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The long-awaited on-air channel rebranding of SABC2 as the South African public broadcaster's "family channel" was launched on Thursday night, with viewers who will see a new-looking SABC2 on-air identity and imaging kicking in from Friday 1 March for all the channel promos, idents and a new slogan of "You Belong" in an inviting font, replacing the long-used "Feel at Home".
Local TV productions on SABC2 will also debut new title cards and looks to fit the new SABC2 corporate livery which now sees the SABC2 channel logo retiring the blue, orange and yellow, making way for a newer, simplified and cleaner SABC2 logo.
The new SABC2 logo and branding, developed over a year ago by the branding agency Masters & Savant, will now take on numerous one-tone colours, ranging from just red, and just yellow, to just green and just blue. The "2" now "bubbles" within a perky white-only sphere.
It's SABC2's first major on-air rebranding in years.
A textual analysis of the new "you belong" slogan is notable in that it indicates a progression of SABC2's identity construction. Whereas the channel in the previous two decades placed a bigger overt emphasis on cultural diversity and the celebration of diversity, the "you belong" signals a much stronger emphasis on"inclusion" now.
"You belong" speaks at the same time to both the individual and to the group - and to the individual's social inclusivity in the group. The different colours will continue to unconsciously support the mythos of South Africa as a "rainbow nation".
The new SABC2 channel logo - part of a channel rebranding exercise which has been more than a year in the making - will now be able to mimic what The Universal Channel on MultiChoice's DStv is able to do since it relaunched in May 2010: present the same logo in various multi-coloured tints depending on mood, genre and programming as well as marketing requirements in highly functional colour flexibility.
The new overall look for SABC2 might only help to go so far however since the programming is mostly still the same for South Africa's second most watched TV channel which attracts around 18,8 million weekly viewers.
The rebranding comes as SABC2 is somewhat struggling with its programming offering both in appeal and datedness of series and is facing an uphill battle to find and place more quality television across its schedule.
SABC2 sits with major afternoon programming problems for instance - the longrunning Dr. Phil simply disappeared without a trace earlier this month and Without a Trace is almost all that's left of it's once vibrant international set of premium TV shows.
The new SABC2 look does look pretty however, and the multi-coloured, interchangeable mechanism ensures longevity of the new livery without becoming dated.
SABC2 will also be employing the new logo and look with it's photo negative - whereas the background is white with either red, blue, yellow or green lettering, the opposite is also possible with a red, blue, green and yellow background and the font in white.
SABC2 calls the new on-air identity part of its "major brand refresh".
"The new identity is very clean, simple, modern and stands out amongst all the channel clutter,'' says Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC2's publicity manager. She says the "pillars" of family, identity, health, education, jobs and careers, and world exposure will "underpin all of our channel decisions and drive our programming mandate."
SABC2 will continue to be the South African public broadcaster's "carrier of events of national importance".
SABC2's new on-air look will debut on 1 March and SABC2 also created special promos with the channel's personalities involved.
SABC2's rebranding comes exactly 17 years after it was created in the rebranding exercise of 4 February 1996. SABC2 was created in 1996 when what was then CCV, TV1 and NNTV were rebranded as SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 respectively.
Notable past SABC2 branding and slogans included "Come Alive with Us" shortened to "Come Alive", the "Feel at Home" and some minor tweaks and changes to that over the past couple of years.