The SABC held its Advertiser Upfront two weeks ago at The Square Boutique Hotel, in uMhlanga, as part of its three-city meeting with advertisers.
The broadcaster’s TV executives revealed some interesting things, including changes that will come into effect after the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
There will be a strong focus on local programming and the SABC has apparently spent R1.3 billion investing in these shows, which is a great step forward for the local industry.
The broadcaster will also be launching a new entertainment channel on DStv later in the year. There will be many changes, and while some are great, some will not be well received.
We are all creatures of habit. While one can fiddle with some things, others should remain sacred.
The youth-targeted channel is introducing many changes. Channel head Maijang Mpherwane told guests that SABC 1 is in the process of solidifying their lead as the channel with the most ratings.
“It’s hard to get to the top, but it’s even more difficult to stay there,” |he said.
“SABC 1 has constantly proven that it’s a ratings powerhouse and we need the right content to make sure that doesn’t change.”
One way of doing that is for the channel to focus on commissioning more local content.
Mpherwane revealed that they had been planning a soapie for the 6.30pm slot and had finally settled on making the popular Skeem Sam into a soapie.
This is not a good move. The show is great as a drama, not as a soapie.
“We are going to keep the principles that made the show such a success, ratings and critically wise,” he said. “It will still have the elements of location our viewers love so much.”
Other major changes: the news moves from 7.30pm to 7pm, and 7.30pm will become a sitcom/variety slot.
The 8.30pm slot will be the dedicated drama slot and the channel has five new dramas.
SABC 2 programme manager Jacqui Hlongwane revealed the channel would be losing some of their flagship shows to SABC 3.
In one of the weirdest programming decisions, SABC 2 has basically handed over Die Nuus, 50/50 and Fokus to SABC 3.
It has kept 7de Laan and will focus on rebranding itself as a variety and family entertainment channel, with a couple of variety game shows and local and foreign sitcoms.
They will also be airing telenovellas. A local telenovella is in pre-production, while Afrikaans dramas, such as the excellent Geraamtes in die Kas, will also now be aired on SABC 3.
SABC 2 has always been the channel where you will find almost all the nation’s languages, making it a truly “Proudly South African” channel.
I hope this move doesn’t backfire for them because SABC 2 could |lose viewers to kykNet. It’s a possibility.
SABC 3’s channel head Aisha Mohamed revealed that the channel would be undergoing a massive makeover.
By 2015, SABC 3 will be a totally different channel, with a younger focus and new branding.
“We are rebranding and repositioning the channel to mainly appeal to the core 25-35 age group,” she said.
The channel will be more mainstream and will appeal to a wider audience, without alienating the current target market.
What’s interesting is that Expresso and Top Billing will undergo a few changes to “revitalise” them.
More local shows have been earmarked for the channel and from the week starting July 14 this year, we can expect the changes and new programmes to be on-air.
Some shows to look forward to are Strictly Come Dancing (with a younger look and feel), several advertiser-funded shows, a travel and cooking show with Masterchef Australia’s Hayden Quinn, a new talk show with Riaad Moosa and several others.
Gaining several of SABC 2’s shows will see SABC 3 embark |on adapting them to fit with SABC 3’s market – and when it comes to 50/50, it’s going to take a lot to get the show to appeal to younger folks.
While I really don’t understand why SABC 3 is taking Die Nuus away from SABC 2, I think it’s all about the ratings.
SABC 3’s hour-long news just wasn’t working, ratings wise, and Die Nuus pulls in great numbers.
It’s going to be an interesting few weeks ahead and I’m looking forward to the new productions. I really hope they are quality.
There’s nothing as disappointing as being told of a new show that will be groundbreaking, and the ground it breaks is a crash course on how to make terrible TV.