What has been the impact of the SABC’s introduction of local content quotas on radio and at commercial channel (starting 1 July), SABC3, for media agencies?
“The decision to introduce a 90% local music content quota at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is here to stay and will not be scrapped after three months as previously suggested,” says the public broadcaster’s COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Reaction from the media industry has been mixed with some expecting audiences to drop and quality of content to follow. The reactions from the creative industry have been positive, with production houses anticipating a whole lot more work.
I first heard of the news from my brother, who is a writer and cinematographer. For filmmakers, musicians and all parties involved in production, this is only good news. The SABC has already sent out commissioning briefs for new content. My brother is so excited, all the scripts and content that he has been sitting on for years may finally come to light. This will also give us the opportunity to tap into local stories and content.
As an agency, we don’t see the doom and gloom; our view is that if content is of good quality, then the audience numbers will follow. A good example of this is the launch of Isibaya on Mzansi Magic almost three years ago. Critics were cautious about the show and whether it would thrive. It is now in the top 10 programmes watched on the DStv platform.
So how does local content perform in South Africa? We ran the numbers for week starting 22 May 2016. They make for interesting observations.
The numbers speak for themselves, even against the LSM 8-10 target markets, local content is king. If the quality of programming is good, then there is nothing stopping audiences from engaging with the content.
As media planners, my team and I are of the point of view that change in the media environment is a good thing; that’s what keeps our jobs interesting and challenging. Yes, we need to be cautious but with these changes, there will also be new and interesting opportunities making creative formats like content integration easier. We are looking forward to seeing the picture that will be painted in the next few months.
An analysis by 25AM indicates that nearly 90% of the conversations around this topic were of positive in sentiment.
Some positive reactions
Yvonne Chaka Chaka says lack of airplay was killing the local industry
Singer Juliet Harding of the band Goodluck says, “We need to stop thinking that because it’s local it’s inferior. We honestly need to look at ourselves and go ‘wow we make the best music’. I call it national pride.”
Legendary Sello ‘Chicco’ Twala said the announcement has sent him back into the studio, where he hasn’t been to record his music since 1999.
So hold onto your remotes, the next few months will be interesting, and we will be following the audiences closely….
Miyelani Shibambo is a media strategist and planner at Universal McCann in Johannesburg.
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