Tuesday, December 1, 2020

M-Net West Africa and MultiChoice Nigerian bringing Nigerian Idol back for a 6th season in 2021 after a 5-year break.

by Thinus Ferreira

After a 5-year break M-Net West Africa has renewed Nigerian Idol for a 6th season in 2021.

The new season of Nigerian Idol comes as the 16th season of Idol in South Africa on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) produced by [SIC] Entertainment, is nearing an end in two weeks. 

While Idol will very likely be renewed for a 17th season in South Africa, the 6th season of Nigerian Idol will be broadcast on M-Net West Africa's Africa Magic channel in 2021.

Nigerian Idol online auditions are currently taking place in Nigeria with people between the ages of 16 and 30 who can enter and who must upload a video of themselves singing by the closing date of 13 December 2020.

John Ugbe, MultiChoice Nigeria CEO, says in a released statement that "Nigeria is at the heart of music excellence and we are excited to announce that Nigerian Idol is officially back, starting with the online auditions. For us at MultiChoice it has always been about talent development and giving our subscribers superior content that they can relate to and engage with."

"Idols is a show with a track record of producing the most popular music idols around the world and we are happy to bring season 6 of Nigerian Idol to your screens."

Monday, November 30, 2020

MultiChoice has removed the word 'Catch Up' from its DStv streaming service – this is where and how you now find previous episodes.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice has decided to remove its DStv Catch Up naming convention for recorded and already shown content but hasn't done away with actual "catch up" content - DStv subscribers are just no longer able to find it under a specific header category.

Earlier this month MultiChoice removed its well-known "Catch Up" menu from the interface of its DStv streaming service. It's the second naming convention change to its streaming service after MultiChoice removed the "Now" from its "DStv Now" streaming service.

DStv subscribers have been logged out and as they log in, many are wondering what happened to DStv Catch Up, whether their screen is just taking time to load and if they should wait a while, or if Catch Up has been taken away, or moved elsewhere.

MultiChoice that didn't communicate the change to subscribers has indeed "moved" and "removed"  DStv's Catch Up from its streaming app and online website but has not actually removed any of the actual content - Catch Up is only gone insofar as the name is concerned. 

Until now people who logged into DStv's streaming service could click on "Live TV" (still there) or "Catch Up", making a clear distinction for users between where to navigate to find a rolling love TV channel on the DStv bouquet or library content.

The content available as "catch up" - latest episodes of current shows already broadcast, binge-stacks and library catalogues - is still there, it's just no longer under a specific overall Catch Up header. Users should now directly click on "TV shows", "Movies", "Sport" or "Kids" to find specific programming. 

Whatever content there is to catch up with within these genres will be under these category headers.

While MultiChoice is doing away with its popular "Catch Up" naming convention, the blue "play" icon button and word "Catch Up" remains on the DStv remote control, including the remote control of the just-launched DStv Explora Ultra decoder.

MultiChoice was asked why it decided to do away with the Catch Up name and header in DStv streaming and didn't communicate this to consumers but didn't answer these questions. In response to why the change was made, MultiChoice said that "Over the last two weeks we began rolling out a navigation change that makes it easier for our streaming customers to find content to watch".

"The option to watch Catch Up remains the same, but titles are now grouped into user-friendly categories, namely TV shows, Movies, Sport and Kids."

"The change is already live on the web and will be rolled out to the apps across supported devices in the coming weeks. All the same titles that customers enjoy streaming under the Catch Up section remain on the service and can be found via the new categories," MultiChoice said.

Friday, November 27, 2020

MultiChoice and M-Net adds African telenovela channel Novela Magic to DStv for Southern Africa with mostly Nigerian telenovelas.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and M-Net will be adding a new telenovela TV channel on its DStv service from today, 27 November, with Novela Magic (DStv 165) that will start at 18:00.

Novela Magic that will roll out in a phased approach and that will be broadcast in standard definition (SD) only, will start in South Africa and the rest of the Southern African region from today and will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers.

Novela Magic will daily but end at 21:30 and is described as an "African-focused telenovela channel" that will collect and showcase African telenovelas from across the continent. 

Series created in the language of the country of origin will be dubbed into English. 

