Thursday, December 8, 2016

SABC schedule disruption coming in January on SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 as entertainment shows are moved for Afcon 2017 soccer.

SABC schedule disruption is once again waiting on viewers in January 2017 when the public broadcaster will disrupt its prime time programming across all three of its terrestrial TV channels, moving lucrative money-making entertainment programming to different channels and times to broadcast soccer.

In what the SABC calls "major changes", the schedules of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 will be upended in prime time so that the SABC can broadcast African Cup of Nations 2017 (Afcon) soccer matches from 14 January on SABC1 from 18:00 until midnight.

The SABC says "SABC TV has come up with several schedule changes affecting prime time slots" from next month.

In previous years for Afcon coverage, the SABC moved Generations from SABC1 to SABC2 but the prime time weekday soap at 20:00 will now move to SABC3 at 19:30 from 16 January, replacing another local soap, High Rollers that won't be shown for weeks and only return on 6 February.

The SABC1 sister soap, Uzalo at 20:30 will move to SABC2 at 20:30, and the youth drama series Skeem Saam at 18:30 will shift to SABC2 at 18:30.

The SABC's Generations move to SABC3 will take the show  - the SABC's and South Africa's second most watched programme - away from millions of viewers who won't be able to watch it even if they want to, since SABC3 is its channel with the smallest signal distribution footprint, received by the smallest number of households in the country.

The SABC's shift-over of its programming from SABC1 to SABC2 and SABC3 to clear the channel's schedule for soccer - a move the public broadcaster refers to as a "transversal approach" - will likely have a negative impact the SABC's TV ratings during January.

The SABC2 schedule will change with the Setswana/Sotho news bulletin moving earlier from its existing 18:30 timeslot to 18:00 on weekdays, followed by Skeem Saam at 18:30.

The Afrikaans weekday soap 7de Laan on SABC2 will remain in its 19:00 timeslot, with the Afrikaans news bulletin at 19:03 on weekdays also remaining unchanged.

On Mondays SABC2 is dumping NCIS (after many years the SABC still refer to it as "Navy NCIS" although the "N" in the acronym stands for Navy already) and replacing it with Nhlala ya Rixaka. NCIS will return at a later date in a new as yet unannounced timeslot.

On Tuesdays SABC is dumping the Afrikaans drama timeslot at 20:00 and replacing it with Ngula ya Vutivi. The SABC says Afrikaans drama will "take a break to return on a new slot in February".

Zandile Nkonyeni, head publicist for the SABC's TV channels, says the SABC's "transversal schedule strategy has been adopted involving the 3 SABC TV channels to ensure that the interests of our audiences are adequately accomodated during the Afcon 2017 tournament".

According to Zandile Nkonyeni, "normal programming on all channels will resume once the Afcon games are over".

"The channel will reveal a refreshed schedule in February 2017 with an exciting line-up of brand new titles," says Zandile Nkonyeni.

It's unclear as yet which channel she's referring to, although SABC3 has faced the biggest ratings challenge the past 5 months as its flurry of new content rushed to air, all flopped.

During its Afcon 2017 coverage the SABC will broadcast 28 Afcon 2017 matches live and 4 delayed.