Aisha Mohamed is SABC3’s new channel head

2014-03-11 21:00
Cape Town – Aisha Mohamed has been appointed as the new SABC3 channel head.

The SABC has been quiet about it and has not responded to media enquiries regarding the appointment, but Mohamed's new job forms part of the SABC's new strategy for the TV channel.

SABC3 is the SABC's only commercial TV station but lackluster ratings and a dented channel image will be high on her priority list of things demanding attention.

The SABC's corporate communications department didn't respond to media enquiries made on Monday afternoon. A SABC3 spokesperson however said that Lefa Afrika, currently the acting SABC3 channel head, will revert back to his position as SABC3's programming manager.

It's not clear when Mohamed will take up the position. She was the station manager for 5FM – one of the SABC's radio stations.

Before that Mohamed worked as the marketing manager for Viacom International Media Networks' Africa (VIMN Africa) MTV Base, MTV Europe in Africa, VH1 and Nickelodeon TV channels.

With Mohamed's appointment as SABC3 channel head comes the obligatory Top Billing profile piece on the channel's weekly glamorous profile and entertainment magazine show, but also huge challenges.

Ratings have dropped

SABC3 has been in a ratings and image slide the past half a decade which dulled the once sparkly brand. SABC3 used to be a buzz-making TV channel with must-see hits ranging from Ally McBeal and The Practice to ongoing high quality local South African dramas which completely evaporated from the channel's line-up.

The past few years has seen SABC3 suffer major programming, content and scheduling problems, the non-delivery of scheduled programming and abrupt last-minute changes, dated on-air content and the loss of experienced personnel from on-air managers to schedulers.

Odd and old sitcom blocks like The Cosby Show, documentary strand day and timeslot changes, lengthened news broadcasts and bad American reality shows have cost SABC3 dearly in brand reputation and viewership figures.

Then there is SABC3's directionless soap Isidingo having lost not just stars and writers but which is no longer considered appointment television compared to the myriad of other weekday soaps.

The channel's weekday talk show Three Talk with Noeleen went into ongoing repeats in 2014 with no explanation of what happened to the show or when – or if – the show will return, also costing the channel ratings and reputation points.

SABC3 has however found success with its new morning lifestyle breakfast show Expresso introduced a few years ago and stalwart programming like Top Billing, Survivor, The Amazing Race and Days of Our Lives which continue to act as strong programming pillars for the TV channel. After a three year struggle it also took over SABC1's The Bold and the Beautiful weekday soap for its own line-up.

Mohamed will have to try and rejuvenate SABC3's brand and image, content and line-up and retain and win back viewers as satellite and satellite pay-TV offerings in South Africa continue to launch more channels which over years siphoned away a lot of SABC3's target market.

Mohamed's permanent appointment, still leaves the SABC's other two TV channels, SABC1 and SABC2, with acting TV channel heads.

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