Johannesburg - Public broadcaster the SABC plans to beef up local content on its commercial television station by up to 80% after implementing a similar policy across its radio broadcasts.
Earlier this month, the SABC announced that it would implement 90% local content across all its 18 radio stations. The 90% radio content policy was implemented on May 12.
And now the broadcaster plans to roll out a similar policy for its television stations, the state-owned company’s chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng told Fin24 on Tuesday.
On the sidelines of an SABC event that awarded production contracts to local players, Motsoeneng told Fin24 that SABC 3 will start broadcasting 80% content from July 1.
SABC 3 is the public broadcaster’s commercial television station and it has traditionally targeted an English-speaking community.
“If you look at our platform - SABC 1 and 2 is more local content,” Motsoeneng told Fin24.
“I said on television, SABC 3 it will be 80% local content. On other channels you have 90%,” he added.
The move by the SABC to bolster its local content on radio in particular has not come without challenges.
Urban music radio station MetroFM has backtracked from playing 90% content and has instead resorted to playing 50% local music and 50% international music, Channel24 reported.
Meanwhile, listeners of local Indian radio station Lotus FM have also protested the SABC’s 90% policy.
The listeners have reportedly complained that the local South African Indian music scene is underdeveloped.
But Motsoeneng said the 90% policy requires a mind-shift in the country.
“What is important for us is we need to change the mentality within South Africans to believe in themselves,” Motsoeneng told Fin24.
“Because what I have been realising is that people believe in other people’s views outside the country and they admire them.
“This is the opportunity for South Africans. If we don’t have good quality content and good music, this is the opportunity for people to grab this opportunity to produce that quality that we’re talking about,” he added.
Motsoeneng further said that the public broadcaster’s content policy further ensures that “billions” of rands won’t escape the country but rather be spent on local artists.
“I can tell you, the bulk of money goes outside instead of staying here and we have created that opportunity within the SABC,” Motsoeneng told Fin24.
“We should create jobs for our own people and our own people should not die poorly,” Motsoeneng added.