Novela Magic will launch with 4 telenovelas: Unbroken, Zuba, Forbidden, and Battleground. Novela Magic will initially have predominantly Nigerian-produced content from West Africa with some content produced in Southern Africa.

"For over 30 years M-Net has been bringing to audiences across the African continent compelling stories that harness the imagination of our viewers while also showcasing the vast talent that is harboured on the continent," says Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net CEO.

"We want to continue this legacy of showcasing the best African stories with themes that resonate and engage our viewers, hence the launch of this new Novela Magic channel."

Unbroken from Nigeria tells a love story between Tivdo and Jesse who are madly in love. Tivdo plans to marry Jesse until tragedy strikes, leaving him disabled after a car accident where his beloved fiancĂ©e, Jesse, was on the wheel.
In Zuba, Zambia's first telenovela, an innocent, rural teenage girl must leave her family and education behind to do a maid’s job with a complex, wealthy urban family where she falls for the young son of the house.

M-Net says that although the telenovelas on Novela Magic would have been broadcast and seen on other TV channels before it is now collecting African telenovelas on this thematic channel.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

South Africa's government wants to force video streaming services like Netflix into a 30% local content quota: Here's why it's a bad plan and will end up hurting consumers.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's government is floating a controversial new plan to force local and international video streaming services like Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video and others in future, to carry at least 30% local content in the country - although a big problem is that the plan isn't practically feasible.

Forcing streamers to have a third of their content be local South African series and films will likely end up hurting consumers by taking away choice if these streamers, in order to comply, instead decide to downsize instead of upsize their overall ringfenced offering for South Africa to comply as they chase a percentage.

South Africa's department of communications and digital technologies not only wants to impose content quotas on streaming services. 

As part of its plan, it now also wants to change the existing legislation to force MultiChoice (DStv), StarTimes (StarSat) as well as subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix SA, Showmax, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video and others to collect SABC TV Licence fees that will be added into consumers' the bills from these private companies because the SABC isn't able to do proper licence fee collection.

About the plan to force a 30% local content catalogue quota on streamers, Collin Mashile, chief director of broadcasting policy at the department of communications and digital technologies, said "These video-on-demand subscription services, when they come and operate in South Africa, everything that they show to South Africans in terms of their catalogue, 30% of that catalogue must include South African content".

The draft legislation also proposes the creation of a government "team" that would be able to blacklist and block subscribers' payments from South African banks to international streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video if streamers don't comply with regulations. 

Forcing video streaming services to make their offering 30% local will however have unintended consequences for the South African consumer that only becomes clear when you know how these streamers operate and how they make money.

The problems with local content quotas for video streaming services are threefold:

1. Catalogue downsizing instead of upsizing bad for consumers
Firstly, it's extremely likely that video streamers won't "upsize" their content catalogues to add local South African content to make a 30% local target - they will downsize to manage margins.

South Africa doesn't produce enough and doesn't have enough local content for a streaming service like Netflix to add even if it wanted to. For every two new shows Netflix adds, it will have to find one local series from South Africa to add. 

That is beside the large back-catalogue of local South African content that a streamer like Netflix would have to suddenly find and acquire even if this volume of content were to be available. 

A streamer like Netflix alone adds more new (international) content per month in terms of scripted series than what a local South African broadcaster like the SABC produces in the same time and often at a lower quality.

If Netflix, Showmax or Amazon Prime Video is forced to carry 30% local South African content, they will maybe add some more local content to a degree, but what they will definitely do to make the formula work is not add local content in as much as rather downsize the size of their overall content.

The overall Netflix South Africa content catalogue is already smaller than other countries, like the United States for instance, because of licensing rights and existing licensing restrictions for the territory. 

If Netflix SA for example had 1000 titles and must carry 30% local content, it's not going to switch out and add or make 333 titles be local. It will much more likely reduce the overall 1000 availability to 300 so that it now only needs 100 local shows to make the percentage. 

That means less choice for the consumer.

International streamers like Netflix don't buy or commission content for a specific territory but makes content in a specific country meant for its entire global service. It would be weird to force a Netflix to buy content just for South Africa - and the truth is that Netflix won't. It will just restrict what it offers in South Africa further and that is not good for consumers.

