Soaps are so expensive!
SABC1’s Uzalo has been the subject of a financial controversy lately.
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.