I AM MY MTV

   

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MultiChoice adds new M-Net supplied channel Zambezi Magic from 1 July as a new Southern Africa channel; won't be available in South Africa.


Tomorrow at 20:00 MultiChoice will launch a new channel, Zambezi Magic (DStv 160) on DStv for viewers in Southern Africa outside of South Afric.

Zambezi Magic will give DStv viewers access to South Africa's popular soaps from the SABC ranging from SABC1's Generations and SABC3's Isidingo to SABC2's Muvhango, as well as other curated content from the SABC's archives as well as from the M-Net and Mzansi Magic shelves.

Zambesi Magic, a channel run and managed by M-Net for MultiChoice's DStv, aims to become a showcase of "quality programming from the southern tip of Africa" and a catalyst for the production of new regionalised content from this region.

By showing the SABC soaps, Zambezi Magic will also try and curb the growing and lucrative black market in pirate copies of shows smuggled daily and weekly across South Africa's borders to neighbouring countries where viewers who can't watch these daily melodramas on TV pay for DVDs with burnt episodes.

Zambezi Magic will not however show the most recent episodes of these SABC soaps - the new channel which will not be accessible to DStv subscribers in South Africa will show the soaps starting from previous seasons.

Zambezi Magic will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus subscribers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and Swaziland.

"Zambezi Magic will offer the most sought-after archive content that has so far not been available outside of South Africa," says Addiel Dzinoreva, the head of the Zambezi Magic channel.

"The channel will also build regional entertainment brands by showcasing entertainment productions from the various Southern African countries," says Addiel Dzinoreva.

Besides the SABC soaps, and as part of MultiChoice's deal with the SABC for exclusive rights to archive content from the public broadcaster, Zambezi Magic acquired a large number of SABC shows for its channel line-up.

In addition to the SABC soaps, Zambezi Magic will also broadcast other SABC fare, including youth dramas like SABC1's Zone 14Intersexions and Yizo-Yizo dealing with issues like HIV/Aids, as well as Khumbul'ekhaya, City Ses'La and SABC2 sitcom Stokvel.

M-Net and Mzansi Magic's Jacob's Cross and Cooking with Siba with Siba Mtongana, reality show Our Perfect Wedding, comedies like The Coconuts, Skwizas and Kota Life Crisis and It's For Life are also on the programming line-up for Zambezi Magic as part of repurposed TV fare, along with lifestyle shows like Goal Diggerz and Forever Young.

Zambezi Magic will broadcast the new Lusaka based lifestyle magazine show The Kool Roc Show and the channel says going forward many more local shows from other Southern African countries will be added to the channel.

"Our ultimate goal is to be the go-to channel for quality Southern African produced shows and to provide viewers with a channel they can trust to bring local stories made in their own backyards," says Addiel Dzinoreva.

"The launch of Zambezi Magic to the DStv platform is a significant one for us because this is proof that we listen to our viewers' requests for content that is closer to home," says Tim Jacobs, MultiChoice Africa CEO.

"Adding a channel that includes local productions also strengthens our association with the burgeoning entertainment industry in Southern Africa and reinforces our role in developing and supporting African production companies," says Tim Jacobs.

CNN quietly removes its awkward and embarrassing 'exclusive' story of an ISIS flag at a Gay Pride event which actually depicted dildos and sex toys.


CNN International (DStv 401) has quietly removed the video of a story in which the TV news channel "exclusively" spotted and reported on a "ISIS flag" on Saturday in a gay pride parade in London which was actually a flag filled with sex toys.

The incident is already called "CNN’s most embarrassing flub ever". 

The video of the news report remains available on YouTube where it's racked up close to 4 million views since Saturday.

It started when CNN went into breathless reporting about how the black and white "ISIS flag" showed up at the Pride Parade in London, "exclusively" spotted by CNN International assignment editor Lucy Pawle.

Lucy Pawle said she seemed "to be the only person who had spotted this, and nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing it out".

Lucy Pawle then confirmed that a gay event organiser also knew nothing about the flag. "I also spoke to the police nearby, who weren't aware either," said Lucy Pawle of the terrible terrorism flag.

CNN then went on to cover the "terrorism" story for six and a half minutes, with CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux shocked that London authorities are not tracking and arresting the flag waver. 

CNN even quickly got in the terrorism expert Peter Bergen to comment and give perspective on what it all means.

The black and white flag was actually covered in images of various, dildos, plugs and sex toys to somewhat mimic the letters on the ISIS flag but wasn't Arabic at all.

Nobody at CNN noticed as the channel zoomed in on the flag, as well as the man waving it, and kept discussing the terrorism implications at length in its "exclusive" scoop.

