Wednesday, May 18, 2016

SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng now targeting public broadcaster's TV channels for local content make-overs: 'We are going to revamp your SABC3 first'.

The controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng is now targeting the public broadcaster's TV channels for the next phase in his local content make-over plan and says he will start "to revamp your SABC3 first" as the SABC's only commercial TV channel.

It follows after the decree last week from the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) for all 18 of the SABC's radio stations to immediately start playing 90% local music.

The unexpected move that was widely welcomed by South African artists left the SABC's commercial stations like 5FM and MetroFM scrambling to find and redo playlists and initially being unable to make the 90% quota.

Now Hlaudi Motsoeneng wants to rejig its SABC3 channel where popular American soaps like The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of Our Lives lure more viewers than local programming struggling in the ratings race like local soap Isidingo and telenovela High Rollers.

American shows on SABC3 like Survivor, Botched, The Mentalist and Nikita lure a bigger viewership to the channel than local programming like Top Billing, Afternoon Express and others.

In January for instance the set of The Fast and Furious films together with Bold and Days held 7 out of the top 10 most watched slots on SABC3's list of highest rated programming for the month.

Two weeks ago Hlaudi Motsoeneng told South African producers that although people notice "more and more repeats on the SABC channels" that "there's no reason why we have to broadcast these American soaps and dramas".

On Tuesday, speaking at the latest The New Age Breakfast briefing held in Woodmead, Johannesburg and broadcast on SABC2's Morning Live, Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "we are going to revamp your SABC3 first".

"If you look at SABC, all those movies, they are old. I grew up watching those movies. Even today, some of them.

"But if you look in that industry of content, even if people are producing new content, you wait for MultiChoice, example, to play those movies on their platform. For us we are given [it] after two years."

"And I said, 'We have film makers here in South Africa, why can't we create our own soapies, our own movies? Because we have people in South Africa," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The commercially-driven SABC3, created in 1996 with largely lifestyle-focused programming, caters for and strives to reach a cosmopolitan audience.

According to the SABC, SABC3 targets "South Africa's affluent English-speaking community; the channel's primary target market is viewers aged 18 to 49" and broadcasts a combination of international programming as well as locally produced soap operas, talk shows and drama series.

R2 billion for 4 new SABC channels.
Speaking at the same event, SABC board member member Aaron Tshidzumba told the audience that the SABC’s plans to launch 4 new “language-based” TV channels will cost "each channel, minimum R500 million".

"Which means, Motsoeneng is going to get, raise, R2 billion for us as the SABC for us to get 4 new TV channels."

"We have been promising government as the SABC board a SABC Sport channel; we will launch 8 TV channels [as digital terrestrial television]. And when they showed us the executive the figures, we realised we don't have this money."

"And he [Motsoeneng] said to us 'Look, we will get channel by channel. When we raise money, we will launch a channel. So he is promising us four new channels," said Aaron Tshidzumba.