See How The SABC Is Preparing For Black Friday

The SABC says it will be ready and its TV licence department better prepared for Black Friday 2018 to prevent a recurrence of last year.

To buy a TV set in South Africa retailers need to verify an existing SABC TV licence holder and add the new TV set to be sold to the existing details, or have a customer take out a new TV licence.

This can however only happen if the SABC’s TV licence division is online and working. On Black Friday 2017 the SABC’s TV licence validation server collapsed from the overload invalidation requests.

The SABC’s inability to verify and register new SABC TV licences cost not just the South African public broadcaster dearly, which is struggling to add new TV licence fee payers, but also retailers who couldn’t make all the sales on the promotion day.

Customers who wanted to buy TV sets couldn’t, and South Africa’s TV industry also got a knock since the TV sets sold means an increase in the eyeballs watching, thus expanding the existing TV audience.

Last year the SABC said in a statement that its “TV Licence validation server was overwhelmed by the abnormal increase invalidation requests from retailers due to the Black Friday deals which resulted in the server timing out between 07:00 and 10:30”.

Our correspondent asked the SABC what steps the public broadcaster has taken to prevent a recurrence of 2018’s Black Friday system crash, if it has been planning for the increase in demand that will arise again, if it has been liaising with retailers, and if any pressure tests have been done at the SABC’s TV Licence department.

The SABC says “we would like to correct the statement that the SABC system crashed during the 2017 Black Friday”.

“The system error experienced within the SABC was as a result of external services which crashed and had an effect on SABC systems. However, the retailers were given alternative processes to sell TV sets offline during that time.

“The SABC can confirm that we have been planning for the 2018 Black Friday with the retailers,” says Neo Momodu, SABC spokesperson.

“These preparations began internally in March 2018 which resulted in the SABC upgrading and configuring its TV Licence system to manage Black Friday volumes.

“Load testing discussions with all major retailers started in August 2018 and is ongoing. Testing exercises continue weekly until mid-November 2018.”

The SABC said that a “backup process” was also tested with retailers, “in the event of a blackout of the TV Licence system and or external services that support the SABC”.

Written by PH

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