SABC's news channel to launch April 1

2012-03-06 12:48
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – The SABC plans to launch its "new" 24-hour news channel on April 1 in conjunction with MultiChoice, who will be contributing a once-off R10m to the news channel to help with start-up costs and a further R15m annually to have the channel on the DStv platform.

The SABC tried to launch the new 24-hour news channel on April Fools' day last year, but didn't make the deadline and moved it to October.

The October date came and went and the planned start was moved to 2012. Now, April 1 is the new target date once again.

The SABC told parliament that the new news channel is seen as a key driver of the transformation and turn-around strategy for the public broadcaster.

SABC Sport TV channel

The SABC is planning to spend R288.9m over the next three years on the 24-hour news channel which is to replace the failed SABC News International channel launched in July 2007.

The SABC News International channel ran for less than two and a half years before closing down in March 2010 despite an investment of millions of rands by the SABC.
The channel will be new competition for's eNews Channel (DStv 403) which has so far been the only South African 24-hour TV news channel in the country.

The SABC is also planning to spend R732.7m on setting up a separate SABC Sport TV channel over the next two years.

Both the news channel, which will launch on MultiChoice, and the eventual sport channel, will become free channels as part of the SABC's digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering during the switch-over to digital broadcasting in South Africa.

Stringent targets

The new 24-hour news channel will cost the SABC at least R80m per year to operate. MultiChoice plans to make the new SABC news channel available in South Africa as well as hroughout Southern Africa, including Angola, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

As opposed to SABC News International which tried to include international news, the new 24-hour channel will have a primary emphasis on local South African news.

The channel will also show documentaries, have talk shows, current affair shows and some magazine shows geared towards topical interests like health, government and business news.

MultiChoice has set extremely stringent targets for the SABC to provide a TV news channel to the DStv platform. MultiChoice will keep the news channel on the DStv platform for at least 5 years if the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), approves the channel application.

Apart from the once-off R10m to help with start-up costs and R15m annually to have the channel on the DStv platform, MultiChoice will also contribute R5m in broadcasting equipment, according to documents.

In exchange, MultiChoice will be able to cancel the channel with 3 months' written notice if aspects of the channel aren't up to standard or not meeting performance requirements over various criteria.

The SABC didn't immediately respond to media enquiries made about the news channel.

Multichoice said: "MultiChoice does not comment on speculation. When we are ready to launch new channels on the DStv platform, we will make the necessary announcement."



  • Anthony - 2012-03-06 13:08

    If this is a "tranformation" strategy, why broadcast on DSTV which has relatively affluent viewers?

      Yolandè Rwaai - 2012-03-06 13:30

      "Affluent"? I've seen shacks with satellite dishes mounted outside & have activated decoders for people live in the rural areas!

      Ben - 2012-03-06 13:56

      If you take a drive on the N2 past Khayelitsha you'll see a lot of mounted dishes. How they afford it...I dont know. But it's there...

      Malavi - 2012-03-06 14:06

      to the two ignorant u can buy channels for R20/m u stupid idiots. that is the reason people have satellites Tv in their sharks. only these channels SABC1,2,3 e-tv, TBN, Aljezer , soweto tv, Blitz channel.

      Yolandè Rwaai - 2012-03-06 14:24

      Malavi, the only idiot here is you! I happen to work at Multichoice & I actually do the activation! There is reception for SABC in the townships, no need for a satellite dish!

      Yolandè Rwaai - 2012-03-06 14:28

      Malavi, the only idiot here is you! I happen to work at Multichoice & I actually do the activation! And most of them subscribe to Compacta which is R240+ per month! There is reception for SABC in the townships, no need for a satellite dish! You must the idiot who paid R400 for a decoder & a further R700 for installation when all you needed was an aerial which costs R20! Idiot!

      Michael Swart - 2012-03-06 16:35

      Who cares how much they spend on their subscription and where they live. The fact is they have a dish and they pay for it. Allow them to at lwast have some joy in their lives.

  • Barefoot - 2012-03-06 13:47

    now this is the taking the April fools jokes way too seriously you plan it a month in advance come on SABC

  • Ben - 2012-03-06 13:54

    Urgh.... waste

  • Mtizozo - 2012-03-06 14:05

    I will only bilive it once I see tyhe channels on my TV. At the moment all the airtime is taken by who has cash to pay, i.e B&B, DOL..

  • Franci - 2012-03-06 14:27

    April fools joke???

  • Treyzo - 2012-03-06 14:35

    You plan to take the channel to other african country with only local content? I do not see how will that work. many people would prefer to watch something that they can relate to

  • andre.ruiters - 2012-03-06 15:19

    Give us a 24 sports channel without soccer

  • magomarele - 2012-03-06 15:31

    TV Licences are a crime and a greatest rip-off of all time in SA. SABC should stop their theft and be competative like ETv and Supersport. They can't keep forcing innocent citizens to pay for their boring programmes. We pay for good service and currently we get that from Multichoice, not SABC.

  • John Murray McKay - 2012-03-06 19:23

    They could not organize an orgy at a nudist camp

  • Charmaine - 2012-03-06 20:53

    I hope that there will be some worthwhile news on the channel, we only hear about crime presently.

  • Bubba - 2012-03-07 10:07

    News channel, meh. Tell us more about the SPORT channel? If they can come up with a decent sport channel that shows rugby/cricket, then DSTV will lose a lot of subscribers... I guess it'll probably be 24/7 soccer.

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