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THE MEDIA APRIL 2018

TV DRAMA Pepsi Pokane “Like Muvhango, Uzalo started out as a telenovela, with three episodes per week. Interestingly, it was advertisers who prompted the series’ evolution into a fulweek soapie.” Expanding on the telenovela This element, says freelance producer Frank Perold, is why he prefers the telenovela format. As former head of production at Curious Pictures (now Quizzical Pictures), Perold helped launch Rhythm City, and Ashes to Ashes, and worked on rescuing The Alliance, among others. He reckons telenovelas are a winner for broadcasters and production houses alike. “It’s a story that has a beginning and an end – you can write it with an end in sight, not like a soapie that’s open-ended. It’s also quick to work on; you can shoot an episode a day. Also, many don’t get shot in studio; you turn a location into a studio, work within those boundaries. So it’s not as pre-lit: the lighting’s better, you get a better look than with studios, which are lit from the top.” Broadcasters can also budget better for it, with a limited amount of episodes, he adds. “It makes life easier for advertising sales teams and the production company, who know when budget will run out, or whether the contract will be renewed, unlike soapies. On a soapie, if the broadcaster pulls the plug, the The double funeral, with Zodwa Wabantu in attendance producer could be in huge trouble, especially if they’ve revamped a set, or splurged on post-production. Like Muvhango, Uzalo started out as a telenovela, with three episodes per week. Interestingly, it was advertisers who prompted the series’ evolution into a full-week soapie, says Pokane. “The decision to make the transition came halfway through the first year, when we kept growing… viewership wasn’t pulling back. The advertisers had a lot to do with it; the input from the airtime sales division was the critical factor; they kept selling out on it, and the biggest push came from them, they preferred to keep it running.” As much as he benefits from the appeal of Uzalo’s success to advertisers, Pokane is not blind to the industry’s lack of qualitative The Top 10 Channel Programme title Viewership SABC 1 Uzalo 9 235 750 SABC 1 Generations – The Legacy 8 734 120 SABC 1 Skeem Saam 6 472 906 SABC 2 Muvhango 5 377 540 e.tv Scandal 4 665 488 e.tv Rhythm City 3 453 575 SABC 2 7de Laan 2 443 814 SABC 2 Keeping Score 2 168 840 e.tv Broken Vows (repeat) 1 482 287 SABC 3 Isidingo: The Need 1 045 452 P 16 The Media | wagthedog.co.za


THE MEDIA APRIL 2018
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