Friday, May 22, 2015

SABC spends a whopping R3 million a year on its choir - to sing the praises of its famously matricless COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The SABC spends a whopping R3 million a year on its choir and among their songs is one singing the praises of the crises-riddled public broadcaster’s famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, told parliament that the SABC spends a massive R3 million per year on its choir.

The choir sings songs of praise in SABC staff meetings for the embattled COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng with lyrics like “Hlaudi Motsoeneng reya o leboha” (Hlaudi Motsoeneng we thank you.”)

The embattled Hlaudi Motsoeneng is embroiled in a protracted court fight after the Western Cape High Court has already twice ordered the SABC to immediately suspend him – a judgment he's appealing.

Last year the Public Protector in a damning report implicated Hlaudi Motsoeneng in maladministration and corruption at the public broadcaster, finding that "Hlaudi Motsoeneng should never have been appointed at the SABC" and that he should be suspended.

According to the Public Protector, Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied about having a matric certificate and made up symbols for a matric certificate he knew he didn't have and couldn't produce.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was implicated as having been involved in getting rid of everyone who testified against him in an earlier disciplinary hearing at the SABC, and his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4 million at the SABC in one year.

The Public Protector's report advised the SABC to appoint a new COO within 90 days. Instead the SABC appointed Hlaudi Motsoeneng in the position permanently.

Gavin Davis, a member of parliament (MP) of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and a member of the portfolio committee on communications says in a statement that "the question needs to be asked whether the SABC can justify spending R3 million per year on an in-house choir. Surely it would be cheaper to commission the services of a professional choir if and when the need arises?"

"The fact is that the SABC can't afford unnecessary extravagances such as its own choir. As internal SABC financial documents recently brought to light by the Sunday Times show, the public broadcaster faces a loss of R501 million in this financial year," says Gavin Davis.

"The disbandment of the SABC choir should be at the top of the SABC’s list of cost-cutting measures."

Earlier this week, Faith Muthambi told parliament that the SABC is "in a sound financial state" and that "the SABC is on the move".

Faith Muthambi told parliament that during this financial year R173 million from the department of communications’ budget has been allocated to the SABC.

While Faith Muthambi promised parliament that a new SABC CEO would be in place by the end of September 2014, nine months later the position is still vacant.

The unstable SABC board characterised by vicious infighting has been without a permanent board chairperson for months since the resignation of Ellen Tshabalala following the embarrassing revelations that she had lied about her qualifications.

With originally 12 SABC board members but several resignations last year and purging of three further SABC board members – Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi – earlier this year, the SABC board no longer has a quorum to legally constitute meetings.

Footprint of the SABC's SABC News channel on MultiChoice's DStv extended into the rest of Africa beyond just South Africa from today.

MultiChoice is extending the footprint of the South African public broadcaster's 24-hour TV news channel, SABC News (DStv 404) on its DStv satellite pay-TV platform to the rest of the continent from today.

There's been no official announcement or statement from the SABC, but from today the SABC News channel will now be available to DStv subscribers in several other African countries beyond just South Africa.

The extended footprint for SABC News comes almost two years after the channel finally launched on DStv in August 2013.

SABC News replaced the SABC's first struggling attempt at a 24-hour news channel named SABC News International.

SABC News International was unceremoniously shut down after bleeding millions of rand after just three years in operation at the end of March 2010.

The SABC News channel is part of a highly controversial deal worth millions of rand that the public broadcaster's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng signed with MultiChoice.

As part of the deal, SABC News, produced with public broadcaster resources as a public broadcasting TV channel, is exclusively available to DStv only, keeping it off On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA's StarSat, as well as Sabido and Platco Digital's OpenView HD satellite TV platforms.

In March the SABC planned to remove all of the half hour bulletins in all of the other official South African languages besides English on the SABC News channel from April, due to the coming extended reach of the channel further into Africa, but then ended up not going through with the change.

"Because the channel [SABC News] is aired in other countries, it only makes sense to keep the channel entirely English," the SABC said at the time.

Asked about the extended footprint further into Africa, MultiChoice confirmed to TV with Thinus that SABC News is becoming available in more African nations on DStv besides just South Africa.