BREAKING. New Afrikaans soap, Suidooster, starting on kykNET & Kie from 16 November; produced by Gambit Films.


The new Afrikaans soap opera Suidooster ("Southeaster") will start on 16 November at 20:00 on M-Net's kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) as a three day a week soap set in the Western Cape.

Suidooster is produced by Gambit Films.

Suidooster on kykNET's second tiered channel, will be that channel's first soap opera following kykNET's (SDtv 144) Binnelanders and cancelled Villa Rosa, and will revolve around and primarily be aimed at the coloured community.

kykNET put out a commissioning brief for the new soap exactly a year ago.

Gambit Films last year produced the Ons Stories ("Our Stories") documentary series for kykNET & Kie and Homebrew Films, also based in Cape Town, played a mentoring role the past few years to help Gambit Films.

kykNET says it wants to "create more employment opportunities in the television and entertainment industry in South Africa" and that Suidooster is an example of M-Net's commitment to the transformation of the South African TV industry, "promoting and supporting producers from previously disadvantaged communities".

Karen Meiring, M-Net's director for Afrikaans channels, says Suidooster will be a "compelling" soap opera. "Even though the show calls the Western Cape home,  its storylines are universal - we look forward to sharing this story with Afrikaans viewers throughout South Africa."

"We're determined to deliver on the confidence that M-Net has placed in us," says Travis Taute, Gambit Films director about producing Suidooster. "We're focused on ensuring that Suidooster becomes must-watch Afrikaans TV entertainment."

Monday, June 29, 2015

BREAKING. Naspers' MultiChoice lifts satellite pay-TV subscriber base to almost 8 million DStv subscribers; pay-TV growth 'remains robust'.


Naspers' MultiChoice, though its pay-TV platform DStv and ancillary assets and divisions M-Net and SuperSport, generated annual revenues of R42,4 billion - 17% more than a year ago and is touching 8 the number of almost 8 million DStv subscribers, Naspers said in a summary of its annual financial results for the year ending 31 March 2015.

For the first time in its annual results Naspers is now also referring to its pay-TV business as its "video entertainment segment".

Naspers says it is continuing with considerable investment in its pay-TV and video entertainment segment, in preparation for global online video subscription providers like Netflix which are coming, and with Netflix for instance confirming earlier this year that it will be starting its video-on-demand (VOD) service in South Africa before the end of 2016.

"The video-entertainment business made solid progress with the total base closing at some 10.2 million households across Africa," says Naspers.

"This comprises 2.2 million digital terrestrial television (DTT) subscribers and almost 8 million direct-to-home (DTH) satellite service subscribers."

MultiChoice added 727 000 satellite pay-TV subscribers across the African continent bringing the DStv subscriber base to almost 8 million, with Naspers saying that "subscriber growth across the African content remained robust".

DStv BoxOffice rentals, MultiChoice's video-on-demand service which is now available in 11 African countries including South Africa, now average around 600 000 monthly.

"The smartphone is becoming the primary internet device in many of our markets, and we are dedicating considerable resources to advancing our mobile products," says Naspers.

"Given ongoing delays in analogue television switch offs, we decided to invest incrementally in the second half of the year to continue to drive DTT growth, which resulted in 1.4 million African homes being added to the base, to close the year at 2.2 million subscribers,” says Naspers.

"Increased development spend, plus capital expenditure to build our DTT footprint and TV production facilities in East and West Africa, resulted in free cash outflow of R515 million (2014: outflow of R349 million).

Naspers says R2 billion was spent in South Africa on local sports as well as securing and producing other local TV content.

Naspers, which now has a digital terrestrial television (DTT) network in place across Africa and already operates DTT in 11 countreis in 114 cities across Africa, has doubled its DTT base.

"The DTT base more than doubled, closing at 2,2 million customers. Kenya is one of the first African countries to make the transition to digital as the analogue switch-off roll-out began in January 2015."

"MultiChoice is investing in its online offering, expanding its delivery platforms and improving products and services. The DStv Explora personal video recorder is a significant differentiator and became internet-connected in November 2014," says Naspers in its annual financial report.

"Our 'TV everywhere' strategy gained traction with the launch of DStv Now. Connected services allow customers access to a greater selection of entertainment on their tablet or smartphone - anywhere, anytime."

"Home movie rentals were made available to all DStv customers through BoxOffice, the video-on-demand service, which is now available in 11 African countries. Average monthly rentals tally around 600 000."

MultiChoice signed contracts with Eutelsat and Intelsat to increase its backup satellite capacity and also created a second. It also invested in a second broadcast site to ensure uninterrupted viewing — for example, to deal with inclement weather conditions at its Randburg, Johannesburg headquarters that can affect broadcasts.

