Monday, May 18, 2009

TV emergency coalition important update for today!

Dear All

There have been many reports in the papers this weekend about the SABC payment crisis – Sat Star, Weekender, M&G, Rapport, Sunday Sun, etc. This will have placed the SABC in a defensive position and most likely caused some animosity towards our coalition (and individuals representing the coalition).

Normally an issue of payment is a private matter between client and supplier – but this is not a normal issue, many companies have reported delayed or non payment. Huge amounts are outstanding and some companies are having to lay off staff. More importantly the payments are unpredictable – so even those companies that have not been affected yet are feeling vulnerable.

It is very difficult for us to go public and discuss these issues, we all have a relationship with the SABC in one way or another and would not willingly put ourselves in conflict – but this situation is not of our choice as we have been unable to find solutions with the SABC through normal channels of dialogue. The danger being that we all incur such large costs on a production that one or 2 months payment default can push you into debt that is very difficult to recover from – reputationaly as well as with overdrafts with banks and credit with suppliers.

We understand that this financial issue is a symptom of something bigger that needs solving – this is around the crisis in management of the SABC and also the terms of trade with our industry which we have all been working hard to have revised over the past few years. This financial crisis just highlights how vulnerable we all are.

We have to ensure we stay united and that our voice is responsible and constructive – that we are not seen as alarmist nor attacking the SABC – but resilient in that we are vulnerable and need an urgent solution to the immediate crisis. We all want the SABC to be successful and be turned around with solid and visionary management.

We have to focus on the solution – short term and long:

Short term is to encourage the major shareholder of the SABC (DOC) to find a mechanism for transitional management to expedite the payment matter – but long term is that out of this crisis there is an opportunity to fix the SABC, and in this process also the Independent content providers terms of trade and create long term value in broadcasting. Our sector – broadcasting - has a lot more potential in job creation and sustainable business growth.
But we need a proper development strategy for this industry – we are missing a beat by not taking the broadcast development more seriously – this is a huge job creation sector.

We have strong infrastructure, great relationships with our audiences who are committed to programmes on air - we are not just hands off suppliers of content to the SABC – we have an important voice and role to play in the broadcasting environment.

Please make every endeavour to attend the meeting at 4pm today at Atlas to help carve the direction we should collectively be taking. Your support and input is critical.

from the TVIEC