Back in the black
THE SABC historically derived 80% of its revenue from advertising and 20% from licence fees. Because of its virtual monopoly, it captured 90% of radio and 70% of TV adspend (the balance going to M-Net).
Its share of radio adspend watered down to 63% last year when the government sold six SABC radio stations to the private sector. This market share is now coming under additional attack from newly licensed commercial stations as well as community stations. All this means that the national adspend of about R4.5-billion is being divided among more players. Some 38% of this adspend goes to TV and 45% to print.
A ban on tobacco advertising will hit radio revenues from next year and with the possibility of tobacco sponsorship of sporting events being banned, television will also be affected.
The SABC lost R60-million for the year to September 1996 (against a R100-million profit the previous year). This year, however, the broadcaster is back in the black and should report a handsome profit for the year.
The SABC is budgeting for revenue of R1.8-billion for the current financial year to March 1998 (the year-end has been changed), of which R300-million should come from TV licences.
"We have identified public broadcasting projects which, in addition to the ones we are funding, should be for the account of government," says Talib Sadik, chief executive for business enterprises. "These projects will cost about R235-million."
Reasons for last year's loss were the costs of broadcasting in 11 languages, the setting up of regional TV channels, the increased air time given to educational broadcasts, upgrading of the full spectrum of African language stations, transmitter splits on radio and coverage of community elections.
"We are proud of what we have accomplished over the last year, but I will be even prouder when we're making profits in a truly competitive environment which will be from the next financial year onwards."