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The rumblings at Auckland Park, the seat of the public broadcaster, are a microcosm of broader debates within state- owned entities about the structural transformation required to ensure they meet their public service obligations while remaining competitive in a shifting marketplace.

It is not dissimilar to the changes under way in the energy, ICT, logistics and other sectors where the state operates as both regulator and player. Viewed in this way, the cost of failing to migrate from analogue to digital has created a path dependence at the SABC that makes the cost of structural transformation in public broadcasting high. While comparisons are often made between the SABC and MultiChoice, they are unhelpful due to the scale of operations the SABC oversees. They are helpful insofar as they illuminate big issues that confront the business model and turnaround SABC group CEO Madoda Mxakwe and his team are expected to deliver...

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