Tuesday, July 11, 2017

After The Voice South Africa is bedeviled by voting interference again, M-Net says it will 'see how to make it a lot easier going forward'.

After voting issues again marred the second season of The Voice South Africa, M-Net says it will relook the entire voting system for future seasons and stressed that winner Craig Lucas wasn't one of the contestants who was involved in attempts to garner more votes through illegal paid-for marketing social media posts.

The second season of The Voice SA concluded on Sunday evening on M-Net (DStv 101) with 1.6 million votes cast.

The record number of votes for the show was however overshadowed by attempts at illegal vote rigging over the preceding three weeks that caused behind-the-scenes headaches for M-Net and AMPN producing the South African version of the Talpa format show, with a second season of the Nigerian show also currently in production for M-Net's Africa Magic channel.

AMPN and M-Net was forced to bring two voted out contestants back and to change the structure of the last two episodes after paid-for "boosted" social media posts appeared the past few weeks, canvassing for votes for the remaining contestants - something that's strictly against the rules.

Although M-Net didn't disqualify any contestants and also refused to name the guilty parties, the pay-TV broadcaster was adamant that the "boosted" Facebook posts didn't impact The Voice South Africa's voting process and didn't change the ranking of the top vote getters in the show.

M-Net said that the final contestant ranking order in terms of total votes cast during the last week didn't change from before Tuesday last week - when another paid-for attempt at vote influencing appeared - and after that when it was removed, and voting closed on Wednesday last week.

At the press conference following The Voice SA's live show finale, TVwithThinus asked M-Net about the voting issues and if M-Net is looking at changing anything.

"The issue around voting, the most important thing to say is that the issues that arose had no material impact on the voting results. Very important, going forward, it is something that we will engage with as a business, and try and see how to make it a lot easier going forward," said Nkateko Mabaso, general manager for M-Net South Africa.

Nkateko Mabaso also stressed that "Craig wasn't part of the people that were said to have been part of the boosting. I need to make that very clear."

He said that "for us this has been a fantastic season. We've also done well from a viewership perspective as a channel. There's been great engagement around the property."

TVwithThinus asked how The Voice SA benefited from a longer second season that saw the show expand to more episodes.

"In season one we went into the live shows with 32 people in 6 shows," said Darren Hayward, The Voice SA director.

"So it was very difficult for the viewer to form a bond or a relationship with the talent. So the big focus in going into season 2 was to try and get as few people going into the live shows as possible, and lose as few people - so that the viewer gets time to spend some time with them and get to understand them a little bit better."

"The aim was that you get to a moment like this where your favourite wins and it's not someone you're just getting to know."

"So making a longer season was firstly something that M-Net as a channel wanted, but also in that we could get people to get to know the talent a lot better".

"We know that Craig Lucas has a fantastic year ahead of him," said Yolisa Phahle, M-Net CEO. "And we are so proud of your mom. Thank you to the fans. Thank you to the families. Thank you to the production who did an incredible job. And thank you to everybody at M-Net."

M-Net said it will be releasing the voting statistics for the second season of The Voice SA in a week.