Friday, June 27, 2014

'Drastic' scheduling changes for the SABC's 3 TV channels starting from right after the 2014 FIFA World Cup on 14 July.

Changes the SABC top TV executives themselves describe as "drastic" is coming to the South African public broadcaster's three terrestrial TV channels - SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 -  from 14 July after the conclusion of the SABC's 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage.

SABC1 will change first with some big changes on SABC2 and SABC3, and then other changes later on SABC2 and SABC3 later during the year.

TV with Thinus already revealed - and stands by those stories - of how the Afrikaans news bulletin that was on SABC2 and moved to SABC3 for the duration of the World Cup,will be shifted to SABC3 permanently.

The Afrikaans drama slot on SABC2 which has been there since 1976 when SABC television started on the then TV1, is moving to SABC3 - the SABC channel received by the least number of TV households in the country.

Several other Afrikaans programming, from Fokus, Voetspore and others are moving to SABC3 permanently, SABC2 and SABC3 TV programming executives and channel heads told the press and advertisers.

SABC1: The schedule will change completely
SABC1 won't be the same from 14 July," says Sam Mpherwane, SABC1 channel head. "Coming out of the World Cup we're looking to create and offer a schedule which hasn't existed and not been seen in the country before"

"The schedule will change completely - both in primetime and daytime. For the first time we're launching a soapie in primetime at 18:30 something that has been a dream for a decade. We've moved our news bulletins from 19:30 to 19:00 because that is when the people want to catch them. We've moved our sitcoms from 19:00 to 19:30. Generations stays at 20:00".

"Its important for us to go out with this fresh, exciting content that we'll be offering to viewers. Largely the SABC1 schedule will change drastically".

SABC2: Introducing game shows and reality
"The Afrikaans news as we had it on SABC2 is moving to SABC3 from 14 July, said Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC2's acting programme manager. "What does for us on the schedule is that it opens it up so that it flows better. It's been quite a challenge for SABC2 in the past. We really have been like a schizophrenic channel".

"We've been serving two markets - the Sesotho audience as well as the Afrikaans audience - and it's been really quite a struggle to serve both those very important audiences. But in one channel that kind of positioning has become unsustainable."

We will still have all the languages on our channel, including Afrikaans, not all the content is going to SABC3 that's Afrikaans, but we do feel that it's about family viewing, that it's about family values and all the good things that we need to build this country," said Jacqui Hlongwane.

"At 18:30 on SABC2 we have 7de Laan. That stays on the channel from Monday to Friday. And then after that where we had the Afrikaans news we will start introducing things like family game shows and reality and factual content".

"After that we will put some sitcoms in - both foreign and local sitcoms - as well as a new telenovela that we want to introduce. In primetime you will see these changes."

"Unlike SABC1 those changes will come in a phased-in approach. We will start in July slowly. Then in September we will go bigger. It will be an evolusionary process".

"We will allow them [SABC1] to first take the space and shine. Hopefuly all these changes will work to make all three channels better so that we offer a solid network of content that every South African can watch," said Jacqui Hlongwane.

Interface is moving from SABC3 to SABC2.

SABC3: Going younger, a 'whole new SABC3 by February 2015'
Aisha Mohamed, SABC3's new channel head said the troubled commercial TV channel of the broadcaster is going younger.

"We're going to focus a lot on local productions, so there's a strong focus on generating good local content especially within the genre of lifestyle and entertainment - fashion, food, travel - all of the things viewers have come to expect from SABC3 - just with a younger look".

"SABC3 will slowly start changing. It won't be jarring. Once the World Cup is over viewers won't get brand new programmes and content. You will get a new schedule for sure. Repeats will get knocked off quite a bit. The schedule definitely changes. The focus will be on younger".

"What you might also get in July and what we're aiming for, is a new on-air look and feel. So SABC3 will no longer be blue necessarily. In July it might have a new look and feel."

"By August there will be more change; by September. By the time we get to next year February [2015], it will be a brand-new SABC3," said Aisha Mohamed.

SABC has to stay relevant
"We can't exist in the way that we've always existed," says Leo Manne, the general manager for TV channels at the SABC. "It's important that a public broadcasting platform like the SABC stays relevant as far as South Africa's development is concerned. That's why is necessary that we react to the times".

TV with Thinus asked specifically about ongoing scheduling disruption at the SABC and why the SABC channels are changing schedules again shortly after the World Cup changed schedules.

SABC schedules changed in a big way last year when The Bold and the Beautiful was moved from SABC1 to SABC3.

"There is no broadcaster in the world which doesn't change schedules," says Leo Manne.

"It is a challenge with three channels, to try and accomodate and speak to, and be relevant to millions of TV households. But we do it and we try and do it to the best of our ability. Naturally you can't please everybody; you won't please everybody".

"The challenge is perhaps we can try and become a lot better in the way we communicate and how we communicate these changes," says Leo Manne.