During the pandemic, Btv registered an overwhelming number of viewership, both through online streaming and tv set viewership. Just the past Sunday when Minister Peggy Serame was addressing the nation, Btv registered 11 000+ live streamers. Not forgetting that there were those watching tv sets, you can tell this was one of those moments where Btv had the highest viewership, rivalled by when the President was addressing and when the Parliament was broadcast live. But all those were related to the Covid19. If any Btv management or staff can use that to appraise him/herself they will be totally misleading the nation and even lying to themselves.
Now we are out of lockdown, alcohol has been opened up, schools are opening. To be honest, any address left on the Covid19 is of less interest now. We now even care less with the announcement of new cases.
I took some time to ask people that now that we are on the “new normal” what is it that they will be watching from Btv and their expectations from Btv?
Majority say “owaiii rona re chaisitse jaanong ka Btv ga gona sepe se se setseng” while some say “mos nna le yone Btv ntse ke e leba hela ha ke cheka tsone di update tsa Corona”
Someone even asked me “wena hela kaha o e itseng ka teng Btv o akanya e ka tla e chenchile?” While the other one asked me ” wena o itse ehe programme e ka lebegang mo Btv?”
Generally the response shows that majority of people will be “heading back” to their prefered television channels.
But are you aware that even the Btv staff and management don’t have any idea gore which of their programmes is most watched, and the least watched as well?
That is to say Btv ga eke e itsaya stocko. If it did i bet nkabo e sa bolo go emisa TalkBack. Across the boarder we see South African tv channels annually announcing gore which of their programmes are most watched. SABC can tell you gore between Generations, Muvhango, Skeem Sam etc which one is most watched. But Btv can’t tell you gore between Mokaragana and Sedibeng which one is mostly watched.
Okay let’s take it local and ask Duma FM what is their most listened to programme? They will tell you, tell you it’s time slot and even tell the name of the most prefered presenter by listernship. That a local private radio station in business. So if Duma FM can, Btv e palelwa ke eng?
Almost 2 decades in the industry, Btv has failed to evolve. For those who don’t know, the small boys you see dancing phathis and those playing marimba in the Btv mmmamaweeee mmmaamaweee identity song are my age mates whom some i even went to school with. Yes that was exciting back then, but Those small boys ke banna now, and Btv is still using that, almost 20 years later. Should we tell gore Mokaragana le TalkBack di tswa kae??
Last year, on his campaigns President Masisi brought the media mogul and tv personality Steve Harvey. Just the few minutes he spent at the mass media complex Steve picked all that some of us have long picked. He even went on to give suggestions and recommendations on how to improve the tv station and channel. But fast foward today what has been implemented?
1. To start with, Btv needs a re-branding.
Some organisations are coming on board to try promote arts by sponsoring artists during this hard times of Covid19. Even the minister responsible for Arts announced some bail outs for artists. One would expect Btv to atleast tender out its re-branding. Let artists submit their ideas (production) for the new image of Btv. I am wondering gore no one in the mass media complex ever suggests gore pina tsa Mmmammaweee Mmmmammmaweee di siilwe ke nako.
2. Btv should get rid of some programmes.
Btv should review its viewership to see which programmes are no longer worth broadcasting. To start with, Btv has many talk shows for a station of its magnitude. Yes we know talk shows are cheaper to produce but Btv has too much. Programmes like TalkBack, Sedibeng etc shouldn’t come back to our tv sets. Getting rid of such programmes will create air time for new programmes.
3. Btv should commission local producers.
Almost all producers in Botswana are speculative producers. That is, they produce their materials with uncertainity that it will eventually reach television and be broadcast. Furthermore, our producers are struggling financially hence production of low quality material. Btv has to come on board with financial assistance, quality standards and quality checks and mostly guaranteed broadcast.
Those who have watched Muvhango and Skeem Sam when they started to where they are now will understand what i mean and how support of television station can help you grow in terms of quality productions. So re seka ra ipata ka gore Batswana ba producer poor quality, the South Africans started gone koo. You can watch the old stories on SABC 2 on Fridays (now showing Phamokate and Mampodi) you will realise gore even South Africans ba simolotse koo.
Furthermore, Btv as a local state owned tv should understand that it is a platform for local artists (from all fields including Sportsmen and models) to market themselves. If it wasn’t for SABC to support and broadcast Generations, #ConnieFergusson wouldn’t be the brand she is now. If it wasn’t for Mzanzi wethu #ThusoMbedu wouldn’t be acting in America.
Btv can also benchmark from Mzansi Bioskop which commissions and broadcasts low cost productions and that’s where most upcoming actors and actresses are found.
4. Btv should promote local advertising.
As one of its Covid19 responses, Btv should offer reduced rates for companies and organisations that advertise their products and services using local artists and productions. That will attract most organisations to submit their adverts to Btv while also promoting local arts. For example, CEDA used #MheleProductions to advertise its new services and package. The advert is found on social media and receiving a warm welcome. This are adverts that we wish to see on Btv.
5. Btv should also call for local music artists to submit their music videos. Whether wack or not, we watched videos tsabo #Senyaka mo SABC until Senyaka even improved. Btv is too old to be swtiching off at aroung 10pm to show us France24 news. Btv can play all these music videos to atleast 01:00. Not just selected few artist but every artist from #Xwalla to #TlameloMalebe to #VeeMampeezy. Yes young and upcomimg artists need Btv more and Btv has to offer itself.
6. Btv should also go with the times. To improve it’s viewership Btv should go with #WhatsTrending. Some short clips just like they used to give us the American #JustForLaughs. #WhatsTrending can be some short video clips, screen shots or interviews of ordinary people in response to any issue. For example, when Minister #PeggySerame announced opening of Alcohol some people sang songs, kissed their tv screens, car hooters were heard from every where, video clips were shared on social media. This is what Btv should have a short time to show. Believe me ordinary people shooting those videos and snaps would like it very much to see their silly self on tv.
6. Btv should also have atleast annual viewership opinion check where they engage their viewership through other social media platforms to seek feedback on their broadcasts. A feedback helps much in improving your services.
As we are advancing to the “new normal” we so much hope to see the new Btv.
Lastly i wish you tagg #BtvManager or any of staff. Also tagg #Marutv manager and or staff.
Script writer & Political Commentator