Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SABC2's bizarre decision to dump the 7de Laan weekend omnibus repeat is the same as if the SABC were to can SABC3's Isidingo.

SABC2's bizarre and abrupt decision to dump the 7de Laan weekend omnibus repeats on Sundays without prior warning is the same in overall viewership terms as if the SABC were to cancel SABC3's Isidingo.

The SABC's shock decision to can 7de Laan's afternoon omnibus repeats on Sundays so that SABC2 can "revitalise the Sunday afternoon schedule" has lead to a growing avalanche of complaints from SABC2 viewers.

So far SABC2 has chosen to remain silent and ignore viewers' complaints, with the channel that isn't responding to any of the comments from the flood of viewers begging SABC2 to bring the 7de Laan Sunday omnibus back.

Last week SABC2 channel head Gerhard Pretorius said SABC2 always listens to viewers and wants to hear from them.

The move, described by viewers as shortsighted, unfair and misguided, comes after a month in which the SABC lost over 18.8 million viewers - many switching to - during its schedule disruption in January to show AFCON 2017 soccer matches that didn't perform in the ratings.

As first noted by TVSA, the 7de Laan omnibus repeats on Sundays lure roughly 1.1 million viewers to SABC2.

This 1.1 million SABC2 viewers are tuned in to the channel despite it being during the afternoon and on a weekend when far less less viewers are available than during weekdays and prime time.

SABC3's local soap Isidingo pulled 1.3 million viewers for its highest rated episode in January during prime time.

Gerhard Pretorius' decision to dump the 7de Laan omnibus on Sundays, is therefore roughly akin to the SABC cancelling Isidingo.

The decision comes while the loss-making public broadcaster is already struggling to hold onto its existing audiences and to increase its SABC TV audience market share that in 2016 missed its target of 52% and fell further to 48.8% according to the SABC's latest financial report.

Oddly striking is that SABC2 decided to remove a proven repeat that delivers results, a sticky audience and loyal viewership, for new, unproven content, during a daypart where that effort and cost will be less effective than if new programming is actually directed and scheduled during SABC2's prime time where it's most needed.

It's also odd that SABC2 decided to cut the omnibus after it moved 7de Laan earlier from 6 February to 18:00 where even less viewers are now able to see it, and removing their ability to catch up.

While new content like 7de Laan is wasted by showing it too early, the SABC has no problem yet again rebroadcasting old rerun content like Vetkoekpaleis during prime time at 19:00.

Also odd is SABC2 announcing and lying to viewers that they can catch a repeat on SABC3 at 13:30 on weekdays where 7de Laan is not showing but SABC3 is showing news.

"So where exactly do your viewers belong? On YouTube?" asks SABC2 viewer Margaret van Tonder. "I hope you are taking note of how many people are disappointed in you, SABC2!"

This 6pm timeslot is just not working out!" says Neofabulous Ramafoko. "We've just come home from work, sorting dinner out, getting kids to bath, etc. 1pm we are at work so we can't see the repeat. As if that isn't enough: no omnibus!"

"The SABC is taking its viewers for granted," said Roberta Maluleka.