DStv CULLS DISCOVERY'S ANIMAL PLANET

Friday, February 14, 2014

e.tv's Traffic! filmed in Cape Town can't care to have any Cape Town TV critics or press at its press launch, not at its Cape Town viewing party.


Irony is a word e.tv's publicity department can look up in the dictionary as far as the new TV drama Traffic! on eKasi+ on OpenViewHD (OVHD) and e.tv is concerned.

Cape Town's TV critics, journalists and press - all people who write and whose work are read nationally but who are based in Cape Town - were none good enough to be invited to, attend, or to even just be told about the media and press launch for the Penguin Films produced TV drama.

None of them were good enough to be told about or invited to the viewing party on Wednesday evening either, held at Pepper Club in Cape Town with the Traffic! cast like Bonnie Mbuli.

It's not like there were nobody there who wrote about it. e.tv's own press corps were clearly good enough to be there to do stories.

The irony? Traffic! was filmed in Cape Town.

More irony? That e.tv feels it can have the TV channel's own press there but not bother with letting Cape Town's press know.

Even more irony? That e.tv, somewhat dubiously, then manufactures articles like saying that Traffic! gets "rave reviews" (based on what Traffic! cast members said they saw on twitter. Have you ever.)

Because you won't really see or find Traffic! reviews (and if you read further you won't need to wonder why).

Ironically, real independent reviews are what e.tv and Penguin Films would have gotten, if only there were actual communication and care regarding telling the Cape Town press and inviting them to your TV show launch and to your TV show viewing party.

And if you don't want to or can't invite them for a lack of money, at the very least communicate and tell them that it's taking place. To not tell and to not talk to TV critics about public events of your TV show is unbecoming of a national broadcaster such as e.tv. And sadly e.tv and SABC1 remain top of the list when it comes to TV channels who don't quite seem to know how.

Journalists and critics actually asked whether a first episode or screener of Traffic! is available. They were told no.

Is it really that difficult to make 15 disks as screeners and send them to press before a show is broadcast? Or if you can't do that as a TV channel or production company, why not at the very least invite the press when you do actually have a viewing party with the cast? Which is clearly not a closed event.

The badness of it all from a publicity, marketing and communications point of view is truly mind-bogglingly bad.

On Friday morning I spoke to more than a half dozen Cape Town based TV critics, journalists and editors who hold sway of literally pages and pages and myriad of column centimetres of TV pages in newspapers, magazines and online - all miffed once again at e.tv's total [fill in your own word here].

South African TV critics are often accused of writing more about overseas and American shows.

You know what? It's because that information is available. And when a local TV production comes along, the publicity and communication around it from production companies and TV channels are mostly laughably inadequate.

Wondering why you struggle to find more to read about your favourite local show? It's often not from a lack of trying really, really hard on the side of the poor TV critic or entertainment journalist.

e.tv's Traffic! can now go play in the traffic for all I care. Sadly I've already written about the show in certain magazines and newspapers where long lead times and deadlines require copy before the show started.

Now, gladly, just like e.tv couldn't bother, no longer will I (and several others writers).

There's more television and shows at any given time than what anyone editor, TV critic or good entertainment writer can get to.

Yet for whatever reason(s) e.tv and Traffic! dissed Cape Town's press, who didn't matter when it came to Traffic!'s media launch, or mattered to even be told there's a viewing party. Now my guess is they will do the same right back.

Instead of working, and working better, to get exposure for their show or shows, some people and places completely don't get it and don't know how to do it right. Then wonder why there's so little exposure - or negative publicity. It's mostly the making of their own non-doing.