"The SABC News channel is being added to DStv across the Africa continent on 22 May as part of our celebration of Africa Month. We believe this channel will be particularly relevant to the hundreds of thousands of expatriate South Africans who live in other parts of the continent," says MultiChoice.

"Together with approximately 2.4 million DStv customers outside of South Africa, they will now have access to 24-hour South African news, information and opinion," says the satellite pay-TV operator.

In March an SABC insider told TV with Thinus that the SABC News channel is planning and working on "a new daily bulletin with Africa news to compete with the international TV news channels", although that has not yet started.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago failed to respond to a media enquiry made Thursday about the continental expansion of SABC News across Africa and what it means for the programming and scheduling currently on the channel.

SABC News will become available as a TV channel to all South Africans as part of the SABC's digital bouquet of five TV channels - including SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and SABC Encore (DStv 156) currently on DStv - once the South African government's long-delayed switch-on happens of digital terrestrial television (DTT) as part of the country's digital migration process away from analogue broadcasting.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 21 May 2015.

MUST SEE. The "wallpaper" TV that's so thin, you can roll it up.
And hang it on a wall, using magnets. The LG TV is less than 1mm thick.

MultiChoice launches DStv BoxOffice in Tanzania.
Following the launch in Uganda earlier this week, MultiChoice's movies on demand service is now also expanding to Tanzania.

Turkish TV talent show contestant shot in the head.
Mutlu Kaya was shot on Monday after receiving death threats warning her not to take part in Sesi Cok Guzel.

Why most of the upcoming new TV season's new shows will flop.
Because in America one TV network won't allow a rival to pay advertising money to buy a commercial to promote their own show on another channel - although, ironically, more viewers watching, helps everybody.

Shonda Rhimes tells Grey's Anatomy fans off on Twitter.
Tells fans "Do not waste your time Tweeting me, boo. Go and do something fun that brings u joy!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

'SABC is in crisis, the scale of which is only starting to become clear,' says Democratic Alliance's Gavin Davis; SABC 'facing financial ruin'.

South Africa's minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, was slammed on Wednesday as "willfully misunderstanding her role in relation to the SABC" for saying the beleaguered public broadcaster is a state-owned company.

Gavin Davis, a Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament and a member of the portfolio committee on communications on Wednesday said the SABC is in crisis, "the scale of which is only starting to become clear" and that "the SABC is facing financial ruin".

He slammed Faith Muthambi, saying she "believes that the SABC is a state-owned company instead of an independent public broadcaster" and that South Africa will face "humiliation on a global scale" in less than a month when the country miss the internationally agreed to deadline to complete the switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT), a process known as digital migration.

Gavin Davis told parliament that Faith Muthambi has failed in her promise of a new SABC CEO to be appointed by September 2014 and that the SABC is being taken back to an apartheid era tool in the hands of ruling party politicians.

Gavin Davis told parliament that since a year ago "we've had an SABC board chairperson [Ellen Tshabalala] resign because she was caught lying about her qualifications. But this was only after 6 damaging months of postponed hearings, court cases and other delaying tactics".

"We've had an SABC chief operating officer (COO) [Hlaudi Motsoeneng] who has been shielded and promoted when the Public Protector said he should have been fired".

"We have a Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) that is abused to promote the majority party, including the channeling of public money into the coffers of a government-friendly newspaper owned by the president's friends".

"In a few weeks on 17 June, we face humiliation on a global scale because, on that day, we will miss the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline to switch over from analogue to digital television".

"If Faith Muthambi had not spent the last year meddling with the Digital Migration Policy, and waging an obsessive turf war to control the process, it is unlikely that we would be in the embarrassing position we now find ourselves in," said Gavin Davis.

While she promised that a new SABC CEO would be in place by the end of September 2014, nine months later the post is still vacant.

"Faith Muthambi wants to take us back to the apartheid era when the SABC was a tool in the hands of politicians, instead of a resource belonging to the people of this country. This is why Faith Muthambi thinks there is nothing wrong with unilaterally seizing the powers of the SABC board, even though this is in clear contravention of the Broadcasting Act," said Gavin Davis.

He also noted that with Faith Muthambi directly interfering with the governance of the SABC and instrumental in the purging of three SABC board members - Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi - earlier this year, the unstable SABC board which has had only an acting SABC chairperson for months and originally had 12 board members, no longer has a quorum to legally constitute meetings.

