Speech delivered by the Deputy Minister of Communications Hon. Pinky Kekana, MP at the opening of the Broadcasting Colloquium, Gallagher Estate
Minister of Communications Ms Nomvula Mokonyane
Honourable Humphrey Maxegwana, Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Communications
Mr Bongani Makhatini, Chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation Board
Acting Director-Generals of the Department of Communications and Government Communication & Information Systems
Distinguished guests and Members of the Media
I have the singular honour today of welcoming all of you to this very critical and timely colloquium. I regard it as honour not for the sake of it, but because we have the opportunity to fix the old and create something new. Over the next day or so government and experts in the broadcasting sector will converge under one roof, a thousand flowers will bloom, and new dawn will await our broadcasting sector.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a Latin saying I am quite fond of, and that is “Respice Adspice Prospice“, this simply means look back, look at the present and look ahead. We, collectively need to look back at what we did in the past and ask not only what we did wrong but also what we did right. We then obviously need to discard and learn from the mistakes.
But we need not look back for too long, we need to look at the present, this entails analyzing where exactly we are, so that as we look forward and understand fully what is required of us in the future.
Programme Director, over the years we have seen some rapid changes in the broadcasting sector. These rapid changes in the media and broadcasting sector are primarily driven by a digital shift and to some extent the growing number of connected citizens, the development of mobile telephony, and high mobile broadband adoption.
The growth of the digitization of our media landscape also has a structural effect and certainly requires of broadcasters to redefine their business models and for government to recalibrate legislative framework.
For example, we see a growing move away from “bundled” media, such as that offered by traditional TV, to what might be termed “self-service re-bundling”—citizens are picking and choosing from a variety of online streaming services to create their own, more streamlined personal programming bundles. As the number of direct-to-consumer services increases and the number of smart devices grows, the ability of citizens to self-serve the entertainment they desire will increase as well.
Experts, estimate that global pay TV growth will moderate as a result, with the rise of over-the-top (OTT) online options influencing citizen preferences and ultimately leading to cord-cutting—subscribers dropping their pay TV services altogether—and a higher degree of cord-shaving—subscribers signing up for smaller, cheaper self-selected bundles of services.
It is within this setting that our Public Broadcaster, the SABC, finds itself in. With all these developments in the sector one would be forgiven to think that TV as we know it might be archaic very soon, but this is not the case there is still lots of room and scope for our Public Broadcaster to educate and ensure that vital information is universally accessible.
Having said so, Ladies and Gentlemen the writing is also on the wall. In the new media world, successful broadcasters will need to deliver a distinctive, personalised experience at scale – as well as continuing to make and distribute the very best and most creative programmes. This has profound implications for business and operational models and implies accessing and leveraging data throughout the organisation.
The critical question which this colloquium must interrogate is how do we as South Africans respond? We are now, more than ever required to transform across multiple dimensions. The future of broadcasting is one of the things that will shape the future of our culture.
Broadcasting is an essential tool for development. By thinking about how we can increase how much gets spent on journalism, local content development programmes, music, connecting people and projecting the cultural life of South Africans, we lay the foundations for a well-informed nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen in essence our actions at this colloquium today and tomorrow, can help us build a socially cohesive nation as mandated by the National Development Plan. The power to transform this nation starts here and now.
With that said welcome to the Broadcasting Policy Review Colloquium, may a thousand flowers bloom.
I thank you.