OPINION: In March 2015, 14 of the 16 Generations main actors who were dismissed last year due to a salaries and royalties dispute, filed an application at the High Court in Johannesburg. City Press reported that the actors claim that Generation The Legacy was “unconstitutional and invalid, as procurement regulations were flouted”.
Will the court rule in favour of the fired actors? If it does, that will change the complexion of the contested 8pm slot.
The last episode of Generations played in September 2014, and at the time total viewership was 11 million. Generations totally dominated the slot with seven million viewers and 68.05% market share (Arianna programmes 2015). At the time, Generations forced its competitors to share 10.8 AR. The introduction of Skeem Saam in October 2014 as a stand in programme for Generations made the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC 1) lose 9.3% market share. The biggest winner in the canning of Generations was DStv with an increase of 21.3% market share. Even though privately owned free to air channel, e.tv was not doing anything to contest the 8pm slot, they increased with 20.1% market share.
The return of revamp Generations in the name of Generations The Legacy was not well received; it declined with 4.0% market share. The decline of 8pm slot in SABC 1 was in line with the total TV viewership that declined with 11.4%.
In February this year e.tv announced its intention to contest the 8pm slot. They were lot of excitement around the re-generation e.tv campaign, particularly because some of fired Generations actors were part of the new telenovela titled Ashes to Ashes. The announcement of Ashes to Ashes made viewers to long to see the favourite faces that they have missed seeing on television. The launch of Ashes to Ashes on 2 March 2015 set tongues wagging. Although e.tv increased their 8pm slot from 400 000 to one million viewers, Generations The Legacy is still dominating the slot with five million viewers.
The 14 actors asked the High Court to force SABC to stop the production and broadcasting of Generations The Legacy, giving the High Court the powers to decide the future of 8pm slot. The actors’ claims that SABC and MMSV Productions have flaunted every procurement guideline that should have been adhered to. If the High Court rules in favour of the fired actors e.tv will take over the 8pm slot. Viewers will switch to Ashes to Ashes in their attempt to quench their entertainment thirst.
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