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SABC3 wants to make it right

2011-06-01 11:36
SABC3 is saying sorry. The channel is now publicly apologising for years of viewer neglect, poor programming and bad scheduling. The SABC's only public commercial TV channel is working hard to regain its lost lustre and win viewers over once again.
The broadcaster is hard at work at making the channel better – trying to get back some of its former TV mojo when shows like Ally McBeal, Survivor and The Practice made the channel not only buzzworthy but also must-see television.

SABC3 is also planning a total revamp of its on-air look that will debut in October. The schedule will be more streamlined with promises of better programming, more quality content and more first-run shows.
"When it comes to SABC3 people are talking about the 'good old days' as if they're talking about the stories they've heard growing up at their mother's knee. But is it the stuff of legend, SABC3?" said SABC3's new acting channel head Ed Worster when he addressed the industry recently.

A new start
"It's time to make a new start," he said, noting that there's "new energy that's driving SABC3 into the future." SABC3 has been plagued in the past few years by a decline in audience share and advertising revenue based on erratic and disruptive scheduling as well as poor content.

"I think you all understand as much as we do that SABC3 has been plagued by serious underperformance in all key areas of measure: viewership and audiences, revenue and brand integrity," said Worster. "All ran into trouble. SABC3 no longer had a clear channel proposition. As a result viewers became disinvested. Disruptive schedule changes in primetime and really I think a depreciation between SABC3 and the SABC's other two TV channels – what made us different as a commercial TV channel – caused a blurring with regards to what we stood for."
Ed Worster is promising that SABC3 is going to "restore our excellence and our distinctiveness" as a TV channel and to once again become "an unrivalled commercial television channel.

More first-to-market content

"At the heart of SABC3's turnaround is dramatic improvement and attention to quality content. Moving forward we really want to drive much more first-to-market programmes on our schedule. We're going to create primetime pillars on SABC3 at 19:30 and 20:30 with a very clear proposition for viewers," he said.
Expresso, SABC3's new morning show that started in October 2010 is already showing promise. The morning TV audience for the channel has already grown by leaps and bounds. 3Talk with Noeleen is headed for a complete overhaul by bringing in a studio audience, have Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu doing one-on-one location interviews and by making the show more interactive. Depending on when the new set is ready, the show could relaunch as soon as July.
The News at 7, which has lost a large chuck of viewers over the past two years to rival e.tv's eNews Primetime bulletin, is also getting a complete makeover later in the year with a more "sophisticated, international" look and an improved delivery of news stories.

Other highlights include the return of National Geographic TV specials, Dr Oz, the new spin-off talk show from Oprah's medical expert and the entertainment news magazine show Entertainment Tonight. There is also talk of the SABC1 soap The Bold and the Beautiful moving to SABC3 in October.
Will all these bold moves make SABC3 more appealing to viewers? From October, only time – and viewership numbers – will tell.

Local broadcaster SABC3 is planning to restore its former glory with fresher shows, stable scheduling and a new look. Will it work?
Read more on:    sabc3  |  tv

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