Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jane Dutton joins eNCA for a new prime time actuality talk show as the TV news channel readies a new studio, new on-air look and a new line-up with a bigger focus on talk television than just news.


Jane Dutton is joining eNCA (DStv 403) to anchor a new evening actuality talk show from next month as the local TV news channel that turned a decade old at the beginning of this month readies a new studio, a new on-air look, as well as a rejigged programming line-up with a bigger focus on talk television than just news.

Jane Dutton was the first news anchor of eNews together with San Reddy when e.tv started doing TV news bulletins in 1999, and she left in 2005 before the eNews Channel that eNCA was formerly known as, launched in June 2008.

Jane Dutton joins eNCA from Al Jazeera and will front a new live weekday talk show in which she will interview newsmakers about South African current affairs while viewers interact with calls and on social media.

The as yet unnamed show will make its debut on Monday 16 July at 20:00 and run on weekdays meaning a reduced runtime of the NewsNight timeslot.

"I've been around the world and back again but I suspect coming home to my beloved South Africa and eNCA could prove to be the best adventure yet," says Jane Dutton. "I am delighted that eNCA has given me the opportunity to give back and make this homecoming happen".

Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA's managing director and editor-in-chief, says the hope is that Jane Dutton will bring a compelling viewing dynamic as part of eNCA's programming line-up shake-up.

"As we celebrate 10 years on air this show will represent just one element of a bigger programming and presenter configuration designed to meet the changing needs of our audience. We have entrenched our position as the country's leading TV news channel over the past decade and Jane's presence will further cement that," says Mapi Mhlangu.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

7de Laan goes Orange is the New Black; jail time story promises more shocks and surprises for the female inmates.


Viewers are enthralled with the female jail drama that 7de Laan has turned into with several more shocks and surprises in store before the story concludes.

The Afrikaans SABC2 weekday soap has taken a page from the Netflix series Orange is the new Black seen on M-Net (DStv 101) and placed several of the female character together behind bars for a very entertaining story.

7de Laan's riveting story that will continue into next week, is similar to the "in jail" story arcs viewers have seen happen before in e.tv's Scandal! that that production did with first the female, and later the male characters.

Part of viewers' fun is the on-screen return of the formerly soft and girlie Emma (Bertha le Roux) - jailed a few years back in 2014 and who has now turned into the vicious "Miems", the harsh jail queen ruling her fiefdom behind bars.

Meanwhile Mariaan's (Deirdre Wolhuter) husband is concocting a possible escape plan, the evil and pregnant Amanda (Carina Nel) gave birth in jail last week and made as if she's Bonita (Hildegardt Whites) friend, Liefie (Martelize Kolver) is the good/bad jail warden who becomes the victim of the inmates' plans and revenge, and who knows what Natalie (Daniella Deysel) is planning?

Of course Vivian is Charmaine's evil twin and a delicious departure for actress Vinette Ebrahim doing something else than running a coffee shop as the unhinged character plots to make Bonita completely crazy.

Mix in physical fighting between the inmates, psychosocial drama and whispered threats and viewers have been lapping up the soapy jail storylines.

The producers tell TVwithThinus that the idea to put all of the women in jail together originated from wanting to show how in a forced situation, the real character of people are revealed. "Stripped from what protects you, primitive nature emerges. This creates the ideal circumstances for lovely drama, interpersonal dynamics and character development".

According to the soap, Danie Odendaal Productions built special sets inside the studio to film all of the jail scenes. "Our set designer Bennie Marais created and built the jail cells to look as realistic as possible," says the show.

Asked where the exterior establishing shots were filmed, the show says the art director shot those in and around Johannesburg. "Naturally we were not allowed to film a real prison, so we filmed exterior shots of buildings that looked like a jail from the outside".

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

CBS Television Studios expanding the revived Star Trek TV franchise into mini-series, animation and possible spin-offs with new 5-year deal with Alex Kurtzman.

CBS Television Studios is expanding the revived Star Trek television franchise into mini-series, animation and possible spin-off series.

The revived Star Trek television franchise currently revolves around Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access and seen on Netflix around the world outside of the United States, like Netflix South Africa.

The current Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and executive producer Alex Kurtzman has signed a new 5-year deal with CBS Television Studios to develop the spin-off series and other content.

"There is a very short list of writer-producer-directors that every film and television studio wants to be associated with, and Alex and his Secret Hideout team are always at the top," says David Stapf, president of CBS Television Studios in a statement.

"His talent, taste and ability to shepherd a successful project is unparalleled. Alex has done remarkable work for our studio, dating back seven years to the launch of Hawaii Five-O, and we are thrilled that he will be partnering with us for a long time to come."

Alex Kurtzman says "CBS has allowed us the great pleasure of reintroducing the world of Star Trek audiences new and old, and we are very excited to keep working alongside them to expand that world."

Walt Disney agrees to buy Sky News and to keep it running under that name for at least 15 years so that 21st Century Fox can acquire the rest of the British pay-TV operator Sky.


The Walt Disney Company has agreed to buy Sky News (DStv 402) and to keep the British TV news channel funded for at least 15 years to tot tune of over $2 billion during that period, so that 21st Century Fox can possibly acquire the rest of the British pay-TV operator Sky that it doesn't own yet.

21st Century Fox already owns 39% of Sky, but can't get the rest if the loss-making Sky News isn't offloaded to prevent Fox from owning too much news outlets in the United Kingdom.

Britain's culture secretary Matt Hancock on Tuesday revealed that Walt Disney in principle had undertaken to buy Sky News. Now the British government has to decide whether it will clear 21st Century Fox' application to buy Sky.

Disney has undertook to maintain Sky News as the Sky News brand for at least 15 years if it scoops it up an increase in the total money Disney would plough into Sky News of at least £100 million ($132 million) per year, with operating costs protected in real terms", as well as a commitment from Disney to protect the editorial independence of Sky News.

Matt Hancock said he "In my view, these revised undertakings meet the criteria that I set out to the House on 5 June and will help to ensure that Sky News remains financially viable over the long-term; is able to operate as a major United Kingdom based news provider; and is able to take its editorial decisions independently, free from any potential outside influence."

21st Century in a statement on Tuesday said it "welcomes today's announcement by the secretary that he intends to accept the final undertakings proposed by 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company with a view to clearing 21st Century Fox's proposed acquisition of the remaining shares in Sky on media plurality grounds. The undertakings are now subject to a 15-day public consultation".

Sky in a statement on Tuesday said "the independent directors of Sky are mindful of their fiduciary duties and remain focused on maximizing value for Sky shareholders. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate."

e.tv has Ambitions with Zikhona Bali with its new locally produced land-and-housing drama series set to start on eExtra from 1 July.


e.tv has Ambitions for a new local drama series to run on its eExtra channel on its OpenView satellite TV platform, that will start on Saturday 1 July at 21:00, with repeats on Wednesdays at 21:30.

Ambitions with Zikhona Bali as an ambitious investigative journalist Qhawe Ledwaba makes a shocking revelation that ties into South African renewed current affair issues around land and land expropriation.

She discovers that the displaced community of Supingstad are living in squalor on the back on broken promises by the government with the former Scandal! star Kagiso Modupe on e.tv, Nokuthula Ledwaba, Solomon Sebothoma, Yonda Thomas, Peter Sephuma, Luzuko Nteleko and Mary Twala as Gogo Lizzie, part of the cast.

Qhawe discovers that the community has yet to receive the housing and facilities promised to them as compensation for their removal from their informal settlement to make way for the building of a new clinic.

