TV Opinion South Africa

Subscribe to industry newsletters

Search jobs

Strategic planning needed for DSTV programming

I was completely gutted by DSTV programming over the December holidays. Firstly, the amount of repetitive TV series, programmes, movies, documentaries etc we (my daughter and I) were exposed to was not kosher.
Image via
Image via 123RF

I know some time ago there were some complaints about how DSTV repeats almost everything, and I thought that would change, it didn't, and instead it's getting scary worse and becoming intolerable.

For starters, December is a month wherein most people who do not go on holiday, stay at home to catch up on lost time to watch movies, documentaries, TV series or whatever they like. Unfortunately, it's a time when most popular TV series go on production break as well, and that's where DSTV strategic planning and thinking needs to be implemented, to make the holidays exciting and worth watching and staying home for.

During this past December period DSTV introduced a few new TV mini-series and some normal TV series on some channels - but, we experienced a lot of slacking from the DSTV programming side, especially Catch Up. There was a mini-series which was introduced on itv-choice channel called 'Dancing on the Edge' and it was available on DSTV Catch Up as well.

Since we prefer catching-up to avoid long commercial breaks during this period, we decided to forgo watching it on the day. To our disappointment, we waited a week for episode 4 to be available on Catch Up (not 24 hrs). Even when episode 4 was loaded (just a few days ago) there was a Universal Channel movie called 'all good things' erroneously loaded under the episode 4 of 'Dancing on the Edge' (rolling my eyes right now!)! Needless to mention that I was miffed and ranting about how DSTV Catch Up seemed to have also gone on a "production break" as well. Frankly, I am expecting a rebate from the subscription fee I am paying for this sloppiness... shaking my head!

December period for DSTV should be carefully planned if they want viewers to enjoy good programming. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way complaining about the quality of programming, if there's anything DSTV is getting right, is exactly that. December should be a time wherein we are entertained with new programmes, movies, documentaries (kind of like taking a break from repetition!!) and some of the mini-series that we have never seen before on DSTV like 'Dancing on the Edge', 'You're the Worst' or 'Ties that bind' which have 6-12 episodes per series or only ran for one season. There are many series that were aired in the US or Britain and were canned after one season, some of which won Emmy's. So, I figure December would be a great time to replace those series which are on production break with such.

DSTV could also relook into how viewers could be treated to a preview or snapshots of Golden Globes nominees (TV film, movies, new series etc), prior to them being streamed live. Watching the Golden Globes was torture because I could not relate to any of the movies, TV series, films I have not seen, except for a few, and I mean very few. Probably if we saw some, we'd appreciate the talent rewarded for their skill. Some of these series or movies are available already, it shouldn't be too much to purchase, not all, but just enough programmes for us to enjoy good, quality programming in December and give us a break from all the repeats we are subjected to. Probably, this would make us look forward to December and really want to take our smartcard or decoder with on holiday for FOMO's sake!

I am certain that DSTV knows when most series go on production break. Loading at least all or a few episodes of people's favorite series on Catch Up during the December also so that at least those who did not have time to catch up, do so, would also be better. Instead we were greeted with 'production break notices' and not offering us an alternative, instead bringing back series like 'Stalker' back on prime channel, when it was showing on another channel a few months ago, this repeat really does not justify my exorbitant subscription fee at all. #DSTVRepeatsMustFall

I know there are issues of rights, contracts and all the legal due diligence DSTV has to finalise and, and, and. I just hope that how programming is handled by DSTV at the moment - yep... the boring and uninspiring repeats - are informed by insights gathered from research which I assume is consistently conducted with focus groups, to inform programming and other things as well. If this is not happening, then I guess that explains a lot.

I am so not feeling every moment right now.

About Bonnie Ramaila

Bonnie Ramaila is an international communication consultant. She previously worked in the private and public sector as a communication expert. She runs a consultancy that specialises in bespoke communication for niche clients and individuals. Services include communication and media advice, facilitation, publicity and strategy development. She writes in her personal capacity.

Let's do Biz