ANN7 exposes massive corruption at department of home affairs in special expose 'Money Talks at Home Affairs' by Kalden Ongmu.


ANN7 (DStv 405) on Monday evening at 18:00 exposed massive corruption at South Africa's department of home affairs in a special TV expose.

The ANN7 special investigation revealed how migrants in the country are abused and taken advantage of by home affairs officials, demanding bribes ranging from R50 to hundreds of rand and even cooldrinks in return for papers and to be moved out of the slow moving, "no bribes" line at Marabastad.

ANN7 reporter Kalden Ongmu , who've been with the 24-hour TV news channel run by Infinity Media since it launched, spoke to literally hundreds of people who related to her their personal stories of bribes they've allegedly had to pay to get the right forms at the home affairs office.

Victims - a lot of them Africans from elsewhere on the continent trying to get processed to work and stay in South Africa legitimately - told and showed how they have to pay bribes to be given the rights forms and to be placed into lines that actually move, as opposed to non-moving and slow moving "no-bribes" lines.

Kalden Ongmu and a ANN7 camera team together with a decoy, recently filmed from 03:00 in the morning at home affairs, revealing bribery and corruption at every turn.

The ANN7 hidden camera captured how bribes are paid by migrants to home affairs officials and various "middlemen", with even a police officer signing a fake, false affidavit.

ANN7's expose revealed the faces of the alleged bribe takers, and how the corrupt process happens in which migrants are fleeced with thousands of rand.

South Africa's department of home affairs issues permits for foreigners, and the Marabastad office deals with asylum seekers.

Kalden Ongmu's expose was similar to a shocking recent Carte Blanche investigation on M-Net (DStv 101) showing how corrupt court officials are bribed and paid off to make police dockets and court documents "disappear" by removing and smuggling them out of court in exchange for thousands of rand.

"I will put you inside. You have to pay R500. You don't need to go into the line," the ANN7 spy cam shows one of the corrupt middlemen say to the ANN7 decoy, going through the painful bribery process to get the right forms and get inside the Marabastad building of home affairs. "Lauguage for home affairs is money."

Mkuseli Apleni, the director-general of the department of home affairs, was in ANN7's studios in Midrand admitting that "there are challenges of corruption" at the department of home affairs but "those challenges of corruption are not only at home affairs; they are across".

"The department of home affairs is not only about Marabastad. There are areas where we are doing the work. That picture is now painting as if home affairs in entirety is corrupt."

"Inside there is somebody who is colluding with those people outside," said Mkuseli Apleni.

Mkuseli Apleni said an "appointment system" will now be implemented at Marabastad so that "if you've got an appointment system then you kill that issue that is happening there".

BREAKING. FOX Movies channel and its time-shifted channel FOX Movies+2 removed from On Digital Media's StarSat.


FOX Movies and its time-shifted channel FOX Movies+2 from FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) are the latest TV channels getting dumped from On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA's satellite pay-TV platform.

FOX Movies and FOX Movies+2 were added to StarSat just a year ago, in June 2014.

FOX Movies and FOX Movies+2 will be gone within days - apparently getting dropped by 5 July from StarSat.

No word on it from StarSat yet, which says a press release about it is on the way.

So far also no word from FOX International Channels Africa.

FIC Africa provides channels such as FOX, FX, FOX Crime, FUEL, BabyTV, Setanta Africa, Setanta Action and Nat Geo Gold to StarSat.

More news and this story will update as StarSat and FIC Africa respond to media enquiries with press statements.

UPDATE 12:40 Monday 29 June - FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) confirms FOX Movies is gone from StarSat from 5 July.

FIC Africa tells TV with Thinus that the axed FOX Movies (which was added just a year ago to StarSat) will be gone by 5 July.

"It is in keeping with the company's global strategy to have a strong reference brand - FOX - ready for a future with multiple choices".


UPDATE 16:20 Monday 29 June - StarSat is issuing a press statement regarding the shuttering of FOX Movies saying FOX International Channels is to blame for the loss of the channel, and that StarSat regrets the loss of the channel.

"StarSat has been informed that as from 6 July 2015, FOX Movies will no longer feature on the StarSat platform. The decision to close down the channel was made by the supplier."

"In the world of pay-TV, the adding and removing of channels is part of the industry," says Ian Woodrow, the head of content at StarSat.

"We regret the removal of FOX Movies, but we are constantly looking at new channels and programmes to add to our various packages."

