Wednesday, January 28, 2015

BREAKING. SABC admits new Generations The Legacy on SABC1 is a ratings dud; says president Jacob Zuma covered excessively because he's president.

In what the SABC billed as the "first" in a new series of "quarterly media briefings"by the South African public broadcaster's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng and other SABC executives, the SABC admitted that the "new" and reset, yet struggling, Generations - The Legacy on SABC1 is a ratings dud and defended its excessive positive of president Jacob Zuma, saying it's "because he is the president".

The SABC also decided to ask South Africans to pay their SABC TV licences, despite being unable to tell the South African government and parliament in October 2014 what it did with R3.39 billion which the SABC classified as "irregular spending" over the past three years.

Although planned longer in advance than just a day, the SABC only alerted the South African press yesterday at 15:30 about "the corporation's first quarterly media briefing" scheduled for 11:00 today at the SABC's Aucklandpark headquarters.

Newsrooms with full news diaries and limited capacity journalists scrambled to suddenly designate journalists to cover the SABC briefing on Wednesday morning.

The SABC admitted for the first time that its reset soap Generations - The Legacy is suffering in the ratings and is far off from its previous incantation, as first reported by TV with Thinus a month and a half ago in December 2014, as the soap sagged and shed millions of viewers.

Generations - The Legacy returned on 1 December 2014  to SABC1 after abruptly ending production in October when MMSV Productions and the SABC fired the entire principal cast and reset the soap with new actors. Viewers and critics blasted the show who've since tuned out in droves.

Veronah Duwarkah, the SABC's group executive in charge of television, and Hlaudi Motsoeneng admitted at the SABC's quarterly briefing that Generations - The Legacy is down from its erstwhile ratings glory and suffered a significant viewer decline.

"It's not doing as great as it was previously," said Veronah Duwarkah.

"Generations may not do well but we believe it will improve. We are able to generate revenue here, but I cannot tell you how," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The SABC blamed the AFCON soccer tournament being broadcast on SABC1 with Generations - The Legacy shunted to SABC2 for the ratings drop (although the ratings fell immediately in December 2014 long before AFCON started), as well as load shedding with Eskom being unable to provide electricity to TV households.

Yet the SABC knew long in advance that it had secured the rights for AFCON, but still went ahead to start Generations - The Legacy during December - traditionally the lowest viewing period per year.

The SABC also decided far in advance to move the troubled Mfundi Vundla production to SABC2 in January 2015 just a month after it started again on SABC1 in December 2014, although SABC executives could have known from past experience with its so-called "transversal strategy" that a programming change within a month would negatively impact on a soap like Generations' viewership figures.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng defended the SABC's large and excessive coverage of president Jacob Zuma who is basically daily the lead story on the SABC News' TV news bulletins.

"When we deal with content within the organisation, there is no way where we ignore the president of the country," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"He's getting more time because he is the president of the country," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng. "We always do that, because he is running the country. When the president talks, everything he does affects all of us. If you want to be president tomorrow, we will do the same thing for you".

The SABC and SABC News didn't cover or report on any of these two issues out of its own quarterly briefing today on SABC television or TV news, deliberately choosing to only focus on and report that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is asking viewers to pay their SABC TV licences.

The SABC said nothing about when the SABC's general entertainment TV channel is set to start on MultiChoice's DStv, which was supposed to start in December 2013, and which has now been delayed for over a year.

The SABC said nothing about why the SABC has not complied with the High Court order that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be suspended "immediately" and which was handed down at the end of last year.

The SABC didn't want to talk about Siyaya, the new pay-TV consortium set to launch soon and which scooped up the rights to Bafana Bafana matches which used to be broadcast on the SABC.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "I do not want to talk about Siyaya. We have a relationship with Safa South African Football Association) and we have a team talking to them".