Sunday, October 22, 2017

M-Net fires recruitment agency Ambit Recruitment after 'abhorrent' and racist job ad from Kandhi Consulting advertising for 'specifically White, English' M-Net commissioning editor.

A racist M-Net job ad seeking a commissioning editor for the Randburg-based pay-TV broadcaster is shocking South Africa's TV industry with its apartheid-style discriminatory requirement put out by Kandhi Consulting "specifically looking for a White, English speaking commissioning editor".

M-Net says it has fired Ambit Recruitment over the "abhorrent advertisement", with Ambit Recruitment that according to M-Net, subcontracted Kandhi Consulting without M-Net's permission or knowledge.

M-Net told TVwithThinus that the pay-TV broadcaster is "appalled by the advert, which was not authorised by us" and that "the advert you have alerted us to is racist, unlawful and disgraceful".

While the advert is legitimate and M-Net is indeed urgently looking for a commissioning editor for its scripted and reality division, M-Net is distancing the pay-TV broadcaster from the racist advert that was apparently contracted out and then subcontracted out again.

It's not clear if M-Net checks job adverts after they're placed - or if not, why M-Net doesn't scrutinise it's own job placement adverts when it's contracted out.

Ambit Recruitment has been working with Kandhi Consulting who has been subcontracted to run the shockingly racist job recruitment advertisement.

The job offer of R800 000 CTC (cost to company) M-Net executive position is for "a White, English speaking commissioning editor as this role is for someone who will produce soapies and programmes in this specific demographic".

"Please note: We are specifically looking for a White, English speaking commissioning editor" says the ad.

M-Net says it has sent letters to Ambit Recruitment giving notice of termination; to Kandhi Consulting demanding that it apologise and remove the advert from all platforms; and to Executive Placements, the website where the ad was found, asking that they remove it immediately.

"M-Net is appalled by the advert, which was not authorized by us," says the pay-TV broadcaster in a strongly-worded statement in response to a media enquiry on Sunday.

"M-Net would never be associated with any advertisement which only invites white applicants, which would be contrary to our recruitment policy, our values, the Constitution and other legislation. The advert you have alerted us to is racist, unlawful and disgraceful."

"We have established that without our knowledge, our recruitment agency sub-contracted another agency to advertise M-Net's vacancy for a commissioning editor."

"Our proposed advert sent to our recruitment agency for this vacancy made no reference to the race of the applicant," says M-Net.

"Our recruitment agency has advised us that it did not mandate the sub-contracted agency to word the advert in this racist manner."

"Our attempts to reach the sub-contracted agency by telephone have not been successful. We view this in the most serious light and are investigating the matter."

"We will take appropriate and firm action (including of a disciplinary nature) should we find that anyone on our behalf was involved in the production of this abhorrent advertisement."

"M-Net has a zero-tolerance approach to racism and takes incidents such as these very seriously," says the pay-TV broadcaster.

"Our employee profile is representative of our country's demographics at every level to the highest office. We have a level 1 BBBEE rating and we produce local shows that reflect our country's diverse cultures and languages."

MultiChoice introduces a new smaller and improved DStv HD decoder; first DStv decoder where the smartcard can't be removed.

MultiChoice is putting a new DStv HD decoder in the South African market that resembles the design of the DStv Explora decoder and has the smartcard integrated into the decoder.

MultiChoice didn't announce a recommended retail price for the new DStv HD Single View decoder that is similar to the existing DStv HD decoder with some improvements to create a more reliable viewing experience.

MultiChoice says the new DStv HD decoder is smaller and more compact and is also the first DStv decoder with a built-in smartcard that subscribers can't remove since smartcards are married to the decoders they come with anyway and can't be used in different boxes.

The latest DStv HD decoder comes with a new remote control, model B6, which allows customers to programme up to five buttons to control their TV and home theatre from a single remote.

"We're proud that this decoder and its software is made here in South Africa," says Gerdus van Eeden, MultiChoice's chief technology officer.

"Our Explora is made in a dedicated factory in East London, and the DStv HD Decoder 5-series will be made in Durban and Randburg. This represents a vital contribution to the manufacturing sector in South Africa."

MultiChoice says the DStv HD Decoder 5-series will be available from various retailers, DStv Service Centres and agencies from 1 November 2017.

DStv subscribers with newer newer installations who have a DStv Explora 2 and smart LNB, will be able to set up XtraView without having to update their installation or needing to run a dedicated cable between the two decoders, as they will communicate via the installation cables.

MultiChoice says subscribers who don't currently use a smart LNB in their installation should check with a DStv accredited installer for alternate solutions.

Two South African shows, Disney Cookabout and Revolting Rhymes, nominated at 2018 International Emmy Kids Awards.

Two South African shows have been nominated for the 2018 International Emmy Kids Awards, Triggerfish Animation's Revolting Rhymes and Penguin Films' Disney Cookabout.

Children's programming from 16 countries received 28 nominations for the 2018 International Emmy Kids Awards across 7 categories that will take place in Cannes on 10 April 2018.

Revolting Rhymes is nominated in the animation category at the 2018 International Emmy Kids Awards. Revolting Rhymes is produced by Magic Light Pictures and was animated at Magic Light’s Berlin studio and Cape Town’s Triggerfish Animation.

Disney Cookabout was nominated in the non-scripted entertainment category at the 2018 International Emmy Kids Awards. Disney Cookabout is produced by Penguin Films with episodes of the second season currently on Saturdays and Sundays on The Disney Channel (DStv 303).

"We are thrilled that Disney Cookabout has been acknowledged by the Academy at this year's International Emmy Kids Awards," says Christine Service, senior vice president and country manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa.

"Season 1 garnered an amazing response from viewers and with season 2 we hope to further encourage them to create Cookabout's array of exciting, locally-inspired recipes in their own kitchens with their families."

Roberta Durrant from Penguin Films and creative producer of Disney Cookabout says "It is always so rewarding working with the youth on any production and we are very grateful to the excellent cast and crew that have worked tirelessly to make this show the success that it is."

At least 13 SABC staffers allegedly took bribes in pay-for-play payola; facing disciplinary hearings for illegal dealings with musicians.

At least 13 staffers are allegedly involved in taking pay-for-play bribes - known in the industry as "payola" - as well as other illegal dealings and are facing disciplinary hearings at the South African public broadcaster.

City Press on Sunday reported that more than a dozen SABC staffers are implicated in various illegal practices, including payola, with SABC music compilers who took money directly from artists in return for their music being playlisted on the various SABC platforms.

The SABC music compilers allegedly went to a workshop organised by Arthur Mafokate and there allegedly took money. Arthur Mafokate reufsed to comment.

More than 15 South African artists confessed they've paid bribes to SABC music compilers for their music to be played.

SABC music compilers allegedly received payment from artists for their music to be playlisted and broadcast on air.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

CNN International expands its TV-Facebook hybrid show, CNN Talk with Max Foster, to twice a week from Monday.

CNN International (DStv 401) is expanding its weekly CNN Talk on Fridays to a twice-weekly show from Monday, adding a Monday episode.

CNN Talk with Max Foster will now run on Mondays and Fridays.

