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SABC to launch 5 digital channels

South Africa’s public broadcaster, SABC, is to launch 5 new channels. Four will serve the country’s different linguistic audiences (including Afrikaans, Tsonga and Venda), and the 5th will be an all-sport channel.

Some years ago SABC attempted to launch SABC4 and SABC5 as regional channels for the northern portion of country and southern regions, but cash limits hampered that operation. Indeed, at one point in 2011 the SABC was promising 18 channels would be aired, in addition to services from private broadcasters.

The SABC’s four language segmented channels will be run in addition to the existing SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and the SABC News and SABC Encore channels, the last two of which are packaged for MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV DTH platform.

The additional services will be available on the SABC’s DTT platform and will also have to be available to viewers on various pay-TV operators’ bouquets as part of the existing “must carry” rules as required by the broadcasting regulator, Icasa.

Cash is still short at SABC and the broadcaster is working with declared losses last year of some 400 million Rand ($28m) and where its CEO (Frans Matlala) remains suspended “pending an investigation” since November last year.

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