Similar to e.tv's drama series Hustle that was shunted to the now gone eKasi+ channel on OpenView, Ambitions will run first on eExtra (OVHD 105) with the channel that is also accessible on MultiChoice's DStv on channel 195 and on China's StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media's StarSat on channel 489.

AMC pulls Chris Hardwick's Talking shows from AMC and Sundance TV following abuse allegations.


AMC has pulled presenter Chris Hardwick's off the air and suspended his Talking shows from AMC which are seen in South Africa and across Africa on the AMC and Sundance TV (DStv 108) channels following allegations of abuse from one of his ex-girlfriends.

Shows like Talking Dead about The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, and the expanded Talking with Chris Hardwick have been shown on AMC and Sundance TV.

AMC in a statement says "while we assess the situation, Talking with Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC".

It follows after Chris Hardwick's ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra published a lengthy essay on Thursday last week, claiming that she was subjected to sexual assault during their 3-year relationship.

Chloe Dykstra wrote about how she was blocked from going out at night, having male friends or speaking in public places and that she was the victim of sexual and emotional assault by Chris Hardwick.

Chloe Dykstra also claimed that Chris Hardwick blacklisted her in the industry and called companies she worked for "to get me fired by threatening to never work with them".

In a statement Chris Hardwick says "these are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I've taken the day to consider how to respond. I was heartbroken to read Chloe's post. Our three year relationship was not perfect - we were ultimately not a good match and argued - even shouted at each other - but I loved her, and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her".

"For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, 'build a life' with me and told me that I was 'the one', but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful".

"I'm devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. l was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her."

Viacom Africa again running a MTV Base VJ Search 2018 visiting 4 South African cities; winner will get a year long contract to present MTV Base shows.


Viacom Africa decided to once again run a MTV Base VJ Search for its MTV Base (DStv 322) channel, with someone who could get as year long contract with the channel.

The MTV Base VJ Search 2018 will visit Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and East London this year, will the venues and entry dates, as well as the panel of judges that is yet to be announced.

The winner will get a 12-month contract as a MTV Base presenter, get the opportunity to present MTV Base shows and interview music stars. Viacom Africa says the next MTV Base VJ is expected to have "a passion for global and African youth culture and music, be authentic and live life in colour".

Tshego Koke won the MTV Base VJ Search in 2017 that was broadcast as a talent search series last year and became the presenter of the MTV Base Top 30.

"This is an opportunity for young talent to showcase what they are capable of doing," says Monde Twala, vice president for BET, youth and music at Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa).

Tshego Koke says "I have definitely learned immensely from this journey, the experience at MTV Base has proved to me that it's worth following your dreams. Everything I thought of and had faith in came about and I learned that when you get here, you'll always need to get to the next stratosphere of life".

CNN International and MultiChoice dump the African Journalist Awards, says honouring Africa's best journalists became too big and expensive.


CNN International and MultiChoice have decided to dump the African Journalist Awards, the African continent's most prestigious competition for journalists, saying that honouring the best journalism from Africa has become too big and expensive.

CNN International (DStv 401) and MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry revealed that they have scrapped the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards that usually takes place in October and celebrated the best of pan-African journalism over the past two decades.

The competition held over the past 20 years have seen the number of entries grow rapidly every year as it fostered respect and understanding for journalists and their important work, something that's very often a dangerous and thankless job in Africa.

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards also served as an incentive for various African nations to improve their press freedom laws as they vied to be a host country, gave valuable exposure to a country's local tourism as a large group of journalists from across the continent would annually descend on a specific country, and provided an economic boost for the host city putting up the awards show.

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards didn't take place in 2017 but last year the TV news channel from Turner Broadcasting and MultiChoice Africa said they were reviewing the competition and remained committed to celebrating African journalism.

2017 would have marked the 22nd time that African journalists in print, online, radio and television across Africa would have entered this competition, with winners who get cash prizes and the overall winner getting the chance to visit CNN Headquarters in Atlanta and participating in the CNN Journalism Fellowship.

In a joint response in October 2017 CNN and MultiChoice Africa told TVwithThinus that the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards that took place in South Africa and various African countries over alternating years and broadcast on CNN International would not happening last year but that "CNN and MultiChoice are currently reviewing the format of the African Journalist Awards. We are committed to supporting and celebrating journalism across the continent, and we will share details as soon as we are ready".

Now it's axed.

CNN in 2016 said that it is "committed to the African story, not just editorially, but also in terms of supporting its own journalistic enterprise through the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards."

The dumping of the competition comes after the death of Maggie Eales (67) in November 2015 from cancer, the CNN executive and former journalist who during her 20 year career at CNN was the driving force behind the development and growth of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

In response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus, CNN International and MultiChoice say that "following a thorough review of the African Journalist Awards, CNN and MultiChoice have come to the difficult decision to not continue the awards" because it became too big and expensive to honour journalism through the competition.

"While we remain committed to championing quality journalism in the future, continuing a traditional awards programme of this scale was no longer sustainable. We have been immensely proud to celebrate African journalism through this awards format over the last 20 years and honoured to meet and support the many inspiring young journalists who have since grown and developed their careers over the years."

"We thank the many judges, companies and institutions who have supported the awards during this time."

According to the organisers the review looked at many options but couldn't find a solution to continue the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards in a way that would bring it up to date and reduce cost while not diminishing its prestige.

The axing comes as censorship across Africa is growing while press freedom in several African nations are eroding, ranging from a crackdown on not just traditional media outlets like newspapers, radio stations and television news being shut down but also general entertainment content on TV channels being censored and draconian new laws to limit and tax ordinary citizen's use of social media, and forcing bloggers to register and pay exorbitant registration fees.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Azania Mosaka taking over SABC3's weekday talk show, Real Talk, from Anele Mdoda; first guest will be Bonang Matheba.


Azania Mosaka is taking over as new presenter of SABC3's weekday talk show, Real Talk, replacing Anele Mdoda from Monday 18 June.

Anele Mdoda abruptly bailed on the talk show, produced by Cheeky Media, after her return to the show following a break earlier this year, during which Azania Mosaka was the sit-in replacement.

Cheeky Media has a contract until October with SABC3, with Anele Mdoda's exit that left producers scrambling to find a replacement.

Monday's first guest with Azania Mosaka as the new talk show host will be Bonang Matheba.

There's no explanation yet for why Anele Mdoda abruptly decided to jump ship after less than two years as SABC3 talk show host. Following a sudden break in April with Azania Mosaka who filled in, Anele Mdoda says Real Talk is no longer part of her "career ambitions".

The show's ratings however tanked following huge damage to both Real Talk and Anele Mdoda's credibility, trust and brands after January's scandal in which it was revealed that payment was made for people to appear on the show, essentially turning it into an infomercial - something that was never disclosed to viewers.

The secret pay-for-play happening on Real Talk breached the SABC's editorial policies and the South African public broadcaster apologised and said it will implement changes to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

The damage to the show's credibility under viewers was however done and also reflected negatively on Anele Mdoda, who said she wasn't aware of payments being made and was just an employee. Viewers immediately started to tune out.

Despite a later timeslot move since February to 18:00 on weekdays when a larger potential viewing audience is available, Real Talk's viewership tanked.

While Real Talk still pulled a low 441 795 viewers for its most watched episode in January to claim the 13th place on SABC3's Top 20 most watched list for that month, the sinking show completely dropped out of the Top 20 list in the months since.