"No wonder the SABC is in crisis, the scale of which is only starting to become clear," said Gavin Davis.

"The SABC faces a projected loss of R501 million for the financial year just ended on March 31. This loss is projected to double to R1 billion in the next financial year. The SABC is not on a 'sound financial footing but facing financial ruin," said Gavin Davis.

"We need to work together to find the most qualified and independently minded candidates to take up positions on the SABC board and then they need to be left alone to do their jobs in the interests of the public we serve. These steps will go some way to get the SABC back on track," said Gavin Davis.

The SABC is a state-owned company and a public broadcaster, claims minister of communications, Faith Muthambi.

The SABC is a state-owned company and a public broadcaster, South Africa's minister of communications, Faith Muthambi said on Wednesday about the beleaguered SABC which continues to rock from crisis to scandal and controversy.

Earlier this year Faith Muthambi controversially annexed the Companies Act, instead of the Broadcasting Act, to directly interfere in the SABC to get rid of at least three SABC board members, to such an extent that the gutted SABC board with an acting chairperson which originally had 12 board members, no longer has a quorum to legally constitute meetings.

Faith Muthambi also applied pressure to force the SABC board to permanently appoint the highly controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the troubled public broadcaster's permanent chief operating officer (COO) in the middle of last year despite a damning report from the Public Protector that he be suspended and be subjected to a disciplinary hearing.

The Public Protector's report last year found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied, made up symbols for a matric certificate he knew he couldn't produce and that he "should never have been appointed at the SABC".

Faith Muthambi said she has the right to appoint the SABC's CEO, its COO and chief financial officer (CFO) and to suspend them.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications earlier this week indicated that following legal opinion, it differs from her view, and will be taking steps about the minister's interference in the workings of the SABC.

On Wednesday Faith Muthambi said that the SABC is a state-owned company and a public broadcaster and that "if the Broadcasting Act does not address an issue, then the Companies Act applies. I did not say say one supersedes the other".

Minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, not concerned about's court clash over a set-top box control system for digital television.

South Africa's minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, says she is not concerned about delays to the roll-out of digital terrestrial television in South Africa which could be caused by the looming court clash between the government and over encryption control.

The country's sole free-to-air commercial TV broadcaster, Sabido's, is taking the government to court in a controversial fight over the control system for the set-top boxes (STB) needed for digital terrestrial television (DTT).

In less than a month - on 17 June 2015 - South Africa and the government will embarrassingly miss the international deadline of the International Telecommunications Unions (ITU) the government agreed to for the switch-off and conclusion of the digital migration process whereby broadcasters switch from analogue TV signals to DTT signals.

South Africa hasn't even started the commercial switch-on of DTT and "dual illumination" period which takes about four to five years to complete and no STBs, which viewers will have to buy at a cost of around R700 to R800 exist for consumers to buy.

Last month decided to take the government to court over the contentious issue of whether the government subsidised STBs should include a control system or not.

Faith Muthambi on Wednesday said the looming court clash in the Gauteng High Court to have aspects of the Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) policy reviewed will not delay the process of digital migration.

While the department of communications in March published a new and amended DTT policy stating that government subsidised STBs would contain a control system, says that doesn't mean that all STBs would be able to encrypt TV signals.

While Sabido's and some local decoder manufacturers are for compulsory encryption to be enabled through the STBs, MultiChoice, M-Net, the SABC, community TV stations and some manufacturers are against it. therefore went to court to change the non-mandatory inclusion of a control system.

South Africa's controversial and long-delayed switch from analogue to digital television is years behind schedule due to government bungling and delays, multiple ministers of communications who have come and gone, industry infighting over everything from broadcasting standards to decoders, delays with and the multiple reissue of DTT regulations as well as problems over everything from set-top box standards to drama around the dubious STB tender process worth billions.

Questions are meanwhile being raised over the dramatic underfunding and DTT budget shortfall, with experts asking where the money to enable the subsidising of STBs the government envisions, will be coming from.

