Wednesday, July 16, 2014

'It looks like we've lost the battle' - SABC News in turmoil following shocking shift of Afrikaans TV news from SABC2 to SABC3.

Graphics - as published Monday in Beeld, Volksblad and Die Burger - showing the vast differenc in the reception area of SABC2 and the much smaller reach and footprint of SABC3

"It looks like we've lost the battle".

So says a high ranking SABC executive following the highly controversial permanent move of the SABC's only Afrikaans TV news bulletin from SABC2 to the much smaller SABC3.

SABC3 has the smallest footprint and reach of all three of the SABC's analogue terrestrial TV channels and the SABC is fully aware of this.

The SABC knew that the permanent move of the sole Afrikaans TV news bulletin on the South African public broadcaster, as well as the bulk of Afrikaans language programming like the drama slot from SABC2 to SABC3, would make it inaccessible to literally millions of South African TV households who don't have access to satellite TV or pay-TV.

At least 8 million South African TV households don't have access to satellite television (which carries the SABC's TV channels) and can only get SABC1, SABC2 and SABC2 where transmission towers for those specific TV channels exist.

The shocking change of the Afrikaans TV news bulletin from 19:00 on SABC2 to 19:30 on SABC3 - although the SABC lied and said the news bulletin woudl return to SABC2 at 19:00 from 14 July - has also directly led to the canning of another half hour of SABC News produced TV news in Afrikaans.

The Afrikaans Nuus om 7 on SABC2 at 19:00 was a separate half hour of Afrikaans news from the Afrikaans TV news bulletin at 19:30 on the SABC's 24-hour TV news channel, SABC News (DStv 404) which is only accessible on satellite TV on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Now the SABC uses that 19:30 half hour Afrikaans TV news bulletin from SABC News on DStv, which is being simulcast on SABC3 at the same time.

According to internal correspondence in TV with Thinus' possession, SABC news staff tried valiantly to try and keep the Afrikaans TV news bulletin on SABC2.

Failing that, they've tried to, or are trying to, have the Afrikaans TV news shown in the 19:00 timeslot - the same timeslot where the the Afrikaans news used to be broadcast while it was on SABC2.

SABC executives not happy with the plan said "the SABC3 footprint is very small and areas with a lot of Afrikaans speakers will henceforth not be able to receive the news in Afrikaans with the SABC's terrestrial signal".

TV with Thinus has made numerous written media enquiries to the SABC with questions regarding the issue of the Afrikaans TV news moving - two weeks ago, and again since last week - none of which the SABC has so far been willing to give any specific answers to.