CNN Talk will be broadcast at 13:00 (South African time) on Mondays and Fridays on CNN International.

CNN Talk is CNN International's first fully integrated TV and digital show that is simulcast on TV and on social media, incorporating real time viewer comments throughout the show and allowing the audience to drive the discussion.

CNN International says CNN Talk has been successful with CNN’s Facebook audience, often reaching over a million Facebook viewers, and with a predominantly young viewership - it's most watched in the 25 to 45 age bracket.

The addition of the CNN Talk Monday show will allow Max Foster and his regular panel of commentators to look ahead to the stories likely to dominate the week's news, with Friday's programme that will continue to focus on the hot topic news story.

StarTimes (again) takes Africa reporters to China as it ignores South Africa, while StarSat hits an infamous 1 year anniversary.

The Chinese pay-TV operator StarTimes has once again scooped up a gaggle of Africa reporters for a propaganda-like trip to China while ignoring South Africa's press.

Meanwhile StarSat, StarTimes' affiliate in South Africa, is marking a whole year of doing literally nothing  in terms of any programming publicity that is supposed to be sent to media.

In the past week, StarTimes took 51 Africa journalists from 25 African countries - the bulk of whom will end up doing absolutely nothing and no actual reporting about it - for an "educational" 10-day tour to the People's Republic of China as part of a so-called "enriching relationships" junket.

After several days, there's literally been just one story - probably not the return of investment StarTimes wants. On the other hand, it could also be that getting actual press coverage for this isn't the actual aim.

Interestingly StarTimes couldn't be bothered with South Africa, where StarTimes South Africa and On Digital Media (ODM) run the StarSat satellite pay-TV platform.

StarTimes decided to take the African journalists to Beijing and Guangzhou in China for a media tour to interestingly co-incide with the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China that started on 19 October and lasts for a week.

The African journalists toured the StarTimes Media headquarters in Beijing on Monday.

Also on the itinerary - besides the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China taking place in Beijing - are visits to an industrial fair, a technological park, a textile park, port, agricultural park and a agricultural equipment manufacturing plant.

How bad is StarTimes' media liaison? This bad:

Guo Ziqi, StarTimes vice president at the StarTimes Media headquarters spoke about StarTimes' investment in pay-TV in Africa.

TVwithThinus asked Luke Liu, handling StarTimes overseas public relations, for a transcript or statement of what she said, but was told there is none.

Gao Wenzhi, another StarTimes vice president, spoke about StarTimes' research, StarTimes' content security and StarTimes' future development slate.

Again, TVwithThinus that asked Luke Lui for a transcript or statement of what Gao Wenzhi said - was told there is nothing StarTimes can share.

Luke Liu said that Guo Ziqi and Gao Wenzhi answered questions from African media and that "there is no transcript or press release".

How media covering StarTimes is supposed to report on what StarTimes executives are saying and doing when they do so publicly, is anybody's guess.

Luke Lui says "StarTimes is a Chinese company and a leading digital TV operator in Africa at the same time. We are very glad to be a bridge between China and Africa with promoting exchanges of the two sides".

A year of StarSat doing no programming publicity...
... and counting

Meanwhile October marks an infamous first anniversary for StarSat that stopped providing South Africa's media with any programming publicity material, monthly programming and scheduling and channel updates since October 2016.

South African media can't report about StarSat's month-to-month and day-to-day content or specific channel highlights because they literally don't know what it is due to a lack of information.

StarSat doesn't have any publicist or PR people communicating anything regarding any general content on StarSat - either about self-packaged or third-party channels, or specific shows or programming - to the South African press.

StarSat is trying to make inroads in growing its StarSat subscriber base but isn't communicating to the media what the content, channels and shows worth watching are that are available on its pay-TV platform.

Of course ordinary viewers and consumers don't buy decoders - they buy an experience and entertainment.

That's the reason why it's important - in fact crucial - for a pay-TV operator to issue programming publicity material to the press.

Yet, for 12 months now and counting, StarSat has failed to do the most basic communication in terms of programming - information that StarSat gets anyway on a monthly and weekly basis from overseas third-party channel providers, but doesn't bother or care to issue to the local media.

You don't see StarSat programming highlights in the newspaper and magazine that you read if it carries TV listing pages, and that is the reason why.

StarSat - formerly TopTV - used to have both in-house publicists (plural), and also paid external PR companies and PR people that it cycled through, to do this work.

For a year now it's not being done, after all of the TopTV and then StarSat publicists exited until only one was left; and after one PR company's contract was ended and a single external publicist got the task until her contract was also unceremoniously axed.

Without even a goodbye or advisory to media, emails suddenly bounced back this week a year ago in October 2016 with an "unfortunately I am no longer contracted to StarTimes Media SA".

And that was the end.

At this point in time it's anybody's guess what exactly StarTimes Media SA and ODM's media strategy is for StarSat as far as its basic programming communications strategy with journalists and the press covering StarSat and television in South Africa is concerned.

StarSat doesn't care about having, or building and strengthening, media relations with South Africa's press and TV critics or it would have employed a publicist or publicists months ago - or would have made an effort to put a PR company on retainer to communicate its programming on its behalf.

If it were important for StarSat to have the South African TV industry know what it's doing, and its programming, it would have appointed South African publicists months ago.

Instead, nothing.

If it were important for StarSat to educate the South African press about what it is and what it's doing, it would have made an effort to include South African journalists in things like the current StarTimes Media educational to Beijing for African journalists - or at the very least have reams of press releases and information about it on hand and available to send out.

Not communicating properly, not having a point-person or people in the form of publicist, and in effect shunning South Africa's press isn't having no effect - it's having a continued detrimental effect on StarSat.

Beyond being disappointing to the media trying to cover StarSat and its programming, it's practically damaging as well.

StarSat is damaging it brand but the press also isn't able to effectively do their work - telling potential viewers what there is on StarSat's various channels that's worth watching.

The press doesn't think highly of StarSat and that's a PR and perception problem.

In fact journalists - beyond not really knowing what StarSat is and what it's doing and showing - doesn't quite know what to think of StarSat, and that's bad if you're selling a service that even the media covering it, is unsure, skeptical and uninformed about.

Of course TV critics and journalists would rather write about StarSat's actual programming instead of ruminating about what a satellite pay-TV service is not doing, but in the absence of any actual programming info push, it is what's left.

Last month in parliament one of the then SABC board candidates and now a SABC board member, (still) referred to StarSat as TopTV - 4 years after and since it had changed its name.

It's just one example of how uninformed the general South African public is about StarSat.

That is StarSat's executives fault for not seeing PR and programmatic communication to the media as absolutely crucial to its existence, growth and brand image.

South Africa's consumer market, TV industry, media and trade press are much more evolved that the rest of Africa.

That makes real, effective, relevant and constant communication from a company to the media extremely important.

This past week, Netflix South Africa over 2 days communicated more with South Africa's media covering television than what StarSat had over the past 2 years.

Why should potential and existing StarSat subscribers remain or sign up for the service if they see nothing about StarSat and its programming in the press?

