Friday, October 23, 2020

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read - 23 October 2020.

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

There's panic under SABC staffers after executives have downgraded all significant positions and classified 95 personnel as redundant as part of cost-cutting. Heads of news in regions had been sent down to regional news editors, while the executive producers, currently at scale 130, were downgraded to scale 300 as programme producers.

SABC3's Expresso presenter and Outsurance star Katlego Maboe admits to cheating on partner who allegedly got a sexually-transmitted disease: 'I was unfaithful.'

by Thinus Ferreira

Shock and scandal is swirling around the Expresso presenter Katlego Maboe on SABC3, also known as the face of countless Outsurance "Chencha Daideng!" TV commercials, who has confessed to cheating on his partner with an Outsurance employee which resulted in his partner allegedly getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).


Following the release of a shocking and lurid video on social media on Thursday night that quickly went viral with thousands of views and comments from South Africans, Katlego Maboe who've won SAFTA awards as Best TV presenter, posted a statement on Twitter admitting to having cheated on his partner and that they are separating because of it.

"Truth: I was unfaithful to my partner during a very important time of our lives - an act I regret to this day. We are currently undergoing an unfortunate and painful separation which is being resolved through legal proceedings," Katlego Maboe said.

"As you can imagine, separations are quite a difficult thing to deal with, especially with a child involved. In light of the comments made against me, I would like to state that I have never abused my partner."

"I have always and will always stand up against the abuse of women and children - in fact, the abuse of anyone for that matter. I had chosen to deal with this matter privately to protect and safeguard our child. At the end of the day, our child is all that matters to me."

"However, I will leave this to the legal system and let the truth have its day," Katlego Maboe said.

In the shocking video, Katlego Maboe confesses his infidelity to his partner who confronts him and records him and asks him who he has had sex with. Eventually he tells her, after his wife tells him that he might never see their son again. 

Katlego Maboe mentions the name of a woman who works at Outsurance in Cape Town and admits that he had sex with her at a hotel but that it only happened once.

Katlego Maboe's partner in the video alleges that Katlego Maboe gave her a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) that has damaged her womb, affecting the chances of her having another child.

On Friday morning Katlego Maboe was absent from Expresso's Cape Town studios in Tokai with Friday's edition that was anchored by Graeme Richards, Ryle DeMorny, Jamie-Lee Domburg and Thabiso Makhubela but it's not clear whether he was slated to be on as one of group of rotating presenters of the weekday morning show produced by Cardova Productions.

Following his cheating scandal it's not yet clear whether Katlego Maboe is getting dropped as an Expresso presenter or if he will be temporarily removed from his on-screen role. 

SABC3 as well as Expresso, through its PR agency The Platinum Club, were asked in late-night media enquiries for comment which will be added here once received.

Outsurance was also asked in a late-night media enquiry on Thursday night for comment about Katlego Maboe and the video that trended on Thursday night. 

Outsurance was also asked whether Outsurance is removing the TV commercials and campaign in which he appears and whether Outsurance will continue to use him in its TV commercials. Comment from Outsurance will be added here once it's received.

UPDATE Friday 23 October 2020 07:48: Katlego Maboe made his first appearance on Expresso at 07:43 on Friday morning in a pre-recorded Halloween arts and crafts segment, adding a "black eye" and saying "I don't know what I'm doing".

UPDATE Friday 23 October 2020 09:36: SABC3 in a statement tells TVwithThinus "We have been made aware of the issue regarding Katlego Maboe. However, Cardova, the production house is handling the matter following their internal processes. Notwithstanding, the SABC as a responsible broadcaster stands firm and remains committed to the fight against gender-based violence (GBV)".

UPDATE Friday 23 October 2020 09:49: Fabrizia Degli Esposti, Katlego Maboe's publicist, says "The allegations made against Katlego Maboe are false and are an attempt by his former partner to harass and victimise him in order to cause emotional harm, as well as reputational and economic damage. The matter is currently being litigated and is therefore sub-judice, and accordingly he cannot comment further as to do so would potentially be undermining the court's process. Katlego Maboe kindly asks for privacy at this time."

