Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ANN7: SABC TV staff says: 'Now we know for the first time the feeling of how it is to be an M-Net.'

Workers at the SABC are speaking out about the new South African TV competitor - the shocking train wreck television which is the new wannabe TV news channel ANN7 (DStv 405) ... and they feel relieved they're no longer perceived as the worst in South African television broadcasting.

 Although not referencing ANN7 directly in conversations, SABC insiders say that [for once] it makes them feel good and proud to work for the South African public broadcaster's television service and that they don't feel like the scapegoat for bad television output anymore.

The South African public broadcaster's television output and TV news is hardly what TV critics would describe as Emmy winning quality, but compared to the disaster caster ANN7 (DStv 405) which launched last Wednesday evening on MultiChoice's DStv platform, SABC television news and TV in a sense comes across as CNN and HBO like compared to ANN7.

Longtime SABC insiders told TV with Thinus today there's no gloating and "nobody's happy or taking delight in someone's failure". The source said a lot of SABC workers took notice of the Gupta News upstart. "What happened and keeps happening is everywhere."

I'm told they think - and so their colleagues - that the broadcasting corporation they work for, now compares very favourably stacked against "new entrants trying to do what we've done daily for decades. People can now see what really goes into doing a day and how much can go wrong".

As one interestingly put it to me in a pithy way: "Now we know for the first time the feeling of how it is to be an M-Net. When you see all the production errors you shake your head but you know you're not at the bottom. No-one here's looking down on anybody at all. But we're not last in this game anymore".

The source meant it in the way in which the SABC has for decades been compared as the underdog, or the lesser quality TV provider compared to rivals such as the pay-TV broadcaster M-Net which has better TV content and less on-air mistakes across its channels.

The SABC launched its own 24-hour TV news channel at the beginning of August on DStv channel 404 (which is now directly next to ANN7's channel 405) two weeks before ANN7.

Although the SABC News channel's product was also panned, South Africa's third TV news channel from Infinity Media took bad South African television and bad South African TV news to a whole new bottom-of-the-barrel scraping level.

"We've had mistakes but thank God we're not trending with it," said another longtime SABC employee - referring to how ANN7, seemingly broken out of the box, started trending as South Africa's number one Twitter topic on social media due to the barrage of on-air bloopers.

"The broadcaster [SABC] has also been affected by juniorisation; actually more so by the loss of older skilled people who've become fed up and left the past decade but somehow there's always the few veterans - core pockets of experienced TV people - who remain the gatekeepers and victims for punishment," said yet another longtime SABC employee who weighed in today and laughed.

"Every day has its own crazy. Somehow the golden oldies [at the SABC] keep a lot of sh*t from happening or every going out," shared the person.