Many of the key players in the South African community television broadcast sector attended the Department of Communications’ (DoC) two-day Community Television Business Model Consultation Workshop that kicked off on 30 January at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.
The aim of the workshop was to provide broadcasters with an opportunity to make input to the DoC’s Draft Community Television Business Model and to finalise the Community Broadcasting Strategy.
Among the speakers on the day were Fikile Hlongwane from regulator ICASA, Johannes von Weyssenhof from Starwaves and Deputy Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who presented the workshop’s opening address. In her speech, the Minister emphasised the importance of finding a comprehensive business model for the community television sector.
Said Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams: “Community TV cannot not be a social enterprise in the same manner that community radio has largely been. It requires an attractive value proposition that is based on a financially sound economic modelling that is strategically linked to and located within other government programmes relating to economic development and job creation to justify government investment. Furthermore, this investment should be protected and safeguarded by a strong governance model instead of the fluid one that is currently prevalent in the community radio environment.’
The Minister also noted the pivotal role that can be played by individuals and companies in the private sector in the creation of a community broadcasting model.
“Private sector investment in community broadcasting is critical in the establishment of viable community TV sector. Government alone cannot achieve the aspiration of building a sustainable community broadcasting model. We are also inviting the private sector investors to work with us in moving this mountain to the next level,’ she added.
The Community Television Business Model Consultation Workshop is the first of a series of events targeted at the completion of the community TV business model, which will form part of the Community Broadcasting Support Policy.
Report by Simba Nyamukachi