UPDATE Friday 23 October 2020 10:06: Cardova Productions in a statement tells TVwithThinus that Katlego Maboe has been removed from Expresso pending an internal investigation and that the SABC3 morning show "condemns any acts of violence and mistreatment, especially against women and children and take such allegations very seriously".

"Certain serious allegations have been posted on social media about Katlego Maboe and, last night, a video was leaked showing Katlego Maboe seemingly admitting to cheating on his partner. We have been informed that a legal process relating to the allegations is currently sub-judice."

"We condemn any acts of violence and mistreatment, especially against women and children, and therefore take such allegations very seriously. Until such time as the matter has been fully investigated, and pending the outcome, Katlego Maboe will not be appearing on The Expresso Morning Show."

UPDATE Friday 23 October 2020 10:51: Natasha Kawulesar, Outsurance spokesperson, tells TVwithThinus that it is removing all Outsurance TV commercials with Katlego Maboe immediately as soon as possible. 

“We are aware of the issue surrounding Katlego Maboe and have engaged with him on this. We want to provide Katlego and his family the time and space to deal with this private situation. In the meantime, we will be removing all advertisements featuring Katlego as soon as practically possible.”

Thursday, October 22, 2020

TVC News headquarters and news vans in Lagos burn as channel is forced off air, Channels TV shuttered, LTV attacked; news crews and reporters from AIT, Silverbird, Arise TV and OSBC harassed by soldiers and protesters as Nigeria's protests spread after government curfew and killings by security forces.

by Thinus Ferreira

As public protests spread in Nigeria, protesters have set fire to the building of the TVC News channel in Lagos, Nigeria that was forced off air, while the Channels TV channel soon afterwards also shut down due to what it called credible threats of an "imminent attack on our staff and operations".

Angry and fearful Nigerians have been demonstrating for the past 2 weeks against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit that Nigerians accuse of gross extortion, harassment, torture, police brutality and murder. 

On social media Nigeria's protests have been trending under the hashtag of #EndSARS.

According to Amnesty International security forces in Nigeria have killed at least 38 people at the Lekki Tollgate after indiscriminately firing on thousands of protesters in Lagos on Tuesday.

Violent protesters, as well as Nigerian soldiers, have harassed and attacked TV news crews from multiple TV channels in Nigeria. 

Public protest action in Nigeria dramatically escalated after Nigerian security forces shot and killed dozens of protesters in the Lekki suburb on Tuesday evening.

Nigerians have been demonstrating nationwide every day for nearly two weeks against the police unit that rights groups had for years accused of extortion, harassment, torture, and murders. 

The TVC News building in Ikosi-Ketu in Lagos was attacked on Wednesday and set alight. Besides the building, several cars, equipment as well as several outside broadcast (OB) news vehicles were set alight and burnt out as well. Several vehicles not burnt were destroyed.

TVC stopped posting news on Twitter and its YouTube live stream broadcast abruptly ceased following the fire.

TVC News is owned by Continental Broadcasting Service Nigeria Ltd. and the channel is carried by pay-TV services in NIgeria like MultiChoice's DStv, as well as China's StarTimes.

The Channels TV channel meanwhile abruptly stopped broadcasting on Wednesday afternoon soon after TVC News started to burn.

Channels, carried on MultiChoice's DStv and GOtv in Nigeria, simply showed the channel logo and ran an on-air scroll simply saying "Channels Television is temporarily shutting down due to imminent attack on our staff and operations".

Channels later switched to recorded rebroadcasts.

Lagos Television (LTV) was apparently also attacked, while the offices of The Nation newspaper was set alight as well.

Reporters of African Independent Television (AIT) and Silverbird Television were reportedly harassed while trying to cover the unfolding protests in Nigeria, while Toyin Yusuf, a journalist with Osun State Broadcasting Corporation was attacked. 

