Rugby World Cup on SABC

After prolonged talks with Multichoice the SABC has just been awarded sub-broadcasting rights for Rugby World Cup matches. Photo: SABC Sport

Rugby World Cup coverage: SABC has bigger headache with unpaid TV licences

Only 19.4% of TV licences registered on the SABC’s database during the 2022/23 financial year were fully paid or making payments.

Rugby World Cup on SABC

After prolonged talks with Multichoice the SABC has just been awarded sub-broadcasting rights for Rugby World Cup matches. Photo: SABC Sport

This is according to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) acting group executive: corporate affairs and marketing Mmoni Seapolelo.

Seapolelo told Moneyweb that the evasion rate of 80.6% in this period meant the national broadcaster collected under R1 billion in revenue from registered licence holders.

In circumstances where compliance rates were 100%, the potential revenue would amount to R2.9 billion.

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“TV licence fees are collected to enable the SABC to fulfil its mandate as a public broadcaster. Non-payment of licence fees therefore places an enormous burden on the finances of the corporation, resulting in constraints to deliver compelling content to the country,” she said.

Paid-up TV licence holders dealt a blow

Seapolelo was being queried on the SABC’s latest competition for viewers – that excludes compliant TV licence holders from entering.

In what is seen as a slap in the face to existing TV licence holders, the SABC has excluded people who renewed their licence before 1 September 2023 from entering a viewer’s competition with a prize worth a massive R300 000.

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Instead, the competition is being used to entice people into renewing and paying their TV licences.

Seapolelo said the aim of the latest TV licences competition is to increase sales and brand awareness among new/potential and licence-renewal clients.

“This is the first of its kind competition for TV licences, and there are plans in progress that will benefit compliant licence holders,” she said.

The national broadcaster’s need for funds hasn’t stopped them from trying to purchase sub-broadcasting rights of Rugby World Cup games.

SABC to broadcast Rugby World Cup games

On Thursday the SABC released a statement with an update on the ongoing negotiations between themselves and Multichoice.

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“The SABC can confirm that the Corporation has been in constant engagements with Multichoice and has met all their requirements to conclude the agreement regarding the Rugby World Cup 2023. At this stage, the SABC is awaiting feedback from Multichoice,” it read.

The 2023 showpiece is set to kick off on Friday evening, with South Africa’s first fixture taking place on Sunday.

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On the eve of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, SuperSport originally revealed that they had failed to reach an agreement with the SABC to televise the event.

However, some social media talk on Thursday hinted that a compromise was close to being reached, and the SABC may get permission to broadcast seven of the Rugby World Cup games.

It’s now been confirmed that SABC will be able to broadcast as many as 16 matches, including the opening ceremony and opening match, as well as every match that the Springboks participate in.

Furthermore, two quarter-final matches, one semi-final, the bronze final, the final and the closing ceremony will all be shown.