'Dismal' SABC1 ripped over 'empty' schedule

2014-01-23 10:59
Cape Town – TV critics countrywide have torn into SABC1 following the channel’s inability to provide timeous and correct scheduling information for the on-screen TV guides of pay-TV platforms such as DStv, branding SABC1 as “dismal”, “incompetent” and “embarrassing”.

On Monday MultiChoice quietly stopped filling SABC1’s schedule for its DStv TV guide, citing a lack of information. Likewise On Digital Media’s StarSat EPG only contains a bare bones SABC1 TV guide with only generic information.

“We regret that we cannot provide EPG information for this channel as we are still awaiting schedule information,” DStv told subscribers from Monday in its on-screen guide. It meant that viewers of the biggest TV channel in South Africa in terms of viewership couldn’t set recordings for specific programmes.

The EPG embarrassment ironically happened as SABC1 shunted its entertainment primetime line-up to sister channel SABC2 creating a difficult programming maze for viewers to navigate to try and find their shows, and as SABC1 is broadcasting CHAN 2014 soccer matches – which viewers don't know where to find, nor which countries are playing.

South African TV critics across South Africa were quick to blast SABC1 for the TV channel's unprofessionalism and inability to supply consistent, timeous and correct scheduling and programming information.

Getting correct scheduling information and programming synopses from certain SABC TV channels has been an ongoing struggle for South African TV critics for years.

SABC1: 'Rock bottom alert!'

The veteran TV critic Tashi Tagg from Cape Town, and editor-in-chief of TVSA, blasted SABC1 with a "rock bottom alert!" on TVSA, noting that the worsening SABC1 programming scheduling information and now total lack thereof is "a meltdown that's been happening for months already" and which has now "plunged to a new all-time low yesterday".

Tagg called SABC1's EPG schedule "already very dismal last year" and "crammed with errors and last minute changes".

"Clearly the person at SABC1 who's responsible for submitting the info to DStv has gone on an extended holiday of epic proportions and has no intention of ever returning. If they care so little about what's happening with the channel on the PVR there's no ways they care enough to return to work," wrote Tagg.

The Johannesburg based TV critic and columnist and entertainment commentator Phil Mphela wrote on his site that he’s "livid", and likewise blasted SABC1, saying its "inexcusable, deplorable and downright incompetent for a number one channel in this country to still be experiencing these amateurish mishaps".

"This is beyond embarrassing for the channel, it is just pure lack of professionalism or care for the channel's viewers?" asked Mphela in his column.

'What is going on at SABC1?'

"What the heck is going on at SABC1? Get your act together and fire people who do not do their jobs. You are the channel for the people. The masses of Mzansi love you, they have made you number one. Do not be arrogant and disrespect them by offering mediocrity all the time."

"If you can't put on better programming then, for the love of God, provide better services with your channel broadcast. It is the least you can do."

Mphela told Channel24 that "It is disheartening to know that in 2014 a channel as popular as SABC1 would still be making such elementary blunders. It leaves one wondering if it is just a case of incompetence or a blatant disregard for respecting the viewers because the channel knows the masses will still watch."

"If the SABC is to restore any sense of confidence from its viewers, it ought to start holding its stuff accountable. Someone is not doing their job and they should not be getting a pay cheque. SABC1 lauds itself as the channel for the people. Well, we are the people show us you care."

The SABC remained silent on Monday and on Tuesday, and didn't respond to media enquiries made on Monday morning seeking clarification as to what is going on and why there is this problem.

The SABC has been experiencing some internal challenges regarding the EPG on SABC1," Kaizer Kgangayo, SABC spokesperson told Channel24 on Wednesday. "The matter has received our urgent attention and we are working on a solution towards this".

"Please note that we will ensure that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. In the meantime we would like to request our viewers to be patient with us as we attend to this."

Read more on:    dstv  |  multichoice  |  sabc  |  tv

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