Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Djuma saves the safari drives!

As you can read in the most recent Djuma blog, they have made the very generous offer to try and keep the daily Safaris going for at least a while longer. You can imagine our surprise and excitement when Jurie called us about this last week and asked us to explore with him if this could be done in a way that Djuma could afford. Since then we've gone through many different scenarios and have indeed managed to come up with a way that will work for Djuma.

At this point you might wonder why, if this can work for Djuma, it couldn't for Safari Television and that's a fair question to ask. There are a couple of important differences that explain this. As Djuma owns the 'resources', i.e. the land, access to the land, accommodation, a workshop, etc, it can operate at a much lower cost than any 'third party' operation could. Furthermore, Djuma can afford to run at a (limited) loss as the Safari drives is not their main business, but part of their marketing efforts.

With this lifeline that Djuma has provided it is up to us (WildEarth and its viewers) to, together with Djuma find ways to make this work and generate at least enough revenue to bring Djuma's cost within its allocated budget. This will probably mean some more advertising on the Safari broadcasts, but that alone will not be sufficient. We will also need to increase viewer numbers and this is where you, our viewers, can play a big role as well by spreading the word!

The drives will go of air for a little period of time while the close-down of Safari Television is completed and changes needed to allow Djuma to operate the drives are being implemented. The aim is to relaunch some time in the second half of August. This will also allow the new three-people crew (which will include Marc and Tara!) to start on the same leave schedule. (To allow running with only three people there only be drives for 6 weeks out of every 8 week period.) Djuma will share more detailed information over the coming days and weeks, so to keep up-to-date be sure to check their website, blogs and Facebook page.

To close off I'd like to thank Djuma, and Jurie and Pippa Moolman personally, for giving us a chance at keeping the drives going and continue to share with you what has become a second home to so many.


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Some Q&A on the end of drives on Safari Television

Hello all,

I have read through all your comments and questions and want to take this opportunity to address some of your questions and look at it a bit more from a WildEarth perspective as well.

As many of you know WildEarth is majority owner of Safari Television, but the two are separate companies. Therefore while this situation will have its impact, it will not result in WildEarth stopping its other activities.

I thought I'd write this in the form of a Q&A based on the most often seen questions.

Q: Will this affect other cameras on

A: No, it will not. Safari Television is its own company and is the company that is stopping its operations. WildEarth will continue to operate and broadcast the other cameras on its platform, including the cam at Gowrie Dam which is owned and operated by Djuma (with support from WildEarth and the zoomies who control and move the camera).

Q: Who will be affected by this?

A: As Safari Television will completely stop operating and close down it will affect everybody at Safari Television. That means Marc, Tara, Herman, Sebastien, Craig, Siphiwe, Cynthia, Carol, and Will.

Q: Will archives remain accessible?

A: Yes, all recorded footage will remain accessible.

Q: Will the safaris never return?

A: Safari Television is ceasing its operations at the end of this month. This is final and unfortunately cannot be changed. Having said that, we are all passionate about these safaris and will certainly not give up on looking for ways to bring them back to you. We hope to be able to, at some time in the future, rise from the ashes and restart the drives. We will certainly try very hard to find a way to do this, but if it happens it will not be through Safari Television.

Q: Should we send money to initiatives that are posted by others to collect funds to keep the safaris going?

A: No, Safari Television currently has not been approached by nor has agreements with anybody for raising funds from donations. Any such efforts posted might be legitimate attempts to help, but the internet is also full of people with less noble intentions. We therefore discourage sending money to any such initiatives as it will not help and might even hinder future efforts to bring the drives back.

Q: Could switching to a subscription-based model provide enough revenue to keep this going?

A: No, unfortunately generating enough subscription revenue to cover the costs for even a limited safari operation is not feasible. Broadcasting a safari is expensive, it requires much more than some salaries and an internet connection. Even assuming the safari would have many times the number of viewers they have now and that all of them would all be willing to pay for a subscription, a subscription model would not cover these.

Q: Is there anything else we can do to keep the safaris going?

A: Unfortunately not at this time. We will certainly not give up on finding a different way to broadcast the safaris in the future, but we ask that you give us a bit of time to work through everything involved in the closing down of Safari Television's operations which is inevitable. We promise that once that is behind us we'll work hard on bringing safaris back in one form or another. No promises, other than that we'll try hard!

I'm sure there will be many more questions after this, or maybe there were some that I missed for this blog. I will attempt to answer those in a future blog.