"We remain committed to bringing high quality and affordable content to our valued subscribers," says Ian Woodrow.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

WOW. Wowtv finally seems ready to start a pay-TV service in South Africa; wants to launch with 19 TV channels and 8 radio channels.


Another so far dormant pay-TV broadcaster, WoWtv which got a pay-TV licence in 2007 is finally ready to start its commercial pay-TV service in South Africa and wants to launch, offering 19 TV channels and 8 radio stations.

Walking on Water Television (WoWtv) was granted a licence in September 2007 to start a subscription TV service.

WoWtv got a pay-TV licence together with Super 5 Media (then called Telkom Media) which has since tanked and closed down without doing anything; On Digital Media (ODM) which launched the struggling TopTV - now StarSat - in May 2010 and remains in business rescue; and e.Sat which decided against starting a pay-TV platform but rather creating TV channels like the eNCA (DStv 403) TV news channel for MultiChoice's DStv.

With South Africa's broadcasting regulator last year granting new provisional pay-TV licences to Siyaya TV, Close-T Broadcasting Network Holdings, Mindset Media Enterprises, Mobile TV and Kagiso TV in a new round of pay-TV applications, it now seems as if the urgency to actually start pay-TV services is getting bigger.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa recently warned that companies who had received licences for communications services but who are not using them or the spectrum will now start running the risk of losing these licences.

That, coupled with the roll-out of subscription video-on-demand (VOD) TV services from Altech's Node to Times Media's VUZU, MTN's FrontRow and Netflix which will be in South Africa before the end of next year, seems to have given new urgency to those with pay-TV licences to sew up and secure the broadcasting rights of whatever programming are still available and to start services as soon as possible.

WoWtv has now filed its Application for Authorisation of Channels. The term is the usually uneventful process all pay-TV operators undergo when they want to add TV and radio channels to their services.

The usual non-descript, mostly administrative process often goes off without a hitch, although it sometimes stir massive controversy like when ODM twice approached Icasa to start hardcore pornographic TV channels which were okayed during the second application but finally shut down at the beginning of this year.

WoWtv applied to start a "family-friendly" and multichannel pay-TV service to broadcast "only 100% Godly television content and entertainment".

WoWtv says it wants to operate "in the mainline television broadcasting industry" through "divinely inspired television programmes and genres that are designed to be relevant in today's world of entertainment".

WoWtv has applied for mostly German TV channels. The 19 TV channels Wowtv wants to authorisation for include RTL Television, RTL2, SAT.1, ProSieben, Kabeleins, VOX, Puis 4 Austria, ProSieben MAXX, DW-TV 24 German, Sixx, Super RTL, Jukebox, n-tv, FOX Sports, Euronews, Auto Motor, Fix und Foxi TV, N24 and Satelio Info & Event.

All the radio channels WoWtv wants to add are from Germany and in German, except one from Namibia, Hitradio Namibia which also broadcasts in the German language.

Subscribers will have to buy a WoWtv decoder costing R675, as well as a smartcard of R110. Then there's the dish of around R400 and a once-off installation cost of around R450.

People have two weeks to comment at Icasa on WoWtv's channels authorisation application.

BREAKING. MTV unveils its latest big brand reinvention; will now broadcast viewers' uploaded social media videos on TV through #MTVbump.


You're reading it here first.

From today MTV (DStv 130) will show people's clips and short videos on television when they use the hashtag #MTVbump as the international youth platform changes from "I want my MTV" to "I am my MTV" in its latest big brand reinvention.

The Viacom International Media Networks channel will connect its linear broadcast system to the internet to showcase social media videos on MTV in real time, saying it wants to "celebrate our audience and their talent" by spotlighting their social media videos between programming on-air and across all platforms.

From now on viewers' social media videos will be shown on MTV on television in more than 160 countries between programming as the youth brand opens itself up further to young people through showcasing user video content to audiences worldwide.

Using #MTVbump, viewers will be able to let MTV know they want to share their video on television. MTV then selects the best videos and broadcast them - from fun and crazy videos to pranks.

MTV says its promos will also take on a new look and feel and will be shorter, louder and hyper-visual as MTV experiments with narrative structures and visual storytelling.


Later in the year MTV will also be introducing MTV Canvass - a digital "sticker book" that will help viewers to create and share original MTV art, backdrops, celebrities, music and art work.

"MTV has always been committed to reinvention and it's time to shed our skin and reinvent again," says Kelly Taylor, the senior vice president for youth and music for Viacom International Media Networks and chief marketing officer of Viacom UK.

"Our audience expects MTV to push boundaries and take creative risks, and we truly believe that with this rebrand MTV's international channels will look like nothing else".

