SABC opens bid on internet streaming platform

SABC opens bid on internet streaming platformSABC has issued a request for proposals (RFP) from vendors as it prepares to launch an internet streaming service that is likely to become a key component of its future strategy.

The detailed 73-page RFP, published earlier this week, comes a year after the public broadcaster issued a request for information, or RFI, so it to learn more about what’s available on the market, and what it may be able to do with latest streaming technologies.

The RFP requires tenderers to submit their documents to SABC no later than 18.00 on 18 January. Bidders must also attend a mandatory online briefing session on December 8th.

The document provides a huge amount of insight into SABC’s streaming plans, both for video (TV) and audio (radio) content that it produces. The broadcaster wants a streaming app and website that offers, among other things:

  • Direct coverage
  • A collection service
  • Video on demand
  • Sound as needed
  • Pop-up channels
  • Multiple user profiles
  • Single sign-on
  • Offline content display
  • Digital marketing tools and digital advertising
  • An electronic program guide
  • Closed caption
  • Network personal video recorder functionality that offers recording, rewind, pause and rewind

In the backend, the broadcaster will have a solution that will allow it to deliver streaming feeds to multiple destinations, including websites, apps, social media, and third-party streams.

The backend solution must include digital rights management, content management, e-commerce (including a payment gateway), security and a content delivery network. It should mostly be hosted in the cloud and made available on a per-payment basis.


The public broadcaster wants to own the so-called “over-the-top”, or OTT, platform. Until now, it has used third-party platforms, such as YouTube, to disseminate its content – but it has little control over them.

“These platforms are restrictive and do not allow SABC to be competitive enough. SABC cannot monetize content to its full marketing value,” says RFP.

The issuance of the RFP comes as the SABC remains stuck in a dispute with Sentech, which runs its TV and radio channels over older terrestrial broadcasts.

In May, SABC wrote to both the Competition Commission and communications regulator Icasa about what it called Sentech’s “unfair and anti-competitive pricing”, urging both regulators to investigate the matter.

Although SABC will continue to broadcast on terrestrial networks for the foreseeable future, it is quite likely that more and more of the viewership in the coming years will shift to consuming the content via the Internet instead, making it crucial that it chooses it real technology platform. – (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media

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