Meanwhile Nigerian soldiers prevented a TV news crew from Arise TV from covering the news at the Lekki Tollgate.

StarTimes and StarSat add the PBO TV channel from Big Idea Mediaworks with more Nollywood content.

by Thinus Ferreira

China's StarTimes, operating as StarSat in South Africa, has added the Premium BoxOffice Television (PBO TV) TV channel from the Nigerian production company Big Idea Mediaworks to its channel line-up for StarTimes subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa as well as to StarSat in South Africa.

StarSat didn't bother to liaise with South Africa's media or to notify them about the TV channel addition and didn't issue any press release about PBO TV that went live at the beginning of October on StarSat channel 184.

PBO TV is available on the StarSat Special Package as a Nollywood TV channel, broadcasting series, films, sitcoms, music and late-night comedy.

"It’s always an honour and a pleasure for us to provide local content and channels for our customers," said John Yan, CEO of StarSat, in a press release that StarTimes issued in some other African countries where John Yan's name was replaced with the drop-in quote with an applicable country-relevant executive's name.

"We appreciate the vigour and charm of African cultures and hope that more creators will step up and make local content. We’re working on bringing our customers even more local channels that celebrate their heritage."

Gabriel Nworah, Big Idea Mediaworks CEO, says "PBO TV is African through-and-through. PBO TV celebrates the rich diversity of African culture with our original and exclusive content".

"We are excited to bring PBO’s live content and catalogue of original programming to millions of StarTimes viewers across Africa. Premium BoxOffice Television is premium-quality content for everyone."

Lorato Mwape promoted and appointed as MultiChoice Botswana managing director.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice Africa has promoted and appointed Lorato Mwape as MultiChoice Botswana managing director to oversee the pay-TV operator's business in that country.

Lorato Mwape has been MultiChoice Botswana's head of customer care and experience since she was appointed in this role at the company in April 2019.

"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Lorato Mwape as Managing Director of MultiChoice Botswana," says Nyiko Shiburi, Southern Africa regional director of MultiChoice in a statement, and who himself is soon taking over as new MultiChoice South Africa CEO.

"During her time with the business, Lorato Mwape has launched a number of innovations geared towards the best interest of the customer, such as a home delivery service, which offered a unique solution to DStv Botswana subscribers during a time of significant need."

Lorato Mwape says "In each and every role I have undertaken in my professional career, my mandate has always been to create solutions to everyday problems that supersede both the internal and external customer’s expectations".

"I’ve learnt that the only way to achieve this is through listening, learning and improving. Through my own work, passion and drive, my hope is to empower those I lead to do the same."

Prior to her joining MultiChoice Botswana, Lorato Mwape has worked in the roles of service quality manager, customer care service & quality manager, retail manager and call centre manager in her over 18 years of experience within the telecommunications space.

Lorato Mwape also holds a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in marketing management from MANCOSA, an Honours diploma in applied management and business skills from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, and a certificate in management.

South Africa's SABC plans to launch its own video streaming service in 2021, streamer will mimic Britain's BBC iPlayer.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's public broadcaster plans to launch its own SABC video-on-demand streaming service in 2021 with the SABC video streamer that will look and function in the same way as Britain's BBC iPlayer. 

The SABC's plan to roll out its own bespoke entertainment VOD streamer comes at the same time as the country's ANC-led government and the financially struggling broadcaster are crafting controversial plans and possible legislation changes to try and force private pay-TV companies and subscription video-on-demand services to pay the SABC through harvesting their customer databases to tack on compulsory SABC TV Licence fees.

What is means is that the SABC and the government want to amend the existing legislation so that the South African Broadcasting Corporation will get paid money from the likes of DStv and Netflix South Africa at the same time that the SABC might be running its own video streaming service.

Only about a third of South African TV households still bother to pay their annual SABC TV Licence fee of R265 with the beleaguered SABC that is owed billions over many years in outstanding licencing fees.