MTV is working with B-Reel Creative to connect the internet to the network's linear broadcast system, making it possible for social media videos on Instagram or Vines shared on Twitter with #MTVbump to be shown on-air within two hours.

MTV will curate the user content and filter it for relevance, pop culture topicality or number of fans and then play it out on-air and across MTV's platforms.

Users can also submit videos at MTVbump.com, where the videos which were broadcast around the world will also be shown.

Some artists and social media talent like Grumpy Cat, Rixton, Shawn Mendes and Martin Garrix already did some special creations.

"No-one is bringing user generated content to air this quickly on a global scale," says Kelly Taylor. "#MTVbump lets us be incredibly topical, fast and localised - which is critical."

MTV is also adding a series of new Art Breaks which will spotlight experimental video art, music and storytelling from emerging artists around the world.

Artists included in Art Breaks are Thomas de Rijk from the Netherlands, Device from Spain, Johnny Wood from LA and Katie Torn from New York, Eva Papamargariti from Greece, Brdg from Japan and The Great Nordic Swordfights from LA.

MTV says videos from new artists will be added on an ongoing basis.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SABC3 adds The Real as new weekday afternoon American panel talk show from 7 July at 15:00; replaces The Dr. Oz Show.


SABC3 is adding the American talk show The Real to the channel's schedule from Tuesday 7 July at 15:00 on weekdays.

The new female panel discussion show is also on BET (DStv 129) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform and started on that pay-TV channel in April.

The Real is similar to The Talk on M-Net and is replacing The Dr. Oz Show on SABC3.

Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley converse around the table in The Real, produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros., talking about topics ranging from their own lives, to news of the day as well as beauty, fashion and relationships.

With The View, not seen in South Africa anymore, in decline in America, The Real has already built up a sizeable fanbase of viewers since it started in America two years ago.

The show will compete with SABC1's recently launched locally produced female panel show Rise with Kgomotso Matsunyane as well as SABC3's weekday afternoon talker variety show Afternoon Express with Jeannie D, Bonang Matheba and Bonnie Mbuli that has now added a man, the one Presenter Search on 3 winner, Danielo Acquisto.

"Tamar, Loni, Adrienne, Jeannie and Tamera are all going through varied life experiences, including new motherhood, new marriages, dating or singledom, that relate to every woman's own trials and tribulations," says the show.

"Unlike other talk shows, each of the five is admittedly a 'work in progress', and fearlessly invites the home audience into their lives. Their fresh points of view, youthful energy and passion will turn the traditional talk show on its head."

MultiChoice giving 4 DStv Premium channels - Lifetime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Nick Jr. - to cheaper DStv Compact for almost a month.


MultiChoice is opening four of its DStv Premium TV channels - Lifetime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Nick Jr. - to the cheaper DStv Compact package for almost a month from 26 June.

A+E Networks UK's Lifetime (DStv 131) and Viacom International Media Networks Africa's (VIMN Africa) Nickelodeon (DStv 305), Nick Jr. (DStv 307) and Comedy Central (DStv 122) which are premium TV channels will be made available to DStv Compacy subscribers starting 26 June.

These four DStv channels will remain accessible on DStv Compact for almost a month, until 20 July, at no extra cost.

MultiChoice says the four TV channels are made available to DStv Compact subscribers for the winter school holidays.

It means that DStv Compact subscribers will be able to watch programming like The Thundermans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon, Little Charmers on Nick Jr., Deadbeat on Comedy Central and Bring It! on Lifetime.

There's also the start of the big-buzz new drama series UnREAL on Lifetime starting on 16 July at 20:45 which DStv Compact subscribers will now be able to see.

UnREAL which just started on Lifetime in America, takes place behind-the-scenes of a fictitious reality dating competition show, Everlasting.

It follows a desperate TV producer trying to spruce up the ratings by manipulating the contestants and the audience by hyping up the outrageous drama, pseudo conflict and shameful relationships.

eNCA cancels Tech Report; the news channel's long-running weekly consumer technology magazine show will broadcast last episode Thursday.


The long-running and high-quality weekly technology and gadget magazine show Tech Report on eNCA (DStv 403) has been cancelled.

As part of the ongoing downsizing of the South African 24-hour TV news channel's on-air programming and talent, Tech Report, produced by the Cape Town based Homebrew Films, will suddenly broadcast its last episode on eNCA on Thursday night after close to 200 episodes.

According to insiders, the staff, production crew and on-air talent like Tapfuma Makina, Seth Rotherham, Jason Greer and Juliet McGuire who've been working on the well-produced South African go-to show for consumer technology and gadgets are "heartbroken".