If StarTimes can afford to take over 50 journalists - who are likely not going to report to the public what StarTimes wants to communicate - to Bejing for 10 days, then StarTimes Media and StarSat can afford to pay to have a South African publicist communicating about its programming.

Sadly that realisation seems not have dawned yet on StarSat and its Beijing-based parent StarTimes Media.

Friday, October 20, 2017

VIA adds French and South African fusion cooking show, JAN, with Michelin-star chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen from 24 October.

VIA (DStv 147) is adding a new cooking show blending French and South African food fusion with JAN that will be starting on Tuesday 24 October at 19:00.

In a departure from the Afrikaans lifestyle channel's shows, JAN, with the South African chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, not all episodes will be 100% Afrikaans but will incorporate Afrikaans, French and Italian, with English subtitles.

Besides the linear broadcast on VIA, JAN is also made available on Naspers' subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service Showmax.

JAN follows Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, South Africa's first Michelin-star chef, as he combinesFrench and South African cooking in his restaurant, JAN, in Nice, France. 

According to the producers, JAN will give viewers "an intimate look into the life of a creative artist, and also the processes that inspires Jan-Hendrik to create his award-winning culinary creations".

"We discover how his childhood on a dairy farm in Mpumalanga prepared him for opening his restaurant, and why he received the highest accolade in the restaurant business three years later".

Izelle Venter, VIA's channel head, says "Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen is one of South Africa's exports that fills us with pride. It is a great honour to be able to explore his inner world through the camera lens".

"The programme is in Afrikaans, English, French and Italian, but the entire series has English subtitles, so everyone can watch it."

The first season of JAN consists of 9 hour long episodes. Guest appearances include Springbok players Duane Vermeulen and Juandré Kruger as well as actress Julia Stiles, head chef at JAN, Kevin Grobler and local chef Rutger Eysvogel.

JAN starts in his restaurant on the French Riviera, where Hollywood stars, international sportspeople and other VIP guests queue for a table. 

The cameras then follow Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen to the small Italian village of Apricale, where he goes to recharge his batteries and to explore distinctive ingredients in the company of local characters. 

Each episode ends off with a spectacular dish inspired by the episode's characters and ingredients.

"Guests at my restaurant should not only say they enjoyed eating there – they must say they had a great experience," says Jan-Hendrik van der Wethuizen who is in Cape Town for the launch of JAN on VIA.

"The same goes for the series: we are taking the viewers on a visual and sensory journey. If viewers feel that the programme was an experience for them as well, then we have done good work."

Minnie Dlamini's wedding special Becoming Mrs Jones lifts VUZU AMP to a ratings high for the channel on DStv - but the AR is still very small.

The first episode of Minnie Dlamini's 3-part TV wedding special Becoming Mrs. Jones, that started last week Friday, lifted VUZU AMP (DStv 103) to a channel ratings high with 98 698 viewers.

According to M-Net that packages and programmes the VUZU AMP channel for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, the first episode's audience rating that's just short of the 100 000 viewership tally "is officially the highest rated show in VUZU AMP history".

There are however two caveats.

In context the audience rating (AR) of 98 698 viewers aged 15 and older for Becoming Mrs. Jones is still very small given the total DStv and free-to-air TV household audience available in South Africa.

That's because the channel is only available to subscribers on MultiChoice's most expensive DStv Premium bouquet, limiting the number of people who have access to it.

Secondly M-Net counts VUZU AMP's start as a channel from its launch out of the existing VUZU channel as October 2014.

It means that VUZU AMP is just 3 years old - so there's not a lot of "VUZU AMP history" as far as AR's are concerned.

On a relatively new TV channel starting from a small viewership base, audience share often rises over time as awareness, incidental sampling and the hours of original or unique programming on it expand.

What is making the Becoming Mrs. Jones debut on VUZU AMP impressive however is that it more than doubled the audience that tuned in for Bonang Matheba's reality show Being Bonang that was also on VUZU AMP filling the same exact same genre and timeslot.

Becoming Mrs. Jones at 98 698 more than doubled the 44 614 viewers who tuned in for the most-watched Being Bonang episode - although it's a TV programming truism than a wedding and wedding reality drama will lure more eyeballs than a day-to-day, cinéma vérité style reality series.

Becoming Mrs. Jones was produced by Beautiful Day Productions with Minnie Dlamini as executive producer for the first time.

DAILY TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 20 October 2017.

Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ France Got Talent abruptly suspended after judge accused of sexual harassment.
Judge Gilbert Rozon is abruptly gone, and the 12th season is suddenly suspended after 9 women accused him of sexual harassment.

■ Netflix and why the future of streaming video services looks like old-school TV.
The same flip side that is dragging down traditional pay-TV subscription TV providers will eventually also come for Netflix - here's why (and how).

■ German naked celebrity reality show set on a tropical island returns.
German rapper Farid Bang declined to appear saying his massive ding-dong would scare viewers.

■ Romance is dead in TV's new crop of dating shows.

■ British TV industry facing catastrophic consequences because of Brexit.
UK faces disastrous exodus of actors, directors, highly-skilled special effects technicians.
Britain's TV bosses says harsh post-Brexit immigration rules will damage their biz.

■ Qatar hit by Egypt in a beIN sports rights fight.
beIN Sports dragged into the political fallout between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as Egypt's prosecutor-general drags beIN Media Group CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi into a commercial court case alleging "monopolistic practices" and allegedly violating Egyptian laws.
beIN has cut off its beIN Sports channels from Nilesat, forcing subscribers of Egypt's Nilesat service to switch to the Qatar-owned Sohail service.

■ Trouble in New Zealand where Sky TV sheds 28 000 subscribers.
That's a massive - roughly 3% - drop for a year for (the/a) traditional pay-TV operator in New Zealand. Sky TV now has 824 782 subscribers in New Zealand left.

■ That thing was out of control!
MUST READ! Kate Mtsitouridze, the head of Russia's Roskino film body, is the latest woman to accuse the vile sexual predator Harvey Weinstein of shocking sexual harassment.
- Press junket in corridor outside his hotel room; wondered if she screamed, anyone would hear.

■ And yet another incident: Marisa Coughlan says predator Harvey Weinstein wanted sex in exchange for film roles.

MUST READ!Lupita Nyong’o shares her shocking story of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein and the conspiracy of silence.

■ The Weinstein Company staffers slam serial sexual predator Harvey Weinstein in open letter.
They're saying they didn't know they're working for a monster: "We are as angry and baffled as you are at how Harvey's behaviour could continue for so long".

■ BBC reporter Rajini Vaidyanathan says there was no cover up at the BBC when a married sex pest who sent her sexually explicit messages was fired within days.

■ Amazon Studios' top executives now under scrutiny after exit of alleged sexual harasser Roy Price.
Joe Lewis, head of drama and comedy development, and Conrad Riggs, head of unscripted, will likely be gone from Amazon Studios as well soon.

■ Advertising executives say they haven't personally witnessed sexual harassment on their sets.
Notice how the very bad WWD article only interviews male advertising executives.

■ MultiChoice Tanzania doing a special 2-day exhibition to celebrate the 20th anniversary of DStv Tanzania.
Will take place at the Mlimani City in Dar es Salaam and will be open to the public; pay TV-operator now has 5 regional offices throughout Tanzania.