With all these ongoing DTT issues swirling, is still adamant that it wants the STBs to have the ability to encrypt broadcast signals and wants a control system in the boxes to be made mandatory. considers it essential to be able to encrypt its broadcast signal "primarily because this would prevent non-compliant STBs from receiving digital broadcast signals, thereby ensuring a uniform and reliable viewing experience". says without this, it is unlikely that the broadcaster in the future will be able to offer high definition (HD) TV channels. argues in its court application that it is unlawful for Faith Muthambi to "make decisions on certain key critical technical issues that affect free-to-air broadcasters".

Carte Blanche on M-Net scoops three awards at The National Press Club's Journalist of the Year 2014 Awards.

Carte Blanche, the weekly investigative magazine show on M-Net (DStv 101), has scooped three awards at The National Press Club's Journalist of the Year 2014 Awards.

Individual Carte Blanche wins included Graham Coetzer, Sasha Schwendenwein and Susan Comrie in the TV features category; Graham Coetzer, Sasha Scwendenwein and Susan Comrie in the Journalist of the year category; and for executive producer George Mazarakis as Editor of the year.

"Carte Blanche not only maintains but exceeds expectations each year, constantly a leader in reporting for 27 years on air," says Anne Davis, M-Net's head of original productions.

"We congratulate the skilled, passionate and tireless executive producer, George Mazarakis, for his 20 years of vision and leadership, evidenced by the recent slew of awards. Carte Blanche embodies the values of M-Net programming: credible, powerful, and relevant local content."

The Oscar Pistorius trial was honoured as the Newsmaker of the Year 2014, a broadcast celebrated for its impact and news value.
Combined Artistic Productions, the production company responsible for Carte Blanche, last year produced The Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform – a channel of which the viewership some weeks rivaled and surpassed even M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), making it the 4th most watched TV channel on pay-TV in South Africa

"Carte Blanche has been one of M-Net’s best performing productions for almost three decades now, but the fact that it continues winning such prestigious accolades is indication that the content remains relevant and engaging," says Gideon Khobane, M-Net channel director.

"It demonstrates that the programme is growing from strength to strength, meaning that despite the many primetime viewing options available, and M-Net offers award-winning content, consistent in its levels of quality and substance."

SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng: SABC will now only launch with 5 TV channels once digital terrestrial television (DTT) starts.

You're reading it here first. 

The SABC's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng says the public broadcaster will now launch with only 5 TV channels once the long-delayed commercial start of South Africa switch from analogue to digital broadcasting begins - a far cry from the almost 20 TV channels the SABC promised the country just four years ago.

The controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng last week at the launch of the rerun channel SABC Encore on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, confirmed that the SABC will now start its digital terrestrial television (DTT) transmissions with only 5 TV channels.

When South Africa's TV industry switches from analogue to digital broadcasting, terrestrial TV broadcasters like the SABC, and M-Net are each supposed to grow their own existing analogue channels to bouquets of multiple digital TV channels - just like DStv and StarSat - to entice TV viewers to make the switch and buy a set-top box (STB) to get access to more channels and content.   

The SABC's initial DTT offering will now however only consist out of SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 as well as the SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC Encore (DStv 156) TV channels which are already available on DStv - far from the 18 SABC TV channels the broadcaster promised parliament just a few years ago.

"We are preparing ourselves for [digital television] migration. When minister [Faith Muthambi] announce the date of migration, switching on, SABC will be ready," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"We'll be having 5 channels. For the first time in the history of South Africa. But if we don't pilot these channels on that bouquet of MultiChoice, we will still have 3 channels. What will be the use of migrating if we don't have more channels?" asked Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

It echoes what Lynn Mansfield, the SABC's DTT advisor, said in March on SABC2's Morning Live, saying the SABC will start off with just 5 DTT channels.

In September 2011 SABC executives and the SABC board told parliament that the SABC's DTT offering will consist of 18 TV channels - 17 TV channels (which includes SABC1, SABC2, SABC3) and one interactive video service channel - as well as 18 SABC radio stations plus Channel Africa.

Out of the SABC's envisioned DTT plans, only SABC News and SABC Encore (originally called SABC Entertainment) materialised. 

The SABC won't launch DTT with SABC Sport, a health channel, SABC Education, an SMME and children's channel or the two regional channels, a regional north (SABC4) and regional south (SABC5) channel.