"Why would you cut a show about which the topic is the most important aspect of our modern South African society: technological advancements?" said an insider closely connected to but not working on the show.

The shuttering of Tech Report as part of eNCA's current affairs television offering follows the cancellation of Africa 360 this year, the shutting down of eNCA's Africa division and the closure of its news bureaux across the continent and in Beijing, the exit of anchors and correspondents ranging from Bhavna Singh and Pat Pillai to Lindy MtonganaKwangu Liwewe and Robyn Kriel, and the shortening of flagship nightly news show NewsNight by half an hour and renaming a part of it NewsNight Express.

eNCA denied rumours that the episode order of the upcoming new season of its satirical late-night faux news show Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola has been cut and said it will return shortly with the same amount of episodes as previous seasons.

The well-produced weekly Tech Report, which became a leader in technology and gadget news, interviews and reviews and told South African success stories within the local IT industry and consumer technology sector, was one of only two locally produced South African programmes really seen globally.

Together with SABC3's Top Billing, Tech Report was the only other locally made TV show included on South African Airways' Airscape in-flight entertainment system, watched by millions of passengers the past few years.

Tech Report which started on eNCA in November 2011 and got very short notice that eNCA no longer wants more episodes, could possibly jump to Business Day TV (DStv 412), CNBC Africa (DStv 410), SABC3 or e.tv.

eNCA confirms that Tech Report "will air its last programme on Thursday".

Asked why Tech Report has been cancelled, Patrick Conroy, managing director of eNCA says that eNCA is "always looking at international and local viewer trends. This means that adjustments to the line-up will be made from time to time. Some shows will come to an end, some will take a seasonal break and new ones will be added to the line-up".

Another insider connected to the show calls the Tech Report cancellation "a big shock". "The show has been on for several years, has built up a loyal fan base and is an incredibly great product".

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

South Africa's dogs - and their owners - hate the new 7de Laan theme song on SABC2; people miss the soap, literally, since their dogs no longer howl along.


You can't teach an old dog a new TV theme song: Viewers are furious and disappointed about the 7de Laan theme song change – and so is the nation’s confused dogs that’s longer howling along or calling their owners.

In a dramatic change the SABC2 weekday Afrikaans soap 7de Laan on Monday evening dropped its iconic Louis van Rensburg composition performed by the Soweto String Quartet for the past 15 years, completely confusing South Africa's dogs.

Gone is the violin-infused ditty, replaced by a new unknown Joe Niemand composition and opening sequence from Hey!Fever and 7de Laan viewers and their animals hate it.

"Please bring the theme song back," said Linda Cornwell. "The new one does not fit the show. It's a real pity you didn't ask your loyal fans about this before making a final decision".

Armand De Vries said the new opening sequence looks like "a Fruit & Veg commercial".

"Please bring back the 7de Laan tune," said Ravina Maharaj. "The show isn't the same without its signature music".

“The old song was much better. I don’t know why people always have to change things that work," remarked Vicky Lochner. "Now I will never know when 7de Laan starts."


'My dog doesn’t recognise the tune'
The theme song change is part of changes the SABC, which commissions the show, ordered the Danie Odendaal Produksies soap to undergo in the middle of last year to try and lift the still big but flat viewership. 7de Laan viewers however were instantly vocal about disliking the change, while their dogs fell silent.

"Please change the theme tune back to the old tune," said Mandy Robinson. "My dog would let me know when 7de Laan is on. She doesn't recognise the new tune and I missed yesterday's episode".

Louis Mienie said dog MacGuyver is upset. "He's been singing it for 10 years every day".

"Our two four-legged children don't like it," said Santie Jansen.

"Usually when the theme song came on the ears went up and then I said 'No, it's not time yet' and then their heads fell back down. But when the theme song then played again at the end they went crazy because then they knew it was time for a bit of tea of Milo. But tonight they just waited and waited because there was no [familiar] theme song to announce that it's tea time. I told them to listen nicely to the new music".

"I’m going to miss my dogs barking when 7de Laan starts," says Jaco Loots.

"Why did you change the song? Our dog and my daughter always sang together and now they sit and wait. We don't like the new song at all," says Maxine van der Berg.

"Oh 7de Laan what has happened to the soundtrack to 7de Laan?” asked Kavuki Staffords. "Now my dog doesn’t know what time it is. She used to hear it since she was a puppy and sit in front of the TV. She is now 8 years old and confused."


"I’m so sad the theme song of 7de Laan changed," said Elmarie Mafeking. "My 3 month old baby boy loved it so much."

SABC2's 7de Laan sings a new tune; dumps Soweto String Quartet theme song and opening theme after 15 years for a new Joe Niemand theme.