■ Update on the SABC's editorial policy review process.
The SABC got over 200 submissions from the public by email and from the SABC's provincial offices. The SABC's Editorial Policy project team is currently consolidating the oral submissions from the provincial public hearings.

■ Nigerians are finally becoming wary of the new pay-TV operator TStv that failed to start with no decoders available.
TStv that lies about TV channels it doesn't have any carriage agreements and contracts for is seeing its "buzz deflate day by day".

Viacom fires Chris Savino, creator of The Loud House on Nickelodeon, over shocking sexual harassment claims.

Viacom has fired Chris Savino (46), the creator of its hit animation kids series, The Loud House on Nickelodeon (DStv 305) over shocking sexual harassment claims a day after he was abruptly suspended.

The Loud House, seen in South Africa and across Africa on Viacom International Media Networks Africa's (VIMN Africa) kids channel, will continue production.

Nickelodeon in a statement says "Chris Savino is no longer working with Nickelodeon. We take allegations of misconduct very seriously, and we are committed to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment that is free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct."

"The Loud House, which is currently in its second season, will continue to air on Nickelodeon and be in production. Season three is scheduled to premiere in early 2018."

Besides the statement, Nickelodeon group president president Cyma Zarghami in an internal email to staffers told them that Viacom is encouraging anyone who has been the subject of or has witnessed "an uncomfortable situation at work" to speak out.

Cartoon Brew first broke the news about Chris Savino's suspension after more than a dozen women working at Nickelodeon came forward and accused him of alleged inappropriate behaviour - ranging from unwanted sexual advances, to threats of industry blacklisting after the end of consensual relationships with co-workers.

Some of the alleged sexual harassment dates back as far as a decade.

Chris Savino previously worked on cartoons for Turner Broadcasting System's Cartoon Network (DStv 301) like Rocko’s Modern Life, The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory.

Anne Walker Farrell who is currently a director on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman animation series, on Twitter called Chris Savino "a predator and a liability. You would do well to dismiss him from his employment at Nickelodeon".

On Thursday over 200 women in the American animation industry - mostly artists based in Los Angeles - published an open letter demanding an end to sexual harassment in the animation industry.

It was sent to executives at the Los Angeles studios like Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Paramount, Sony Pictures Animation and several other major Hollywood studios.

"We are tired of relying on whisper networks to know who isn't safe to meet with alone. We want our supervisors to protect us from harassment and assault. This abuse has got to stop," they write in the letter.

In her email to staff, Nickelodeon group president president Cyma Zarghami writes "In the current climate, it feels necessary to say that if you should encounter an uncomfortable situation at work, or witness one, you are safe to speak up."

"If you hear something, and are unsure of what to do, you are safe to tell your supervisor or Human Resources. If you need help, in any way, you are safe to ask for it".

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Netflix on why it isn't paying the South African Film and Publication Board licensing fee: 'We don't have to pay those fees'.

Netflix, on why it isn't paying the licensing fees for its content made available in South Africa to consumers as required by the South African Film and Publication Board (FPB), has a quite blunt response: "We don't have to".

Netflix says the global video streaming giant doesn't believe that it has to pay South Africa's FPB anything.

Netflix that has so far refused to register with the FPB since it launched in South Africa and across Africa in January 2016, "owes" the FPB more than R1.59 million in unpaid licensing fees.

The FPB screens and provides an age restriction and parental guidance system to content as part of its content classification system.

MultiChoice for its DStv satellite pay-TV service including DStv BoxOffice, and Apple iTunes are paying their FPB licensing fees.

So are the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Naspers' Showmax and PCCW Global's

The South African Film and Publication Board recently released a draft review of its licensing fee tariff scale for online distributors in South Africa, suggesting adjustments that will end up costing Netflix even more to have its content be available in South Africa.

The South African government is furthermore hell-bent on "regulating" global online video services like Netflix and YouTube.

The department of communications will shortly release a draft Audio-Visual and Digital Content Policy for SA in parliament for public comment.

Other African nations likewise want Netflix as a global video golden goose to pay up in terms of license fees or be gone.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) for instance has threatened to ban Netflix over its refusal to be "properly licensed" in Kenya and called Netflix "a threat to moral values and national security" in the East African nation.

On Wednesday Netflix spoke to South Africa media and answered questions from the press at its first Netflix House SA media event in Cape Town and TVwithThinus asked Netflix why it isn't paying the FPB licensing fee as required.

"We're an over-the-top (OTT) service, we're not a broadcaster; we're not licensed spectrum, or granted specific wavelengths to broadcast on," said Yann Lafargue, manager for technology and corporate communications at Netflix for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

"We're also not linear television where we have obligations to have certain content, with regulations and content quotas. We're omnipresent, so basically it's a different ball-game - and we don't have to pay those fees."

Yann Lafargue said "some of them argue that we should, and we are in contact with them. We do believe that we do not have to do that. And that's the same case in many countries in the world where they have content regulation and there's questions about ratings, or censorship."

"There's always a wish from a regulator to try to get power from things like video streaming services, and we're trying to move away from that because we do think that the content matters and we try not to censor content in general."

"If we have to pay a fee and its legally binding, we always respect the laws of a country where we operate. Right now, we don't have to."

"To be fair, the amount we should pay isn't necessarily big, but it's the question of why pay something if you don't have to?"

"We will rather invest the money in a local Netflix original show or content, like a Trevor Noah stand-up show rather than just put money where we don't have to."

'We don't want a cumbersome system'
When TVwithThinus asked if Netflix doesn't believe that something like the South African Film and Publications Board should set local parental and age restrictions for films and content that's suitable for South Africa's unique socio-demographic and cultural circumstances, Yann Lafargue said Netflix self-regulates.

"In some cases where there's something different we will have a discussion with the ratings board, and in some countries they are stricter than others. Like in Singapore for instance, or South Korea, they are very stringent."

"You can have a 12 [parental guidance] for something and then it's going to be 18 for that somewhere else. We're trying to make sure that we're empowering customers based on the country."

"There's no point in us forcing something down your throat if we think we're not ready. So we're open to discussion," said Yann Lafargue.

"What we don't want is to have - imagine, we have thousands of titles on Netflix - is to have a cumbersome system where you have to give them the content, and they need to watch it and decide whatever, and to then be consistent. It's complicated."

"It's a bit messy so we're trying to do things by ourselves. But what we're doing in some markets is we're trying to show them, and ask 'For those shows, what would be the ratings?' And we try to self-right ourselves to close the discrepancy."

"So we're trying to understand, and to be a good company and good corporate citizen in general."

"If someone thinks that if there's violence or nudity, automatically it needs to be [age restricted] above 16 we'll do it, we have no issue with that," said Yann Lafargue.

"We want the freedom to regulate ourselves. When there's layers of complexities it's never good; it's just slowing the technology; everything."

"Imagine if you have that [process of screening] and then you need to wait 6 months because they don't have the capacity or the bandwidth to watch all the content of 650 shows - not even talking about the licensed shows we have there, then you become again a second-ranked citizen because of your own regulator. And then there's again the issue of piracy."   

