SABC failing in language, news - study

2012-09-05 10:50
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – A groundbreaking new research study by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has found that the SABC's TV channels get a failing grade as the broadcaster is struggling to meet its language diversity mandate and the channels are awash with a massive number of repeats and soap operas.

The MMA decided to carry out the groundbreaking research as the SABC has had six CEOs in six years and three different boards, whilst being beset with massive financial problems and plagued with instability at management level since 2008.

The research, funded by the Open Society Foundation, which followed the SABC's main news bulletins and analysed all listed programmes between April and mid-May this year, found that there are high levels of repeats on SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3.

Percentages

SABC1 uses 28% of its broadcasting time for repeat programming, SABC2 uses 21% of its airtime for repeats and SABC3 allocates 15% of its broadcasting time for repeats.

Furthermore only 41% of the content on SABC3 is local. That means that almost a quarter – 21% - of all broadcasting time on the SABC is devoted to rebroadcasts.

Furthermore, rebroadcasts of old TV series like MacGyver are not considered repeats (only programmes repeated within the same monitoring week) which means that the number of old and repetitive programming on the SABC which viewers have seen previously and years before are in effect actually even higher.

Local targets

According to the study carried out by Lethabo Dibetso and Thandi Smith, the SABC, besides using news, makes heavy use of repeat programming to meet local content quota targets as required in the regulations from the industry regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

The SABC appears to meet its target of 55% local content with about 70% of local content – but only because it includes sport (which is not counted as local content) and news.

"Without news SABC channels' compliance with its requirements are no longer met on SABC3, and only just over on SABC1 and SABC2.

"Although the local content quota of the SABC is allowed to be met by including repeats, without the repeat programming it is clear that all channels across the SABC do not meet the quota," the study notes.

Struggling to meet language mandates

Although English is only spoken as a first language by 8% of the population and the SABC is required to broadcast in all official languages, English dominates SABC programming (76%).

A massive 65% of all locally produced content on the SABC is in English. The next biggest languages trailing far behind are Afrikaans at only 6%, Zulu (5%) and Xhosa, Sotho and Tshivenda (3%). Half of the Afrikaans (50%) language broadcast on the SABC is accounted for by the soap 7de Laan alone.

"As such it is obvious that the language diversity on the SABC is limited. These figures suggest that the SABC struggles to fulfil its language mandates," the study notes.

Decline in quality of news content

According to the study, when it comes to SABC News, "political parties set the agenda".

Further, marginal people are underrepresented in news coverage and provinces with large metropolitan areas are given better and more coverage. SABC news bulletins also don't explain stories in depth, the study notes.

"Gender does not seem to be a priority for SABC News," the study notes. Males sources for news account for 80%. Meanwhile, academics and experts were the least accessed sources (2%) by SABC news and political parties the most (21%).

SABC news uses spokespersons the most as sources (62%) of information which the study warns "is to the detriment of other sources of information who may provide another perspective".

SABC2's Nuus om 7 had the highest number of expert sources. SABC3's News @ 7 provided the most information containing a citizen's perspective as well as a gender perspective.

Regarding SABC news the study noted "a decline in the quality of content that viewers and listeners get from the SABC news services".

"All SABC stations seem to struggle to put out sufficient current affairs programming during primetime," says the study. "The same can be said for documentaries."

Filled with soap

SABC television is awash with soap operas with very little news, according to the study.

"The genre that is broadcast most is soap operas at 16% of all broadcasting time," notes the research, "second is educational programming (12%), followed by current affairs (10%) and drama (9%)".

News broadcasts represent only 7% of all airtime.

The study notes that the findings raise concerns as to whether SABC3 complies with its mandate to broadcast seven hours of news per week. "Additionally there's concerns that can be raised about SABC1 and SABC2's airing of documentaries: both stations are required to broadcast five hours per week, but figures suggest that both channels fall short".
 

Comments

  • hayley.fredericks.9 - 2012-09-05 11:18

    THe SABC failed a long time ago. Why are people still doing studies on this useless broadcaster?

