The SABC and e.tv have announced their reasons for supporting the intention of the National Association of Broadcasters, the NAB, to resign from audience research organisation, SAARF.
The two broadcasters’ decision follows the rejection of the proposal from the NAB to have greater representation of broadcast media on the SAARF Board.
SABC and e.tv say was further compounded by a recent audit of SAARF’s Television Audience Measurement Survey which provides the daily audience ratings for television viewership. They called for the audit after noticing serious shortcomings in the ratings last year.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says, “In the past year we have seen a reduction in the LSM’s ratings 4 to 6 which are basically the audiences of both free to air broadcasters. We found out the way which they deal with the TAMS is not correct, and we felt that it is also because of the fact that they do include in the board or the panel of SAARF television and broadcasters. And when we went to ask for that to happen, they refused in a meeting which was held today.”
Among other things, TAMS is accused of failing to keep up with the evolving South African demographic profile; failing to balance the panel by individual LSM; as well as failing to manage the declining efficiency of the panel.
Not only is this morally unacceptable in South Africa in 2013, it has a direct financial impact on the free-to-air broadcasters who broadcast programming to the majority of South Africans
As a result, the essential effect of the findings was that upper income television households were over-represented on the TAMS Panel as compared to middle-to-lower income television households that were significantly under-represented.
This, according to the statement released by the two broadcasters, effectively translates into an over-representation of white television viewership and a serious under-representation of black television viewership.
“Not only is this morally unacceptable in South Africa in 2013, it has a direct financial impact on the free-to-air broadcasters who broadcast programming to the majority of South Africans,” reads the statement in part.
“Of even more concern to the SABC and e.tv was that this state of affairs had been on-going for many years without any intervention from SAARF executive management.”
The SABC and e.tv are still calculating the loss of advertising income experienced as a result of the failures of the TAMS Panel but it is estimated to run at hundreds of millions of Rands.