BBC Worldwide sells more than 150 hours of content to Showmax Africa, including Planet Earth II, Call the Midwife and Special Forces.

BBC Worldwide has sold more than 150 hours of content to Naspers' subscription video-on-demand S(VOD) service Showmax in Africa.

The content from the BBC Worldwide will be available in South Africa and the other 35 African countries in which Showmax operates that in Africa now resorts under MultiChoice's DStv Digital division.

BBC Worldwide announced the Showmax deal at TV market MIPCOM 2017 that includes a mixed-genre package of more than 150 hours of content ranging from natural history and drama to factual entertainment programming.

"I am delighted that Showmax subscribers across the African continent will soon have access to some of the most loved and much talked about shows from the BBC and leading UK independents through this new agreement," says Joel Churcher, vice president and general manager for Africa.

"BBC Worldwide has a deep catalogue of premium content which we can offer across all platforms to ensure African audiences can view our world class content whenever and wherever they choose."

Chris Savides, the head of Showmax Africa says "BBC shows are a cornerstone of our content lineup and have played a major part in propelling Showmax from a standing start two years ago to one of the most popular internet TV services in Africa".

"We're looking forward to adding even more BBC content in the future".

BBC Worldwide shows that will become available on Showmax include:

Planet Earth II
The updated natural history series shown earlier this year on BBC Earth (DStv 174). Travelling through jungles, deserts, mountains, islands, grasslands and cities, this series explores the unique characteristics of Earth's most iconic habitats and the extraordinary ways animals survive within them.

Call the Midwife seasons 4 - 6
The triumphs and tribulations of the nurses and nuns from the Nonnatus House convent as they work in the poverty-stricken East End of London.

The Durrell’s seasons 1 & 2
The adventures of the eccentric Durrell family as they embrace life on a gorgeous Greek island of Corfu in the 1930’s. Based on Gerald Durrell’s much-loved Corfu trilogy, the series sees widow Louisa Durrell and the family adjust to their new life, face a whole new set of challenges and meet new friends, rivals, lovers and animals.

The Collection 
A tale of secrets, lies and high fashion from writer Oliver Goldstick (Desperate Housewives). Set in 1947, the series tracks a pivotal moment in France’s history when fashion became a vehicle for transformation and reinvention.

Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week seasons 1 & 2
In this action-packed series, 29 super fit men and women take on the challenge of their lives when they have to endure 12 days straight of physical and mental endurance, masterminded by some of the world’s toughest special forces operatives, to discover who can survive and ultimately win. 
The second season was filmed in South Africa.

Netflix reveals the top 5 most watched shows on Netflix in South Africa; says it's open to do and take local South African stories to a global audience in the near future.

Netflix has revealed the most watched shows in South Africa and the type of programming that South African Netflix subscribers simply can't get enough of.

Netflix spoke to South Africa media and answered questions from the press at its first Netflix House SA media event in a lux high street Fresnaye mansion in Cape Town this week to showcase and preview it's existing and upcoming content and to hear from the press what they need.

Netflix's roundtable session with the press in South Africa sent a strong and clear signal to the media and the country's TV industry that Netflix  - with its big billboard at the OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg - has arrived in full force and means business in its push into Africa, starting from the continent's southern most nation.

Netflix for the first time revealed the shows that are most watched on Netflix in South Africa, with South African subscribers who are actually very informed and clued up as to what is available on Netflix and watching it.

Yenia Zaba, the Netflix manager for media relations for Europe and Africa, said South Africans love action programming that feature strongly in Netflix South Africa's top 5 list.

"It's a lot of action stuff - Mindhunter - it was just released. Narcos is very big here in South Africa; Star Trek: Discovery is very big here and the Marvel shows [Iron FistThe Defenders] are indeed very big here, as well as Designated Survivor and Shooter".

"Today, compared to a year and a half ago when we launched in South Africa, the Netflix catalogue of titles has tripled in size and we're literally adding shows on a daily basis".

Since Netflix launched, Netflix has been able to gather more and more viewing data and we've been observing certain behavioural data.

"We know that you're in South Africa for instance and we know what you watch. We don't know if you're male or female, your age - none of that."

"But we have observed certain things. The first thing that happens when we launched Netflix in a certain country was binge watching. It's a very basic one, but it couldn't happen before."

"Binge racing on the other hand is when you finish an entire season within the first 24 hours of launching that season."

"And obviously early adopters are the first ones to do that and we think that South Africa is eventually going to be way up there when it comes to binge racing. South Africans are absolutely crazy about Stranger Things."

Netflix open to SA productions in future
Netflix said it will very likely do content production deals in the future with South African producers.

"We have a pretty strong content team that is travelling to every country to talk to local producers. I do know that we're talking to South African producers."

"We want stories. It doesn't matter where they come from, we just want really good stories. Sometimes the stories are co-productions, sometimes they're in several languages."

"We're very lucky that we have 190 countries to put your local story all the way out there. If we produce something, it's never going to be meant just for that one country because it's not worth it for us. We want to tell global stories," says Yenia Zaba.

"Good stories can come from wherever," says Yann Lafargue, manager for technology and corporate communications at Netflix for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

"We're not designing a show for just a local audience. The Crown for instance - the BBC couldn't have done it. Just because the economics doesn't make sense. There's not enough Brits to watch that show."

"But when you have 1 in 9 million people which is about 3 million people - 3 million eyeballs are enough people. So you can make a certain show that will be compelling because there's 10 000 people in South Africa that like Dynasty, and another 15 000 in South Korea."

"So you get those clusters of audiences everywhere in the world, and together we get the scale to tell those stories."

"So we can do different television - in terms of format, in terms of story telling, in terms of everything. And we can give a global audience to local stories."

"People like to work with Netflix because we're not cheap and we also working with the best technology".

Since it launched in January 2016, Netflix is facing an ever-growing market segment of subscription pay-TV offerings, all vying for the rands in the wallets of South African consumers that go to discretionary spending on entertainment.

Besides traditional satellite pay-TV services like MultiChoice's DStv and China's StarSat, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Naspers' Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, DEOD, and Kwesé Play have mushroomed and are all trying to entice South African consumers with their video content offerings.

StarTimes Nigeria introduces pay-per-day (PPD) and pay-per-week (PPW) as new pay-TV subscription options in the face of increased competition.

The China sponsored StarTimes Nigeria has introduced new pay-per-day (PPD) and pay-per-week subscription fee options for StarTimes Nigeria subscribers in the face of increasing competition in the West-African country's pay-TV market.

Saying "entertainment just got subsidised" StarTimes Nigeria announced a new payment option whereby subscribers can get access to 40 StarTimes channels for N300 (R11.27) for a week, or all StarTimes channels for N60 (R2.25) per day. 

The new pay-per-day (PPD) and pay-per week (PPW) StarTimes payment plans will become available from 1 November 2017, with payments that will be possible both online and offline.

StarTimes Nigeria didn't release any statement to the media but the new payment offerings are part of the squeeze all pay-TV operators in Nigeria are facing in the fight to find new subscribers and to combat churn.