  • bmaestro - 2012-09-05 11:22

    SABC IS AN EMBARRASSMENT TO US ALL

  • pam.stelli - 2012-09-05 11:23

    Not to mention the ads for Insurance! Hours spent on this stupid "entertaining insurance ads"

      hermann.hanekom - 2012-09-05 11:57

      The adds are about the only programmes worth watching - it give one unlimited repeats and good entertainment!

  • Seducect - 2012-09-05 11:24

    And then everybody complains about DSTV...At least there will always be something new to watch....

      wendy.n.schmidt - 2012-09-05 12:33

      yes there is something to watch .. but as MNet have the monopoly, wonder who has shares in the company. The public have to pay nearly R600 to view .. ridiculous ..

      Seducect - 2012-09-05 15:01

      Well Wendy,I do not have shares in Multichoice & will not be able to afford shares in the near future. But to be honest, do you want to be like the majority of South Africa & wants everything for free? "I DEMAND! I DEMAND! I DEMAND!" culture?! You pay what you get for! I am a single guy who rather spends his evenings alone at home watching the expensice DSTV than go out to bars & clubs, get drunk, make an accident & land in jail!

  • tielman.neethling - 2012-09-05 11:33

    I am so glad that i don't have a TV set any more

  • zolisa.dlokovu - 2012-09-05 11:37

    These figures are a clear indication that the SABC is in crisis. As a public broadcaster the SABC has a responsibility to promote african languages because most South African are speaking these languages.It is dissapointing that although my home language is spoken by millions of people but only 3% of my language is on national television. Our public broadcaster doesnt reflect us.Its an American television.we must use a ahannel like sabc 3 as a commercial tv channel not all channels

  • becky.jamieson1 - 2012-09-05 11:40

    They should cut out the 2hours of insurance adverts and maybe then they could meet their quota by replacing it with a documentary. RETARDS!!!

      trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-09-05 11:57

      I just changed my underpants 4 TIMES... :-)

      wendy.n.schmidt - 2012-09-05 12:35

      Trevor your point being?

      trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-09-07 17:21

      @ Wendy.... the advert???? and nando's did a better..remember???

  • adriaan.pieterse - 2012-09-05 11:42

    They even start the article with a joke " A groundbreaking new research study " Sad...

  • songezo.kilani - 2012-09-05 11:51

    And these morons expect people to pay TV licence, for what Macgyver?

  • humphrey.s.mbothwe - 2012-09-05 11:54

    Not Ayoba! Surely there is management crisis at SABC.

  • trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-09-05 11:56

    Is this NEWS??? yawn

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-09-05 11:59

    The overall quality of SABC programs is poor. There is not much substance. I pity the poor people who do not gave DSTV. Another ANC disaster!

  • sifiso.msimango - 2012-09-05 12:10

    sabc has been rubbish since the beginning and it continues to be, i therefore advocate the non payment of its tv licence

  • justice.kofifi - 2012-09-05 12:10

    Sometimes you get reluctant to switch on SABC channels because everything is obvious, you don't get anything new, rather repeats repeats and repeats. Creativity and innovation is gone out the window at SABC

  • tshepo.mogamisi - 2012-09-05 12:12

    I'm sure SABC will meet these quotas as soon as digital TV is implemented, just like DTSV and Mnet.

  • hasani.malungana - 2012-09-05 12:14

    There si nothing in Xitsonga, they must just compliment this by bringing cultural programmes instead of American programmes

  • grant.logan.94 - 2012-09-05 12:18

    Why don't we get the same report regarding repeats on DSTV? SABC repeats are still cheaper than those of DSTV and tv licence costs you what compared to a full bouquet? 5%?

  • mrp721 - 2012-09-05 12:29

    Anyone notice how often the show the same adverts over and over. The nutriday yogurt advert is but one example, if you are home during the day, you will see it is played during almost every ad break... The SABC is totally useless, why the hell I pay a TV license I have no idea...

  • samuellephoto - 2012-09-05 13:02

    Bophelo ke Semphekgo and Mmalonya on Friday night!!!, some of us were not even born.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-09-05 13:24

    No management, just mismanagement, no initiative, just indolence, no vision, just dullness.

