There is a new approach to engagement at the SABC and I am so pleased. I attended SABC2's new content launch and was so impressed by the frank and open commitment the new Head of Television at the SABC, Nomsa Piliso made.
I don't want to make this about one man so let me just say that in previous years there was an aura of "we know better" at the SABC. This was demonstrable by the poor decisions made in their content scheduling in the not-so-distant past amid clear and loud contention from the public and critics. Things are different now — it is noticeable in the tone and direction articulated by Nomsa Piliso.
With the new team at the helm, one gets a sense that the SABC is moving towards a more inclusive era. Listening to Nomsa Piliso speaking about how they have arrived at reigniting the fire for SABC content and how they would go about bringing on board new content, left me beaming with joy. We needed this.
This is not to say everything the previous leadership did was bad for the SABC or television industry. However, I was in awe when I heard Piliso openly speak about the failure of the SABC. She openly admitted that the channels have lost viewers due to misguided decision on their part and failure to listen to what the viewers want.
From what she spoke of, the gist for me was that the new SABC is about what the viewer want not what the leadership thinks we should have on our screens. That is a reassuring stance that will surely get a lot of support from the public and the media.
With Piliso's words, as a television critic and industry commentator, I felt there is room for a more inclusive relationship with the broadcaster moving forward. The intimidation that one felt in addressing the pertinent issues that plagued the broadcaster and its content has abated.
I have said this many times; as a fan, a viewer and a professional in the industry, I believe honest conversations help build a better industry for all. Being able to say; "this is where we erred and this is what we are doing to fix it... what are your views" that is measure of great leadership.
Another point that impressed me about Piliso's comments is the SABC's commitment to carry on the promise made by former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng that shows that do not perform well will be canned to make room for new content.
The above mentioned is one of the things I commended Motsoeneng for. This commitment means the industry will now be more competitive and we will see fresh ideas get a chance at the table. Furthermore young producers and emerging production companies will now have a chance to compete in same space with the big guys. How can you not appreciate that?!
Of course as they say; talk is cheap. I am optimistic and do believe the new executive is genuine in their quest and commitment to change but it remains to be seen if they make good on the promises. I am willing to give them a chance.