Competition in Nigeria's pay-TV sphere has been heating up between StarTimes Nigeria and MultiChoice Nigeria's DStv especially as the Nigerian currency, the naira has been tanking, as well as the entrance of the new wannabe rival TStv, that doesn't have decoders available and has been lying to consumers about TV channel carriage agreements it doesn't have.

StarTimes Nigeria's new "pay-per-day" and "pay-per-week" concept is interesting since pay-TV operators who bill subscribers for content costs they themselves have to pay, don't have the luxury of paying for that content "per day" or "per week".

In that sense, StarTimes Nigeria's very on the nose "entertainment just got subsidised" commercial comment is actually highly accurate - StarTimes Nigeria is the one doing the subsidising, since it will StarTimes Nigeria losing money.

StarTimes Nigeria,like all satellite pay-TV providers, have to source and pay for content in and as package deals, output deals, and over much longer contract periods, like for a year or in multi-year channel carriage deals and other content contracts.

Channel and content providers don't do "pay-per-week" and "pay-per-day" contracts with operators like StarTimes Nigeria, so it's StarTimes Nigeria itself that's breaking down the decoding and access to customers in smaller day and week bits.

DAILY TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 19 October 2017.

Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ Where has TStv gone? 18 days after its 1 October launch in Nigeria, TStv is seemingly nowhere.
Biola Kazeem wonders about Nigerian's gullibility and their willingness to accept fake promises like thelies about TV channels TStv says its carrying but isn't allowed to.
TStv isn't what we need now," says Nigerians. "We actually need an uninterrupted electricity supply".

■ MIPCOM TV market told: Black people are rare as unicorns on prime time TV

■ Australian breakfast show presenter lurks and hides behind her car!
Lisa Wilkingson hides behind her car from the paparazzi after a nasty fight following abreakdown in salary negotiations goes public between a TV star's agent in Australia and the Nine network.

■ China's StarTimes says Uganda is one of the African countries that benefitted from the $2.5 billion contract for digital terrestrial TV migration.
Of course StarTimes itself benefitted commercially too - since it's China's money.
Meanwhile StarTimes has taken 51 journalists from across Africa to Beijing and China for a media tour and to cover the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China but has deliberately excluded South Africa's media.

■ New SABC board Febe Potgieter-Qubule claims:
"I don't see myself compromised". Says her new SABC board position will make her reconsider her role in the ANC going forward.

■ Econet Media officially launches Kwesé TV in Uganda.
Has a media launch event in Kampala where Kwesé TV will now have to battle it out against MultiChoice Uganda's DStv and China's StarTimes for pay-TV viewers.
- Quite inane and non-sensical comments from Herbert Mucunguzi, Kwesé TV Uganda general manager as to what Kwesé TV Uganda offers. You'd think he or the PR people would put in actual effort to come up with non-stock comments not already used before by MultiChoice and StarTimes for their offerings.
Kwesé TV Zambia's general manager Kapa Kaumba fawning over Zambia's government, likewise talks a lot that means absolutely nothing.

■ Nielsen to measure viewing of shows streaming on Netflix.
The service aiming to measure and find ratings for On Demand video streaming services, will provide data comparable to what Nielsen provides for linear TV, including ratings, reach, frequency and demographics.
Netflix slams the effort and Nielsen: "The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix".

■ Digital TV a massive and expensive flop in Thailand.
Digital terrestrial television migration came too late and audience behaviour had already changed due to technology.

■ Final 4th season of Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD (DStv 304) will be more serialised.
Last season just started in America, no date yet for when it starts in South Africa and Africa, but Dave Filoni says "episodes will be more serialised than you're used to".

■ The actor Javid Iqbal doesn't really exist, Star Trek: Discovery made him up since actor Shazad Latif is apparently playing both Voq who disguises himself to become Ash Tyler.
Maybe some clarity about the confusing plot points in Star Trek: Discovery.
Jason Isaacs says Star Trek: Discovery is "of our time, and for our time."
Klingon Voq can't stay missing for much longer.

■ How big is delayed TV viewing in America?
In some cases it's even bigger than live viewing - in others almost nothing. Here's how some of America's biggest TV shows break down when it comes to viewers who watch it after its been shown.

■ Why competing with Netflix and Amazon is impossible.
MUST WATCH: Barry Diller discusses what makes Netflix and Amazon today's leaders in video.

■ Executive producer of Viacom's The Mist TV drama, Amanda Segel, accuses Harvey Weinstein's brother Bob Weinstein of sexual harassment.
- Variety's TV critic Maureen Ryan says a TV executive sexually assaulted her.
Hollywood's other open secret: Preying on young boys.
Inside Harvey Weinstein's horrific history of bullying: "Has never done anything that was consensual".

■ The shamed Roy Price out at Amazon after shocking sexual harassment claims.

■ And a MUST READ: Inside Amazon and the fall of the vulgar exec Roy Price.
As usual Amazon and Roy Price are silent and refused to comment. Amazon insiders reveal Roy Price's "crude sex talk" at gatherings, asked staffers if stars in a TV series would "show their tits";  misogyny of scripts.

■ Fighting the pirates.
How illegal downloads and streaming of TV shows is now impacting the global TV industry.
Netflix says it's pushing to secure global rights and release all originals simultaneously to global members to help address piracy, and "that there's been a notable reduction in piracy in countries where we operate".

■ Lifetime (DStv 131) finally releases a trailer for the delayed 3rd season of UnReal.
The 3rd season will start in America on 26 February 2018 and will this time revolve around a bachelorette looking for Mister Right. No word yet on when the 3rd season will start on Lifetime in South Africa and Africa on MultiChoice's DStv.

■ The delicate art of the TV series finale.
Ending a TV series properly with a perfect final episode is equal parts craft and philosophy.

■ Next year the Swiss will vote to get rid of TV and radio licence fees.
Switzerland voting in March 2018 on a proposal to scrap the licence fee for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC).

■ Nigerian presenter of a TV crime show sues over being blocked by Nigerian police.
Aisha Tosan, the presenter of presenter of Crime Fighters, Police and You files papers in Lagos High Court to stop Nigeria's police from blocking her, and impeding her right to give out information.

■ Chelsea Handler's talk show, Chelsea, on Netflix cancelled after 2 seasons.
Went from daily in the first season, to weekly in the second season to cancelled.

■ In a new generation of social media-driven dramas
viewers decide the outcome in the next episode, as part of TV's next big new trend.

Netflix: We're not in competition with MultiChoice's DStv says the global video streaming giant as it signals a bigger push into the South African market.

Netflix says it's not in competition with MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa and Africa and that any service offering compelling content to viewers as TV moves into the future, will continue thrive.

Netflix spoke to South Africa media and answered questions from the press at its first Netflix House SA media event in a lux high street Fresnaye mansion in Cape Town this week to showcase and preview it's existing and upcoming content and to hear from the press what they need - something it said it will be doing regularly from now on.

Netflix that has rapidly gained subscribers in South Africa, is making steady inroads as a brand since it launched in South Africa and across Africa in January 2016, where, besides traditional satellite pay-TV services DStv and China's StarSat, services like Naspers' Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, DEOD, and Kwesé Play have made their appearance in a market segment of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services that has quickly become crowded.

