Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BREAKING. SABC invites the press to the launch of its new 24-hour news channel on DStv ... one day before the time.

The SABC today invited South Africa's press to the launch of its new 24-hour TV news channel, doing so only one day before the time.

It's highly unusual, given that invites and alerts to press conferences and launch events for new TV channels starting - in cases where there are pressers and launch events taking place (for both TV channels locally and international for both MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's TopTV) always happen days if not weeks in advance.

In all my time as a South African TV critic over the past 14 years I cannot remember of a single instance where press were summoned to a new TV channel launching a day before the actual press conference and launch of a channel.

The SABC's new 24-hour news channel on MultiChoice's DStv channel 404 will start broadcasting from 18:00 on Thursday evening.

On Thursday from 15:30 at the SABC's headquarters in Auckland Park at the Studio 7 TV Centre the SABC will hold their press launch event.

ALSO READ: The SABC's new 24-hour news channel will carry a lot of simulcast and other programming from the existing three TV channels when it launches on 1 August.

Add to the odd: Neither the SABC nor MultiChoice released any embargoed press material such as information, photos, schedules, profiles, line-ups, logos or anything as often happens so that publications and media outlets with long lead times can at least have something. Squat nil nada.

Add to the sad: A lot of South Africa's TV critics, editors and journalists covering TV and the television industry are in Johannesburg today and tomorrow for other TV related launches.

Because the SABC didn't communicate earlier about the intended SABC 24-hour news channel conference and event, none of those people can attend - they're all flying back and leaving on Thursday morning.

It's highly conceivable that several would have made other travel and coverage arrangements to stay and attend the SABC's 24-hour news channel launch on Thursday.