2. Paying to carry dead video content weight around
Secondly, private companies like Netflix, Showmax and Amazon Prime Video are in the video content business with the aim of being profitable and making money.

Commissioning expensive-to-produce local South African content costs money, as does acquiring the content licensing rights of local library content. 

Video streaming services all use consumer data and constantly analyse algorithm data to see what content resonates and what shows and films are being watched. Content that doesn't attract and keep viewers are culled and removed, or cancelled. 

Similar to how YouTube algorithms carefully watch you while you watch a video and promotes videos depending on how much of a video was watched, neither MultiChoice, Netflix nor Amazon are interested in, or would ever spend hundreds of millions of rand to just acquire hours of boring and unappealing local content that are not watched just because it's "local".

Private video companies that are not in the charity business want to gain, keep and make money from users through monetising their time and attention.  

In this entertainment monetisation, the consumer engagement experience is key.  

These companies are not going to dilute their catalogue or experience with local South African content that their users are not interested in, or that makes the content discovery process for the consumer more difficult as users are forced to wade through more local content that they don't want to see in the first place but that costs a lot of money to carry. 

3. Not enough local content to share
Thirdly, it isn't as simple as just adding local content. Library content actually has to be acquired, or more specifically the licensing rights to carry and show it for a period of time must be obtained.

This can be non-exclusive, or exclusive, and services usually pay a bit more for exclusivity. Why would you pay to offer Game of Thrones and take that hit of acquiring a title in your operating expenses budget if your potential customer could just as well decide to access your competitor because Game of Thrones is there as well?

Netflix SA just acquired and added the South African drama series Hard Copy from Quizzical Pictures. It makes no sense for Netflix to pay to get Hard Copy for a period of time only to have Hard Copy also available on Showmax at the same time. It's a waste of money.

Now imagine each of these streaming services, trying to find enough shows for each of them to get to a 30% quota. 

There are not enough available. And Showmax or Amazon Prime Video isn't going to add Hard Copy just after the licence expired on Netflix because the potential return on the expense is going to be even lower after that window's exposure for a specific title.

Time running out for South African video consumers to say if they want DStv and Netflix to add and collect SABC TV Licence fees with their payments.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africans have until Monday, 30 November at 16:00 to give their opinion on whether they want the country's laws changed to force pay-TV services like MultiChoice (DStv) and StarTimes (StarSat), as well as streaming services like Netflix SA, Showmax and others to tack on a SABC TV Licence fee on behalf of the struggling South African public broadcaster.

South Africa's department of communications and digital technologies wants to change the existing legislation to force pay-TV operators as well as local and international video streaming services like Netflix to collect SABC TV Licence fees from consumers on behalf of the SABC even though they are private companies and services.

South African consumers will have to pay this SABC TV Licence fee even if they watch Netflix through a smartphone, Showmax on a tablet or stream DStv on a laptop and are not watching any SABC content.

The financially struggling South African public broadcaster that once again suspended its retrenchment process due to political and trade union pressure made a net loss of R511 million for its 2019/2020 financial year and is on track to make a loss in excess of R1.2 billion in the next financial year.

Less than a third of South African TV households that the SABC is aware of as having a SABC TV Licence still bothers to pay it.

The proposal to shift the burden of collecting SABC TV Licence fees on behalf of the SABC is contained in the Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio-visual Content Services Policy Framework: A New Vision for South Africa 2020.

Comments can be emailed to aacs@dtps.gov.za or submitted in writing to: The Acting- Director-General, Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Block A3, IParioll Office Park, 1166 Park Street, Hatfield, Pretoria, Private Bag X860, Pretoria, 0001.

Phumzile Van Damme, a member of parliament of the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party, in a statement says that the DA is "unequivocally opposed to any efforts that would require any additional payment of TV licence fees. The public has already had to suffer the consequences of the billions in bailouts the SABC has received".

"Given the emergence of streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV+, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video and others, the White Paper broadens the definition of a “broadcasting service” to include online broadcasting services."

"By implication, that would require the payment of a license fee for the viewing any “broadcasting services” which would include streaming services, regardless of the device on which it is viewed."

Phumzile Van Damme says that the South African public should not have to "pay a cent more" to keep the SABC afloat.

"The SABC must find creative ways to self-sustain, and break-even without requiring the public to fork out any more money."