Speaking about Azania Mosaka stepping in to replace Anele Mdoda, SABC3 channel head Aisha Mohamed says "we trust that her contribution and enthusiasm will add value to the SABC3 brand as well as take Real Talk to new heights".

Azania Mosaka says "programme managers have believed in me and I dared to do it and this challenge will be no different".

"By taking on this unexpected opportunity of hosting Real Talk, I aim to engage in conversations that encourage people to dream, motivating young girls and young women as we reinvigorating the audience while reminding them of their hopes and aspirations."

Yusuf Stevens, Cheeky Media managing director, says "Azania is joining an award-winning team and we are very excited about what she will be bringing. Having worked with her briefly before, we know that her humility, passion, empathy and grace will be well-received by our audience and we look forward to putting the 'real' back into Real Talk. Azania was born to be in front of the camera."

Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018 FIFA World Cup: TV schedule disruption, coverage plans of the SABC, SuperSport and StarSat, and where to watch what.


South African TV viewers will once again experience disruption to their SABC TV schedules due to the 2018 FIFA World Cup starting today, with shows disappearing and several moving channels and timeslots, while SuperSport and StarSat are both bringing pay-TV subscribers coverage of the global tournament over the next few weeks in addition to the SABC.

The SABC is once again forced into schedule disruption of its 3 terrestrial TV channels to accommodate coverage of the FIFA World Cup, with SuperSport rolling out some additional new programming and StarSat letting South Africans stream-watch the tournament through its mobile app.


SABC coverage
The SABC has allocated SABC1 for FIFA World Cup soccer matches and match highlight programming.

Skeem Saam and Uzalo move from SABC1 to SABC2 from Friday 15 June until Friday 13 July on weekdays at 18:30 and 20:30 respectively.

Generations - The Legacy moves from SABC1 to SABC3 on weekdays at 20:00 from 14 June.

Sport at 10 and Soccerzone will broadcast an episode each on 4 and 9 July.These shows will be shelved for 4 weeks, returning to SABC1 on 16 and 18 July.

The current affairs programmes on SABC2, Leihlo La Sechaba, Ngula Ya Vutivi and Zwa Maramani are being shelved for the duration of the World Cup and won't be broadcast.

The Afrikaans TV news and Sesotho TV news bulletins are both being truncated and the shortened 15 minute bulletins will be broadcast between 20:00 and 20:30 on SABC2.

On SABC3 on Mondays Cleveland Hustles moves from 19:30 to 20:00. The Amazing Race moves from 20:30 to 21:30. On Tuesdays The Man Cave VI moves from 19:30 to 20:00 and Top Chef Junior from 20:30 to 21:30.

On Wednesdays on SABC3 Neill Anthony Private Chef moves from 19:30 to 20:00 and Don't Tell the Bride moves from 20:30 to 21:30. On Thursdays on SABC3 The Scoop moves from 19:30 to 20:00 and Presenter Search on 3 moves from 20:30 to 21:30.

On Fridays on SABC3 Fundi's moves from 20:30 to 21:00.

On SABC1, Thomas Mlambo, Andile Ncube, Lebo Motsoeli and Romy Titus will be the public broadcaster's TV anchors during the tournament, with analysts Siphiwe Mkhonza, Phumudzo Manenhze, Marc Lewis, Duane Dell'Oca, Teko Modise, Doctor Khumalo, Jomo Sono, Rhulani Mokoena, Steve Khompela and Pitso Mosimane.

On radio the SABC will for the first time broadcast FIFA World Cup commentary to the Khoi and San communities in South Africa in the !Xun and Khwe dialect on XK-FM.


SuperSport coverage
SuperSport and MultiChoice didn't issue a press release regarding FIFA World Cup coverage plans, but the sports broadcaster that will have high definition coverage of the tournament will use Robert Marawa, Carol Tshabalala, Neil Andrews and Andy Townsend as its main presenters.

Matches and other programming will be shown on SuperSport 3 (DStv 203) until 15 July, as well as on a 24-hour World Cup channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Language options will include English, Portuguese, Pidgin English, Swahili, Zulu and Sesotho.

Analysts who will do some coverage on SuperSport for the tournament include Yaya Toure, Jay-Jay Okocha, Dwight Yorke, Phil Neville, Gianfranco Zola while local and African analysts Samson Siasia, Shaun Bartlett, Gavin Hunt, Andre Arendse and Benni McCarthy will also appear.

SuperSport will be doing some additional soccer programming including the lifestyle magazine show From Russia with Love with presenters Minnie Dlamini and Thato Moeng and a daily hourlong news show on weekdays at 19:00 on the SuperSport Blitz channel anchored by Julia Stuart and Crystal Arnold.

FanFest on Saturdays at 10:00 on SuperSport 3 will be simulcast on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) with Julia Stuart with a Nigerian version of FanFest shown at the same time in Nigeria with Mozez Praiz as presenter.

Master Plan that will be broadcast twice weekly on SuperSport 3 with presenter Andy Townsend will cover strategic and tactical analysis of games and players and Insights with Phil Neville will interview ex-football players.


StarSat coverage
Matches and other related programming of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will also be shown on StarSat for the first time - China's StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media's (ODM) satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa that forms part of the wider StarTimes group.

Matches will be broadcast on StarSat's Sports Premium channel, with additional coverage on the Sports Arena channel.

The FIFA matches can also be watched and live streamed in South Africa through the StarSat app for mobile devices by looking for the Sports Premium channel which is one of the StarSat channels that are streamed through the StarSat app.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Fox Sports Africa partners with Sun International in a 2-year deal to hold and broadcast a series of pan-African boxing events on Fox Sports.


Fox Sports Africa through Fox Sports and Sun International have decided to partner up in a multiyear agreement - the cost of which was not disclosed - for a series of World Boxing Association (WBA) boxing events that will be staged at Sun International venues throughout South Africa and be broadcast on Fox Sports, available on StarSat and Cell C black.

The partnership will mean that pan-African title fights will be broadcast live on FOX Sports over a 2-year period, with boxers who will compete for various WBA pan-African titles.

The partnership between Fox Sports and Sun International will start with an event at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom on 27 June with Carnival City that will be next on 20 July.

"For those of us who have been long-term believers in the enormous potential of African boxing, this corporate partnership between two dynamic companies heralds great times ahead for the sport on the continent and for its boxers, says boxer Stan Christodoulou who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2004.

Eugene Boniface, the group manager for content at Sun International says "we see this partnership as a great opportunity to promote boxing in the region and to ensure that the sport regains its former status as one of the continents most loved sports, delivering world revered champions".

Kyle De Klerk, business and commercial director at Fox Sports Africa says "through our Africa boxing events, we are positive about unearthing future world champions whilst profiling the boxers and host locations to a global audience".

MultiChoice to SABC: Hands off our DStv subscriber information, says SABC TV Licence an old, outdated regulation.


MultiChoice is adamant that the South African public broadcaster will never get its hands on the DStv subscriber information of the millions of the Naspers pay-TV operator's customers - and neither will MultiChoice ever tack on the annual SABC TV Licence fee as another line item on subscribers' monthly bills to collect this money on behalf of the SABC.

The SABC's TV Licence fees collection department has been a shambles the past few years. Last month 26 staffers got fired after showing up for work this year during a period of an unprotected "go-slow" during which they did nothing.

The SABC board told parliament last week that due to the go-slow that started on 12 February, SABC Licence fee call centre staffers would "show up for work but did not answer incoming calls and closed off their phone lines" so that the public couldn't get through with billing and other queries or issues about payments.

Communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane revealed that the SABC is owed a staggering more than R25 billion (R25 588 801 443)  in outstanding SABC TV Licence fees over the past three years.

Less than a third of South African TV households pay their SABC TV licence. The SABC has just over 9 million TV licence holders of which only 2.6 million have paid in full by April 2017 and wrote off a massive R4.5 billion due to "invalid" accounts in the 2016/2017 financial year.

On Monday night a caller, Lorraine on SAfm, told Chris Maroleng, SABC COO, that "there's a lot of confusion under a lot of people about who collect TV Licence payments for the SABC out there. Is it the SABC itself or third-parties? People have been continually harassed by debt collectors."

Twice in the past the SABC in parliament over the past decade - first in July 2009 and then in May 2017 - made suggestions that companies like MultiChoice, M-Net and others should be compelled to collect the SABC's TV Licence fee on the public broadcaster's behalf, and that the SABC wants MultiChoice to share its DStv subscriber information.

The former acting SABC CEO, James Aguma, now gone under a cloud, last year shocked parliament when he said the SABC wants the Broadcasting Act changed so that the TV Licence fee is expanded to include more viewing devices like computers, cellphones and tablets, and that DStv should collect SABC TV licence fees on behalf of the SABC. 

Recently the SABC's latest board told parliament that it is once again investigating alternative new ways around the collection of SABC TV Licence revenue.

In an interview with Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice South Africa CEO, TVwithThinus asked him to clarify MultiChoice's stance on whether it will give the SABC access to DStv subsriber information, or bill subscribers for SABC TV Licence fees and pay that over to the public broadcaster.

"No. Let me confirm, the law is very clear on information that can be shared and cannot be shared, and that information cannot be shared with anybody without the consent of the subscriber directly."

"But let me just touch on TV Licence: TV Licence is an old regulation that was done years back when people only consumed content through a TV and therefore you used a TV Licence to be able to support the public broadcasting mandate."

"What we have seen all over the world is that they recognise that people no longer use a TV set to view content and therefore it's irrelevant in this day and time. What many countries have tried to do is to link it either as a public service mandate - that the population of a country need to recognise that the public broadcaster is providing a good service in terms of its public mandate."

"And they've proposed things like paying through tax - so all the tax payers go through a staggered way of payment, where the highest earners pay a little bit more than those that earn less."

"Other countries have used the electricity bill to be able to get money that goes to assist in serving the public mandate."

"Our view is that that discussion is no longer relevant in this day and time. What we shall be discussing is how do we assist the public broadcaster in fulfilling its mandate because consumption has moved from TV to other means of getting access to content," said Calvo Mawela.

"Therefore it's no longer about the means of getting the content, it's about how do we assist the SABC to fulfill its public mandate".

Netflix and ill: The dangers of binge-watching includes chronic fatigue, over-eating, insomnia and a weakened immune system, while zombie show The Walking Dead makes you want to ... feed!


Love watching endless episodes at a time through Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video or Cell C black? Several research studies have now found that this relatively new phenomenon of binge-watching TV series can wreak havoc on the immune systems and the body's ability to fight off colds and flu, while bingeing on episodes of the zombie show The Walking Dead ... makes you feed!

The new daily habit that a lot of TV viewers are indulging in more and more, can have a debilitating impact on the body's immune system.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics that provides colds and flu medication, says the relatively new phenomenon of being able to watch an entire TV series all at once, as opposed to waiting a week for an episode, has sparked several studies that attempt to understand how binge-watching is impacting our health.

According to a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, people’s addiction to watching TV series can lead to chronic fatigue, which has a damaging effect on immunity.

"According to the study, over half (52%) of binge-watchers viewed three to four episodes in one sitting, with an average session lasting three hours. If one considers that most of the watching occurs in the evening, that doesn’t leave much shuteye. Binge-watchers also reported more fatigue and insomnia and had 98% more chance of having poor quality sleep than those that limited their screen time," says Nicole Jennings.

“Watching TV in a dark room for hours on end can really mess up our circadian rhythm - the cycle that regulates physiological processes - and disrupts sleep-wake cycles."

"The blue light emitted from TVs, PCs, laptops, smartphones and other devices can also reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep."

"Poor sleep in general is associated with lower immune system function and a reduced number of antibodies or killer cells that help to fight germs," she says.

"Adults need between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night in order for the immune system to function optimally. You can still enjoy watching TV, but try to avoid a binge too close to bedtime," she recommends. 

Apart from lack of sleep, marathon-viewing can also exacerbate mindless eating and unhealthy snacking – both detrimental to your waistline and immunity.

Research by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that action-packed shows, such as The Walking Dead on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) for example, made participants eat twice as much (98%) than others who watched milder content like talk shows. 

Those that watched depressing shows, like the science fiction drama, Solaris for example, also ate 55% more than participants who watched positive, upbeat programmes. 

According to the researchers, action and adventure shows may encourage viewers to eat more, because viewers subliminally try to keep up with the pace of the story. Stress and anxiety experienced during a show also leads to comfort-eating.

Nicole Jennings points out that although it’s easier to order in pizza than pausing your show for an hour to cook a nutritious meal, junk food really upsets the immune system.

"Fatty, fried foods increase bad cholesterol and can cause inflammation, leading to reduced immunity, while sugar can hinder the body’s ability to produce germ-fighting white blood cells that destroy foreign pathogens."

"Watching your favourite characters drink a beer or smoke a cigarette might also trigger a craving for these substances, which have been proven to lower immunity. If you're planning to watch a TV series, rather put out cut-up fruit and vegetables or low-carb meals and healthy drinks on the table," she says.

Furthermore, sitting in the same position while watching hours of TV series not only contribute to deep vein thrombosis and the formation of fatal blood clots, but also increase one's risk of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) such as a cold, sinusitis or tonsillitis, most likely as a result of lowered immune function.  

A study conducted by researchers in the US found that staying physically active nearly halved the odds of catching cold viruses, and even those that did fell ill, didn't suffer too badly.

Nicole Jennings suggests that instead of sitting on the couch, TV addicts should consider watching a series on their cellphone or tablet while walking on the treadmill, stationary bike or rowing machine. "There are different ways to make the occasional marathon TV session healthier, but moderation is key."

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

M-Net warps Seth MacFarlane's new science fiction comedy-drama series, The Orville, for a 13 August star(t)date.


M-Net (DStv 101) has acquired the broadcasting rights to the new series The Orville created by Seth MacFarlane.

M-Net tells TVwithThinus that the science fiction comedy-drama series taking place in the 25th century, is preliminary set to start on M-Net on Monday 13 August at 17:00.

The timeslot of The Orville might likely still change to a later time due to the content and nature of the show.

The first season of The Orville have been well received, with the first season that continues to improve over the course of its 12 episodes and has been a much better show that the revived Star Trek: Discovery from CBS Access that's available on Netflix South Africa.

Seth MacFarlane that created The Orville, and who is a huge Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, also stars in the show as Ed Mercer, who is the captain of The Orville, a ship of the Planetary Union.

His ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) becomes his first officer, with Penny Johnson Jerald as Doctor Claire Finn, the chief medical officer.

Lieutenant Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) is the helmsman and Ed's best friend, Lieutenant Commander Bortus (Peter Macon) is the second officer and an alien from a single-gender race, Lieutenant Alara Kitan (Halston Sage) is the super-strong, young security officer, and Lieutenant John LaMarr (J. Lee) is the navigator.

