Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ratna Siriah appointed as the next new general manager of FOX International Channels for Africa; tasked with growing FOX's presence in Africa.

Ratna Siriah has been appointed as the new next general manager of FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa).

Ratna Siriah's appointment in Johannesburg where she will be looking after FIC's channels in Africa comes exactly a year after Hannelie Bekker was appointed as FIC Africa's managing director in November 2014, who then abruptly left after 5 months and with complete silence from FIC Africa about it.

Hannelie Bekker replaced the quiet Alessandro Tucci who was rarely seen in the local TV biz where FIC is trying to up its profile and brand recognition, and spoke even less.

With Ratna Siriah's appointment, FOX International Channels will again try to reset its process to solidify its African management presence and to get and build up its momentum and hands-on focus for its channel brands in South Africa and across the African continent.

In South Africa FIC runs channels like FOX and FOX Crime on MultiChoice's StarSat and On Digital Media and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat; National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild on DStv; and National Geographic Gold, FOX Sports, FOX Sports 2 and Baby TV on StarSat.

Out of the box there's two big issues Ratna Siriah should give urgent attention to, to make viewers of FOX channels content in South Africa less irritated with the brand, its channels and its shows.

With an ongoing litany of complaints about the often blacked-out and frozen FOX channels on StarSat like FOX and FOX Crime, as well as bad video and audio quality, Ratna Siriah's new job will also have to include serious discussions with On Digital Media and China's StarTimesMedia SA on how to end the ongoing brand damage being inflicted by StarSat on the perception its subscribers have of the FOX channels and its perceived quality.

Meanwhile the awkward and conspicuous absence also continues at MultiChoice, where exactly no content from FIC is available or being made available by MultiChoice on DStv Catch Up.

While MultiChoice and FIC are apparently no closer to a deal, its DStv subscribers who miss out by not being able to get some of the biggest pop culture hits like Empire and The Walking Dead broadcast on FOX, available as on demand viewing on DStv. The ongoing impasse is embarrassing to both DStv and to FOX and TV industry observers are wondering why there's no resolution.

Ratna Siriah joins FIC Africa from Zee World, where she has been the business head in Africa for the Indian-African television channel. She describes jumping from Zee to FIC Africa as "an amazing opportunity".

"FOX International Channels is a dynamic multi-media player and it operates the best brands in the industry. I am extremely excited about the opportunity," says Ratna Siriah.

Ratna Siriah will report to Adam Theiler, the executive vice president of FOX International Channels for the UK, Nordic, Turkey and Africa region.

"The appointment of Ratna Siriah reflects our ambition in Sub-Sahara Africa," says Adam Theiler.

"She brings vigorous commercial approach to the market and an impressive ability to understand the needs of our fans, affiliate partners and advertisers."

"Her pure energy and enthusiasm for product driven growth is in line with the culture of FIC. We have invested in the best of Hollywood on FOX, blue chip event television on National Geographic and heart-pounding live sport on FOX Sports, and we are thrilled to welcome a leader who can grow our portfolio and extend our reach across the continent," says Adam Theiler.