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Thursday, 17 November 2022 11:05

SABC launches new streaming service SABC+ in time for world cup.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has launched its long-anticipated OTT platform, SABC+. 

According to the broadcaster, the SABC+ streaming app will provide 19 radio stations and three free-to-air television channels, SABC 1, SABC 2, SABC 3, as well as the SABC Sports Channel and its 24-hour news channel.

Additionally, the app will feature a variety of local and international content to extend the corporation's mission to "inform, educate and entertain citizens, everywhere, anytime," said the SABC.

"SABC+ is a key accomplishment in addressing universal access for all South African citizens," said SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe.

"The SABC+ app also presents a growth path to enhancing our value offering to clients and customers to build a strong foundation for the future financial sustainability of the SABC," added Mxakwe.

He also noted that the main goal of this offering is to compete favourably and be relevant in the digital streaming marketplace – as SABC becomes a multi-platform and multi-device content provider.

In partnership with the global consumer electronics and home appliances group, Hisense, the broadcaster will distribute the SABC + app through the Hisense VIDAA Smart TVs and mobile devices in time for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on 20 November.

"The SABC is proud to partner with a technology company such as Hisense to enable us to fulfil our public mandate and bring 28 matches of the FIFA World Cup and the official FIFA World Cup show daily," it said.

This launch comes amid the national broadcaster coming under severe financial pressure over the past couple of years. At the end of March 2021, the SABC reported a net loss of R530 million, a 4% decline compared to the previous year, while 82% of TV licence holders across the country did not pay the annual licence fee.

Additionally, due to the SABC's traditional modes of broadcasting – using dishes and TVs – the broadcaster said that it is being impacted negatively by load shedding. This is because load shedding has direct financial implications for the SABC and other broadcasters as 'average minute ratings' is effectively used as a currency to trade in airtime with advertisers.

While Netflix, DStv and other digital services would obviously also be affected by load shedding, accessing this content through mobile apps and web browsers is typically far easier than traditional television broadcasts – and the SABC believes their move into the digital and mobility space will greatly improve access for its customers and provide more financial sustainability.

Viewers can stream all the SABC’s live TV channels and 19 radio stations for free.

On-demand content includes catch-up episodes from its most popular soaps and series, and a selection of movies and documentaries.

In addition to the free service, SABC+ also has paid-for Amp subscription options.

Amp includes access to a range of additional live channels, including BBC World News, Boing, FashionTV, and TNT Africa, as well as on-demand content from some of these providers.

Amp Subscription Options:

  • Amp Daily: R7 a day
  • Amp Weekend: R17
  • Amp Weekly: R19
  • Amp Monthly: R49

"We are excited to team up with SABC in a joint effort to bring a better quality of life to local fans," said Vivi Liu, the CEO of Hisense South Africa. 

"Hisense has been pursuing scientific and technological innovation and bringing happiness to millions of families. We believe that through this partnership, we can create the best possible viewing experience at home for football fans to allow them to focus on enjoying every moment of a FIFA World Cup match. Powered by the VIDAA smart TV operating system, Hisense is dedicated to bringing more of the best video streaming content to its big screens."