Isaac (Mark Jackson) is the android and science and engineering officer who is from a non-biological race who is onboard to study humans.

Most of The Orville stories are surprisingly good with viewers who won't be able to guess the outcome in some, although there are somewhat too many episodes dealing with the tension between religion and science.

South Africa's Charlize Theron makes her appearance as a villain in one episode during the first season with The Orville that has already been renewed for a second season.

The Orville is produced by Fuzzy Door Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.

2018's TV TRENDS MASTER CLASS: David Abraham at the MultiChoice Digital Dialogue Conference unpacks the big TV trends shaping the world right now - and what it means for Africa's broadcasters.


In a hugely informative session, sharing a wealth of insight and background information, the British TV executive David Abraham unpacked the big and seismic TV trends - and how they are interlocking, at the recent 5th edition of the Digital Dialogue Conference.

He explained how the TV trends impacting America and the United Kingdom - some that already here and those that will be making their way to Africa soon - are fundamentally upending and altering the television and pay-TV broadcasting industry, and what it means for broadcasters and anyone working in television across Africa.

David Abraham, founder of Wonderhood Studios, and who was the chief executive of Channel 4 in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2017, was one of the speakers at the 5th Digital Dialogue Conference that took place in May in Dubai in the United Arab Emirate (UAE), organised by MultiChoice.

In his highly informative talk about the TV trends shaping the world right now and that will be impacting TV and broadcasters in Africa - and are already - he started at the beginning, saying that the pay-TV market "was based on the premise of dependable walls, economic walls, between content, and the consumer".

"Those walls are either in some instances breaking or cracking - or in some countries even disappearing for a whole host of reasons."

Speaking about the UK, as an example, he said that "analogue TV was free at the point of consumption, regulated by the regulator Ofcom, and the dominant players were public service broadcasters that held public licences and had public obligations."

"Then arrived in the 80's and 90's, slowly at first, analogue satellite TV and then cable TV. And it took many years for those businesses to develop but essentially it was a balanced ecosystem of cable, satellite and free TV."


"And there were polite walls around some of the content, that drove the value equation for the pay-TV operators - primarily sport. But everyone kind of co-operated and in a sense the consumer had to go through quite a lot of hassle to move between the two different systems. So there was a lot of friction and therefore there was a lot of bundling of content."

"The phrase Balkanisation has been used in terms of how pay-TV operators constantly had to put up higher walls around their content in order to justify the exclusivity and the big bundles that they would charge their consumers,"said David Abraham.

"The way that I see these markets moving now, is that these walls are cracking and actually the arrival of the internet has really changed everything for the way in which these operators can plan for their futures."

"So the future is much more messy; it is much more heterogeneous, and what we are going to find are going to be a number of different models co-existing and overlapping in a much, much more confusing way."


"The world that we are entering is much more frictionless, it's much more fragmented. The global pressure of the digital giants, the scale, and the way that everything is far more trans-national than every before, has meant that this rather neat world of walled gardens that co-existed is changing very, very rapidly."

David Abraham said 4 things are driving this in the UK, in an evermore intensive way: increasing broadband penetration, smartphone penetration, tablet penetration, and connected televisions either within the TV set or through set-top boxes.

"So there are 4 interlocking trends that are leading to fundamental changes to how pay-TV models are evolving."

"It's always been the case that younger people watched fewer hours of TV per day and per week. But we have seen a fundamental reduction in the number of hours of TV being watched by younger demographics."

Moving to the United States, he said "for many, many years we saw pay-television subscriber growth in the US - very expensive bundles for consumers - the APU, the average revenue per user was growing, and now the trend is consistently down for traditional pay-television in the United States."

"Now, it's worth mentioning a couple of things. The US isn't this balanced eco-system we've got in the UK because pay-television is in 99% of all homes, also most pay-television channels carry advertising with very, very high advertising loads. The level of interruption of your television viewing is extremely high."

"And the result of that of course is if there is a proposition that comes in at a lower price point and no advertising interruption, then that proposition is going to grow. And clearly that proposition is the phenomenon that is Netflix."

"If you're thinking of the economics of making an expensive drama or buying expensive sports rights, there's a consistent trend of fragmentation of viewing over different time-slices and over different technologies. And that made the environment in which we're operating a lot messier, a lot more complex and a lot more difficult to manage."


Impact of the 'Digital Giants' on content
"The question has now become the scale of the digital giants and what they might do, and are beginning to do, to exploit that scale, in relation to every other business model in every market."

"Effectively each of these digital players - Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix - they can exploit very particular attributes in their technology to draw audiences ever further away from their traditional patterns of behaviour," explained David Abraham.

"So they have all been experimenting with very expensive content. Amazon bought the Top Gear team and rebranded it The Grand Tour, Netflix has The Crown already, Google through YouTube Red and Facebook Watch that has been launched and is being rolled out."

"What this has driven is an original production boom among the existing, legacy television platform players who are all now responding to this competition by commissioning very expensive, very glossy dramas, because effectively Netflix has driven a box-set behavioural pattern which is being perceived by the consumer to have proper value, and which now has to be reflected in the way that traditional pay-TV operators commission their own, original content."


Box-sets and binge-watching
The other big phenomenon is box-sets and binge-watching has effectively been a cultural phenomenon that young people have massively over-indexed in," said David Abraham.

"I'm sure many of you have experienced this within your family, is that a young child growing up now as a so-called "digital native" is actually entering a world where they have very little concept of a linear TV channel with channel continuity and announcers and something going on at a particular moment in the day."

"Everything they're consuming is binge-watched and on-demand."

"One of the things in the UK is that traditional broadcasters operate according to guidelines in terms of the watershed [time period], protecting children from certain content where the internet doesn't operate like that at all."

"It will be very interesting how African countries will negotiate those taste and decency issues [around content] in an environment where for parents, and for regulators and for leaders there will be a sense of wanting to protect the population in certain environments that are safe and of high quality."

So brand will still matter. Quality will still matter and content will always be king."


Fixed-line operators and sharing sports content rights
"Across Europe the traditional pay-TV markets are becoming more competitive. Telecom operators have proven to be the most potent challengers to those traditional pay-TV operators and competition is heating up around scripted," said David Abraham.

He said fixed-line operators are stepping up too, with some of these operators across Europe also getting into the content acquisition business.

"Interestingly many of these operators are distributing Netflix on their set-top boxes."

"So inevitably you get this evermore complex environment where these legacy players are now bringing in their competitors within their platform propositions."

"Sky that always effectively had the biggest pay-wall around its business model, is going to provide Netflix within its services in the course of the next 12 months which is a strong indication of how things are changing."

"For the first time in the history of Sky, towards the end of last year, they made their Sky Sports channels available to their main competitor BT and BT Sports packages and Sky Sports packages available via cable through Virgin."

"Now the effect of this is very interesting because we had escalating costs of English Premier League (EPL) football rights in the UK that were exponential and that were really challenging the viability of these pay-TV models in the UK - it became almost unaffordable."

"But by allowing to share each others' services, the main players - BT, Virgin and Sky - effectively have put a cap on the growth in the pricing of the EPL packages in the UK."


Consumers using different service simultaneously
"The market in the UK is now driven by two distinct trends: the bundling of pay-TV and telecom services at the upper end, and the rise of cheaper over-the-top (OTT) services at the lower end, said David Abraham.

But besides that, it is also not a black-or-white, either-or model anymore, he explained. Sky now has around 10 million subscribers in the UK, and Netflix UK has over 7 million.

