The latest financial report from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has revealed that SABC TV viewership and ratings in prime time continue to tank and have now fallen below a third of the total audience share.
The public broadcaster’s financial report for 2021/2022 shows that only 18.3 per cent of South African TV households still bothered to pay their US$14.93 annual SABC TV Licence – while the SABC spent, even more millions during the financial year trying to get South Africans to pay up.
After billing US$247 million in total SABC TV Licence fees during its 2021/2022 financial year, the SABC made only US$45 million – meaning that 81.7 per cent of people who have or once had a SABC TV Licence are not paying it, known as the fee evasion rate.
Meanwhile, the SABC spent US$4.1 million on SABC TV Licence fee collection, which increased US$507 136 from US$3.7 million in the previous financial year – indicating that the SABC’s collection cost rate climbed further from 8.1 per cent to 8.9 per cent.
In a statement, the SABC explained that the “current depressed economic environment resulted in lower collections than anticipated”.
Earlier this year, the SABC said in its financial report that it wants to do away with the SABC TV Licence and replace it with a levy which it wants private pay-TV operators like MultiChoice to help collect from DStv subscribers – especially DStv subscribers who have TV sets which the SABC doesn’t know about and represent millions of TV households.
According to the report, only 31 per cent of South African viewers still watch something on the SABC’s TV channels during the 2021/2022 financial year, down further from 35.8 per cent in the previous year.
The report reveals that the public broadcaster has failed in its performance period share targets for each of its TV channels during the financial year, with SABC1 (target: 27 per cent) reaching only 15.47 per cent, SABC2 (target: 12 per cent) reaching only 5.23 per cent and SABC3 (target: 5 per cent), managing a paltry 2.11 per cent.
The SABC blames a “combination of a lack of key local properties in key slots, poor marketing, and staff shortages affected performance during the year” and that “aggressive competitors and poor marketing explain the performance achieved”.