SABC2's Afrikaans language weekday soap 7de Laan has dumped its iconic Soweto String Quartet theme song for a new opening theme and  new instrumental theme music introduced on Monday evening.

The iconic violin-infused Louis van Rensburg composition has been dropped by Danie Odendaal Productions which makes the soap for the public broadcaster's SABC2 TV channel, as well as the soap's well-known opening theme of nostalgic sepia toned Melville shopfronts changing into modern day retail environments.

The new 7de Laan opening theme also has a new streamlined title type font for the 15-year old soap.

The new theme song and other cosmetic adaptations for the soap set in the fictional Johannesburg suburb of Hillside, are part of changes ordered by the SABC in the middle of last year, in part to try and address and hoping it will reverse, the soap's still big but flat ratings.

7de Laan also introduced new sets gradually over the course of this year.

The 7de Laan theme song and opener managed to stay unchanged since the soap was first commissioned by the SABC.

A decade ago in 2004, the production briefly flirted with the idea of dumping the theme song and changing the opening look but after an uproar decided to keep it unchanged.

It's not clear how viewers and 7de Laan fans will react over the change. Interestingly almost half (45,3%) of the SABC2 soap's viewership across all race groups are older than 50 years of age - viewers who don't like dramatic changes and tampering and who are fine with their formulaic programming, especially episodic television, staying the way it is.

The new 7de Laan theme song was composed by Joe Niemand and Nomansland with the opening sequence produced by Hay!Fever.

According to Caroline Phalakatshela, SABC2 publicist, the new opening sequence was shot in parts of Melville, like the original, but also Parkview.

The soap which has recently been added to MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service along with other SABC soaps like Skeem Saam and Generations - The Legacy, from today can also be watched on YouTube.

7de Laan's new opening theme places a strong emphasis on suburbia's coffee culture - and print. Besides a physical newspaper, the fictional Hillside Times, there's also books featuring in the Pasella-esque sequences blending elements usually found in the opening titles of lifestyle magazine shows.

INTERVIEW. 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards: 'It opens up people's eyes to what they can be,' says MTV Base boss Alex Okosi.


With the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards on MTV Base (DStv 322) set for Durban again soon, I spoke with Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa).

I asked him whether Trevor Noah will be the host of the 2015 MAMAs, why its important that people should vote, why an African music awards show matters, why the MAMAs is going to Durban again, and what he's learn from last year.

Here's what he said.

You haven't announced the host yet, is Trevor Noah going to be the host? Would you like Trevor Noah to host the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards? What would it mean for the MAMAs to have him as a host?
Alex Okosi: Trevor Noah is set to start as host of The Daily Show on one of our channels and that's a big thing. Obviously there's preparation that he needs to do for that. We've had conversations with Trevor Noah and some of the folks of the show. 
At this stage of the game we don't know how that will go. 

It's not that he doesn't want to do it but I know that there's a whole bunch of factors around his schedule that we're trying to figure out. With that said, we will put the best host on stage that will be able to push the campaign. 

What I'm excited about is recognising his accomplishments. Trevor Noah is one of the nominees for the Personality of the Year which I think is a testament to his talent and his ability to transcend our continent globally.


Why did MTV Base choose Durban again for the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards, and what does holding it in Durban bring to such an award show production?
Alex Okosi: You have to have partners who have the same vision as you do. For us, we always want to show the world a reimagined Africa, which to the world is an Africa they don't oftentimes see. Durban is an amazingly beautiful location. 

We also want to show that we can stage world class productions in cities across the continent and Durban offers you that - great infrastructure and a very supportive province. It's very accessible, the infrastructure's great, and our vision of showcasing Africa is in line with what Durban as a city wants to do.

You don't want to do a production like this in a place where you don't have enough hotels, where the infrastructure's not right and it's a struggle, so that's why we get excited about Durban. 


With the Channel O Africa Music Video Awards which is cancelled because M-Net cut the channel from the rest of Africa on DStv, it leaves really the MTV Africa Music Awards as Africa's only continental music awards show. 
Why would you say it's important to have something like an African music awards and a show that celebrates music?
Alex Okosi: I think if you're a footballer, if you're an artist, if you're a business leader, being able to have entities, award shows and things like that to recognise what's a great company to work for or who's really doing well,provides a credible catalyst for the people in the market to aspire to that.
For us, the MAMAs, we really want to celebrate the accomplishments of those doing really well. It fosters even more growth in the industry.

What we love about the MAMAs is that it's not just a pan-African show for us. We package the show and broadcast it across a lot of the MTV channels around the world. Which means that a billion people can have access to the content. I get so excited when someone in the UK calls me and says "Wow, I can't believe the MAMAs are on in the UK" and showcasing African talent in the best light possible.

