Monday, February 13, 2017

BREAKING. SABC2 dumps 7de Laan omnibus on Sundays; says the Afrikaans soap's weekend repeats are removed to 'revitalise the Sunday afternoon schedule'.

The SABC has decided to dump the weekend omnibus of its flagsip Afrikaans weekday soap 7de Laan on SABC2 with the SABC no longer giving its viewers who can't watch it during the week the chance to watch and catch up over the weekend.

The shock move comes after the SABC moved 7de Laan for the second time within months on SABC2 to a much earlier timeslot of 18:00 when a large part of its working class audience is not yet home from work.

The SABC's debilitating timeslot changes saw 7de Laan's ratings plunge since July 2016, with the latest timeslot change to 18:00 from 6 February that will likely further erode viewership of the Danie Odendaal Productions soap.

Interestingly a lot of viewers only watch the weekend 7de Laan omnibus, as well as a large number of viewers watching the omnibus again, lifting SABC2's otherwise mostly flat Sunday afternoon viewership.

SABC2's channel head Gerhard Pretorius took the decision to dump the 7de Laan omnibus on Sunday afternoons after 17 years, with SABC2 saying it has "taken the decision to call off the omnibus of it's flagship soapie 7de Laan" due to "the channel's endeavour to revitalise the Sunday afternoon schedule by introducing a new music show Soul'd Out Sessions and a family movie slot at 16:00".

The SABC says viewers can watch repeats of 7de Laan daily on SABC2 at 13:00 and at 13:30 on SABC3. The problem is that working viewers not able to watch it at 18:00 on weekdays, are definitely not able to watch it during the midday.

The public broadcaster says that for its viewers who "have the luxury of WiFi or data, [you] can watch the repeats at your convenience on our YouTube" and that the SABC "apologise for any inconvenience".

Hilariously, the SABC lies in its announcement, since there is no repeat of 7de Laan on SABC3 at 13:30.

The SABC's belated announcement comes after it didn't show the 7de Laan omnibus on SABC2 yesterday. Instead of announcing and informing viewers and the media beforehand what would be happening schedule wise, the SABC pushed out the public communication notification a day after SABC2 left viewers bewildered and confused on Sunday waiting for a show that never aired.

Last week the SABC's new TV boss Nomsa Philiso warned TV producers to "deliver" and that their shows will be cancelled if they don't.

Meanwhile TV producers feel they can't "deliver" ratings and buzz if their shows are given bad SABC timeslots and if the SABC doesn't maximise the opportunities to make the most of its expensive local content.

Last week during an on-air interview on SABC2, Gerhard Pretorius said the channel wants to lure back Afrikaans viewers it lost and admitted to scheduling and programming mistakes made by the channel over the past few years.

Gerhard Pretorius said SABC2 viewers find it difficult to find timeslot and spaces where they actually belong on the channel, a riff of the channel's slogan of "where we belong".

Gerhard Pretorius said "things have moved to different slots; to cater for when audiences are available." Oddly, Sunday afternoon is when the audience is available to watch 7de Laan who can't watch it during the week where SABC2 is showing it at 18:00.

"We listen to our audiences," said Gerhard Pretorius. "And obviously there's sort of going to be a big response to what we're doing now."

He said viewers should let SABC2 know what it thinks of the latest scheduling moves. "Tell us, do you like it? Don't you like it?"