TV guide: Prove you’re Mzansi fo sho

2010-09-03 09:45

Two weeks ago, SABC1 general manager Ray Nkwe threw one hell of a bash to make a few major announcements. As a vibey, informative, youth channel, it shouted at the top of its lungs that it was bent on “reclaiming” the 6.30pm ­­slot.

The new “reloaded” slot aims to ensure that viewers across the country are switching to SABC1 every night at 6.30pm. This is one of the biggest moves the channel has made in years ... and it’s about time. It promised to introduce new programming to its line-up over the next few months.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with SABC1. Let me tell you why.

Programmes such as Jam Alley and Selimathunzi have been airing on this channel for many years. Are those in charge aware of the fact that there are new generations of viewers?

Does whatever appealed to me back when I was 15 (yes, I admit it, I loved Jam Alley) still appeal to my sister today who is 10 years my junior? And does Selimathunzi – which, let’s be honest, is the poor man’s version of E! Entertainment – still work?

It sure seems like those in charge know what they are doing because Selimathunzi is celebrating it’s 15th birthday this year and still boasts high ratings. It has an average of 38% of the market share. To put that into perspective, 2.2 million South Africans tune into Selimathunzi every week.

But in all fairness, there are US shows that have been airing for much longer – Oprah celebrates 25 seasons – and their format changes every so often because the world around us changes every so often. For example, the queen of talk made Skype, the internet-based video and text communication platform, cool.

And this is my problem with shows on SABC1; the format and the content never change!

Granted, SABC1 has experimented with shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Rise Mzansi, but is this enough?

The channel has indirectly admitted that user-generated content is part of the ever-changing youth landscape. This was the case when they launched Mzansi Insider, a youth-focused, celebrity-driven show where content is generated by viewers.

Let’s hope this is the start of something new and refreshing because the youth market of today is very different from that of yesteryear. It’s time for the country’s biggest youth channel to get on board.

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