"People are no longer either on satellite, or cable or free TV - you effectively use these OTT services because they're cheaper, and you're using these services whilst also quite probably also using satellite paying your monthly subscription and maybe for broadband as well."

"The inter-relationship between the broadband-relationship, the mobile-relationship, the channel-relationship and then the OTT services is getting evermore complex. Frankly what consumers are doing is switching much more, effectively the switching between services has gone down and consumers are moving around."

"Consumers also don't like to hear about a big show that they can't get. So they might dip in for a month and binge-watch a show and dip out for a while and go to another service. And remember that these services are available on multiple devices - so a much more fluid environment in which these players are operating."

"What this is doing, is putting pressure on margins because obviously the old system of big bundles had a very high margin - there was a lot of friction between consumers moving around and now that is eroding."

"There's an intensification of these trends. So satellite pay-TV is effectively losing customers in the UK. Broadband growth is also slowing and that's also having an effect on the bundling between broadband and TV services, and the winners in all of this are the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services."

"A very complex environment is evolving and all of these things overlap and that has big implications for the future of public broadcasting in the UK because this environment is so much more fragmented."

"For public broadcasters investing in journalism and investing in quality coverage and in coverage that is locally relevant will always have a very important role to play."


New players and models
David Abraham next explained some of the new players and models that are emerging.

"iflix from Asia is already in Africa. This is a very interesting model because effectively it's a developing market model that says Netflix will always be too expensive outside the Western world and there are many rights which in the developing world, are being pirated."

"So this entrepreneur in Asia simply built a business model by going around all of the markets in Asia and looked at what all of the pirated material was, and he created lists of the best-selling pirated material but online through streaming data and through DVD sales, and then he went to the studios and said listen, the price point between the pirated material and Netflix is this big, we'll put it on this service and he branded it iflix. It's an OTT service and it's now in at least 25 countries."

"It's an example of a model that says, if Netflix can't succeed in markets with relatively low income versus Europe and the US, then what model might emerge? And the iflix model is one that a lot of people are looking at very closely."


"Secondly, Cheddar in the US is described as a post-cable channel. Effectively the proposition here is what would Bloomberg look like if it was appealing only to millenials?  And this is what this channel is," said David Abraham.

"This channel is partly a linear channel, it's partly available through social media. So it has a flexible model - it offers operates through the reach of social media, but it is also available as a internet protocol (IP) streamed service. It's doing quite well, it's small, but it's growing."

"If we are thinking of what is the future of the 'TV channel' in a world where we have that level of broadband and mobile penetration, and that scale of influence that social media has, then something like Cheddar might be a sign of things to come in terms of the notion of a linear TV channel."

"In France there's a service called Molotov that's having hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into it.This is a solution to younger people not regarding live, linear TV as for them anymore."

"Molotov attempts to present television in an entirely new way. It is entirely internet protocol (IP) delivered, with original content and acquired content bundled together. It is making headway in France, it has huge investment behind it and it will be very interesting to see if they succeed."

"So I think that television broadcasters can adapt - but they absolutely can't stand still. And at the heart of this is who is owning the consumer relationship."

SABC to establish an internal ombudsman for SABC News complaints.


The SABC will introduce an internal ombudsman for SABC News complaints from the public and establish a ring-fenced office to deal with queries and issues regarding SABC News editorial and coverage, the South African public broadcaster announced on Monday night.

Chris Maroleng, SABC COO, in an interview with Ashraf Garda on SAfm on Monday night, said "we, through the reform and transformation of the newsroom will also introduce what we are describing as an internal ombud who will allow the public to complain".

The surprising move - not prompted through any external pressure on the SABC - is the latest in a sudden string of positive self-correcting changes at the SABC.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation in the past few weeks announced an inquiry into undue influence on SABC News and its editorial processes, an inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse inside the SABC, as well as a rebranding of the SABC News service on television and radio.

The SABC's internal ombudsman will function independently, and in addition to the existing Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) whose Broadcasting Code of Conduct the SABC already subscribes to.

The SABC is currently busy with a long-overdue review of the public broadcaster's editorial policy that started in July 2017, trying to bring it up to date since it was last reviewed 14 years ago in 2004.


SAfm changed explained
About the changes at SAfm and listeners who are unhappy with the news and current affairs changes, Chris Maroleng said the anger has to do with how people have become "accustomed to consuming their news and current affairs. The first thing is that we were over-delivering on SAfm on news and current affairs".

"What we were doing is we were producing 6 hours of news and current affairs and the problem with news and current affairs apart from the crucial importance, the way in which we packaged it, is it could not perform commercially to the extent that it supported the broadcast network which is quite extensive for SAfm."

"It was costing us several million. The other thing that we did, we needed to migrate the way that news and current affairs was consumed to a format that was more accustomed to the way that some of our competitors - and more importantly, the global trend of global news consumption - has changed."

"So we developed opportunities around talk radio format content, mixed in with our current affairs obligation, without dropping the mandated, regulatory provision for that current affairs content. So the value judgment we had to make, is how do we develop news content and a news platform that develops conversation and that allows debate in a vibrant, independent way, without putting too much of a burden on the commercial imperative."


Sakina Kamwendo: We should have informed public better
About the shocking removal of Sakina Kamwendo from SAfm's morning slot that saw SAfm producers abruptly censor her and yank her off air during her last show, leaving people listening to music to fill dead air, Chris Maroleng said that the SABC censorship and lack of communication "is a personal regret of mine".

"In our haste to try and fix it and to try and put right things that needed to be made better within the SABC we need to bring along people. We need to understand that it is ultimately people who come from  a very difficult period of abuse, of abuse of power, of unfair decisions being made which were not necessarily in the interest of the SABC."

He said the censorship of Sakina Kamwendo and her abrupt removal "was not an intention to shut [her] down". "We could have done much better in ensuring that the way in which we communicated the rationale of the change, could have been done much better," said Chris Maroleng.

"What we did wrong - I think what we should have done better is also inform our public a bit better," he said.

The SABC that launched an internal investigation into what happened on the day has refused to make the findings public.

Monday, June 11, 2018

MultiChoice content boss Aletta Alberts talks 'Project Repeats' and why DStv subscribers can't choose their own channels: 'In future, we might try a more hybrid approach'.


MultiChoice's content boss, Aletta Alberts, in a speech in Windhoek, addressed the pan-African pay-TV operator's ongoing process of reducing the volume of repeats DStv subscribers are exposed to, and about the issue of why DStv viewers can't choose and pay for just the channels they want to, hinted at a possible change, saying that "in future, might we might try a more hybrid approach".

Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice's general manager for content, spoke to the press last week Thursday at MultiChoice Namibia's country headquarters in Windhoek.

She spoke to the media about what the Naspers pay-TV giant is doing to cut down on the number of repeats DStv subscribers are seeing - an initiative under the banner of "Project Repeats".

Once again the issue was also raised about why pay-TV operators like MultiChoice can't give subscribers the option of individually choosing just the TV channels they want and paying for that, instead of bundling channels together.

Aletta Alberts hinted that there is the possibility that some changes might be coming in future in the form of a hybrid approach, according to The Namibian newspaper that attended the session.

"When you give the consumers choice, it actually comes back to the same model we use," said Aletta Alberts. "In future, we might try a more hybrid approach, but at the moment, there's a cost issue."

According to Roger Gertze, MultiChoice Namibia's general manager, repeats on DStv have been one of the leading grievances from DStv subscribers after MultiChoice Namibia did a customer feedback survey.