"The DA notes that the SABC has promised to take cognizance of public outcry about the proposed license fee and will make its own submission to the department regarding the proposal."

Coronavirus: Second season of South Africa's Queen Sono drama series canned over Covid-19; cancellation of Netflix's first African Original series happened because it 'couldn't be executed in these current trying times,' says Diprente director Kagiso Lediga.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African produced Queen Sono has become the Netflix series to be abruptly cancelled after renewal because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, with Netflix telling TVwithThinus that it is no longer moving forward with Netflix's first Netflix African Original series it ever commissioned that was already renewed for a second season earlier in 2020.

Netflix already cancelled shows like GLOW, The Society, I am Not Okay with This that were renewed and supposed to have further seasons because of the financial and logistical production implications of Covid-19.

Queen Sono, produced by Diprente and headlined by Pearl Thusi, was renewed earlier this year but has now also been axed.

Netflix mentioned nothing to the media about Queen Sono's cancellation during last week's first-ever Netflix South Africa Content Showcase 2020 event with Dorothy Ghettuba, head of Netflix's African Originals and Ben Amadasun, director of licensing and co-productions in Africa.

In response to a media enquiry, Netflix says "We’ve made the difficult decision not to move forward with season 2 of Queen Sono".

"We are incredibly proud of the Diprente team for sharing their audacious vision and bringing it to life with Netflix."

"A huge thank you to our fans across the world for the love shared for our first African Original series. Netflix is also grateful to the amazing efforts shown by the cast and crew for their stellar efforts in creating this show for our members around the world."

 We’ll continue to work closely with South Africa’s creative industry to keep producing more compelling 'made-in-South Africa' stories."

Kagiso Lediga, Diprente director, says that "We wrote a beautiful story that spanned the continent but unfortunately could not be executed in these current trying times".

In response to the Queen Sono cancellation, Pearl Thusi says "It’s so incredible that we as a team got a lifetime opportunity to make history together as there will never be another ‘first’ African Netflix Original Series. I’m proud of the work we did, but everything happens for a reason. I am excited about what the future holds."

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Newzroom Afrika switches to using SuperSport's studio facilities at M-Net in Randburg, doesn't respond to media enquiries whether set change is Covid-19 or set reconstruction related.

by Thinus Ferreira

Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405) this week suddenly switched from its own studio set facilities to making use of SuperSport's studio and existing set at M-Net in Randburg, with the TV news channel that has refused to respond to media enquiries on whether the change is Covid-19 or new set construction related.

On Monday Newzroom Afrika started to originate from the "old" SuperSport set at M-Net's Randburg complex in Johannesburg - that has also been used by Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101) - instead of Newzroom Afrika's usual main studio complex on the corner of 4th Avenue and 7th Street in Linden.

Viewers and the media noticed immediately but Newzroom Afrika has so far refused to respond to media enquiries.

TVwithThinus asked Zamahlasela Gabela, Newzroom Afrika's marketing and publicity boss, and Faith Moliea (who is currently on leave) in multiple media enquiries since Monday about the Newzroom Afrika SuperSport studio change, and on Tuesday also called.

Newzroom Afrika was asked whether the studio change to SuperSport is because of Covid-19 contamination at the Newzroom Afrika building in Johannesburg, or whether it's because the existing set design is being upgraded or redesigned or in the process of being replaced through new construction - the two most likely explanations.

By Wednesday afternoon Newzroom Afrika hasn't bothered to respond to any of the queries.

Earlier this year Newzroom Afrika operations started to be directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, similar to other TV news outlets, with the TV news channel that saw staffers testing positive for Covid-19 in both Cape Town and Johannesburg and the Linden newsroom cordoning off sections, creating one-way corridors and ending things like desk swapping.

ENTER THE BATCAVE. National Geographic's Virus Hunters special documentary travels the world during Covid-19 to look at bats - and what humanity can and should learn from this global pandemic.

by Thinus Ferreira

"There was a moment in the Turkish batcave where I got slightly flustered and touched my eye with my finger. After there was so much talk of 'don't touch your face', there I was, not in a supermarket - I'm literally in a batcave - and I touched my eye. I was slightly worried about that."