For DTT the SABC also promised parliament new services like closed captioning (on-screen subtitles) in multiple languages that can be accessed by the set top box's remote control, multiple language soundtracks with up to 4 different audio tracks per programme for certain shows, audio description to provide contextual information in programmes, as well as some interactive applications. With the down scaled DTT plans, all of these now look very unlikely to be available at launch.

According to experts, broadcasters will have to offer ordinary terrestrial viewers more with digital TV - more TV channels and services and a better viewing experience and image quality - than what they're currently receiving, in order for the millions of free-to-air TV households in South Africa to feel the need to pay R700 to R800 for a STB to  

Embarrassingly, South Africa will miss next month's global deadline of 17 June of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) the country agreed to, to fully complete the expensive DTT switch and digital migration process and which takes about five years - and when all analogue TV signals are supposed to be switched off.

With several failed dates announced by the South African government which all came and went, the country hasn't even started the commercial switch-on period which will take a few years - a period known as "dual illumination".

Under "dual illumination" the new and additional digital TV signals are supposed to be broadcast in conjunction with the existing analogue signals to give consumers and viewers time to make the TV transition.

While other African countries have already successfully completed the switch, South Africa's DTT process which will cost billions of rand has been mired in controversy for years, with ongoing embarrassing delays, in-fighting and protracted court cases.

South Africa's DTT process has largely lost sight of who it's really intended to be for and supposed to serve - the ordinary viewer who've been left out of the discussion with basically no public viewer participation.

Instead government has shifted DTT's focus to a "job creation" mechanism instead of a "viewing and content improvement" mechanism - one which has largely been hijacked by local manufacturers - themselves fractured with backstage squabbling over conflicting encryption issues and fighting for slices of the billion rand government tenders to produce digital TV boxes.  

Government inaction and ministerial bungling, multiple ill-informed communications ministers, an ill-equipped and slow-moving broadcasting regulator, the multiple re-issue of constantly changing digital broadcasting regulations and in-fighting over broadcasting standards and conditional access all contributed to the DTT derailment.

Add to it in-fighting between broadcasters, in-fighting between manufacturers over lucrative contracts, delays with manufacturing standards, in-fighting over access-control and encryption, and huge uncertainty over viewer and STB subsidies and distribution which have all contributed to the perfect, disastrous DTT storm that South Africa finds itself in.

While South Africa will miss next month's DTT switch-off date, the government has announced no new "official" switch-on date. It's also not clear how many additional TV channels and M-Net plan to launch with while both broadcasters have seen their originally allocated and available DTT spectrum systematically being reduced as the process drags on.

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 20 May 2015.

First trailer for the new drama series, The Magicians, coming in 2016.
A "grown up" version of Harry Potter with a wizarding school.

Parliament to finally act on the minister of communications' interference in the SABC.
Portfolio committee on communications will now apparently proceed and act on Faith Muthambi's alleged undue and illegal direct interference in the SABC board.

South African consumers will keep paying their expensive DStv subscriptions to keep their television ...
... before they pay their water and electricity. Poor people pay for DStv to watch SABC channels on it but can't afford to pay for electricity and water.

Does 2015 mark the beginning of the end of the pay-TV bundle?
There's several danger signs in the American pay-TV business regarding the start of a process of "unbundling" of the traditional bundled pay-TV offering.

A big backlash has started against Game of Thrones shown on M-Net Edge (DStv 102).
Horrific rape scene has viewers wondering whether the explicit fantasy drama has finally gone too far. Game of Thrones forced to go on the defensive over shocking rape scene controversy. HBO suddenly doesn't want to comment about its show. And viewers are saying they're quitting Game of Thrones.

Beleaguered SABC is a soap of its own.
It's a massive 15 months since the SABC last had a permanent CEO and 5 months since the struggling SABC had a permanent SABC board chairperson while the "shambolic state of governance" continues at the South African public broadcaster.

Kendall Jenner in a non-verbal diss of Giuliana Rancic.
The Kardashian spin-off kid blatantly rebuffs the E! Entertainment (DStv 124) red carpet mainstay in an awkward European "mwah-mwah" air kisses moment gone wrong.

