Soaps are so ex­pen­sive!

SABC1’s Uzalo has been the sub­ject of a fi­nan­cial con­tro­versy lately.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - YOU ASK -

Hi tv­plus. Uzalo says it’s nor­mal for soapies to cost R14 000 per minute. Is that true? – BON­TLE, KRUGERSDORP

In mid-July, Uzalo (2015cur­rent) pro­ducer Pepsi Pokane told Ra­dio 702, “We are get­ting R14 000 a minute. That is in­dus­try stan­dard.” Well, it is and it isn’t! Cur­rently broad­cast three days a week, Uzalo falls some­where be­tween a drama and a soapie. One pro­ducer told tv­plus, “R14 000 per minute is the in­dus­try stan­dard for a sin­gle- cam­era drama. Dra­mas shoot be­tween 7 and 14 min­utes of screen­time per day, while soaps shoot be­tween 20 and 28 min­utes per day. Also, a drama con­tract is 13 to 26 episodes per con­tract, whereas a five-day [ie: week­day] soap is 260 episodes per con­tract. These fac­tors make it pos­si­ble to pro­duce soaps at a much lower rate than dra­mas.”

The cost-per-minute varies be­tween lo­cal soaps, and is a highly se­cre­tive as­pect of pro­duc­tions. Back in 2012, an M-Net ten­der quoted R13 000 as the cost-per-minute guide­line for a 48-minute drama, while a 2015 kykNET ten­der for a four-day per week, 22-minute soapie came in con­sid­er­ably lower with a R7 550 per-minute cost guide. Another soapie that we spoke to claimed to fall roughly be­tween these fig­ures. Look­ing for more per­spec­tive? In the SABC’s of­fi­cial re­quest for pro­pos­als book­let in 2014, the fol­low­ing guide prices were listed for cost-per-minute: Talk­show: R4 000

Dance re­al­ity: R10 000 Te­len­ov­ela: R10 500 Sit­com: R11 250 Drama (24-minute): R12 250 on SABC3 Drama (24-minute): R13 250 on SABC1

The cast of Uzalo.

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