Monday, May 1, 2017

SABC TV bosses Nomsa Philiso and Maijang Mpherwane jetset to LA for a Bold and the Beautiful champagne celebration while the SABC again fails to pay local producers.

It's reported that the SABC's new TV boss Nomsa Philiso jetted to Los Angeles for a champagne celebration with The Bold and the Beautiful - the very American soap the SABC constantly just says bad things about.

While Nomsa Philiso did photos with The Bold and the Beautiful cast, the struggling and out-of-cash South African public broadcaster once again failed to pay local production companies for content that it now owes hundreds of millions of rand - something that is a responsibility that falls under Nomsa Philiso as the head of television to manage.

The SABC's Maijang Sam Mpherwane, the SABC's general manager for TV channels, reportedly went with Nomsa Philiso to Los Angeles for The Bold and the Beautiful set visit on this international TV junket earlier in April that included a print journalist from South Africa's The Sunday Times and a blogger.

It's not yet clear how much the SABC paid towards the 8-day Los Angeles junket to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Bold and the Beautiful and the SABC reportedly didn't respond to media enquiries.

The inclusion of the SABC executives is odd since television executives never go on marketing and PR junkets.

The SABC also didn't issue any press statement either before or afterwards about Nomsa Philiso and Sam Mpherwane attending The Bold and the Beautiful celebration, or any of the usual press releases with obligatory drop-on quotes broadcasters issue in conjunction with content suppliers, studios or partnering producers when there's some kind of a milestone celebration.

TV executives at the best of times don't have enough time in their diaries for just their normal day-to-day oversight, management, meetings and decisions - let alone when they're tasked with and heading up an imploding broadcaster like the SABC.

Contrast this behaviour with the new interim SABC board where members worked 18 days flat including weekends and public holidays in April to get to grips and a fuller understanding of the myriad problems besetting the SABC.

While Nomsa Philiso and Sam Mpherwane was in Los Angeles, the SABC, in financial and management crisis, at the end of April again failed to pay all TV producers with some who haven't been paid since February.

Then on Sunday producers and the public they had to read how Nomsa Philiso "flew first class on Emirates" to go toast The Bold and the Beautiful.

The SABC collectively now owes South African TV producers hundreds of millions of rand, with producers saying they will start to withhold delivery of content.

In a "Nero playing the fiddle while Rome is burning", the SABC's Bold and the Beautiful junket is terrible optics for the SABC that is in financial and management meltdown where those working in marketing and publicity once again appears apparently clueless of how its own top executives should and really shouldn't be seen.

It's not clear why Nomsa Philiso and Maijang Mpherwane would go on an overseas marketing and publicity organised junket meant for press and handled by publicists, when the beleaguered SABC needs daily, high-level, hands-on executive intervention.

How valuable and what price is one minute of a broadcasting executive's time (let alone days) of someone like Nomsa Philiso - time that crucially should be going to managing and getting the SABC out of its critical death-spiral, but that is being wasted by doing luxury flights and then photos, long lunches and sun-drenched walks with foreign soap stars.

Press junkets are for media, with journalists like TV and film critics attending, although Nomsa Philiso herself hobnobbed with The Bold and the Beautiful actors like Katherine Kelly Lang and John McCook from the Bell-Phillip Television Production while sipping champagne and doing lunch with sea vistas.

Making Nomsa Philiso and Maijang Mpherwane's champagne celebration of The Bold and the Beautiful even odder and distateful is the fact that the SABC on basically a monthly basis had been making disparaging public remarks about Bold.

In April the SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng, touting the SABC's 90% local content strategy, said: "Why would people want The Bold and the Beautiful when they could have local?"

Who can forget the SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo infamously called The Bold and the Beautiful old and "outdated" and said that the SABC is locked into a so-called "evergreen" contract with Bold that it can't get rid of?

Despite the little love from the SABC, The Bold and the Beautiful remains one of the most watched shows on SABC3.

It's sad that SABC executives like Nomsa Philiso sees doing a Bold and the Beautiful Los Angeles visit oversees as being more important than being hands-on every moment to save the sinking SABC locally in South Africa.

How you see what is really important to people isn't what they say is important, but what you see them give their time and money to.

PS: Over more than a decade and a half I've gone on numerous overseas TV junkets for various channels and shows across the world. I've never once been accompanied by TV executives of any kind. It's utterly unheard of.

Press colleagues who've gone at times to attend a junket for a show around some marketable moment, show, episode, launch or set visit, have had, at times, a publicist or marketing division person going as well - but only in extremely rare cases.