Cape Town – The SABC on Wednesday at its headquarters in Auckland Park announced yet another new schedule and another new channel logo for its rating-challenged SABC3 channel, eviscerating a large swathe of international shows and replacing it with new local content and some older local repeats.
The latest new SABC3 schedule, dumping highly rated international content like Survivor, The Amazing Race and Days of Our Lives effective from July, comes just four months after the SABC's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng in February announced and introduced a TV schedule shake-up for SABC3.
The latest new schedule is part of Motsoeneng's dramatic makeover of the SABC's three terrestrial TV channels, ordering 90% local content be shown.
While the emphasis on more local TV content is welcomed, academics and TV industry experts say the move is unsustainable in the long-term, given the size, capacity, skills and money of South Africa's TV biz.
To produce one minute of local content for instance cost a minimum of R5 000 and despite promises since October 2014 by Motsoeneng of R600m made available by the SABC to local producers, this money will not be enough to fill and sustain a 90% local content programming strategy for the three channels without compromising quality and a much higher than usual repeat and rebroadcast frequency.
At the SABC press conference – attended by Motsoeneng, Jimi Matthews (acting SABC CEO), Nomsa Philiso (SABC head of commercial enterprises) and Aisha Mohamed (SABC3 channel head) – Anton Heunis (SABC commercial advisor) said "more local content will stimulate our industry immensely".
Motsoeneng said: "I don't know what is prime time. I want prime time to be every hour, every minute." He said the SABC will show all cultural and traditional events. To Anton Heunis he said: "You have your culture. Your boerewors".
Motsoeneng slammed SABC TV news staff. "When you see our own journalists on the news, they're dead. You need more passion." He said: "Why should SABC TV News follow print media? Why can't we break news? I don't understand why eNCA on DStv channel 403 is better than SABC News."
SABC3 will continue to do lifestyle and entertainment
SABC TV executive Sam Maijang said "SABC3 is where the biggest impact has been to the changes that we've made. The channel continues to speak to local lifestyle and entertainment. This is content for the multicultural South Africa but with a global outlook.
"SABC3 going forward will have no repeats in prime time from July." He said SABC3's daytime line-up has also been "invigorated".
"We've retained some key foreign content blocks. The type of foreign content that will sit on the channel will not necessarily be the same as what has been there." He said "it's a new journey for us. It's uncharted territory for us".
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: "Don't believe the TV critics. The critics who have never been in broadcasting."
Aisha Mohamed, SABC3 channel head said it was necessary to change the look of the channel after seeing how the channel was being perceived at the moment.
"[It has a] aspirational, multicultural tone. The logo went through a little bit of a restoration. We went from the square logo to a more circular look. We call it a kaleidoscope.
"There is not necessarily one solid colour. And in terms of a kaleidoscope the brand is evolving."
#SABCPresser New SABC 3 logo pic.twitter.com/5LjLdLLpu8— Lerato Sejake (@leosejake) June 22, 2016
#SABCPresser New SABC 3 logo pic.twitter.com/5LjLdLLpu8
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Primetime repeats will fall away to accommodate local content.
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