"We do repeats - we have to own up to it. But it's a part of the current business model," said Aletta Alberts. She explained how its impossible for a single TV channel not to do a rebroadcast of content, since a TV channel requires about 8 760 hours of content a year to fill.

No TV channel in the world that can produce that must see-it-only-once content. The enormous licensing cost of the sports content rights on the SuperSport channels for instance, must also be absorbed by more people than just the smaller audience watching that.

"Our content is bundled so it's not clear to the customer what they are paying for. Sports rights, for example, are pricey and as much as they are loved, not enough people are watching these channels," explained Aletta Alberts.

Another interesting fact is that 70% of the repeat complaints are due to movies being reshown.

"The same movie and series titles are repeated across multiple channels," said Aletta Alberts. "DStv Premium customers see all these channels, but they don't understand that we're making them for lower tiered channels as well."

Besides axing a number of channels like Discovery Networks's Animal Planet, M-Net Edge, CBS Drama, True Movies, AMC, and tiering down VUZU and doing limited-run pop-up channels, MultiChoice has ordered some channels to schedule some new content over weekends like documentaries, to do less "stacking" - meaning marathon series repeats.

MultiChoice also has a plan to introduce DStv subscribers to more programmes outside of their comfort zone so that they will sample some programming they might not have watched, and then discovery they like to see.

"In 2010 there were 210 series from the United States; in October 2017 there were 500. Every day, someone has millions of dollars they're putting into content and we are still buying every piece of content that comes out of the studios," said Aletta Alberts.

"Every year, we do more local content and try to increase it as much as we can, but it's expensive to put things in an indigenous language. However, we've got great models, and it's starting to pay off and gain momentum," Aletta Alberts explained.

Broadcasting Complaints Commission bodyslams MultiChoice over contravening code and showing violent WWE SuperSport promo to toddlers.


MultiChoice got bodyslammed by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission for contravening the Broadcasting Code of Conduct with the BCCSA that has rapped the satellite pay-TV over the knuckles for showing an inappropriate wrestling promo for SuperSport that's inappropriate for children.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) found that while watching a cricket match with his two children aged 3 and 7 on SuperSport, MultiChoice exposed the family to a WWE promo shown outside of the so-called "watershed period" and without any parental advisory indicators.

A viewer complained to the BCCSA that while watching cricket on SuperSport (DStv 202) that carries no age restriction, SuperSport suddenly did a WWE promo "which plays on another channel and has a higher age restriction".

"The content of the advert is violent and is inappropriate for children. My kids have now been exposed to this violent content and my 3 year old has started emulating what he sees on this advert. He is a boy, and naturally he is inclined to want to repeat this kind of behaviour. My problem is that SuperSport is playing age restricted content on a family channel, during a family program."

The viewer asked the BBCSA to "please take appropriate action against this channel as they are continually violating their own age restriction policy" after his kid emulated what he saw and said "Look, daddy, I'm doing double double E".

The BBCSA found that the promo was broadcast before the watershed with no advanced warning to enable parents to prevent their children from being exposed to it and said that "promos broadcast before the watershed during family time, should not contain violent scenes".

The BCCSA said it's not the first time that it received a complaint in this regard about wrestling programming.

MultiChoice and SuperSport were not fined but the BCCSA said "we consider it reasonable to reprimand the broadcaster and we caution the licensee to avoid broadcasting violent promotional material outside the watershed period".

MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela's stark warning to 'Game of Thrones'-like SA TV biz: It's coming for all of us.


South Africa's biggest pay-TV operator MultiChoice that says it is facing unprecedented danger from global streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, has a stark Game of Thrones-like warning for the entire South African TV biz, including the SABC and e.tv: It's not just threatening us - it's threatening all of us.

MultiChoice, Africa's largest pay-TV operator, told South Africa's broadcasting regulator earlier this month that Netflix is a threat and caused the loss of over 100 000 DStv Premium subscribers during just the last financial year.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is once again conducting an inquiry into South Africa's pay-TV sector and is looking at, and will consider, how to possibly amend regulations.

MultiChoice is arguing for South Africa's broadcasting regulator to urgently implement regulations on global streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video operating in South Africa, instead of imposing even more onerous regulations on video entertainment businesses like MultiChoice.

The global over-the-top (OTT) streamers for instance don't pay local taxes and are not encumbered by things like local content quotas and other regulatory restrictions.

MultiChoice wants Amazon Prime Video and Netflix South Africa to be regulated - similar to what the European Union (EU) is currently implementing in terms of 30% local content quotas and tax requirements.

In their various submissions to the inquiry about what's wrong with the local TV biz, all of South Africa's broadcasters kept blaming the bigger wolf, with all of them ganging up on MultiChoice.

Community TV blamed MultiChoice and bigger broadcasters, with the SABC and e.tv in turn blaming MultiChoice, and MultiChoice in turn blaming what it sees as the bigger wolf at the door: global streamers like Netflix and its ilk rolling out localised offerings like Netflix South Africa.

TVwithThinus in an interview with MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela, asked him if MultiChoice feels as if it's stuck in the middle - between free-to-air broadcasters on the one hand and global streamers on the other - and he said no.

"We are all in the same situation. As a satellite pay-TV operator we are using technology that started 30 years ago in terms of direct-to-home (DTH) and linear television as we traditionally know it. But linear broadcasters are feeling the same pain as we are feeling - that people are no longer engaging as much with linear, 'appointment viewing' when delivering content. Viewers are moving online."

"What I find interesting is that the free-to-air channels like the SABC and e.tv think that the threat coming from over-the-top (OTT) players like Netflix and Amazon are still a bit further away," said Calvo Mawela.

"But that's how disruptive technology is. I think if they are not careful, they will not have a business tomorrow, similar to how print newspapers are struggling today to run a business because some of them thought 'we'll continue to survive' while they saw online coming. Today they're struggling to make a business case to survive due to online consumption of news."

"As MultiChoice we are saying we really need to recognise that online consumption is here, and it is today, and if we do not come up with business plans that address the needs of consumers who are clear that they want to consumer their content online, this TV industry will be dead in the not-too-distant future."

"Traditional television is facing a big threat of survival and if we don't change our business model, we will end up being monuments of what used to be once-successful companies if we don't move quickly to online."

Calvo Mawela was asked what advice or warning he has for South Africa's TV industry that seems to have, just like the hit fantasy drama series Game of Thrones on M-Net (DStv 101), many different power players all squabbling and fighting among themselves for TV territory, instead of collectively keeping an eye of the bigger looming danger and the winter that's coming: the big broadband TV revolution behind the wall.

"Let me start by showing the positives of old, traditional television and caution anybody that tries to regulate us more and more. We are an industry that is still majority owned by South Africans from an equity level - one of the very few industries that are still like that."

"What we see with the proliferation of global streaming services is that if they are left unregulated and if people keep pushing for us to be regulated more and more, all of the investment that has gone into traditional pay-TV becomes under threat."

"The investment in terms of local TV productions and the people that are working in this industry are also going to be affected because global streaming services don't have to employ anybody. They don't have to have a local presence in this country - Netflix in South Africa and Africa is run from Amsterdam," said Calvo Mawela.

"All the licence fees that we are paying, our contributions to GDP, our contributions to universal service and access, are all going to be affected badly if the broadcasting regulator keeps on focusing on regulating us more and more and they allow free reign for over-the-top players."

