Thursday, October 1, 2009

A letter from the TVIEC - UPDATE

In this letter:
  • SABC Interim Board commits to paying producers
  • Payment updates and input from industry
  • TVIEC lobby to government: Request for information
  • TVIEC research and legal: Call for funding
Dear fellow industry professionals

Please take the time to respond to this mail and also to forward it to anyone you know in the industry (be they a large company or a single freelancer) who isn’t on our mailing list.
SABC Interim Board commits to paying money owed producers

On 23 September a group from the TVIEC steering committee met with members of the SABC Interim Board, including the chair, as well as senior SABC management and various financial managers at SABC.

The purpose of the meeting was to try and ensure that SABC sticks to its payment plan re money owed to producers. The TVIEC has worked tirelessly to try and secure these payments and our feeling was that the process was starting to fall apart.

The meeting was extremely clear: The board Chairperson wants all producers paid as soon as possible. Management was instructed to load all payments under R200 000. Category 1 (R50 000 and under) and most of Category 2 (R200 000 and under) are to be released at the end of September. The remainder of Category 2 is to be released at the end of October. The remaining debts are to be settled by the end of November.

In total we estimate that about R22-million will have to be paid out by SABC between end September and end November.

Payment updates and input from industry

All of those who are owed money need to please help us by letting us know whether or not you have been paid as per the above commitment. The TVIEC, IPO and SASFED have been burning the midnight oil on this issue and many of us are not owed money ourselves. Only you can tell us if SABC is honouring its commitment. Mail us at at the end of the relevant months.

TVIEC lobby to government: Continued request for information

The TVIEC is meeting with many stakeholders about the crisis our industry is battling. These include the Department of Trade and Industry and also the parliamentary portfolio committee. We have an opportunity to present to parliament our request for distress funding for the industry so that we can all get back to work. Our presentation needs to include comprehensive data on the state of the industry.

Thank you to all of you who provided information on how the SABC crisis has affected your business. Those of you who haven’t, please respond now. If you are a freelancer, please just respond to questions 5 and 6 below.

1. How many people would your company normally employ in a good year? Please try to use figures over the last three years. Please include in your answer:
a) The number of skilled artisans – crew, admin and cast
b) The remainder of your permanent and freelance employees. The broadest range of these, down to the last extra on your set and the last voice artist in your post-production facility. (Ie: If you had 300 extras in a drama, this counts as well as the person who takes care of the honeywagon – everyone counts. Every job makes a difference.)

2. How many people do you estimate will you employ in this year (Feb 2009 – Feb 2010)?

3. How many permanent staff do you normally employ?

4. How many permanent staff have you let go this year?

5. What percentage drop in turnover have you experienced this year?

6. If you are not contracted by SABC within the next 3 months, what are the consequences for your company?

Please mail your answers to:

TVIEC research and legal: Call for funding

The TVIEC is pursuing both legal advice as well as research into the broadcast industry. We are looking at options with regards pro bono action against the public broadcaster and we are researching the status of the broadcaster’s local content delivery. Thank you to all of you who have donated funds to this cause – but we continue to appeal for more funding. If each company affiliated to the TVIEC just donated R500, we would be able to meet our goals. If you can help, please mail


This letter is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union).