Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hollywood Reporter blatantly ignores Africa; trash trade can't find one powerful woman on entire African continent to include on global TV list.

Yolisa Phahle, M-Net CEO for South Africa, and Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice's general manager for content, anchored a content showcase media event in September in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Talk about being totally oblivious and fitfully ignorant: The Hollywood Reporter just named the 25 Most Powerful Women in global TV - yet sadly the insular Hollywood trade publication couldn't find even one woman from Africa's massive TV industry serving hundreds of millions of viewers to include as it deliberately chose to completely ignore Africa.

The Hollywood Reporter is clearly completely clueless about Africa's massive and growing television business; doesn't know what is going on in television in Africa, doesn't know the players, the industry shapers and power players, and obviously doesn't seem to care.

In its hopelessly myopic view and distorted, uninformed and laughable list, The Hollywood Reporter froth up names like France's TF1 channel boss, or an Israeli TV current affairs presenter.

Nothing against these women selected from across the globe by the  goofy trade, but goodness - for a self-proclaimed "most powerful women in TV" list compiled on the premise of the women who "decide what the world watches" there's much, much bigger power players who are female, who are based in Africa, and who are holding sway not in one country but across vast regions and territories of the African continent.

Sadly the blissfully ignorant Hollywood Reporter doesn't know about any of them and couldn't include any of them. The Hollywood Reporter's limited, laughable list of 25 most powerful women in global TV is mind-boggling for how it will list small players from individual countries while it ignores African TV executives (who are women) and who decide what hundreds of millions of people watch across dozens of African countries.

Shame on you sad Hollywood Reporter for ignoring deserving, hard-working, powerful women at the apex of their TV game just because they're working and shaping the TV industry on a major continent you can't bother to cover.

Don't call a list "global" if you can't be bothered to be truly global in reach and make as if The Lion King continent doesn't exist. It's Atlantis that missing, not Africa.

Since the Americentric and out-of-touch The Hollywood Reporter can't be bothered, let Africa do its own heavy lifting and bring some clarity, insight and attention to just a few of the most powerful women in global TV, and some of the most powerful women in African television. 

Here's just some of the names TV with Thinus can think of without even doing any research or having to ask around - and who The Hollywood Reporter actually should have included:

Since 2006 she's held sway over what hundreds of millions of pay-TV subscribers to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service - the biggest pay-TV provider in Africa - sees, from channel acquisitions to programming generation.
With decades of TV experience in absolutely all facets of the TV biz and having worked at the South Africa public broadcaster where she was a respected, highly functional TV executive, there's probably no African TV executive - man or woman - more fully informed about the macro and micro intricacies of public and commercial TV and trending television that what she is.

She's not just changed Kenyan television forever - she's single-handedly rejuvenated the staid East-African TV and pay-TV business, and is creating, adding and bringing incredible content to millions of viewers across a large and growing number of East-African countries through the successful Zuku pay-TV service across Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Malawi.
After a decade at the SABC in South Africa, including programming boss for SABC, she assembled Zuku's channel bouquet, created the self-compiled channels' line-up and continues an aggressive (and successful) drive for original, vernacular TV content in the market.

Only one person has produced multiple ongoing format reality shows with great success for major broadcasters and international TV channels across Africa, from South Africa and Nigeria tot Angola, ranging from The X Factor for South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana to Got Talent.
She happens to be a woman.
With regional production offices across the entire continent, Cairo to Cape Town isn't just the name of a show produced for a pan-African channel like SuperSport seen across the continent, its indicative of this self-built production company's reach and presence over all of Africa.

While the bedlam and beleaguered South African public broadcaster has been beset with a myriad of problems - administrative, executive, financial and management - the SABC is still the biggest and most powerful public broadcaster on the entire African continent.
The head of its television division happens to be a woman.
With years of experience at the beriddled SABC, she's overall in charge and responsible the past two years for the herculean task of steering not just what millions of South African viewers see - but also neighbouring countries who leech the SABC TV channels on pirated TV signals and sell its popular soap programming in lucrative blackmarket trade on USBs and disks.

From Nigeria to South Africa, the continent's first pan-African black entertainment TV channel was started by a woman. A woman who also started the African continent's first syndicated pan-African TV talk show.  With extensive experience in the African TV biz, her TV talk show Moments with Mo has a growing loyal audience - just like the fast-growing TV channel she founded.

The most powerful person at a pay-TV broadcaster across Africa happens to be a woman.
Holding court over an immensely successful pay-TV broadcasting business claiming territory in Southern Africa, West Africa, East Africa and spanning a plethora of constantly growing and highly successful sport and general entertainment TV channels in multiple languages.
The influence and impact of M-Net's TV business on Africa - on hundreds of millions of viewers and the TV market? Incalculable.

One of the most successful TV executives in France and born in Morocco, she is responsible for the MasterChef version for this country. Soon Algeria will have its own version too. Guess who's responsible for transforming what television is being watched in Northwest Africa, one TV show at a time.

It's not just that if you're watching the 9th season of Big Brother Africa in any of tens of African countries which falls under her ambit that makes her powerful.
Its that this accomplished TV executive with years of experience - and who happens to be a woman - produced and directed a multitude of TV shows, helped to commission, ran and produced a massive portfolio of shows and held pivotal positions setting up and running channels ranging from Mzansi Magic to Koowee and kykNET.
As the head of creative development at one of the biggest production companies in Africa her influence in television is felt not just in South Africa but across the entire sub-Saharan African TV market.

Just in South Africa alone, as one African country, there's a bigger list of highly capable, extremely instrumental female TV executives than anywhere else on the African continent, leading the charge and shaping what television is produced and seen by millions of viewers.

Powerful women in television in South Africa whose reach extends well into big parts of Africa include:

Bronwyn-Keene-Young ( chief operating officer), Yolisa Phahle (CEO: M-Net South Africa), Harriet Gavshon (owner and managing director of Quizzical Pictures), Roberta Durrant (producer and director of Penguin Films and Paw Paw Films), Aisha Mohamed (SABC3 channel head), Basetsana Kumalo and Patience Stevens of Tswelopele Productions, Connie Ferguson (Ferguson Films), Karen Meiring (M-Net's director of Afrikaans channels), Debora Patta (CBS correspondent), Elsje Stark (producer, Star Films, owner of Stark Studios), Saira Essa (producer, Red Carpet Productions), Keshni Rajoo ('s head of local content) and Anne Davis (M-Net's head of local productions).