The SABC has announced its launching a host of new channels to provide programming material to a wider audience of all languages.
“As (the) SABC accelerates its digital migration, the organisation has decided to create television channels that will strictly cover a cluster of language groups to ensure that the SABC audiences are better served in the language of their choice,” the SABC said in a statement.
Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said that by creating the new language channels, the broadcaster will be able to reach millions more people.
“The SABC has decided to make several language-based television channels available to the public. These channels will serve the millions of SABC’s audiences in the language of their choice,” he said.
While no timeframe has been given, he did explain that certain languages would be grouped together to make things easier.
“At this stage the envisaged channels will be grouped according to specific language compatibility, for example, Sesotho, Setswana, and Sepedi will be grouped as the Sotho channel; isiZulu, isiXhosa, siSwati, and isiNdebele will form another channel to be called Nguni channel for the Nguni-speaking viewership.”
It doesn’t seem like English will be getting its own channel, although Afrikaans is.
“The third channel will cater for xiTsonga and tshiVenda while the fourth channel will cater for all Afrikaans-speaking viewers inclusive of the Khoisan community among others. The new channels will be the melting pots of culture and traditions of all those languages,” the broadcaster said.
While the new channels are being created, the SABC said that it would in the meantime focus on increase its local content offerings, and pay more attention to ‘neglected languages’ such as xiTsonga, tshiVenda, and Afrikaans.
As mentioned, no timerate has been given as to when the channels will launch. It is also not clear if the new channels will be made available before or after the broadcaster’s transition to digital transmission signals.
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