The Bachelor Fantasy Suite is a sex nest.
The tawdry reality dating show has "everything you need" for "safe sex" for the contestants, brags host Chris Harrison.

A third of British TV viewers thinks there's too much sex on TV.
Study by British TV regulator finds third of TV viewers think sexually explicit material should never be shown on television - and that there's too much violence and swearing.

New local reality TV show Date my Family coming to Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) from August.
In the dating reality show, people will have impress the families of people they want to date. Very strangely, M-Net South Africa CEO Yolisa Phahle herself talks about the show.

DStv BoxOffice finally launches in Uganda.
MultiChoice's movies on demand service finally unveiled in the Africa country.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another embarrassing SABC News live on-air blooper as the news anchor, final control room operator and cameramen all err on the side of awful.

Another week, another embarrassing SABC News (DStv 404) blooper from the public broadcaster's 24-hour TV news channel.

This time not only does the SABC News' control room staff appear to maybe be out to lunch and unable to cut to the right channel feed for play-out while the news anchor fails to keep her eye on the monitor, but a SABC cameraman also seems to be struggling to get the angle of his camera just right.

The latest SABC News snafu was was captured by a viewer and uploaded to YouTube on Sunday, and is the latest embarrassing on-air blooper on the channel as of late.

There was last month's incident where SABC News anchor Eben Jansen went ballistic and confrontational during an interview with the EFF political party spokesperson and was immediately suspended because the SABC said he will only return when he is "emotionally fit enough" to be on air.

That was followed by a dagga smoker activist earlier this month who lit up the studio - literally - and started puffing away on the SABC News' airwaves.

In the latest SABC News production mess-up, the news channel failed to stay with the pre-recorded news package reporting about lions at the Addo elephant national park and mid-way through accidentally switched back to the Your World anchor doing what appeared to be her daily gymkana workout.

That's until she realises she's actually on live television - and starts to look around perturbingly as her behaviour changes and she appears unsure and uncertain of how to behave after being caught out.

From here the SABC News control room doesn't switch back to the news package but instead cuts to the other studio camera - the one filming the front of the anchor desk.

Ironically, the story interviews a national park's game ranger who could just as well have been talking about cooped up news anchors and final editing mix and control room operators: "It's not doing them any good to be in an enclosure that small."

MultiChoice to add talk radio station POWER 98.7 to DStv's audio channel line-up from 26 May on channel 889.

MultiChoice will be adding the fast-growing talk radio station POWER 98.7 from 26 May to DStv's audio channel line-up.

South Africans across the country will now be able to listen to the Gauteng talk radio station's programming on DStv's audio channel 889 and voices like Masechaba Lekalake, Tim Modise, Iman Rappetti and Hajra Omarjee.

"The partnership with DStv enables us to spread our tentacles to provide this growing listenership with compelling content," says Andile Khumalo, POWER 98.7's managing director.

MultiChoice already carries radio stations like talk competitors 702 and 567 Cape Talk, as well as local radio stations like YFM and Kaya FM, Jacaranda FM, 94.7, MetroFM, Highveld Stereo and KFM, and a large number of international radio stations.

Aletta Alberts, general manager of content at MultiChoice says DStv's addition of POWER 98.7 is part of giving pay-TV subscribers access to compelling content "and the chance to shape and influence the narrative".

Somewhat strangely Andile Khumalo in the DStv statement announcing the radio channel addition, echoes exactly the same words as Aletta Alberts, also saying that POWER 98.7 is delighted that MultiChoice shares its vision of providing a platform "that will shape and influence the national narrative".

POWER 98.7 will be available in South Africa and Lesotho on DStv Premium, DStv Extra, DStv Compact, DStv Family, DStv Access and DStv EasyView, as well as on DStv's Indian and Portuguese packages.

Union threatens to take SABC to Broadcasting Complaints Commission over alleged erroneous SABC News reporting over government wage offer.

The Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) is threatening to take the SABC to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for allegedly erroneously reporting that a wage offer for government workers has been rejected.

The SABC's SABC News allegedly reported from this past Friday until Tuesday morning that a possible government wage offer has been rejected and that strike action is allegedly also threatened.

The SABC "caused great embarrassment," says Basil Manuel, the chairperson and spokesperson for the ILC.

