Wednesday, June 22, 2016

SABC announces yet another new schedule and logo for SABC3 starting from July as it dumps international content from the channel's line-up.

The SABC on Wednesday afternoon at its headquarters in Auckland Park announced yet another new schedule and another new channel logo for its rating-challenged SABC3 channel, eviscerating a large swathe of international shows and replacing it with new unknown local content and older local repeats.

A ranting Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC's controversial chief operating officer (COO) who didn't use a script, once again quickly veered sharply off-message,speaking about a lot of stuff that didn't have anything to do with the new schedule.

The latest new SABC3 schedule, dumping highly rated international content like Survivor, The Amazing Race and Days of Our Lives and coming into effect from July, comes just 4 months after the SABC's controversial chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng in February announced and introduced a TV schedule shake-up for SABC3.

The latest new schedule, yet again moving shows around and removing some of the shows with the highest viewership ratings on the channel, is part of Hlaudi Motsoeneng dramatic makeover of the SABC's three terrestrial TV channels, ordering 90% local content be shown.

Now SABC3 is getting yet another new schedule and some new on-screen talent, with viewers who will once again have to try and find where shows moved to that remain on the schedule, where new shows are scheduled and where repeats are slotted.

The new SABC3 logo that will come into effect from July replaces the previous one that was introduced a year and 10 months ago in August 2014 and that viewers at the time slammed as "ugly" and "unimaginative".

The sweeping change will start with 80% local content on SABC3 from July - the South African Broadcasting Corporation's only commercial TV channel that is supposed to be an income-driver for the channel with a smaller public broadcasting service (PBS) mandate than sister channels SABC1 and SABC2.

While the emphasis on more local TV content is welcomed, academics and TV industry experts say the move is unsustainable long-term, given the size, capacity, skills and money of South Africa's TV biz.

To produce one minute of local content for instance cost a minimum of R5000 and despite promises since October 2014 by Hlaudi Motsoeneng of R600 million made available by the SABC to local producers, this money will not be enough to fill and sustain a 90% local content programming strategy for the three channels without compromising quality and a much higher that usual repeat and rebroadcast frequency.

At the SABC press conference - attended by Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Jimi Matthews (acting SABC CEO), Nomsa Philiso (SABC head of commercial enterprises) and Aisha Mohamed (SABC3 channel head) - Anton Heunis (SABC commercial advisor) said "more local content will stimulate our industry immensely".

SABC staff slammed for sleeping at work, drinking tea
Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "SABC will do what we believe is right for South Africa". "SABC won't be the same. This is a new SABC".

"We have taken a decision. And if I've taken a decision, no turning back. You'll make your own noise.We want to make sure we empower our own people".

"We as SABC we're doing very well. 90% we're doing very well. Reality is, international content isn't doing well for the SABC," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng. "You must watch SABC3. you will see amazing stuff".

"You don't see youth content on our platform. From 1 November we will have a youth content. We will go to universities and broadcast live in those universities. Not about politics, about the issues that affect young people".

"I was an actor. The changes you see you see is in my blood," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng. "You don't know that I work with white people. And they like me. I work with everyone".

"You who write bad about us, I think about you every time. I perform well when I have forces that don't support me". Talking in the third person, Hlaudi Motsoeneng said: 'When this man takes the podium, people clap hands".

"People have been playing here at the SABC. Sleeping here. Playing here and drinking tea". He again said that the SABC will introduce a uniform for workers. "We will have uniform at SABC. But not every day. Why other people have uniform?'

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "I don't know what is prime time. I want prime time to be every hour, every minute". He said the SABC will show all cultural and traditional events. To Anton Heunis he said: "You have your culture. Your boerewors".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng slammed SABC TV news staff. "When you see our own journalists on the news, they're dead. You need more passion". He said: "Why should SABC TV News follow follow print media? Why can't we break news? I don't understand why eNCA on DStv channel 403 is better than SABC News".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said a journalist from Netwerk24 asking why the SABC isn't covering the Tshwane Unrest adequately and what the SABC's stance is on SABC reporters who are unhappy, "is spoiling the party" and that he won't answer her in the press conference.

SABC3 will continue to do lifestyle and entertainment
SABC TV executive Sam Maijang said "SABC3 is where the biggest impact has been to the changes that we've made. The channel continues to speak to local lifestyle and entertainment. This is content for the multicultural South Africa but with a global outlook".

"SABC3 going forward will have no repeats in prime time from July." He said SABC3's daytime line-up has also been "invigorated".

"We've retained some key foreign content blocks. The type of foreign content that will sit on the channel will not necessarily be the same as what has been there". He said "it's a new journey for us. It's unchartered territory for us".

SABC spin doctor Kaizer Kganyago said: "Don't believe the critics. The critics who have never been in broadcasting".

Aisha Mohamed, SABC3 channel head said it was necessary to change the look of the channel after seeing how the channel was being perceived at the moment.

"[It has a] aspirational, multicultural tone. The logo went through a little bit of a restoration. We went from the square logo to a more circular look. We call it a kaleidoscope."

"There is not necessarily one solid colour. And in terms of a kaleidoscope the brand is evolving."

The 2-hour long press conference was broadcast live on SABC News (DStv 404) and was live streamed. You can watch it in its entirety here: