Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Viewers slam "nasty" SABC in a flood of complaints over SABC2's shock decision to abruptly cull 7de Laan Sunday omnibus repeats.

Public pressure is building on the SABC with a growing viewer backlash over SABC2 channel head Gerhard Pretorius' decision to abruptly can the weekend omnibus repeat of its weekday soap 7de Laan after also moving it to a too early weekday timeslot of 18:00.

The SABC is facing a torrent of complaints from upset and shocked viewers, with hundreds of angry and vocal SABC2 viewers who have flooded the public broadcaster with comments since yesterday when the SABC said it axed the weekend omnibus  and that those who have the luxury of the internet can watch episodes on YouTube.

The earlier timeslot and the shocking weekend repeat cancellation of the local soap produced by Danie Odendaal Productions puts 7de Laan out of reach for tens of millions of viewers who are not home in time to watch it during the week, don't have access to the internet and expensive data, and depend on the public broadcaster to actually show content on television.

Millions of SABC2 viewers over the past 17 years have seen the 7de Laan Sunday omnibus repeat as their opportunity to watch and catch up on the show that been abruptly taken away from them on Sunday without any prior warning.

The SABC still broadcast omnibus repeats of other soaps over weekend like Generations and Isidingo.

The SABC failed to tell viewers beforehand that the Sunday omnibus is being cancelled. Confused and angry SABC2 viewers didn't understand where the weekend repeat of the past week's 5 episodes went and why SABC2 isn't communicating properly and explaining what's going on.

That was until Monday when SABC2 admitted yesterday the omnibus is cancelled.

SABC2 said viewers can watch repeats of 7de Laan daily on SABC2 at 13:00 and at 13:30 on SABC3. That's a lie since there is no repeat on SABC3 at 13:30 showing local news at that time.

The SABC said that viewers who "have the luxury of WiFi or data, can watch the repeats at your convenience on our YouTube" and that the SABC "apologise for any inconvenience".

7de Laan's ratings have plunge the past 7 months following two bad timeslot changes and is now set to shed even more viewers who are warning the SABC that they won't pay their SABC TV licences and are also no longer watching or able to watch the soap.

SABC2's decision to can the 7de Laan omnibus is especially harsh and comes across as completely tone-deaf as it happened in the week where a lot more viewers than usual were looking forward to the 7de Laan omnibus that suddenly never happened.

Because of the very late-night broadcast on Thursday when the episode was pushed hours later on SABC2 due to president Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address, a large chunk of the audience didn't see it and thought they would on Sunday.

Viewers' reactions towards SABC2 over dumping the omnibus are brutal and they are now blasting the South African public broadcaster and SABC2 for the latest trash handling of 7de Laan's scheduling.

With an avalanche of criticism since Monday, viewers are also saying they won't vote for 7de Laan in the Most Popular TV Soap category in the upcoming 2017 South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas), with the shock-move now also impacting viewer attitudes for the competition.

"Why vote for something I won't watch? 6pm not home, 1pm am not home also. Worse,you cancel Sunday omnibus," said Kgotso Mphephuka.

"This isn't fair. What about its fans?" asked Sy'mon Oupa Malapane who slammed the SABC as "stupid, selfish and pathetic".

"This is totally unacceptable and viewers' input should be more valuable, since TV is meant for them," says Kereng Mmusi.

Viewers also want to know why SABC2 is dropping the omnibus just to make space for old rebroadcast of stale movies.

"Drop the 4pm family movie slot! Watching 7de Laan together is also considered family time. Another pointless change that the SABC has made without thinking about the opinion of viewers," says Nasreen Franks.

"A whole channel with junk," said Lizette Vermaak of SABC2.

"This is nonsense ! Some of us work and watch 7de Laan Sundays only. They even took off Pretty Little Liars. What crap. SABC sucks," says Rasheeda Karolia.

"SABC2 has no respect for their viewers. How could you stop airing the 7de Laan omnibus," says Elsie Rambau.

"SABC that's nasty. Think of your viewers on a Sunday and bring it back," says Tracy-Ann Combrinck. "You have punished viewers twice now changing timeslots and no omnibus".

"You don’t give a s#$t what your viewers want," said Riette Steyn. "Let us know" you say. And we do. And the outcome? Nothing."

"Not good enough SABC2," said Sharron Phillips. "Viewers should be asked what they want. Isn't it about keeping the viewers happy so that they will watch your channel?"

"Stop informing us about this nonsense and give us back our omnibus," demanded Ayanda Mabuza. 

"Going from freak-in bad to worse," said Benedick Brand. "How do you not do simple research amongst your viewers to ask their opinions? Or is 7de Laan not the main horse anymore and now you don't care what you do with it? Maybe kykNET should grab it and maximise a product with huge potential and following."

Chantel Coetzee said: "How inconsiderate to move the show from 7pm to 6pm when most working individuals are not home yet and when you want to catch up on a Sunday by watching the repeats its also gone! People work at 1:30 during the day! They messing up the fan base here ... or is this done intentionally?"

"So a working person is screwed now!," said Warren Adams. "If you work late, you miss an episode because they moved it to 6pm. Now they remove the omnibus and you're further screwed and who is at home during those repeat times? Horrible, SABC is just going down the tubes."

Leeflina Botes says "not everyone is at home daily or has internet to watch it during the day and online. Sundays is the only time to catch up as the schedule during the week has also changed so I always miss it. I think by doing this many people will lose interest. What SABC is now doing is not fair".

"Utterly, utterly disappointed in the SABC," said Cleo Christoforos. "Obviously no consideration was made at all with regards to this decision. To make changes for utter rubbish."

"Remove the You Belong. Because actually we don't," remarked Carole Delcie, with Jo Ridley that echoed the sentiment saying "You must drop the 'You belong' motto. It's a lie".

"I no longer watch 7de Laan during the week with hope to catch the omnibus. This is totally unfair. Why can't SABC 2 cancel other shows for a change?" asked Gugu Hlongwane.

"Excuse me ? Watch repeats on weekdays and on YouTube? What about the people that work? How are they going to watch the repeats ?" asked Sashnee Pillay. "Don't give us YouTube as an option because not everyone has access to free Wi-Fi! To be honest SABC, nobody cares about the music show and movie timeslot."

"You only announcing now? Huh, after everyone was disappointed. You should have announced before that crap played," said Masivuye Tetyana.

Anna Sekhonyana probably said it best: "You SABC people are sick in the head".