Monday, June 2, 2014

BREAKING. SABC News quietly cuts back Prime Time News to just one hour starting at 18:30 from today; adds the new News at 8.

The SABC and SABC News (DStv 404) today quietly cut back Prime Time News, the public broadcaster's flagship daily news bulletin to just one hour; moving Business Review earlier and adding a new news bulletin, News at 8.

The change - not communicated by the SABC overall nor SABC News - now means that Prime Time News is half an hour shorter daily.

It means that Prime Time News with news anchors Peter Ndoro and Vabakshnee Chetty on SABC News - simulcast on SABC3 - from today starts at the same time.

Previously Prime Time News on SABC News started at 18:00 until 19:30, with SABC3 taking the simulcast feed from 18:30 until 19:30 after the show was on for half an hour already.

Business Review with the excellent Francis Herd also moved today from 20:00 to 18:00 - two hours earlier. This means that Business Review now serves as the new lead-in to Prime Time News.

The SABC and SABC News made the change without informing the press of this schedule change on its 24-hour TV news channel as well.

Also not communicated by the SABC or SABC News' publicity departments and spokespeople is the addition of News at 8 from today, a new half hour long live news bulletin.

The Afrikaans news bulletin on SABC News at 19:30 remains unchanged in the same timeslot.

The SABC, in response to a media enquiry, told TV with Thinus on Tuesday that there was "a strategic need to reposition the business slot because it is a good time to update and interpret the movement on the stock market which closes at 17:00".

"This also gives us an opportunity to turn the show into a love and interview-driven programme, something that has not been possible to do when the show was in its previous slot".

"Where we had Business Review at 20:00, we now have a news programme called News @ 8. This gives us a vantage point to update viewers about the latest news developments in the country and elsewhere. We believe that the new schedule is dynamic and will serve different viewership preferences," the SABC tells me.