The MAMAs also now isn't just music for us, we also recognise personalities, we have a Leadership award to recognise young people who are doing amazing things. We're not just a music channel, we're a lifestyle channel and we want to celebrate young people doing great things across the continent.


From the organising it and seeing it and experiencing it, what is maybe something that you learnt from last year?
Alex Okosi: I've got to make sure that the media contingent has the best experience possible, right? Ha ha. I think some of the media might not have had the best experience, and I need to make sure I take about the media.

With a show like this that's so complex, it's not just about staging an amazing show for the fans and audience but you have to make sure that everyone feels that they've got just positioning as far as the show is concerned. 

We have a great city, we have a fantastic location, it was a fantastic production. We again want to take it to the next level. There's nothing from last year that we took negatively at all. We want to make it an even more dynamic show.

It's something I'm very proud to be associated with as an African. 
It's the same core team of people again who produce our show, who produce our European music awards, that produce all our global MTV franchises, the same people who work collectively on the show to make it an amazing and I think that's what's powerful about it. It's such a global priority - not just for us from African but for the entire Viacom network.


Why is it important for viewers and fans to vote?
Alex Okosi: Allowing the audience to have a voice is powerful because they're the ones that consume the content and have the experience with the artists on a day to day basis. For us it's very, very important that it's democratic. 

We really want people to vote, to rally behind their favourites, to take time and vote online and just say I appreciate this artist. So if you have an artist that you like, whether they're from Tanzania, or Congo or Nigeria or Ghana, vote for them and show them that support. It's a rewarding feeling for an artist to know that their creativity and talent is recognised.


It's really honestly amazing for me that you guys are going to incorporate young people into the show to get on the job experience again at this year's event. One of the last things a lot of companies want or think favourably of, is to have interns or young people help out or do things when you're on deadline and sit with production pressure.

A lot of places don't feel they have the capacity to take inexperienced people on and show them the ropes and have them do stuff when you're in a pressure cooker environment. Why do you guys do that and do you have a message for other companies? Is it not a crazy thing to do?
Alex Okosi: It's not a crazy thing to do, we did it last year.
For us it is about empowerment. The word is thrown around a lot. Our brands like MTV Base should not only entertain people but also deal with issues and ideas which enable our people across the African continent to rise.
Practically to help with on the job training, it's critical. Without it there won't be the next you, or the next anyone else that you think is great if they don't get that mentorship; if they don't get that guidance; that exposure. 

It's something that for me I've benefitted from a whole bunch. On the African continent we need to find opportunities to provide mentorship. For me this is mentorship as well. You're partnering and helping young people to show them the ropes a little bit. Mentorship isn't just providing advice but also on the job training, and what it takes to pull of something like this.
We need to raise our continent and make sure we provide platforms and opportunities for young people to come onboard.

Our effort may not be huge but I think for those that it will impact, I hope that it opens up their eyes to what they can be, and also help to imagine how successful they can be, which is powerful. If you want to be successful, you also have to be able to dream that you can be successful. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

BREAKING. Hannibal on The Sony Channel on DStv cancelled after 3 seasons, drama series will come to an end in August with no 4th season.


Hannibal on The Sony Channel (DStv 127) on DStv has been cancelled and the current 3rd season finishing in August in America will be its last.

The low-rated and gruesome drama series from Bryan Fuller was based on Hannibal Lecter, the psychiatrist turned serial killer from Thomas Harris' best-selling novels.

Hannibal was co-commissioned by Sony Pictures Television Networks and France's Gaumont International Television and distributed on Sony Television's worldwide TV channels.

Hannibal with Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy will however not see a 4th season on the NBC network in America as its viewership kept plunging and with the drama burning off the episodes of the current 13-episode third season during the American summer when viewers tune out.

The 3rd season of Hannibal which began showing in America two weeks ago has not yet started on the Sony Channel on DStv.

According to The Hollywood Reporter there was an apparent rights issue behind-the-scenes which together with the low ratings spelled the death-knell for Hannibal.

Bryan Fuller wanted to introduce the character of Clarice Starling in Hannibal's possible 4th season but the rights were unavailable.

"NBC has allowed us to craft a television series that no other broadcast network would have dared, and kept us on the air for three seasons despite Cancellation Bear Chow ratings and images that would have shredded the eyeballs of lesser Standards & Practices enforcers," says Bryan Fuller in a statement.

"We thank Gaumont and everyone involved in the show for their tireless efforts that have made Hannibal an incredible experience," says NBC in a statement.