Wednesday, 20 May 2020 12:39

 

Photo Credit: Delwyn Verasamy.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said it will ask government for a review of its budget for this financial year, due to an expected steep shortfall in revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

SABC GCEO Madoda Mxakwe says the company’s strategy was based on growing audiences through acquiring compelling content.

He said this has now been disrupted as companies cut advertising budgets.

“Many of our clients have withdrawn their advertising spend either to redirect those funds to assist within their efforts to curb the virus or because they are concerned about the return on their investments as they are not able to trade during this period. It’s within this background [that] we [are] going to submit to shareholder request to review our budget,” explains Mxakwe.

The SABC's plummeting revenue was first reported by the Sunday Times a fortnight ago, but the national broadcaster issued a statement dismissing the story, which had quoted a projected revenue loss of R2bn.

When asked by MPs on Tuesday night to comment on the matter, Mxakwe said the figures he was presenting to them were “extremely conservative”.

“The numbers that were given by a certain Sunday Times newspaper, were those numbers correct? The numbers that we're submitting to the shareholder and ... honourable members [is] R1.5bn, in terms of the projected revenue loss for the full fiscal [year]. And as I've said earlier on, these are extremely conservative.”

Mxakwe also told MPs that the SABC has been forced to dump some of its regular programming to flight Covid-19 related broadcasts, such as government press conferences, and educational programmes as schools remain closed, in compliance with its mandate.