Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Is the clever-cool Connect with Yusuf Omar on eNCA a brand-new (brilliant!) weekly current affairs show just waiting to be born?

A wonderful, brilliant and amazing thing happened on eNCA (DStv 403) this morning at 09:00 when what looks like a brand-new and great new show, Connect with eNCA reporter Yusuf Omar suddenly were broadcast on the South African 24-hour TV news channel.

There was no word from eNCA that Connect would be shown today, no information about it, and at the end of business today eNCA didn't respond with any answers to media enquiries asking for more information about it (although eNCA promised more information on Thursday).

Connect on eNCA with Yusuf Omar was shockingly (in a good sense) different.

It was refreshingly interesting and fun to watch whilst being informative and made for mesmerising and immersive viewing - from the social media commentary guests chosen to weight in and who appeared via Skype, to the screen-integration used, the "show's" novel camera angles employed, and the whole concept of the "show".

Connect, cleverly integrating the memes, themes, technology and style of news gathering and dissemanation used by millions of younger viewers today was only 9 and a half minutes long but was sparkling.

It was filled with facts, graphics and colours along with a cool use of the resources of TV news technology to create a type of an "online, real-time" community, one which was sharing insightful commentary and absorbing it at the same time.

The 4-way simultaneous Skype screen on Connect was cool and gimmicky, but not just gimmicky, and even if it was gimmicky, it was wonderful and new and showed what a South African TV news channel like eNCA is now actually really capable of doing if it tried.

While the weekly Maggs on Media on eNCA on Sundays with Jeremy Maggs is a round-up of media news with great and comprehensive coverage of the South African media, marketing and advertising landscape - a well-produced weekly programme of record, Connect came across as a perfect "little brother" for almost a younger target market, or a social-media savvy, news consumer market.

Cleverly and highly relevant, the "first" topic of Connect was the social media story of the Oscar Pistorius trial or news event.

The "show" within a show dissected the news subject from all sides and angles of the social media spectrum with Yusuf Omar making full use - and to great effect - of the wall screen, complete with preppy lime green tablet in front of him.

Connect on eNCA was cool television - like Al Jazeera's The Stream and Russia Today's Breaking the Set with Abby Martin, - something never yet seen on South African television but seen today and attempted (with success) for the first time on South African TV news.

It was an even better version of The Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel's now-defunct Social Media Analysis Show which was broadcast at 18:00 while the trial was running and which was anchored by Emma Sadleir. That show was the second most watched show on that DStv channel.

The 9 and a half minute Connect "show" done by Yusuf Omar is now on YouTube: