura.jousten - 2012-03-09 09:32

    really not worth it to evan pay tv license for the Cr*p they show

  • an0nthinker - 2012-03-09 10:12

    So you want to put up my TV license but take away what I'm paying for? South African logic I see. Take, take take.

  • Charitycm.Ntintili - 2012-03-09 10:42

    What TV Licence? for delayed live games & repeats!!NOO!!!

  • Hans - 2012-03-09 10:49

    Jaja easy money fir the SABC, when o when is the day that they will not be able to rip us of, I never use the Sabc, dont even have an airail but I have to pay a licence fee. I pay R560 a month to have DSTv so I am realy not interested in what they want. And all those lawyer letters and fees they are sending out so regularly, maybe they can save on that. Realy we pay for other peoples trouble.

  • chantelle.boheim - 2012-03-20 09:49

    I have DSTV and never watch SABC, so i don't see why i should pay for DTSV every month and a TV licence. They say the TV licence is for owning a TV, which is absolutely ridiculous. I shouldn't have to pay to own a TV and i should have a choice if i want SABC as part of my DSTV package or not. Tired of being ripped off!

  • tershia.atkins - 2012-04-18 13:46

    it is so bloody unfair, there are thousands not or never been paying for their licence. to crown it all, the movies gets repeated, so what are we paying for, 27yrs ago's movies?

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