"We told the SABC when we first heard this broadcast on Friday night that it was untrue," says Basil Manuel. Yet the SABC allegedly kept broadcasting the erroneous story.

The ILC says it demands a right of reply from the SABC, and is also threatening to lay an official complaint with the BCCSA over the SABC's reporting.

Former suspended SABC TV boss Leo Manne resurfaces at Trace as the TV group's new senior vice president for Southern Africa.

The former and suspended SABC TV boss Leo Manne who resigned last month at the public broadcaster, has suddenly resurfaced at Trace where he has just been appointed in a new position to look after the TV entertainment group's Southern Africa region.

Leo Manne is the newly appointed senior vice president for the Southern African region for Trace which runs TV channels like Trace Sport Stars (DStv 188) and Trace Urban (DStv 325) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Leo Manne left the SABC under a cloud at the end of April after he resigned, following a protracted 7 months suspension and investigation since the end of September last year for a possible disciplinary hearing.

Leo Manne, previously the longtime SABC1 channel head who was then promoted to general manager for TV channels over SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 at the SABC, was suspended by the SABC on 25 September 2014, "pending investigations".

The suspension followed over allegations that he was listed as a director of Siyaya TV, one of the new pay-TV operators who received a licence in 2014 from the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to start a new subscription television service.

Siyaya Free to Air TV will be a new competitor for not just MultiChoice's DStv, On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat and Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) but also terrestrial broadcasters like the SABC and

Siyaya Free to Air TV for instance snagged the exclusive TV broadcasting and radio rights to Bafana Bafana games last year in a 6-year deal reportedly worth more than R1 billion, taking it away from the SABC which used to have it and show these soccer games on SABC1.

After months of being suspended, Leo Manne took his case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), demanding to be reinstated as the general manager for TV channels at the SABC.

In April however, the CCMA ruled in favour of the SABC. The CCMA says "in the matter between the SABC and Leonard Moeranne Manne an arbitration award was issued on 21 April 2015 with the arbitrator ruling in favour of the employer of the employer".

Leo Manne tendered his official resignation from his SABC position after the CCMA ruling, which also brought to an end to the SABC's investigation which dragged along.

Trace has now hired Leo Manne, saying in a statement he will now oversee all broadcast media related operations within the Southern Africa region as Trace's new senior vice president after he's meandered through South Africa's media industry.

"I have always embraced any opportunity in my career that has allowed me to work with and create great media brands, especially in the context of a rapidly changing television and entertainment environment," says Leo Manne.

Leo Manne says he is looking forward to delivering "compelling and engaging localised content" for Trace.

"Leo Manne's specialised skills in broadcast media will prove to be a valuable asset to Trace moving forward and we welcome his unquestionable talents," says Olivier Laouchez, Trace CEO.

SABC2 'humbly apologises' for 7de Laan's graphic violence and language; admits it 'did not provide sufficient warning regarding the violent scenes'.

SABC2 says the public broadcaster's TV channel "humbly apologises" to viewers over its 7de Laan soap and the graphic violence and inappropriate language shown during episodes in February and admits that it failed to warn viewers properly.

The SABC2 apology comes after the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) again found that 7de Laan, produced by Danie Odendaal Productions, and SABC2 were found to have breached the broadcasters' code of conduct - this time with a two episode hostage drama shown in February.

Following viewers' complaints, the BCCSA earlier this month slammed SABC2 and the predominantly Afrikaans weekday soap on the channel in its judgment, finding that the violent hostage drama depicted in Oppiekoffie in 7de Laan was unsuitable for the timeslot and that SABC2 and the soap failed to provide viewers with adequate warning.

The BCCSA says 7de Laan was "too explicit" in what it showed during the 18:30 timeslot - the second time 7de Laan was reprimanded for too explicit violence.

The BCCSA found that 7de Laan on SABC2 showed "graphic and explicit scenes" of "repetitive, multiple instances of pointing guns in a threatening manner", verbal abuse and unwelcome suggestions of a sexual nature, a hostage bleeding profusely, the traumatised mother of a crying baby who was taken by an attacker, and a character suffering a heart attack.

"Family viewing time, when large numbers of children are part of the audience, is not the appropriate time to highlight issues such as hostage dramas where injury and the death of innocent people occur," the BCCSA ruled.

