Earlier this year, SABC announced a new programme shuffling which affected popular SABC2 7de Laan timeslot which was move to 18:00.
The Afrikaans soapie got another timeslot following first changing in July 2016. The public broadcaster moved 7de Laan for the second time within months on SABC2. According to the broadcaster, the soapie was moved to an earlier timeslot to “protect it.”
The public broadcaster made the announcement on Tuesday while presenting their annual report to Parliament’s communications committee. Surprisingly, a question on the motive behind the move came up.
Apparently, DA MP Veronica Van Dyk was concerned about the fate of the soap, which had been moved to a time that wasn’t very convenient for viewers.
In response to the questions about the motive behind the move, SABC acting COO Bessie Tugwana told the committee that there were good reasons behind the decision to move 7de Laan timeslot.
“While we are a public broadcaster that serves to offer engaging, cutting edge programmes, we are operating in highly competitive environment.
“Constantly we do research to look at how all our programmes are performing and move them, partly to increase their potential to grow and also to ensure that in terms of our scheduling strategy, it makes sense,” she said.
The committee further heard that while 7de Laan was a “pillar programme”, its numbers were declining.
“It’s a programme that is viewed by many South Africans who speak Afrikaans, across black, white, coloured. Therefore we protect it. The move was not to kill it, but to protect it.”
Tugwana emphasised that the new timeslot did not have as much aggressive competition on TV.
Speaking on the fact that the new slot was not within prime time, she said 18:00 till 22:00 was how they defined prime time.
“What we have done is make sure it is what audiences see before anything else, in primetime.”
Apparently, the motive is to get rid of the competition surrounding the soapie’s timeslot.