Cape Town – The SABC has been hit by a viewership plunge for several shows following abrupt local TV content moves, with the popular weekday soap 7de Laan on SABC2 shedding hundreds of thousands of viewers and SABC3 confronting a schedule disaster.
On SABC3 every single one of its new local shows that started in July has been a ratings flop. (Read more here)
Just a few months after it announced changes to its TV schedules in February, the SABC in July once again upended its TV channels' schedules in a month that also saw the abrupt firing of Verona Duwarkah as the SABC's head of television who was replaced with Nomsa Philiso.
The SABC's TV schedules rejig from July was a result of the public broadcaster's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng who ordered a drastic cut-back to international TV content as part of his plan for 90% local content on the SABC's TV channels, starting with 80% local programming on SABC3 from July.
In July ad agency executives warned the SABC that the public broadcaster is going to experience huge losses in terms of advertising revenue if the sudden new slate of programmes doesn't manage to lure viewers and get ratings.
With 7de Laan moved later to 19:00 on SABC2 as part of the changes, the popular Afrikaans weekday soap shed a shocking 269 527 viewers in just one month from June to July to plunge from 5th place on SABC2 in June to a shocking 9th place on SABC2's ratings with 1.81 million viewers (5.4 AR / 15.4 share).
Ironically it was again the American soaps, The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of Our Lives that Hlaudi Motsoeneng wants to get rid of, that did the bulk of the lifting to lure viewers to SABC3.
On SABC1, the local primetime soap Generations The Legacy pulled ahead marginally ahead of Uzalo for the second time since May, grabbing 8.3 million viewers (24.7 AR / 68.7 share) in July, compared to Uzalo's 8.1 million (24.3 AR / 64.3 share).
The SABC1 schedule is the one the SABC needs to be least worried about, with a stable performance from reliable locally produced programmes bringing in strong ratings.
On SABC2 in July its top-rated show, the Venda weekday soap Muvhango was down to 5.7 million to June's 5.8 million.
Besides the plunging 7de Laan, the Afrikaans news on SABC2 fell to 14th place (1.43 million) from 12th (1.47 million) in June in its changed timeslot. SABC2's Sotho news bulletin also shed viewers from 1.69 million in June to 1.36 million in July.
Local SABC2 shows Thola, Skwizas, It's Gospel Time, Keletso, the live Lotto draw, Speak Out all saw marginal viewership upticks, but the Mmampodi and Fokus viewership were lower compared to the previous month.
On e.tv the ratings for both its cornerstone soaps Scandal! and Rhythm City were marginally lower in July (4.8 million and 3.5 million).
Meanwhile Leon Schuster came to e.tv's aid as the hidden camera prankster scored the 1st, 3rd, and 4th most watched places on e.tv's top 20 list for July with Mr Bones (5.1 million), Mama Jack (4.3 million) and Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past (4.1 million) luring in millions of viewers.
The e.tv decision to cancel its local telenovela Ashes to Ashes was a right move: its viewership took a whopping dive from June to July from 3.2 million viewers to 2.5 million. WWE Wrestling Raw and Zbondiwe remained steady.
Meanwhile the Broadcasting Research Council of South Africa (BRC) that has massively curtailed the South African public's access to TV viewership figures the past year has decided to further redact and marginalise the information, now only supplying a combined top 30 programme list for MultiChoice's DStv for July, instead of for a selection of individual DStv channels it did since earlier this year.
In July the 12th season of veteran reality signing contest show Idols, now just on the Mzansi Magic channel roared back as a hit with 1.12 million viewers.
Uefa Euro 2016 and Vodacom Super Rugby on the SuperSport channels and Tom & Jerry Tales on Turner Broadcasting's Boomerang were some of the top viewership drawa on DStv during July.
Meanwhile Mzansi Magic's Our Perfect Wedding, Igazi, Isibaya, Rockville, Date My Family, Doubt, Isikizi, Ring of Lies and Greed & Desire dominating the ratings and most-watched list on DStv.
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