When the global video streaming service was specifically asked if it's acquiring and licensing TV rights to keep it away from MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV service DStv, Netflix said that it's not acquiring show titles to stop DStv from having access to it.

"In terms of competition, we think there's room for everyone.  For us, competition is anything that's entertainment. So there's room for everyone. We're not saying that DStv shouldn't be around," Netflix told the media.

"In the United Kingdom there's always talk about the BBC and will the BBC end up dying because of Netflix? No. Because they offer something different. DStv has sports. There's always different things in every market and what Netflix is trying to do is to give people more."

Yann Lafargue, manager for technology and corporate communications at Netflix for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, said that "On demand viewing is just the future of entertainment".

"Competition is healthy. Nobody has the monopoly on great stories. The companies like HBO, Amazon - those who create compelling stories that people like to watch and enjoy - they're going to survive; they're going to thrive."

"The thing that is the key is the exclusivity. If we all have the same content and you can watch the same type of content everywhere - why would you subscribe to some services specifically?" said Yann Lafargue.

"It's because it's a kind of signature show. So HBO has Game of Thrones for instance. So you want to sign up for Netflix because you want to watch Stranger Things or Narcos. And we're going to have more and more of those big hits to keep you entertained and captivated and to give you a reason to subscribe to Netflix."

He said "we know we have much more titles than the competition, but it's not about volume. For us it's not like DVDs on a shelf".

"We're trying to show around 300 shows from your algorithm on your interface. And when you start looking at something, then you will start seeing more suggestions because you like Robert DeNiro shows or something like that."

"Star Trek: DiscoveryDesignated Survivor - those shows are available here in South Africa on Netflix but not in the United States. So there is this misconception sometimes that it's always better elsewhere, the grass is greener somewhere else, and it's not the case necessarily."

Since last month subscribers of Kwesé Play can currently subscribe through that service to Netflix and be billed in rand by having the Netflix subscription added onto the Kwesé Play account but Yann Lafargue says all South Africans will eventually be able to pay in rand and not dollar.

"It's going to come. It's just a question of making sure that all the modes of payment - credit card, debit card and Paypal - everything could be shifted to rand. As Netflix grows and localises and create partnerships we do see that currency integration".

"What we see in some markets is that when you're new, people don't necessarily trust you. When you're a new brand, people wonder can I enter my credit card details on your website - is it safe?"

"So what's happening is that if you already have your internet service provider or you mobile phone contract, you go 'Okay I don't pay Netflix directly but my monthly bill just adds a line and I pay my local service provider', then it's easier and it removes friction."

"So that's the type of deals and partnerships we're trying to do."

"But pretty soon - perhaps coming in a month or so - we will have a shift to that."

Netflix on piracy and password sharing
Regarding piracy of content Yenia Zaba, the Netflix manager for media relations for Europe and Africa, says "we're not going to physically fight against piracy, we know it's out there, but piracy exists mainly because of two reasons."

"Piracy is there because content isn't accessible in another way, and B, it's not affordable."

"We don't have numbers for South Africa, but in many countries where piracy was really big - the Nordics, Australia - piracy dropped by 30% thanks to Netflix," says Yann Lafargue. "When you make it easy and the quality [of how people can watch it] is better, people move away from piracy."

"And also the frustration when you feel like a second-rung citizen - that was the case in South Africa, that was the case in France, or Germany, where you had to wait 2 years to get a TV show to become available to you, and you really want to watch it because on social media you hear about this great show - you're going to find a way to watch it."

"Netflix gives you a show, it's in South Africa, it's in France, it's in Finland, it's in South Korea, it's in the United States at the same time. So there's no incentive to do it [piracy]. And we also have 30 days for free."

In terms of password sharing between people, Yann Lafargue says "as long as it remains within the family circle I think it's fine. If you have a $7.99 plan, there's only one person who can watch at the same time."

"So if you give it to 10 of your friends, it's good, but if one of them is watching, you will be locked out of your own account. You won't be able to watch for what you're paying, so why would you do that?"

"It's fine if you want to show a piece of content to someone, but at the end of the day it's self-regulating."

"It's good also in new markets, so it's fine I guess in South Africa if you're at a coffee shop and you're telling your friend about these great documentaries that you've seen, or these amazing movies and go 'Oh, it's on Netflix, have a look, watch it'. And maybe they think I should get it as well. So it's kind of good because it's free advertising."

"We don't really have a strong stance against it, it's self-regulating by itself at the same time. And as long as it remains within a family, it's more or less okay."

"Also its more often teenagers. But when they first start working and get their first income, they often go 'I want my own account' and can afford it."

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CNN now approved to fly camera drones over breaking news events that involve large crowds of people.

CNN has been approved by America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly camera drones over large crowds of people in the United States during breaking news events in order to broadcast aerial panoramic shots to viewers.

CNN will soon start to use these unmanned aircraft systems or UAS over crowds of people after it received approval.

"This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN's UAS operations, but also the commercial UAS industry at large," says David Vigilante, CNN's senior vice president of legal in a statement.

"We are truly grateful to the FAA for allowing CNN to demonstrate its continued commitment to safe UAS operations".

The FAA now allows CNN to operate the Snap UAS, a frangible aircraft with enclosed rotors that's made of "deformable material", over crowds of people.

"Vantage created the Snap for the purpose of safely capturing aerial video over people," says Tobin Fisher, Vantage Robotics CEO. "We are pleased that Vantage was able to work with CNN to present and establish the safety case for the Snap to the FAA".

The Snap camera drone weighs 0.62 kg and its four rotors are encased to reduce the chances of injury.

The Snap is designed to break into harmless smaller pieces if it crashes and can be "snapped" back together and reused after a crash.

Court declares South African ministerial interference into the SABC illegal, slams invalid Memorandum of Incorporation.

In a groundbreaking ruling the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday slammed and declared illegal the so-called "Memorandum of Incorporation" for the SABC that was introduced by the controversial former minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, that the wayward minister used to hire and fire top executives at the SABC.

Judge Elias Matojane declared several clauses of the Amended Memorandum of Incorporation illegal that Faith Muthambi and her follow-upper and now also dumped Ayanda Dlodlo used to justify their meddling in SABC appointments and firings.

This amended version of the Memorandum of Incorporation that Faith Muthambi quietly introduced in 2014, illegally gave new powers to the minister of communications to directly meddle and interfere in the operations of the SABC board and SABC executives.

In his judgment Judge Elias Matojane noted the "systematic and repeated failures in the governance and management of the SABC" and said "the critical systemic causes of governance failures and mismanagement were found to have been caused by ministerial interference in the governance and operations of the SABC".

Judge Elias Matojane called the Memorandum of Incorporation illegal under which Faith Muthambi usurped sweeping powers to directly interfere in the executive workings of the SABC.

Judge Elias Matojane declared the Amended Memorandum of Incorporation illegal as far as the appointment, discipline and suspension of the SABC's CEO, COO and CFO goes and said the Memorandum is inconsistent with South Africa's Broadcasting Act and invalid.