Besides millions of viewers who have abandoned the SABC, a growing number of video viewers have shifted to digital platforms where they don't watch or listen to any SABC content.

These digital content consumers watch YouTube or are subscribing and using the offerings of pay-TV services like MultiChoice (DStv) and China's StarTimes (StarSat) - as well as the flurry of international and local companies providing subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vodacom's Video Play, Apple TV+, VIU, Showmax and others - using laptops and mobile devices and gadgets like tablets.

The SABC and the country's department of communications and digital technologies want to broaden the definition of the existing SABC TV Licence so that consumers who are for instance watching Netflix SA on a tablet, DStv on a laptop, or StarSat through the StarTimesON app on a cellphone, all have to pay a SABC TV Licence although they don't use or consumer SABC content.

With even more local and international SVOD service that might launch in South Africa in future like The Walt Disney Company's Disney+ or Star, Discovery Inc.'s discovery+, ViacomCBS' Paramount+, WarnerMedia's HBO Max and others, a compulsory, tacked on SABC TV Licence fee to subscribers' monthly bill will mean a multi-million rand revenue boost for the SABC's cash-strapped Auckland Park kitty.

eMedia Investments that runs South Africa's commercial free-to-air channel and a collection of channels on its Openview free-to-air satellite service also plans to launch its own Openview Plus video streaming service soon. It's unclear whether would have to "help" collect SABC TV Licence fees.

SABC streamer to mimic the BBC iPlayer
While details around the SABC's planned video streaming service is still sketchy, the streaming service will mimic the BBC iPlayer and work in the same way as the SABC's recently-launched SABC News app. 

The SABC currently provides some of its locally-produced entertainment content on MultiChoice DStv Catch Up service, licenses some series to VIU, and places some of it on YouTube. 

With its own "SABC iPlayer" the public broadcaster will be able to bundle most of its own content on its own platform, where a limited volume of entertainment content will be freely accessible and with the bulk of its library catalogue and new entertainment content that will only be accessible after registration and login, for instance by entering a valid SABC TV Licence number.

"The SABC can confirm that it is planning to launch its video and audio streaming services in line with the ever-changing industry trends and consumer needs," Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson confirmed to TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry.

"At this stage the SABC is not in a position to provide more detail, due to the commercial sensitivity of the information," she said.

The SABC says that it plans to launch its own SABC video streamer in 2021, and said that the broadcaster sees the launch of its own bespoke video streaming service as crucial and necessary because of reasons including competitive advantage, responding to industry needs, fulfilling the role of being a content aggregator and being a platform operator.

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read - 22 October 2020.

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

"People Don’t Want To Watch Kak And Thanks To The Internet They Don’t Have To"

How is the traditional pay-TV industry handling this "interim" period where subscription television is far from dead but where subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) video streaming services are rapidly growing their audiences?

There is a reason the South African public has turned to video streaming services - the SABC isn't just struggling financially, it has a content deficit too.

Africa will have 12.96 million SVOD subscriptions by 2025, with South Africa that will supply 3 million and Nigeria that will add 2.1 million. Netflix will remain the biggest, with Disney+ that is expected to start in 2022 in Africa and that will have 2.71 million paying subscribers by 2025.
"Local player Showmax will add more than a million paying subscribers, partly due to the launch of its Pro platform and its lower prices for mobile subscribers."

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read - 21 October 2020.

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


The show now echoes life during the Covid-19 lockdown, with the characters stranded, unable to authentically relate to its audience, clinging desperately to an old world that no longer exists, and just repeating the same things they have always done.

The absurdity of the SABC that wants MultiChoice's DStv, StarSat, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others to tack on a SABC TV Licence fee is that the SABC doesn't even know who has or doesn’t have a TV. 

All TV will be watched through an internet connection and all advertising will be traded via programmatic pipes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

South African director and actor Gerrit Schoonhoven loses his battle against cancer at 62.

by Thinus Ferreira 

The award-winning South African director and actor Gerrit Schoonhoven has lost his battle against cancer. He was 62.

