It was the news about SABC television news which TV with Thinus broke exclusively and which readers have known for weeks: The SABC now confirms that the News @ 7 on SABC3 is moving from 19:00 to 18:30 and becoming an hour long broadcast on weekdays.
"From the 1st April we are extending our English news bulletin by 30 minutes from 18:30 to 19:30," says the SABC in a press statement issued on Saturday. The SABC says the change on SABC3's news scheduling is prompted by the "Make Your Voices Heard Campaign" which the public broadcaster ran last year.
The SABC says the longer hour long bulletin will allow the SABC an opportunity yo give coverage to stories from the respective provinces.
The SABC fails to explain why if this is indeed the case, the news bulletin in the smallest of the SABC's three TV channels is used to shown provincial news which many people in those provinces won't and can't actually see since SABC3 has the smallest footprint and smallest broadcasting reach of the three SABC channels.
The News in 60 Seconds at 20:59 on SABC3 is also getting canned, but the SABC fails to make reference to that.
SABC insiders told me last month that the SABC's television news division and SABC3 is trying to claw back viewers and news viewers.
SABC3's 80s comedies in the 18:30 comedy slot such as The Cosby Show wasn't working and not getting viewers and is getting dumped on SABC1, while more screen time for news on television will hopefully get more eyeballs for the SABC television news service.
SABC executives at the embattled broadcaster have seen viewers migrate to e.tv's eNews Prime Time and NewsNight on eNCA (DStv 403) as the subscriber growth of the DStv Compact bouquet continue to surge.
"SABC3 is now going to be, and focus on, 'bringing you the news first' - therefore 18:30 when everyone else is at 19:00," another well-connected SABC source told me.
"Our viewers felt that our news broadcasts were too short," says the SABC in the issued statement. In order to address this issue, a decision was taken to extend the English news bulletin to one hour," says the SABC.
The matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng, inexplicable back as acting chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC without any actual official announcement (the last official statement from the SABC was that he was terminated from the position and is returning to his former position of looking after stakeholder relations and provinces), is quoted in the press statement instead of Lulama Mokhobo who is the SABC's CEO.
"As a public service broadcaster, our various programming has to continuously reflect the needs and wants of our audience. This decision was not taken lightly and we are cognisant of the fact that more work needs to be done, and this is but one step in that direction," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
"We want the people to know that this is their SABC, and their opinion and input are highly valued and we will continue to engage them on various issues regarding the corporation," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
The SABC says Lulama Mokhobo will "launch the new on hour bulletin on Monday 1 April" and that "SABC3 programmes which played at 18:30 will now be moved to SABC1".