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Monday, August 23, 2010

INTERVIEW. Monde Twala, e.tv channel head: ''We believe Popstars will meet the viewers' expectations and those of the channel.''


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Monde Twala, e.tv channel head, believes that the red letter broadcaster's upcoming reality show Popstars (currently in production and busy with nationwide auditions) ''will meet viewers' expectations and those of the channel''. The new season of Popstars will debut on e.tv on Saturday, September 4 at 18:05.

I asked Monde Twala a few questions about e.tv'de decision to go with Popstars as a reality show and what influenced the decision, why e.tv decided to schedule Popstars at this time of the year, what the target audience is that e.tv wants to reach with Popstars, and how the local music biz ties into the show.

''Popstars is a huge but exciting project for e.tv,'' says Monde Twala adding that ''the local market is demanding a more dynamic approach'' when it comes to the production of local content for South African television. ''Our viewers are constantly looking for entertaining and quality local programming and Popstars will deliver exactly that.''

For the full interview with Monde Twala, click on READ MORE below.



Popstars is a big undertaking for e.tv in terms of scope, budget, as well as TV real estate with two weekly shows. Why did e.tv decide to do a big reality local reality show such as this and what were some of the decisions or factors influencing this decision?
Popstars is a huge but exciting project for e.tv. We've looked at reality formats that will work best for our market and Popstars out performs the rest. The series is more than just a talent search, it is unique in that it goes beyond a search for talent. Popstars finds talent, nurtures and supports the winners. Most importantly the winning group will get an opportunity to record an album and go through a rigorous grooming and schooling process.
The format will also further entrench our brand as a young, exciting and proudly South Africa channel. Our viewers are constantly looking for entertaining and quality local programming and Popstars will deliver exactly that.

There is a lot of other local reality shows on at the moment. Why the decision to broadcast Popstars now during the 4th quarter, what are the reasons for Popstars happening now?
Mainly because of the World Cup it made business sense to position Popstars in the last quarter of the year. e.tv does continuous research to test what South Africans want to see on television and there is a strong and growing demand for local content across the various platforms. Popstars will tell real South African stories in a way that no other reality TV show does. It's an exciting period to be working in broadcasting as the local market is demanding a more dynamic approach. e.tv is on the pulse of changing trends and that is a key ingredient in television today.

Popstars has had previous seasons in South Africa. Why did e.tv decide to do Popstars specifically, why not another kind of reality show but this one specifically?
Sustainability is what sets Popstars apart from other reality talent contest shows. It takes a genuine approach in that the format goes beyond a talent show. Popstars nurtures talent and ensures support for the overall winners.
An example of this is Jamali – the group is a household name with all the band members having gone through the Popstars academy which not only prepared them for stardom but also taught them about the music business. No other music format on South African television delivers at such high levels and produces music stars with staying power. Popstars is an internationally successful format and it is a pity that South Africans have been starved of such a spectacular journey. Fortunately e.tv realized the gap and took the opportunity further.

What is the target demographic that e.tv wants to reach or expand into with Popstars? What is the aim and expectations for Popstars
Our core target market is LSM 4 through to LSM 8, this is the middle class market, our Mr and Miss South Africa. Our viewers want entertainment television and we plan to be the entertainment destination of choice. We believe Popstars will meet the viewers' expectations and those of the channel. The format is youthful, credible and fun and so is the e.tv brand – it's going to be a great marriage.

In terms of music, how when the show is on and once the show has concluded or is near the end will the music be available? How does the music biz part of the TV show tie into the equation? Since the last time Popstars was on, the TV industry has changed a lot: what benefits and drawbacks does a show such as Popstars have now?
The winning contestants to make up the new group will release an album during the series. The last few episodes of the series will show the group producing the song and filming their first music video. In this way the show supports the group and shows the audience what it takes to produce a hit single in South Africa.
The music industry needs a show like Popstars - not only to educate aspiring musicians about the business but also to ensure cultural continuity from one generation to the next, encourage development of young talent and create opportunities for kids that may not necessarily be able to secure a demo or even have the resources to support a career in this business.
The industry changes day to day. Our job is to keep up with trends with a view on ensuring that South Africa truly benefits and continues to unearth talented artists and producers. Remember, at the core of entertainment is good storytelling and music is a relevant medium that can express and reflect the South African story.