He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and received chemotherapy.

Until recently Gerrit Schoonhoven was a director at kykNET's (DStv 144) weekday Afrikaans soap Binnelanders produced by Stark Films.

As a director his filmography includes work on Meeulanders, Vierspel, Isidingo, Soutmansland, Plek van die Vleisvreters, Orion, Hartland and Twee Grade van Moord.

On-screen he had roles in numerous South African films and TV series like Broer Matie, Cul de sac, Sweet 'n Short, The Visual Bible: Matthew, MMG Engineers, The Mangler, Onder Draai die Duiwel Rond, Molly & Wors, Knysna, Schuks! Pay Back the Money!, Dominee Tienie and Droomman.

He also directed and appeared on stage in numerous plays over several decades, and wrote the one-act play Trajek van Tralies

Among numerous accolades and awards for his contribution to South Africa's theatre, film and TV industry was the honorary award from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns in 2006 for his contribution to Afrikaans television.

Gerrit Schoonhoven was born on 27 September 1958 and studied drama at the University of Potchefstroom where he graduated with an honours degree in 1981 where he also later lectured. 

On 27 September this year on his 62nd birthday, Gerrit Schoonhoven got married to Marius Meyer; they've been a couple for the past 30 years.

Stark Films in a statement tells TVwithThinus that "it's with great sadness that the Binnelanders team notes the passing of our beloved director Gerrit".

"Gerrit was a valued and respected member of our directors' corps and his absence will leave a big void. His last words to actors before filming a scene was usually, 'Be brilliant!'. That is how we will always remember him: As a passionate person who tackled and lived life with enthusiasm".

Discovery Inc. rebrands its video streaming service as discovery+; no mention about Africa as Sky subscribers in Britain get it bundled free for a year.

by Thinus Ferreira

Discovery Inc. on Tuesday announced that it's rebranding its dplay video-on-demand (VOD) service in the United Kingdom as discovery+, relaunching it as a tiered-subscription service, and said that it will be making it available for a year in Britain to subscribers of the Sky pay-TV service.

Discovery through its South African PR agency, M&C Saatchi Group SA's Razor PR, on Thursday last week with less than a week's notice suddenly invited media to a virtual media event set for Tuesday. 

On Tuesday morning Razor PR abruptly informed media standing by for the planned announcement that the event and announcement have been cancelled and said that it will no longer be taking place. There was no press release regarding the discovery+ announcement afterwards.

Discovery also made no announcements and gave no indication as to whether discovery+ would also become available on MultiChoice DStv pay-TV service in South Africa and across sub-Sahara Africa where several of Discovery's TV channels are carried as linear TV channels.

discovery+ will carry catalogue content that is a collection from Discovery's 13 pay-TV and free-to-air TV channels like the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery (ID), Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, Discovery History, Quest, Really, Quest Red, HGTV, Food Network and DMax.

After 12 months, Sky subscribers will be able to add discovery+ to their Sky bill. 

The discovery+ subscription tier will have a monthly fee of £4.99 (R106.45) or a discounted annual fee of £29.99 (R640) for a limited period. This will become a standard annual price of £49.99 (R1066.43) in the United Kingdom.

In the United Kingdom the discovery+ app will be integrated into the Sky Q platform alongside existing subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix and Disney+ in the way that MultiChoice plans to do with its new DStv Explora decoder that it wants to roll out towards the end of 2020.

Discovery says that it will roll out discovery+ on additional devices and platforms in 2020 and 2021.

James Gibbons, Discovery executive vice president and general manager for the UK & Nordics regions, in a statement, says "We’ve just celebrated our best quarter ever for audience share, and buoyed by that success are excited to announce the launch of discovery+, to fuel the rapidly evolving demand for consumers to stream content at a time and on a device of their choosing".

"The home of real-life entertainment will satisfy consumers' growing appetite for premium unscripted entertainment, from food and homes to motoring and adventure, and will complement the streaming services already available in the market."