SABC3 revenue plunges
Perhaps the biggest victim of Motsoeneng’s new content regime is SABC3, with SABC2 limping in second.
Before his announcement that TV would meet an 80% local content quota, SABC1 had a 95% local content rate, SABC2 a 75% rate and SABC3 had 45%.
SABC insiders said they only heard about the local content quotas in the newspapers, and some said they were called to a meeting a few days after the announcement and asked how it could be achieved.
Huge losses were compounded by Motsoeneng’s changing of schedules, especially for Sesotho news, which he felt was on too late at night. Further losses were made by now unusable international content that had already been bought or licenced.
Insiders say that in October, SABC3 posted a loss for the first time – with the channel meeting 50% of its advertising quotas, earning only half of what it had earned in advertising revenue this time last year. Audience share is dropping month by month on both SABC2 and SABC3.
SABC3’s most popular show, The Bold and the Beautiful, for example, was commanding just shy of 1.5 million viewers in June, before the new schedules were imposed. In October, it had just less than 1 million viewers. SABC2 viewers also continue to decline. Figures show that the new schedules and quotas had an almost immediate effect, with profits on SABC3 down by almost 35% in July already, and continuing to slide.
Acting SABC chief operating officer Bessie Tugwana said the channels had been sliding for years, while Motsoeneng said that he was a risk-taker and that, for the channels to succeed, risks must be taken and local content offered.