Cape Town – Popular Afrikaans weekday soap 7de Laan was moved to an earlier timeslot to “protect it”, the SABC said on Tuesday.
The public broadcaster was presenting their annual report to Parliament’s communications committee, when a surprising question on the motive behind the move came up.
DA MP Veronica Van Dyk was very concerned about the soap, which had been relegated to a time that wasn’t convenient for viewers.
SABC acting COO Bessie Tugwana told the committee the decision was not made lightly.
“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.
While 7de Laan was a “pillar programme”, its numbers were declining, the committee heard.
“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.”
The SABC moved 7de Laan for the second time within months on SABC2 to a much earlier timeslot of 18:00 in January.
Tugwana said the new timeslot did not have as much aggressive competition.
She denied that the new slot was not within prime time, as 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.”
They would remain vigilant in assessing all their “pillar programmes”, the acting COO said.