Days of Our Lives was ripped away from viewers at the end of July, the dust settled in August and the true impact of the move can now be assessed.

According to the latest TAMS ratings, viewership in the 17h00 timeslot on SABC3 has plummeted by a whopping 40%.

Viewers have spoken out against the SABC's dictatorial treatment of their viewing preferences and they've used their remotes to do it by leaving en masse.

In July Days of Our Lives recorded its highest episode on 12 July, attracting 1,078,101 viewers. In August, the same timeslot, which now airs Afternoon Express, recorded its highest episode on 9 August, attracting 641,388 viewers.

This is a difference of 436,713 viewers, which equates to exactly 40.51%.

The fault here doesn't lie with Afternoon Express because the show can't be expected to make up the numbers of a soapie that had such a loyal and long time following. The problem lies in the reckless treatment of the timeslot without any consideration or consultation with viewers as to what they want to see at 17h00.

All of this undermines local content. The changes have forced many viewers into a situation where they feel angry towards local content because it's been forced on them instead of being integrated with synergy and appreciation of their wishes. It's the worst way to promote local content.

A 40% decrease in viewership could have a dramatic impact on the SABC's already crippled bottom line, particularly because it's a daily timeslot which generates daily earnings.