HARARE – State-owned television channel ZTV has turned to old popular vernacular dramas such as Mukadota Family, Paraffin, Mutirowafanza and Thuz Mas’khethela in a bid to stem the tide of viewers dumping it for DSTV and Kwese TV.
The old dramas have been on rotation on national television since late last year with some critics claiming that cash-strapped ZTV has been forced to take this route because of its inability to produce quality local and foreign content.
However, ZBC acting public relations manager Firstme Vitori told the Daily News that the recycling of old dramas was not a measure of desperation but a result of public demand.
“For a long time, our valued audiences have been asking for the return of old dramas and movies which made headlines back then and dominated prime time viewing for the longest time, therefore, we strategically slotted these in the last quarter season schedule as part of the festive season entertainment package.
“The line-up included Paraffin, Mukadota, Gringo and Thuz Mas’khethela,” said Vitori.
Apart from responding to public demand, the ZBC spokesperson said the move was also part of the State-owned television station’s strategy to celebrate local content.
“We are showcasing the journey we have travelled in promoting local talent as well as celebrating our legends of television and perpetuating this legacy to our upcoming producers and actors.
“The new productions have in no way been overtaken by the old… rather the mix of old and new has produced a true Zimbabwean entertainment calabash,” she told the Daily News, adding that the 2018 first quarter season schedule includes both new and old dramas.
“These include continuations such as Wenera, Muzita Rababa, Kuchina, Tunga and brand-new ones such as Chikwambo, Mawoko Matema, Esigabeni and Break Time Chaos (an animated series) and our throwback for this season is Thuz Mas’khethela every Thursday at 12pm.”
Vitori claimed that ZTV viewership has increased as a result of the old classics.
“This prime time line-up of dramas has been well received by our audiences if the feedback and change in viewership patterns is anything to go by,” she said.
Vitori denied that the return of dramas was a slap in the face of new productions.
“Therefore, ZBC has embarked on a content generation which shall see the creation of content hubs in Midlands, Mutare and Masvingo in addition to Harare and Bulawayo, as well strategic partnerships with tertiary institutions in the country,” she said.