NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on October 7, 2014.
A change in TV scheduling at SABC1 has seen Sepedi drama Skeem Saam more than double its viewership numbers overnight.
As the last episode of Generations aired last week, Skeem Saam was catapulted into prime time.
According to data from the SA Audience Research Foundation, a week prior to the drama moving from its 6.30pm time slot to 8pm, their viewership stood at 3.5 million per show on average.
On the night the soapie occupied the 8pm slot for the first time on October 1, viewership shot to 8 881 352.
By Friday last week, the third day in that slot, the number went down slightly to just over 7.6 million viewers.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told The Citizen: “Viewership doesn’t sell ads; the time slot a show is in does.”
This was his answer amid fears that replacing Generations would have a negative impact on the massive ad revenue the show has managed to pull over the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, shooting for the new-look Generations – which will be ready to air in December – will start on October 28.
A source involved with the revamped production said: “We are all back at work and busy putting the new show together.”
The striking 16 actors – all dismissed in August – are still going ahead with their legal action.
“We have referred the matter to the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) and it will be dealt with on October 14,” said Desmond Brown, their legal representative.
Commenting on reports of a separate claim by the actors for never being registered for Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits, Brown said: “The first issue we need to deal with is whether they were employees or independent contractors.”
He claimed the actors had not been registered for UIF, despite all South African employers being obliged to register their employees.
“When we contacted them on this issue they said the actors were not employees of the SABC or MMSV, which is why they weren’t registered for UIF,” Brown said.