SABC SLAUGHTERS GENERATIONS cash cow
HOW IT SHOULD HAVE ENDED
The SABC is set to lose more than R140 million after putting its biggest soapie, Generations, on ice for two months. Industry insiders have told City Press that the public broadcaster sells a 30-second advertising spot during the highly coveted 8pm weekday slot for R230 000.
The higher a show’s audience ratings, the more the broadcaster is able to charge for ads.
Two insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that typically a 30-minute soapie like Generations would shoot for 22 minutes – leaving eight minutes to sell to advertisers.
In those eight minutes, up to 16 adverts can be aired. That means Generations was, at its peak, earning the SABC close to R4 million an episode, about R18 million a week and R74 million a month – excluding repeats and the Saturday omnibus.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said it’s not a simple mathematical calculation.
“We spoke to the advertisers long before we made the changes so that they could make up their own mind. They understood when we told them that we had no choice but to change the programme because we did not have 16 actors.
What you need to understand is that some of these spots have been booked a long time in advance, so an advertiser won’t just take their money and go elsewhere for two months,” he said.
In the seven weeks since the actors’ drama began, the soapie’s weekly viewership has fluctuated between 8 million and 10 million an episode.
City Press has studied viewer rating statistics supplied by the SA Audience Research Foundation, which shows that viewership has ebbed and flowed since a strike by 16 of the show’s key actors and their subsequent sacking was announced in the middle of August.
The average for the following two weeks was about 8 million viewers a night – and then Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi’s call for a boycott of the show backfired.
On September 9, Vavi called on South Africans to turn off their TVs from September 15 to support the actors’ fight to get their jobs back.
“The campaign has to be taken to a new level,” he said ahead of the planned “switch off”.
Instead, an average of 10 million people a night Dineo dies while being held hostage. Ruby avenges Dineo by poisoning MJ and dumping his body in Senzo’s room.
Then Ruby and Patrick move to KZN and open a shebeen.
Sibusiso sends his henchmen to kill Jason. Mawande, who has been sick, dies. A grieving Noluthu elopes with Samroa and they settle in Australia.
At Mawande’s funeral, organised by Sibusiso, Priska gets drunk, falls from a balcony and dies. Queen, learning that Prince and Lebo eloped, has a stroke and dies. Zodwa’s ancestors kill Nic. Khetiwe is spotted at the bar at Mawande’s funeral and the social worker takes her son away from her.
Khetiwe and Senzo snort cocaine together. They die.
Sibusiso recruits Choppa to kill Kenneth. Choppa gets killed, so Sibusiso jumps in, kills Kenneth and is badly injured.
– Activist Pearl Pillay
TALK TO US: SMS us at 34263 using the keyword
END and tell us what you think. Please include your name. SMSes cost R1.50 THE RELUCTANT FAN Ruby stabs Kenneth for tricking her and Patrick, and making her child Dineo suffer.
Just as Kenneth bleeds to death, Dineo walks in and hugs her mum, takes the knife and stabs Kenneth again.
Later we find it was Sibusiso who helped rescue Dineo from Sello and killed the one-eyed freak.
Priska praises her husband for being so brave, but then Mawande walks in, apologises to Sibusiso for doubting him and says she’ll never stop loving him.
They kiss. Priska pulls Mawande away, starts beating her and a Xhosa catfight ensues.
Mawande then has a heart attack and dies.
In another scene, Zodwa finds out that Nic and Akhona are back with baby Nicki. She shoots them dead and takes the baby back to KZN.
Zodwa is my favourite so she can’t die.
– News editor Yanga Soji
How did you want Generations to end?
tuned in that week. The numbers were the highest since the strike began.
The figures for the show’s final episode, on the night of September 30, haven’t been released yet.
Now all eyes turn to the soapie’s temporary replacement, Skeem Saam. In the week before it shifted into Generations’ time slot, Skeem Saam was attracting about 4.9 million viewers a night at 6.30pm on weekdays. THE JOURNALIST Generations producers are big fans of scripting their show to align with current affairs, so using the Ebola virus would have been a perfect way to end the show.
One of the principal characters – preferably a villain like Kenneth Mashaba – could contract the virus during one of his travels.
Anyone who has direct contact with Kenneth would contract the virus (this would include the 15 dismissed actors).
Fortunately, a doctor recognises Kenneth’s symptoms and orders everyone he’s been in contact with to be quarantined.
This ending would allow for a great cliffhanger and would leave room for the 16 actors to be written back into the story line if they get their jobs back.
The Ebola story line can also act as a PSA about how people contract the virus, its symptoms and how to avoid contracting it.
– Freelancer Mokgadi Seabi
One industry insider said the SABC was frantically making contingency plans to soften the predicted financial blow.
The broadcaster, the insider said, is reportedly offering substitution packages to advertisers who may be concerned about losing viewers.
But Kganyago said that the advertisers were not buying Generations, but the primetime slot – no matter what is playing.