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SABC enters free-to-air satellite market after deal with Openview

Mpho Sibanyoni Journalist
SABC has enter into a new agreement that will see it have a dedicated sports channel.
SABC has enter into a new agreement that will see it have a dedicated sports channel.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

South African Broadcasting Corporation has signed a multi-year signal distribution and channel carriage agreement that will see TV channels SABC 1, 2 and 3 being carried on free-to-air Openview.

The agreement will also see Openview, owned by eMedia Investments, carry SABC's 19 radio channels.

In a joint statement, the SABC and eMedia, which also owns eNCA and e.tv, said: "In addition to carrying SABC 1, 2 and 3, Openview will carry three additional television channels from the SABC and all its 19 radio channels, including the biggest South African radio brands - Ukhozi FM, Metro FM, Lesedi and Umhlobo Wenene.

"This enables previously geographically restricted FM radio channels to be received throughout the country via digital broadcasting on a free-to-air basis.

"Through this agreement, the SABC is officially entering the free-to-air satellite market which will supplement its channels on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and streaming platforms. First among the three new channels will be a standalone SABC Sports Channel that will be launched on Openview soon," they said.

The companies added that the collaboration "signals a seismic shift in the country's broadcasting landscape".

"With this agreement, the SABC ensures that its content, in all its formats, continues to resonate with the prescripts of its public mandate, and more so, in providing universal access to credible content," said the companies.

The companies, however, said the agreement will not prevent competition between the entities.

"Notwithstanding this agreement at the platform level, the SABC’s broadcasting services will continue to compete for audience and advertising with eMedia-owned channels and services, as they currently compete on the analogue network.," they said.

eMedia Investments COO, Antonio Lee, said: "The agreement ushers in a new level of collaboration between a private free-to-air satellite platform and public free-to-air broadcast services. There is no doubt it will boost the offering of Openview and will extend the SABC’s audience reach.

"We can now offer our Openview audience additional quality content and access to digital broadcast radio in the widest variety of languages possible in South Africa.  We hope this is the start of a stronger and more fruitful relationship between Openview and the SABC". 

SABC’s COO, Ian Plaatjes said: “This agreement enables the SABC to grow its channel offering and reach into the digital broadcasting space with three additional HD television channels. The first channel to be launched will be the SABC Sports Channel and will be distributed simultaneously across Openview, DTT, Telkom One and other streaming platforms.

"This collaboration will enable the SABC to optimally exploit its rich sport content rights and leverage the Openview reach to provide an improved integrated sport value proposition for our advertising clients across platforms. 

"The agreement also enhances the distribution of SABC radio stations to create an increased value proposition for our radio advertising inventory.  The other two TV channels, to be announced within the next three months, will leverage extensive SABC content and archived material.”

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