The SABC’s TV viewership keeps plunging and has now dropped to a disastrous 45% audience share – its “lowest on record” – while SABC radio station listenership also nosedived following the badly implemented 90% local content decree of its former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Channel24 reported that while the viewership of SABC2 and SABC3 have been tanking over several months since mid-2016, even the stalwart SABC1 is now being affected and its viewership sliding, with overall SABC TV audiences that have slipped to just 45% in the last quarter.
The SABC’s falling viewership and radio listenership comes in the wake of the disastrous implementation of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 90% local content decree in June 2016 that’s drained the public broadcaster’s production coffers and saw viewers and listeners, and then also advertisers flee.
According to the SABC’s latest group operations business review document of 22 March, the SABC’s plummeting TV audience share has now hit “the lowest on record”.
Business Day on Friday first reported about the latest business review document.
The SABC’s ongoing audience losses is however MultiChoice’s gain, with the SABC ironically supplying TV channels like SABC News and SABC Encore to DStv.
The SABC’s internal research notes that while SABC audience share fell to its lowest level ever in the last quarter, that MultiChoice’s audience share for DStv has climbed from 25% to 28% – it’s “its highest on record”.
Meanwhile, the SABC keeps revising its TV audience share target downwards, but the 45% is even lower than the downgraded 51% it wants to try and meet.
It’s not just the SABC’s three terrestrial TV channels that are struggling – the SABC’s radio stations are hemorrhaging as well.
SABC radio stations bleeding
The SABC’s predominantly English language radio stations – Metro FM, Good Hope FM and even Radio 2000 – saw “significant declines” since mid-2016 when Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s abrupt content policy change was enforced.
In the 9 months since the change the SABC hasn’t done any qualitative market research, with the report now suggesting that “qualitative research needs to be executed across different radio stations to test the effects of the 90% local music implementation”.
SABC radio listeners from RSG to Lotus FM and Lesedi FM have been vocal in their dislike of how language and culture specific radio stations have been forced to play music falling outside of the market demographic of the consumers that specific SABC radio stations are supposed to be catering for.
The SABC’s radio audience in the last quarter is now down to 71% according to the business review document.
On Thursday angry and fearful SABC staffers openly slammed SABC management as “inept and ignorant”, asking executives point blank “if there’s money” as the SABC’s cash reserves are plummeting with another financial crisis looming for the broadcaster.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago on Friday didn’t immediately respond to a media enquiry seeking comment about the first quarter audience share reports.