Competing audio-visual industries : a business history of the influence of SABC-TV on the Afrikaans cinematic film industry, c.1976-c.1986

Coetzee, Coenraad Johannes (2017-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis endeavours to detail the business history of the Afrikaans cinematic film industry and the economic influence of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s¹ Television Service on the Afrikaans cinematic film industry over the period 1976 to 1986. The introduction of TV services in countries abroad had a profound (often detrimental) influence on their respective cinematic film industries. It would clearly be wrong to argue that these countries experienced identical influences. Each country has a distinctive political, cultural and socio-economic framework/context in which its industries operate, therefore creating sets of challenges for industries attempting to adhere to the prevailing conditions. South Africa was no exception, though the emphasis of this thesis is on the Afrikaans cinematic film industry, since Afrikaners dominated the local industry (regarding film production, distribution and screening)² when South Africa’s television services commenced in 1975. Numerous factors stemming from South Africa’s pre-Television era contributed to the Afrikaner’s dominance of South African cinema, including the role of the apartheid state (for example, censorship regulations and the film subsidy scheme), the demands of the local and international market, foreign competition and, naturally, the ambitions and business approaches of the Afrikaans cinematic film companies. As such, the symbiotic relationship between these forces is reflected upon so as to illustrate the formation, progression and characteristics of the industry when it attempted to adapt to the impact of local TV services. Accordingly, the advent, birth and progression of the SABC and its TV services are examined. National TV was introduced in South Africa only in 1976 - relatively late considering the country was the economic power-house of the African continent and that its much smaller and subordinate neighbouring state, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), had already been transmitting TV broadcasts from 1960. Therefore, this research also examines whether the Afrikaans cinematic film industry could utilise foreign countries as case studies to develop and implement strategies, which could counter the financial threats posed by television. The timeframe covered in this reflection stretches from 1895 (the birth of South Africa’s cinematic industry) to 1986, as Electronic Media Network (M-Net), South Africa’s first independent Pay-TV service, was introduced in October of that year – thus transforming the face of SA’s TV industry. The focal point of the study is the impact of SABC-TV on Afrikaans film-making, since the government asserted a substantial degree of control over the public broadcaster, whilst the Afrikaans cinematic film industry (particularly its film producers) was heavily dependent on the financial assistance of the state. Assistance that was given as cinema presented government with an audio-visual mechanism to distribute its socio-cultural and political values and aims.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis poog om die besigheidsgeskiedenis van die Afrikaanse bioskoopbedryf te bespreek en die ekonomiese invloed van die Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie se Televisiedienste op die Afrikaanse bioskoopbedryf in die periode 1976 tot 1986 te verduidelik. Die instelling van TV-dienste in die buiteland het diepgaande invloede (dikwels negatief) op hul onderskeie bioskoop industrieë gehad. Die invloede was nie identies nie, aangesien elke land ‘n unieke politieke, kulturele, sosiale en ekonomiese raamwerk/konteks het waarin hul industrieë gefunksioneer het. Suid-Afrika was geen uitsondering nie. Hierdie tesis fokus op die Afrikaanse bioskoop bedryf, aangesien die plaaslike bedryf tydens die instelling van Televisie in Suid-Afrika deur Afrikaners oorheers was (met betrekking tot rolprent vervaardiging, verspreiding en vertoning). Talle faktore, voor die koms van plaaslike TV, het bygedra tot Afrikaners se beheer, insluitende die rol vervul deur die Apartheid staat (byvoorbeeld sensuur regulasies en die film subsidieskema), die vraag van die plaaslike en internasionale mark, buitelandse mededinging en natuurlik, die motiewe en sake benaderings van die Afrikaanse bioskoop maatskappye. Die simbiotiese verhouding en wisselwerking tussen hierdie faktore word ondersoek om die vorming, verloop en karaktereienskappe wat die bedryf met die instelling van Suid-Afrikaanse Televisie vertoon het, te illustreer. Die koms en ontwikkeling van die SABC en sy TV-dienste word belig. Suid-Afrikaanse TV-dienste het egter eers in 1976 ‘n werklikheid geword- relatief laat as in ag geneem word dat die land die ekonomiese dinamo van Afrika was en sy veel kleiner en ondergeskikte buurstaat, Rhodesië (Zimbabwe), reeds in 1960 TV ingestel het. Die studie ondersoek ook die mate waarin die Afrikaanse bioskoopbedryf buitelandse ervarings as modelle gebruik het om strategieë te ontwikkel wat die finansiële bedreigings van Televisie kon teenwerk. Die periode wat in hierdie analise gedek word, strek vanaf 1895 (die ontstaan van die Suid- Afrikaanse bioskoop bedryf) tot 1986, aangesien Electronic Media Network (M-Net), Suid- Afrika se eerste onafhanklike subskripsie TV-diens, in Oktober van dieselfde jaar bekendgestel is – ‘n ontwikkeling wat die aanskyn van SA se TV-industrie verander het. Die fokuspunt van die studie val op die impak van SABC-TV, ‘n staatsinstelling waaroor die Suid-Afrikaanse regering, ‘n aansienlike mate van beheer uitgeoefen het, terwyl die Afrikaanse filmbedryf (spesifiek die rolprentvervaardigers) terselfdertyd geweldig afhanklik was van finansiële ondersteuning deur die Staat. Hulp wat verskaf is, weens die potensiaal van die bioskoopbedryf om die staat se sosiale, kulturele en politieke waardes en doelwitte te bevorder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102968
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