Is there too much to watch on TV?

2014-08-25 18:45

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

If there’s one thing that South Africans love to gripe about more than Bafana Bafana’s dismal track record, it’s that there are “too many repeats on television”.

Yes, SABC3 is showing Shaka Zulu for the umpteenth time since the 1980s, but it’s actually excellent, locally made television of a bygone era – with Henry Cele in his most iconic role.

Yes, weekends are littered with omnibus broadcasts of the week’s soaps – which, yes, were already repeated during the week.

But the reality of the matter is that the popular punching bag phrase of “too many repeats” obscures what has really happened to South African television: there is now actually too much good television to get to and simply too little time.

If you took stock of your piled-up and recorded TV shows, took just five minutes a week to look through your TV schedules, and highlighted what you wanted to watch and planned your viewing – instead of just randomly falling on your couch and flipping through channels – you would discover that there’s more great television to watch than what the average South African viewer can ever hope to get through.

Stop shouting indignantly: “But there’s nothing on now, but repeats.” Get a highlighter and start prioritising. Take personal responsibility for what you want to watch and when you would like to do so.

In 1961, Newton Minow, US attorney and former chairperson of the Federal Communications Commission, famously called television a “vast wasteland”, but that has given way to a new golden age of television with more quality television than ever before.

Such has been the glut of good television that even M-Net realised earlier this year that simply too much of it was just washing away, unwatched.

The pay TV broadcaster will be restructuring its M-Net Series TV channels in October after the ratings for two of the channels on DStv – filled with some of the very best international drama and reality series, daily talk shows and other programming – remained flat.

The reason? Absolutely great television that viewers simply don’t watch because they don’t have time goes down the drain and out to sea like precious rainwater.

The government is dragging its feet and keeping the country back with a switch to a new TV system standard – a new broadcasting structure called digital terrestrial television (DTT), which will mean that broadcasters can bring viewers more TV channels.

When DTT finally arrives, the SABC, and M-Net will all start broadcasting roughly five to eight new TV channels each.

These broadcasters know full well that in order for these new channels to get traction, viewership and advertisers, they simply will have to have at least some great, original and new TV shows on each – or viewers won’t bother.

Television’s content, what you’re now able to see and have access to as a South African viewer collectively, has moved far away from being a vast wasteland to what’s really an oversupply of excellence.

Learn to know where to watch and how to watch.

Put in a little bit of effort by looking at the whole TV store shelf and you’ll find an almost repeat-free profusion of quality choices on your telly – more than even the most ardent couch potato can ever hope to get through.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.