So says the ABC News foreign correspondent James Longman who was part of a Zoom roundtable presentation that National Geographic held for South African media for the Virus Hunters TV documentary special that will be broadcast on National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) on Wednesday 25 November at 21:00.

Before the roundtable presentation, National Geographic also provided media with a digital screener of the documentary to watch and preview. 

In the Virus Hunters documentary, James Longman, together with the National Geographic fellow, epidemiologist and ecologist Christopher Golden, travel across the world to talk to "virus hunter" scientists to get their thoughts on virus pandemics and Covid-19.

They look at how scientists across the globe track, test and analyse animals - from bats to pigs - to try and give humanity and the world a fighting chance against diseases like the coronavirus.

Although Virus Hunters on National Geographic is a hard-hitting, often-gritty, investigative hour of documentary television, it is quite beautifully made with several cinematic flourishes right through until the very end when the credits roll.

"The main thing is to do work where you can give people some answers and talk to real specialists. So often in my work, it's a minute, or 2 minutes or 3 minutes on the evening news. Actually now with Virus Hunters it's a full hour of telling people the science and what they can do to empower themselves," says James Longman.

'It isn't just some exotic issue that happens in the far reaches of our world. These are issues that can happen at home.'

"The thing I found most fascinating - all of it was really interesting to me - is that Virus Hunters is a way of giving people a way of better understanding and contextualising why these things happen and explaining to viewers that it isn't just some exotic issue that happens in the far reaches of our world, but these are issues that can happen at home," says James Longman.

"We spend a lot of time I think in the media 'othering' other parts of the world - Africa is obviously the continent that experiences that the most - and to tell the audience that, yes, the next pandemic could come out of a Liberian batcave, but equally it could come out of a farm in the midwest of the United States."

"Hopefully the end result of something like Virus Hunters is that we understand that we all face an equal amount of risk and that it's incumbent on everyone to change their behaviours when it comes to the natural world."

Media could only pose possible questions through typing it in a Zoom chatbox. TVwithThinus asked what some of the challenges were in filming and making Virus Hunters, and travelling internationally during this year's Covid-19 global pandemic.

"A lot of countries are in total lockdown so you have to first get permission to go there in the first place. Luckily when you work with National Geographic, it's such a name that it offers so much access. It's extraordinary the amount of admiration there is for the brand."

'People will be slightly sceptical looking at cameras, and then they hear it's National Geographic and their faces change. They love it.'

"I've never really experienced that. I used to work for the BBC and it had a little bit of that but there's something special about National Geographic. You could be in a Liberian rainforest or on a farm in Iowa and people will be slightly sceptical looking at cameras, and then they hear it's National Geographic and their faces change. They love it. So I suppose that made our lives a little easier."

"The crew - Chris and I and our cameraman and producer, we were in a 'bubble', so we were not worried about each other's infection risk but we were constantly getting tested. We had to get tested when we arrived in Turkey and left Turkey."

"Actually in Liberia, the mandate is that you have to be tested before arriving, and you're tested before you leave - and the threat of possible Liberian quarantine isn't really something that any of us anticipated when we were there."

"We were a little bit worried that we'd end up testing positive and having to live in some kind of military prison. We heard that that's where the Liberians were keeping people. Can you imagine 14 days in some cell with a sponge and a bowl to wash yourself? No thanks. So we were very careful when we saw how strict the Liberian authorities were," says James Longman.

"Why something like National Geographic is so important and why Virus Hunters is so important is because it actually speaks to people who know what they're talking about  - get away from the politics and just talk to the scientists."

"So much of the debate around Covid-19 has become much, much too politicised and that's why a show like Virus Hunters is so important. Just present people with the science and that's what National Geographic does best."

During the Zoom media presentation TVwithThinus typed a number of questions specifically about the making of this TV documentary to find out more about the behind-the-scenes production of Virus Hunters; none of these were asked or answered.

A WORLD GONE VIRAL. National Geographic's really remarkable November 2020 special single-issue Covid-19 edition and how it ties in with the month's Virus Hunters TV documentary.

by Thinus Ferreira

The yellow doorframe brand that's a portal to the world and the rest of the universe has a wonderful tie-in this month between the National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) TV channel and its monthly National Geographic magazine.