Judge Elias Matojane said the Memorandum gave the minister of communications illegal powers that undermined the independence of South Africa's public broadcaster. In his judgment he reaserted that it's the SABC board - not a minister of communications - that controls the SABC.

In the judgment the court said it is the SABC board alone that, through its non-executive members, should and can appoint executive members - without any approval that is required by the minister of communications.

The judgment also said that the SABC board, without prior approval of the minister, can start disciplinary proceedings against the SABC CEO, COO and CFO.

The ruling also states that SABC board members can't be removed if it's not done strictly in accordance with the Broadcasting Act.

The case was brought to court by the Support Public Broadcasting (SOS Coalition), Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA).

The SOS Coalition and MMA said they welcome the judgment limiting ministerial powers and interference at the SABC, calling it in a statement "a victory for independence and media freedom in South Africa".

"The SABC board has the exclusive prerogative to appoint, through a transparent process, the CEO, CFO and COO and any other non-executive members of the board."

"Not only is the SABC board able to exclusively appoint the non-executive members, but they are also able to discipline and/or remove any such members. This makes the current SABC board the most independent board since the birth of our democracy."

Lifetime releases teaser trailer for the 3rd season of UnReal; will start in February in America with no date for the show in Africa on DStv yet.

Lifetime has revealed a teaser trailer for the long-delayed 3rd season of the drama series UnReal that will start in February 2018 more than a year after the previous season ended.

While the 3rd season of UnReal will start on 26 February 2018 in America, a starting date for the season on Lifetime Africa (DStv 131) from A+E Networks UK for South Africa and Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform isn't known yet.

In another new change, the 3rd season will revolve around a bachelorette looking for Mister Right out of a group of hunky suitors in the fictional match-making show Everlasting.

This time Caitlin FitzGerald from the drama series Masters of Sex plays the bachelorette, Serena Wolcott, who is a tech entrepreneur who suddenly declares: "From this moment forward, the only rules are the rules that I make."

Once again the producers Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn (Constance Zimmer) are however scheming and plotting behind the scenes to create dramatic reality television as the real puppet masters pulling everyone's strings.

Of course men on the sets of TV reality shows are often as, or even more vain, self-obsessed and  focused on external appearances than the woman.

In the new trailer, Rachel has to tell Quinn that one of the mantestants cut off a rival's "man-bun" while he was sleeping. In another scene Quinn says "I thought women were dramatic".

Production of the 4th season of UnReal is starting this month in Vancouver, Canada. UnReal is the first scripted series fully produced and distributed by A+E Studios with A+E Networks that also does the global sales for the show that is seen in 100 territories worldwide.

MultiChoice Uganda staffers allegedly defrauded DStv Uganda subscribers by exploiting currency fluctuations; some suspended staff now demand billions in shillings for 'embarrassment, stress'.

In a shocking case of alleged theft and fraud, Multichoice Uganda staffers allegedly defrauded DStv Uganda subscribers by skimming money off of their monthly payments by exploiting Uganda's volatile exchange rates.

ChimpReports first detailed the shocking allegations earlier this week of how currency fluctuations and vulnerabilities in this system, have allegedly been exploited by DStv Uganda cashiers to steal thousands from unsuspecting DStv Uganda subscribers between November 2015 and November 2016.

While Ugandan subscribers to DStv Premium had to pay in Uganda shillings a price of Shs 375,000 with a fixed exchange rate of Shs 3,750, the market rate ranged between Shs 3,200 to Shs 3,300.

"This means MultiChoice Uganda had approximately Shs 40,000 on each subscription. This happened for a full year but several agents noticed MultiChoice Uganda was making lots of money," a former MultiChoice Uganda staffer revealed.

"They would receive the shillings from the customers then go to a forex bureau, change it to dollars and post dollars on the MultiChoice Uganda system and retain the balance.

The story of alleged MultiChoice Uganda fraud becomes even more complicated and has now led to labour problems after MultiChoice Uganda ordered an internal investigation and then allegedly suspended all cashiers.

Over 20 MultiChoice Uganda cashiers were allegedly called to a disciplinary hearing, but MultiChoice Uganda then allegedly decided to either drop the case and demote the staffers, or has not yet taken against the suspended staffers.

Some of the workers, after lawyering up, told MultiChoice Uganda they now demand damages to be paid to them "in the sums of Shs 1.3 billion for the embarrassment, stress, and inconvenience among others which they state they have suffered and continue to suffer."

MultiChoice Uganda publicist Tina Wamala had no comment.

SuperSport to celebrate South Africa's World Cup win in Paris in 2007 with rebroadcast of three of the tournament's matches.

SuperSport will celebrate the decade-old anniversary of South Africa's Rugby World Cup win in Paris in 2007 on Friday with a rebroadcast of 3 matches from this tournament.

Exactly 10 years to the day since the Springboks won the Rugby Wold Cup in Paris, SuperSport will rebroadcast 3 of the matches, including the final, on Friday 20 October on the SuperSport 2 channel on MultiChoice's DStv.

The memorable final against England will be broadcast on Friday at 8:40 in the morning and again at 21:30 on Friday night on SuperSport 2.

The quarterfinal match against Fiji will be broadcast at 5:00 on Friday morning, followed at 6:50 by a rebroadcast of the semi-final between South Africa and Argentina.

E! Entertainment cancels Fashion Police; will end on 29 November on DStv with a special farewell episode celebrating Joan Rivers.

E! Entertainment (DStv 124) has cancelled Fashion Police with Melissa Rivers, with the show that will end in November with another special celebrating Joan Rivers, the show's infamous segments and most memorable moments.

The final Fashion Police episode entitled Fashion Police: The Farewell, will be broadcast on E! in America on 27 November and will be broadcast in South Africa and Africa on E! Entertainment on Wednesday 29 November at 20:00.

After Joan Rivers' unexpected death in 2014, Fashion Police that went off air for a hiatus but returned, eventually switched to a format of doing specials after big Hollywood award shows and will now sign off next month after the latest special that covered the PrimeTime Emmy Awards.

Fashion Police: The Farewell will feature the last appearance from the panel of Melissa Rivers, Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski, NeNe Leakes and Margaret Cho as well as surprise celebrity guests and will include highlights from Joan Rivers.

The episode will incorporate clips from an unaired episode featuring Joan Rivers and the panelists paying tribute to 80's fashions.

"What's been consistent through all the years has been a love of fashion, and that started with Joan Rivers," says Gary Snegaroff, the senior vice president for original production for Wilshire Studios that produces Fashion Police.

"The only thing she loved more than fashion was getting a laugh, so this combined her two loves. She always felt that fashion was something to be discussed, not to be taken too seriously, and that's the show we put together."

"We're going to take a look back and celebrate some of the show's most memorable moments and hosts and gags," said Adam Stotsky, E! Entertainment president.

"It's an opportunity to celebrate the franchise, celebrate Joan and how much we miss her, and pull back the curtain and show fans some things that they haven't seen."

Melissa Rivers, also an executive producer on Fashion Police, says "I am so proud to have been a part of this show and am so proud that it’s part of my mother's legacy. It really changed, along with the red carpets, awards-show programming and fashion."