Friday, November 29, 2019

The SABC cancels Isidingo The Need on SABC3 after 21 years, final episode to broadcast on 12 March 2020 as dismantling of the struggling channel's legacy schedule continues.

by Thinus Ferreira

The SABC no longer sees any need for Isidingo - The Need with the show that is the next legacy show on SABC3 getting the cancellation axe and will broadcast its final episode on 12 March 2020.

In response to a media enquiry on Friday morning the SABC told TVwithThinus that Isidingo is over with the 21-year old local soap, now produced by Pomegranate Media, that won't be renewed for a further season.

The SABC blames Isidingo's "poor audience ratings during the time slot, decline in revenue and poor return on investment" for the weekday soap's cancellation, although SABC3 as a whole remains deeply mired in financial trouble, ratings problems and almost insurmountable programming challenges as the South African public broadcaster's only commercial TV channel. 

Over the past three years the SABC has dismantled and cancelled basically the entire legacy programming schedule of SABC3, including the local telenovela High Rollers, the American daytime soaps Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful, 3Talk with Noeleen as well as its replacement Real Talk with Anele, as well as the longrunning Top Billing

SABC3 keeps saying the bulk cancellations are part of "the channels' future strategic direction" but fails to explain or answer media enquiries about what it means. 

On Friday the SABC confirmed that Isidingo will "be airing its final episode on Thursday, 12 March 2020."

Created by Gray Hofmeyr and making its debut in July 1998, the soap that was originally produced by Endemol Shine Africa was once a once cutting-edge local soap that included quick-filmed ripped-form-the-day's-headlines scenes and groundbreaking storylines ranging including HIV-positive and gay characters who inhabited the fictional Horizon Deep mining community. 

"In line with SABC3's future strategic direction, Isidingo has been one of the programmes that will not be recommissioned for the new fiscal from April 2020," says the SABC.

"The decision to decommission Isidingo was informed by a number of factors which includes poor audience ratings during the time slot, decline in revenue and poor return on investment."

"The organisation was faced with no option but to review the performance of all programmes on the channel that are not performing and to ensure that the channel’s content is competitive and commercially viable," says David Makubyane, the SABC's acting head of television.

"SABC3, through its strategic plans will continue to commission and intensify its investment in local productions and content which will allow creatives to come up with new, gripping and commercially viable content for the channel."

"The channel will through its content division welcome any proposals that respond to these plans and channel direction," says David Makubyane.