On National Geographic its Virus Hunters special documentary will be broadcast today, 25 November at 21:00, and then there is the November 2020 single-topic edition, headlined "A World Gone Viral: How the pandemic is changing our lives".

The wonderfully insightful and well-researched, well-travelled (despite Covid-19) Virus Hunters look at the Covid-19 pandemic through the lens of other viruses, how they spread and what it means for mankind and nature within the context of today's world.

Virus Hunters is a bit gross (and enters a real bat cave in Africa) so be aware squeamish viewers. 

This well-researched documentary TV special is however very informative, has some quite cinematic and beautiful scenes and will educate and widen your perspective on viruses, Covid-19 and the global pandemic.

Virus Hunters tracks some of the experts currently searching to identify the chain of events that could cause the next global pandemic.

The National Geographic fellow, epidemiologist and ecologist Christopher Golden is on a mission to connect the dots on culture, disease and the environment to discover the patterns that cause global health crises. 

In Virus Hunters the ABC News foreign correspondent James Longman together with Christopher Golden travel across Africa to Europe and then the United States (during Covid-19!) to meet some of these scientists on a quest to understand and stop the Covid-19 outbreak and to try and prevent the next deadly pandemic.

Virus Hunters beautifully ties in with the National Geographic November 2020 special issue print edition and online at natgeo.com/coronavirus.

The November 2020 issue has over 140 pages packed with carefully collected, beautiful, sometimes harrowing, often moving, essays and reports from across the world that adds to your knowledge of the world, changs your perception about things, and changes you.

Articles within this November 2020 issue range from the coronavirus explained, to how it has changed our lives, to how the first 100 days played out, the devastating year that 2020 has turned out to be, and a look at what the impact of the pandemic could be on planet Earth.

Can we trust the science about the pandemic that emptied streets and filled graveyards? How have the poor been affected, and young people between 18 to 25? From Kenya to Indonesia, and from Belgium to the United States and even Jordan, the November issues covers it all.

I really can just fully recommend this National Geographic November 2020 issue as an incredible read, and thanks a lot to National Geographic for sending me this magazine. 

One day we'll look at this stunning, fateful year in human history, and the test that it presented to humanity. 

This specific National Geographic magazine is one of those treasure chest keepsake media that you'll always be able to go back to for how it captured the science, reflected the mood, and referenced and presented our understanding of the world at the time. 2020.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

BREAKING. Bowing under trade union and political pressure the cash-strapped SABC once again suspends its retrenchment plan until 2021, says it will further review its proposed restructuring.

by Thinus Ferreira

After an acrimonious week of in-fighting between top management, the SABC board and trade unions - sprinkled with political parties adding their populist voices to say they're against any job losses as well - the beleaguered South African public broadcaster on Tuesday announced that it had caved before trade union and political pressure and is once again suspending its retrenchment process until 2021.

The SABC stressed that the retrenchment process has however not been terminated - just suspended.

The SABC roughly requires R270 million per month just to pay salaries with the wage bill that is by far the biggest single expense at the crumbling broadcaster. 

After retrenchment letters were issued, angry and upset SABC workers have been protesting about the overstaffed SABC's retrenchment plan in which 400 workers could likely lose their jobs. 

Some political parties like the ANC and EFF have joined trade unions and protesting SABC workers in public protest action.

The SABC board have said in 2019 and again this year that if the ANC-led government doesn't want job cuts it will need to commit to give the SABC an additional R1 billion per year. The SABC that just made a net loss of R511 is on track to make another loss of at least R1.2 billion next year.

Meanwhile, staff say that SABC top management executives took a lazy, uninformed and unworkable cookie-cutter approach in deciding on cuts within the proposed new SABC structure.

On Tuesday the SABC in a statement announced that the "SABC board has extended the suspension of the section 189 process, to the end of December 2020, to enable additional consultations. This decision followed further engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders". 

The SABC said that "During this period, the SABC management and its employees will jointly work with all participating parties, to further review the proposed structures with the intent to ensure that they are optimal and enabling to achieve the public mandate of the SABC."

"The SABC and the participating parties will utilise this time for further mediated sessions with an independent labour expert to explore alternative options to minimising the impact of retrenchments.  The issued redundancy letters will also be extended by the same period."