Which shows will ‘lo­cal’ SABC3 ditch?

The Witness - Wheels - - NEWS -

CAPE TOWN — The SABC is set to bull­doze the sched­ule of SABC3 in boss Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng’s new de­cree to ban­ish all in­ter­na­tional shows and films.

But with less than a month to go un­til July, the pub­lic broad­caster isn’t telling view­ers or ad­ver­tis­ers what hit shows will be culled.

The SABC’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer (COO), Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng, an­nounced at the SABC’s head­quar­ters in Auck­land Park on Tues­day a new edict of 90% lo­cal con­tent for the SABC’s TV chan­nels — that will come into ef­fect from June start­ing with a dra­matic re­shap­ing of SABC3 with 80% lo­cal con­tent.

The SABC didn’t pro­vide a new SABC3 sched­ule or ex­plain ex­actly how ex­pen­sive new lo­cal con­tent will be paid for and was si­lent on what new lo­cal pro­gram­ming will be added and what it will re­place.

It’s also not clear why the SABC is start­ing its lo­cal con­tent gam­ble with SABC3 — the broad­caster’s only com­mer­cial TV chan­nel that’s sup­posed to be an ad and spon­sor­ship rev­enue driver for the broad­caster.

Mot­soe­neng said he now helps to ap­prove shows him­self to help cut through SABC back­log.

“When you come to me I will re­spond now. If you im­press me it’s ‘yes’. If not, it’s ‘no’ and you should know not to come back,” he said.

“The team I work with, they should walk like me and talk like me — that is what I am ex­pect­ing from them,” Mot­soe­neng added.

“That is how I run the or­gan­i­sa­tion, be­cause we need to sing one song at the SABC and that song should be sung by ev­ery­body within the or­gan­i­sa­tion. And we’re not apolo­getic about it.”

Mot­soe­neng told pro­duc­ers that “I’m also aware some of peo­ple are tak­ing chances. You need to give us qual­ity con­tent.You need to give us con­tent that we able to at­tract an au­di­ence. And if we don’t at­tract au­di­ence there’s no rea­son why we should keep such con­tent on our plat­form”.

“Make sure when you do busi­ness with us, you give us qual­ity. But it’s also im­por­tant that you have Venda dra­mas, soapies and so on and so on. Afrikaans also. And other dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

“When we think, we think about English. When we talk, we talk English. I don’t un­der­stand why most peo­ple will write dra­mas and soapies in English. But I think we have to be proud about our own African lan­guages.”

Mot­soe­neng said: “We have given in­struc­tions. The how is not my busi­ness. From July 1 we should see a dif­fer­ent SABC. I think it’s achiev­able. We are go­ing to get rid of con­tent that is no longer work­ing for SABC3. There is no way that it can’t hap­pen, it’s hap­pen­ing”.

The in­ter­na­tional con­tent on SABC3 is iron­i­cally what is work­ing for the chan­nel — dom­i­nat­ing in the view­er­ship rat­ings race while lo­cal shows, although in bet­ter prime­time slots, strug­gle to get more view­ers.

View­ers have no idea whether they’re los­ing their soaps —The Bold and the Beau­ti­ful and Days of Our Lives are among the most watched con­tent on the chan­nel — or pop­u­lar in­ter­na­tional shows rang­ing from Sur­vivor to The Men­tal­ist.

Ad­ver­tis­ers and ad agencies who book slots and ad buys and who do so at least a month in ad­vance are like­wise in the dark about SABC3’s July sched­ule, not know­ing what will be shown dur­ing what times­lot.

Be­cause ad­ver­tis­ers buy spe­cific au­di­ences, it’s im­pos­si­ble to place ads not know­ing what will show and what au­di­ence seg­ment it will reach.

Look­ing at the top 20 most watched shows on SABC3 dur­ing April (May has not yet been re­leased), soaps like Bold and Days are the most pop­u­lar and most watched shows, with lo­cal soap Isidingo in sec­ond place.

In­ter­est­ingly, 14 out of the top 20 most watched pieces of con­tent on SABC3 in April were in­ter­na­tional shows and films.

If the SABC3 cans Bold and Days, Isidingo, which is al­ready in a bet­ter prime­time spot, will move to the num­ber one place — but it won’t show a rat­ings in­crease. It will be­come num­ber one with fewer view­ers than Bold pulls — and the view­er­ship fig­ure and share is what de­ter­mines ad­ver­tis­ing rates.

Put dif­fer­ently, in­ter­na­tional con­tent like Bold, Days, Sur­vivor, The Men­tal­ist and for­eign films on the SABC3 sched­ule ac­tu­ally “over-de­liver” in terms of au­di­ences given where they are slot­ted and shown, while ex­ist­ing lo­cal con­tent like High Rollers and Top Billing , al­ready in plum times­lots, in a sense un­der-de­liver.

Adding more — and un­known — lo­cal con­tent from emerg­ing TV pro­duc­ers will not sud­denly lift SABC3’s rat­ings in terms of the ex­ist­ing lo­cal con­tent and the new lo­cal con­tent. And it’s rat­ings that mat­ter most for the SABC’s com­mer­cial TV chan­nel, much more so than SABC1 and SABC2. — Chan­nel24.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Bold and the Beau­ti­ful.

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