Thursday, May 18, 2017

SABC2 returning the 7de Laan omnibus repeat block on SABC2 on Sundays from 2 July after avalanche of complaints and lower Sunday viewership.

The SABC will announce that it's returning the 7de Laan omnibus to Sunday afternoons on SABC2 from July following an avalanche of complaints from viewers and falling Sunday midday viewership hurting the channel's ratings.

While SABC2 channel head Gerhard Pretorius in February publicly said SABC2 always listens to viewers and want to hear from them, he stayed silent amidst the massive furore that followed after SABC2 abruptly decided to move the 7de Laan timeslot earlier to 18:00 and to dump the Sunday afternoon omnibus since mid-February.

On Sunday afternoons 7de Laan lured around 1.1 million viewers - and its axing from Sundays in terms of ratings was basically the same as if the SABC cancelled the soap Isidingo on SABC3 that gets 1.3 million viewers.

SABC2 viewership on Sundays without the 7de Laan omnibus has been lower the past three months and is now returning it to Sunday afternoons "where it belongs".

While SABC1 has managed to marginally increased its ratings and audience share in 2017, SABC2 is slowly starting to follow south the extremely troubled SABC3 that has flatlined after a massive loss of viewers.

Further viewership erosion is something that SABC2 can ill afford as the struggling public broadcaster, engulfed in a financial crisis, needs to try and hold onto every viewer it possibly can while it tries to grow audience ratings and share.

With little wriggle room and no cash to fully pay producers that it owes more than R150 million, the SABC's new TV boss Nomsa Philiso is now tasked with trying to undo the damage inflicted by the SABC's controversial former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng who decimated the public broadcaster's TV schedules, production kitty and ratings with his unilateral local content quotas and erratic commissioning decrees.

SABC2 has now placed the 7de Laan omnibus back on its July schedule from Sunday 2 July.

This will be welcome news for 7de Laan viewers who watch it during the week but watch it again on Sundays as "comfort television.

It's also good news for thousands of working class viewers who have been unable to catch any repeat of the Danie Odendaal Productions produced soap following its earlier timeslot move since they're not yet home on weekdays.

Bessie Tugwana, acting chief operating officer (COO) told parliament in late-February that the SABC is "constantly vigilant in terms of how its performing," when she was asked about 7de Laan's timeslot change and said the soap "was declining audiences" over the past year.

In April 2017 the highest rated 7de Laan episode on SABC2 lured 2.31 million viewers (6.8 AR, 25.2 share).