With severe schedule disruption and massive programming upheaval on all three of the SABC's TV channels coming in 2013, how viewers are going to make sense of the coming mess is anyone's guess: The SABC plans to dump some SABC1 shows on SABC2, and even have some soccer matches on SABC3 - the broadcaster's commercial lifestyle TV channel - for Afcon 2013 happening in January 2013.
Last week TV critics rolled eyes at each other when word leaked in the biz that the SABC plans to repurpose several SABC1 shows come January 2013 to SABC2 in order to accomodate the Afcon 2013. Even SABC3 won't be spared with that channel which will have to carry the soccer load and screen some of the matches.
The Afcon 2013 mixey-matchey shows how indistinguishable the SABC's three TV channels have become, although they're supposed to have and serve very separate demographic markets. If shows and programming can be willy-nilly moved around, seemingly indistinguishable between channels, are those channel's really all that different? Already all of them repeat each other's soaps and other programming from news bulletins and movies to sitcoms and dramas.
From 19 January huge programming disruption will hit viewers of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 on the day-to-day schedules between 16:30 and midnight - affecting some of the SABC's biggest advertising revenue earners such as The Bold and the Beautiful, Montana, Generations, Zone 14, RGB and Friends Like These.
With SABC1 broadcasting 29 Afcon 2013 matches, The Bold and the Beautiful is suddenly moving to SABC2 at 18:00 from January. So not only is SABC1's schedule disrupted and the Afcon 2013 soccer matches contained there, it's also impacting SABC2 which will only maintain its current normal schedule from 21:00 at night.
SABC2 will now carry SABC1's Xhosa/Zulu news at 19:30 and the Siswati/Ndebele news is also moving from SABC1 to SABC2 and to a new time of 17:30. Generations also moves from SABC1 to SABC2 but luckily remains in its current 20:00 timeslot. SABC1 dramas such as Montana, Zone 14, and Tshisa all move to SABC2 in January 2013. Real Goboza also moving to SABC2 also gets a new timeslot at 17:30; Friends Like These move to SABC2 and a new timeslot fo 18:30.
This all means that The Bold and the Beautiful will now be on SABC2 starting at 18:00, followed by 7de Laan, then the Afrikaans news at 19:30 and then Generations at 20:00 - a haphazard non-flow schedule harking back to the 12 languages in bit-pieces the SABC unsuccessfully introduced in 1994.
How viewers are going to react to the massive scheduling reaction is anybody's guess.
Not known for its sports coverage besides cricket and the odd overhyped Venus and Serena Williams tennis match, SABC3 will suddenly dump Afcon 2013 soccer matches on viewers. SABC3 will have at least 4 Afcon 2013 soccer matches. Of course the soccer on SABC3 will impact the broadcaster's biggest single TV production - its daily soap Isidingo.
Isidingo will be moving to the far too late timeslot of 21:30 from 28 January.