Cape Town – The SABC has admitted for the first time that the new Generations – The Legacy on SABC1 is a ratings downer, with the SABC’s chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng saying the soap is making money "but I cannot tell you how".
MMSV Productions and the SABC fired the entire principal cast of Generations in October 2014 after they walked off the job more than a year after Motsoeneng personally promised them better contracts in July 2013, which never materialised.
With the SABC mired in scandal and production abruptly halted, the soap disappeared from SABC1 where it was the highest rated show on South African television. It reappeared after a two month absence in December 2014, but the damage was done. Viewers and critics savaged the Mfundi Vundla replacement as the show shed millions of viewers within days who have since stayed away.
The SABC now blames load shedding and the broadcast of Afcon 2015 soccer matches for the sagging ratings of Generations – The Legacy.
Meanwhile, e.tv has taken over some of the fired Generations cast members who will make their debut in e.tv’s new telenovela, Ashes to Ashes, on Monday 2 March at 20:00 in the same timeslot as their erstwhile show.
In what the SABC billed as the "first" in a new series of "quarterly media briefings" by the South African public broadcaster's COO, Motsoeneng and Veronah Duwarkah, the SABC's group executive in charge of television, they admitted that Generations - The Legacy is down from its erstwhile ratings glory and suffered a significant viewer decline.
SABC’s new Generations 'not doing as great'
"It's not doing as great as it was previously," said Duwarkah.
"Generations may not do well but we believe it will improve. We are able to generate revenue here, but I cannot tell you how," said Motsoeneng.
The SABC blamed the Afcon soccer tournament being broadcast on SABC1 with Generations - The Legacy shunted to SABC2 for the ratings drop (although the ratings fell immediately in December 2014 long before Afcon started), as well as load shedding with Eskom being unable to provide electricity to TV households.
The SABC didn't want to talk about Siyaya, the new pay-TV consortium set to launch soon and which scooped up the rights to Bafana Bafana matches which used to be broadcast on the SABC.
Motsoeneng said: "I do not want to talk about Siyaya. We have a relationship with Safa (South African Football Association) and we have a team talking to them".
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