The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has been losing a substantial amount of viewers since the rise in mobile, satellite TV and digital streaming platforms and SABC 3 is no exception to this. What was once an affluent channel, and favourite to many South Africans who enjoyed pristine lifestyle shows such as Top Billing to intense drama like Isidingo is now seeking to win more eyes in their new channel rebranding and launch.Today, SABC 3 is hosting the media and industry stakeholders to introduce their new re-brand, S3 - Fearless by Nature. They are bold, daring, and fearless by nature.
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The stations started off by releasing their new TVC on all digital platforms introducing their new rebranding and station direction under the leadership of the station’s current head Pat van Heerden. In the promo video, many local media personalities make a cameo, from presenters on the channel such as Afternoon Express’s Palesa Tembe, Unpacked’s Relebogile Mabotja and Espresso Show’s Ryle Rene De Morny, as well as some actors from the station's main primetime soapie The Estate such as Aubrey Poo, Jo-anne Reyneke, and Zenzelisphesihle Xulu amongst many others.
Although the channel's re-branding is unlikely to increase viewership, the head of the channel urged the public and guests to continue watching the channel and supporting local programming, which SABC 3 has promised more even with budget constraints at times. Original content that appeals to viewers and tells stories they can relate to, and aspirational content, are the things that will keep viewers returning.
S3 currently has leading local content shows such as the new drama series “Family Secrets”, "The Estate", a daily telenovela, "The Insider," a show similar to "Top Billing," but with segments about eco-conscious living; and "Unpacked with Relebogile Mabotja," a late-night talk show.
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There are other local shows coming from next month and later on in the year on the channel, which Van Heerden hopes will bring back viewers.
“Obviously we aren't an international channel. It doesn't make sense anymore. But we are challenged when it comes to the budget compared to our competitors, hence we are strategically looking into getting more original local content, that’s linked to pre-sales,” he added.A few local media personalities were present at this rebranding event the SABC 3 hosted in Johannesburg. They included television presenter Sthembiso Dliwayo also known as Sprkz, Palesa Tembe who also MC’d the event in a beautiful Tomi Rikhotso grown, and entertainment commentator Phil Mphela who’s been live-tweeting from the event.We do not know if the station will pull any viewers with this new strategy. From the 1.525 million viewers that SABC3 had attracted in January 2016, which was already a small percentage of the channel's peak during the 2000s when it was known for its "Quality shows" slogan - ongoing viewership and TV rating erosion saw the channel's viewership plummet 49.51% over the past 5 years to a maximum of just 769 858 viewers in the last quarter of 2021, they announced today that they now sit at an average of 3 Million male-dominated viewers daily.