"We think it will be unfair and they need to level the playing field to make sure that like-for-like services are regulated the same."


ALSO READ: Why MultiChoice isn't giving DStv subscribers access to Netflix: "We treat Netflix as pure competition".
ALSO READ: MultiChoice boss warns the Naspers pay-TV giant isn't being alarmistic about the online threat of global video services to DStv: 'Satellite pay-TV will disappear'.
ALSO READ: Cape Town Television (CTV) makes shocking revelations to the broadcasting regulator about how all of South Africa's community TV stations are dependent on money from the pay-TV giant, MultiChoice, for their survival.
ALSO READ: e.tv warns South Africa's broadcasting regulator, Icasa, that the free-to-air broadcasting sector in the country is under threat and needs urgent protection as a new inquiry into SA's pay-TV market kicks off.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

After botched 2017 attempt, Cricket South Africa and SuperSport announce a joint venture to establish a new, annual T20 cricket tournament to kick off in November 2018.


Cricket South Africa (CSA) and SuperSport announced a new broadcast deal and a new company, to establish a new, as-yet-unnamed, annual T20 cricket tournament that will start in November 2018 to replace the flopped version that flamed out in October 2017.

The planned tournament imploded when CSA and SuperSport failed to come to terms over the pegged price of the broadcasting rights which saw CSA fire its then CEO, Haroon Lorgat over the shambles.

SuperSport as existing right-holder refused to cough up more for for the planned tournament while CSA saw it as a new venture not covered by existing deals.

Now CSA and SuperSport are forming a new company, in which CSA will be the majority shareholder and both will contribute capital to fund the new venture.

SuperSport that will broadcast the tournament throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the adjacent islands, "and provide a broadcast feed to international broadcasters".

The annual, new T20 tournament will take place for the first time in November and December 2018.

"We have put the problems we experienced with the proposed Global T20 League behind us and look forward to hosting the new competition," says Thabang Moroe, acting CSA CEO.

"This event will create wonderful opportunities for local players, including current Proteas and up and coming youngsters, to hone their white-ball skills."

Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO, says "This agreement sees our relationship taken to the next level, where we will pool our mutual resources in a partnership which will create high-quality cricket and provide entertaining content for cricket fans locally and broadcast viewers both domestically and globally".

"To have Proteas and international stars competing together with local talent will improve the quality of T20 cricket produced by South Africa."

SABC board member, Kgalema Mohuba, placed on special leave by the University of Limpopo that is investigating claims around the doctorate degree he was working on.


The SABC has not suspended, placed on leave or removed its board member Kgalema Mohuba who has now been placed on special leave by the University of Limpopo where he is the publicist, amidst an investigation into the doctorate degree he was busy with and that the university decided not to award.

The University of Limpopo said Kgamela Mohuba was placed on special leave in late-May and will remain on leave until the investigation is completed.

Scandal erupted around Kgamela Mohuba after reports to the university that Kgamela Mohuba allegedly hired two Zimbabweans to write his doctorate in commerce (DCom) thesis, and also allegedly paid for their flight tickets.

The University of Limpopo is also investigating how Kgamela Mohuba managed to complete the doctorate he was working on within 2 years.

Earlier this year Kgalema Mohuba went to court to halt the University of Limpopo's graduation ceremony after the University of Limpopo decided to no longer confer a doctorate degree on him, pending an internal investigation.

Judge Matsoro Semenya struck Kgalema Mohuba's case off the roll, ruling that Kgalema Mohuba "is not entitled to receive the degree" - a doctorate in commerce (DCom).

Judge Matsoro Semenya in his ruling said "It is evident that the applicant has not studied for a minimum period of two years for the doctor of commerce degree after enrolling in August 2016."

The scandal around Kgalema Mohuba is not the first time that someone on the SABC board is being mired in controversy around qualifications.

The disgraced former SABC chairperson and academic failure Ellen Tshabalala was exposed for her shocking lies about having tertiary qualifications from Unisa like a B.Com degree and in fact failed badly, and then had the audacity to blame Unisa for allegedly "losing" all records of her degrees after she was investigated by parliament for her lies.

Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed Hlaudi Motsoeneng's leave to appeal 'SABC8' labour court case with costs; now Solidarity wants a warrant to have former SABC wrecking ball exec's assets seized.


South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed, with punitive costs, the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng's leave to appeal with the infamous former SABC wrecking ball that is now responsible in his personal capacity for having to pay all of the legal costs involved with the labour court case regarding the so-called "SABC8" journalists he wrongly fired and who the court ordered re-instated.

Solidarity brought the application in the labour court and in 2017 the court found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be held liable in his personal capacity for the legal costs associated with the court case.

"This is vindication that the SABC8 had been fired unlawfully and that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s actions were unlawful and wrongful," says Solidarity in a statement.

According to Solidarity chief executive, dr Dirk Hermann, Solidarity would now proceed to serve and implement the warrant of execution granted to Solidarity with a view to have Hlaudi Motsoeneng's assets seized.

"In view of the fact that our demand for costs has been vindicated we would now also be in a position to demand recovery for more costs," says Dirk Hermann.

"What Hlaudi Motsoeneng has to realise now is that he cannot wear us out by carrying on with litigation but that, in the end, he will have to own up for the damage caused to so many. In his efforts to evade justice he has painted himself into a corner but has now exhausted all means at his disposal," says Dirk Hermann.

Cartoon Network Africa giving Africa's animation creators the chance to pitch short-form comedy projects for pilot development through its new Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab.

Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network in Africa is giving Africa's animation creators the chance to pitch short-form comedy projects to its brand-new Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab for possible development.

African animators older than 18 have until the end of August 2018 to submit a creative short comedy project that is between one and three minutes long.

The project needs to fit in with Cartoon Network's values of random, irreverent, smart and contemporary humour, with editorial guidelines that available on www.CartoonNetworkAfrica/com.CreativeLab and must be aimed at 6 to 12 year old with the core audience being boys between 7 and 10, and be in English or non-dialogue.

The Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab is a first-ever Cartoon Network creative venture run in Africa, designed to bring innovative, local short-form content to the Cartoon Network's TV channel as well as its digital platforms.

Cartoon Network Africa says with the move it is taking a bold step in addressing the gap in locally relevant content which offers a viewing experience that resonates with its African audience.

The plan is to encourage Africa's creators, writers, graphic artists, animation students and anyone who loves kids' content to explore their creative, animation and production talents.

"As sponsors of the DISCOP 2016 Animation Pitching Programme, we were exposed to some really inspiring local animation projects," says Ariane Suveg, head of programming and acquisition at Turner Kids Africa.

"We were so impressed by the Cape Town-based Punch Monkey Studio's amazing creative energy in the winning entry, Cloud Life, that the project has been travelling through the Turner group and is now in a development process with the Turner Asia Pacific production team."

"This just reinforces our need to invest in local content and our commitment to further mentoring talent in the African animation industry," says Ariane Suveg.

The Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab will shortlist 10 projects in September from the entries received, and the local creators will get the opportunity to pitch their work to Cartoon Network Africa's content programming team.

The winner and 2 runners-up announced at the end of the year will be given the opportunity to get their project produced as a pilot with Cartoon Network Africa, that will then premiere on Cartoon Network Africa and its digital platforms in 2019.

"We are honoured to be supporting local African animation talent through the Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab," says Ariane Suveg. "We look forward to seeing the entries and hope to see the winners flourish in their career as content creators, following the footsteps of some of Cartoon Network's greatest talents."