NBC breaks even, first in 10 years

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By Desie Heita 

WINDHOEK – The finances of the public broadcaster, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), are now ‘in the black’ with the broadcaster breaking even for the first time in more than 10 years.

NBC recorded a surplus of N$14 million for the 2013/14 financial year, a jump from the loss of N$2 million recorded in 2012/13. In 2011/12 the NBC recorded a loss of N$48 million.

“In as far as we can see [from the financial records] the broadcaster has never been in the black for the past 10 years,” NBC’s Director General, Albertus Aochamub, told New Era yesterday, after presenting the preliminary annual financial figures on Tuesday evening in Windhoek. NBC has been besieged by financial woes that stemmed from the funding of the 1992 Miss Universe in Windhoek.

The N$14 million surplus, before depreciation, was reached as a result of an 8 percent revenue increase and a disciplined targeted spending approach, Aochamub said.

The growth in annual revenue increase is attributed to an annual 15 percent increase in TV licence revenue, a 1 percent advertising revenue increase and an increase of N$2.5 million in other revenue streams and finance income. “This achievement was despite a slight drop of 5 percent in transmitter rental income, which was exceptionally high last year due to backlog invoicing,” noted Aochamub. 

NBC this week also signed a major contract with TV Worx cc, a company that will handle the installation packages of the NBC’s Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT). Aochamub remarked that negotiations with NamPost and Ellies are at an advanced stage for the retailing of the DTT decoders and antennae. 

Aochamub added that by 17 June, 2015, the resolution by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2006 to migrate from analogue to digital would be reached. DTT will then be able to accommodate up to 16 digital TV channels in the same frequency bandwidth as one analogue channel.  The current DTT population coverage stands at approximately 50 percent. The NBC plans to have transmitters in place in Katima Mulilo, Opuwo, Rundu, Keetmanshoop and Mariental, Erongo Region, Impalila, Signalberg, Gobabis and Epukiro by December 2014. This will bring the total population coverage to approximately 67 percent. DTT planning for 2015 aims at 22 new transmitters being installed to increase coverage nation-wide. NBC is currently looking to reaching remote and thinly populated areas via satellite to complement DTT coverage. The current DTT programming consists of nbc 1, nbc2, nbc3, One Africa and TBN.