  • phillipm.seopa - 2012-09-05 14:33

    When they ask you who is you GCEO just say we don't have a GCEO.

  • catgirl1971 - 2012-09-05 15:18

    Whenever I switch on there's always some dance or music show on the go! E-tv has gone the same route. Wish I could afford the full DSTV bouquet.

  • desertratbkf - 2012-09-05 15:44

    Its like everything else in this country! Since the thieves and the liars and the criminals have put their filthy paws on it all, its a mess!

      rose.mcmillan - 2012-09-12 12:09

      I endorse every word,

  • Pete7930 - 2012-09-05 15:49

    DSTV

      KennySven - 2012-10-15 21:10

      DSTV AND DIARRHEA ARE VERY SIMILAR,WITH DIARRHEA YOU RUN TO THE LOO BACK WARDS AND FORWARDS SIX TIMES,ALL YOU MISSED WAS SEVEN ADVERTS AND 30 SECONDS OF THE PROGRAM THAT WAS A REPEAT ANYWAY. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DSTV AND DIARRHEA? "DIARRHEA CAN BE CURED"

  • Pete7930 - 2012-09-05 15:50

    boycott paying for your TV licenses. no-one will ever do anything about it.

  • anette.smith.16 - 2012-09-05 16:34

    And they want License fees????? I do not even own a tv, but I get demands for license fees all the time. What a joke these people are...

      mikel.kiparski - 2012-09-05 17:25

      my mom has been dead for 12 years and they still want her to pay her tv licence

  • Vince.York - 2012-09-05 18:49

    people still watch or listen to SABC at all? I haven't tuned into a SABC TV broadcast for years since returning to SA and have a far better view and understanding of the real situations and issues happening around SA for that fact, undiluted by the slant of propaganda. Far more ways to glean detail than SABC or the slant of guptazuma new age as another example.

  • diebongs0412 - 2012-09-07 12:05

    \SABC news bulletins also don't\r\nexplain stories in depth, the study\r\nnotes\ this is so true. When u watch the news u can clearly c that its like they are just doin it 4 the sake of broadcasting and not because they want to

  • haha.hehe.7564129 - 2012-09-10 15:55

    This is what happens if people boycott you, ie. not paying TV licenses. (Woolworths and SAA should take note!)

  • thandiwe.kgagabi - 2012-10-05 12:57

    SABC CAN FLY THEIR KITE AS HIGH AS THEY CAN ,THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR KHAYA PAY DSTV SO THE CAN GO TO NEAREST LOOO IN FIRST CLASS.DSTV VIEWERS WILL STILL SEE AND ENJOY THAT YOUNG SON OF AFRICA.HOW CAN AFRICA NOT ENJOY OUR FIRST BLACK IDOL WINNER.SABC HAS COMPLETETLY FAILED IN THIS REGARD

  • KennySven - 2012-10-15 17:50

    COULD WE PLEASE HAVE ON ALL THE ENGLISH TV/RADIO STATIONS PROPER ENGLISH SPEAKING PRESENTERS.I'M SICK AND TIRED OF LISTENING TO THE NEWS READERS/PRESENTERS AND COMMENTATORS IN HALF BROKEN ENGLISH/? ACCENTS.(ROLLING THE R'S ETC) IN THE REST OF THE WORLD YOU DON'T HAVE SAY GREEKS WITH GREEK/TURKISH ACCENTS READING THE ENGLISH BBC NEWS IN BROKEN ENGLISH,OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND. ONE IS NOT ALLOWED TO NAME THESE PEOPLE OR IT'S RACIST. I'S NOT THERE FAULT,I SUPPOSE IT'S GOOD OLD FAITHFUL BEE AT IT'S BEST. WE ALL KNOW WHO THEY ARE SO DO THEY BUT THE EMBARRASSMENT CONTINUES DAILY. WHEN DRIVING I ONLY LISTEN TO CAPE TALK 567 AFTER LUNCH FOR THIS VERY REASON UNTIL THE PROPER ENGLISH ARRIVES.

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