SABC & Hlaudi Have Broken Their 80% Local TV Content Promise

When former SABC COO, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, made his defiant proclamation to change the SABC tv content, we all gasped and watched in bewilderment as to how such a drastic transformation will be achieved. To assure us of his plan's success, promises were made and three months on, the main promise has been broken. 

At a press conference to announce the radical change to programming on SABC3, as phase one of the 80% local content quota, Mr Motsoeneng made a bold promise to the media that the new local shows will have to perform well for the channels or they will be canned. 

The SABC announced that they would be adding 27 emerging producers to make new shows for the SABC's TV channels. Which saw celebrities like the fired Generations stars Sophie Ndaba and Winnie Mashaba coming back to the public broadcaster as producers, as well as Khanyi Mbau.

Mbau is currently a producer and host on SABC3's Weekend Edition show with Ndaba and Ntshaba reportedly having a telenovela coming to air in early 2017. 

Unfortunately all of the new shows that were introduced to SABC3 on July have failed to attract viewers in big numbers. While Cheeky Media's Real Talk With Anele has received positive feedback on social media, viewers have not really showed it any support by tuning in. 

Latest television ratings show that all the new shows that debuted with Motsoeneng's 80% quota in July have failed to make it on the Top 20 list of SABC 3. With a mere 400 000 viewers needed in October to crack the list, it is disheartening to note that even the most talked about of the shows, Real Talk With Anele, could not achieve that number.

In deed the numbers situation for these shows has not changed from the very beginning when they aired on the channel. 

At a meeting with industry players Hlaudi Motsoeneng told producers that "I'm also aware some of people are taking chance. You need to give us quality content.You need to give us content that we able to attract an audience. And if we don't attract audience there's no reason why we should keep such content on our platform."

Weekend Edition has received negative reviews. Viewers have expressed concern that the show offers nothing new or unique to the genre and television landscape. Viewers have also questioned the hiring of Khanyi Mbau and Phat Joe has host, given that Phat Joe hosts a similar show on SABC1. 

Trending SA, the channel's panel talkshow moderated by Pabi Moloi with Shaka Sisulu and Kuli Roberts as co-hosts, has also not faired well with viewers. The show has failed to pull daytime viewers in big numbers and pales in comparison to daytime talk shows such as Shift

Granted, SABC3 as a channel generally pulls the lowest ratings for all SABC TV channels. However, even by SABC3 standards all these new shows are under performing. None, not a single one of them, is in the Top 20 of the channel's shows. 

Given that Mr Motsoeneng, and by extension the SABC, made a promise that; should these new shows fail to deliver they will be canned to make way for other producers to showcase their shows, can we expect none of these shows to be renewed for a second season?

Thus far, it doesn't look good for the credibility of the promise. Cheeky Media, which produces four of the new shows, has just had one of their shows, Real Talk With Anele, renewed for another season. 

Should we still hold some hope for those young producers with fresh ideas to get a chance to put on shows on the channels? Or are we still stuck in that same rut of 'chosen' production companies being the only ones getting the chance to pitch shows and have them on air regardless of how they perform?

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