"In light of the public complaints following the broadcast of the 7de Laan hostage drama scenes on SABC2 in February, the SABC humbly apologizes to viewers who may have been offended by the aforementioned scenes," says SABC2.

"We acknowledge that we did not provide sufficient warning regarding the violent scenes to our viewers. We further assure our viewers that 7de Laan reflects family values and remains a soap that is suitable for family viewing," says SABC2.

The BCCSA ordered 7de Laan and SABC2 to broadcast a lengthy on-screen statement, as well as an accompanying voice-over telling viewers that 7de Laan and the channel had erred in broadcasting explicit violence in an unsuitable family viewing timeslot with an inadequate warning.

Three years ago in June 2012 the BCCSA found that SABC2 and 7de Laan crossed the line with a too explicit portrayal of attempted suicide and the events depicted too graphic for the timeslot.

SABC2 and 7de Laan were then issued with a reprimand and the broadcaster cautioned to be even more careful with material that is broadcast during family time.

Vodacom and Naspers talking about sharing DStv video content; looking at customers paying a fixed amount for video data instead of per megabyte.

Vodacom and Naspers are having discussions about the possibility of letting their South African customers download movies and episodes of TV shows but paying a fixed amount instead of the exorbitant data costs per megabyte which has held back the uptake and growth of video-on-demand (VOD) and other over-the-top (OTT) services.

Bloomberg reports that Vodacom is having talks with media and TV company Naspers to bring DStv video content through its pay-TV platform MultiChoice to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

A deal between the big companies could bring new impetus to South Africa's severely constrained and lagging broadband infrastructure and investment.

The roll-out of new services and video-on-demand growth in South Africa have been slow, hampered by years of government inaction and incompetence, as well as bureaucracy at the country's slow-moving broadcasting regulator.

The consumer uptake of video-on-demand (VOD) and OTT services in South Africa, as well as things like digital video mobile broadcasting or DVB-H, have been severely held back the past decade due to a slow-moving and constricted regulatory environment.

On a practical level, limited broadband availability and roll-out for instance has resulted in extremely high data costs involved for ordinary South African consumers who are scared to make use of it and also don't have the money to pay for it.

With expensive uncapped internet connections in the minority in South Africa, consumers with restrictive capped connections and slow connection speeds who want to use even a little bit of data to make video calls or watch video like a movie or TV shows, quickly run into debilitating price points where making use of these services become too expensive.

Besides paying a rental fee per movie release or making use of VOD services, South African customers are burdened with the additional high cost of the actual data used which is quickly gobbled up when accessing video downloading and streaming services like Times Media's VIDI, MTN's FrontRow or MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up.

Last week for instance, Altron TMT admitted that it's Altech Node which it launched in September 2014 was an flop, with sales for the expensive video-on-demand (VOD) set-top box (STB) and service "below expectations with regard to retail customer take-up".

MultiChoice for instance warns DStv subscribers watching video on tablets and smartphones that it recommends uncapped data accounts because "downloading video consumes large amounts of data so please be aware of your data package limits and costs".

It comes as the global VOD streaming service Netflix plans to enter South Africa soon as a new competitor and market disruptor. Netflix told TV with Thinus in January that it plans to be operational and definitely available to South African customers before the end of next year.

According to Bloomberg, Vodacom and Naspers are now considering allowing customers to download a movie or show to a smartphone or tablet for a fixed fee instead of "billing per megabyte".

A deal would mean that customers would be able to download DStv on Demand movies and shows through Vodacom for a cheaper fixed price, without the insanely high cost that comes with the data use of a 500MB or more movie download or streaming, in addition to the rental fee.

Shameel Joosub, Vodacom's chief executive officer (CEO) told Bloomberg that Vodacom - which recently shocked and angered consumers with a unilateral tariff hike from May - plans to sell its own video content to customers. "That's where we'll evolve," said Shameel Joosub.

A deal between Vodacom and Naspers would be the first new big partnership between the two since Vodacom started selling the two DStv Select bouquet offerings from MultiChoice in June 2007, a packaged product agreement which was terminated in late 2011, with legacy DStv Select subscribers being phased out.