Tuesday, July 17, 2018

e.tv and the SABC silent over the drop-off danger and the threat of disappearing audiences in South Africa's digital terrestrial TV switch-over.

South Africa's two biggest free-to-air broadcasters - e.tv and the SABC - are both silent over the looming danger, and the horrific implications for their respective audience ratings, when millions of viewers nationwide could be disappearing in the country's switch-over to digital terrestrial television (DTT) as the government warns that it is nearing the point where it will start shutting down analogue signals for entire provinces.

With South Africa's stalled decade-long switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting - a process known as digital migration - moving forward with lurching imprecision, the department of communications last week announced that it plans to switch off all analogue TV signals to the entire Free State province.

Also of concern is that the minister of communications's new Broadcasting Digital Migration Advisory Council that have representatives from broadcasters and the TV industry, doesn't include any members who are directly representing the South African viewing public or civic organisations tat are representing public broadcasting interests.

Nomvula Mokonyane, the minister of communications, last week warned that in the "the countdown to the Free State Province switch-off by December 2018" that people in this province need to get their set-top box (STB) they need to continue watching the SABC and e.tv's free TV channels.

The South African government, after missing the international June 2015 deadline to complete the process, is now under pressure to try and make its next self-imposed deadline of June 2019 to switch off all analogue TV signals nationally.

Only people receiving social grants and those earning less than R3 200 per month qualify for a free, government subsidised STB.

Struggling South African families in the so-called "middle income group" - those earning more than R3 200 but less than R6 500 - as well as those earning more, are getting no government support and will have to buy a STB costing around R700 or a new integrated digital TV set.

Many of these TV households don't know that they qualify for a free STB, don't know that they need to buy one or about the DTT process, or can't afford to suddenly buy a STB even if they earn more than R3 200.

TV households who don't switch will be cut off and lose the existing free SABC, e.tv and community TV channels they've been watching when analogue signals get cut.

The looming problem comes in when the department of communications starts to cut off whole provinces, like its plan for the Free State come December 2018, when thousands of TV households either haven't switched to using a government-subsidised STB, or haven't bought one because they don't know about it or can't afford it.

That will not just lead to analogue TV households losing public access to existing free-to-air TV channels, but e.tv and the SABC as broadcasters losing swathes of viewers who will completely drop out of existence from the overall so-called "TV universe" - the sampling of South African households with a TV set making up the matrix used for compiling the country's national TV ratings.

The South African government is supposed to keep both analogue and its parallel DTT signals going - a process known as "dual illumination" - until the bulk of existing analogue TV households have migrated and it's safe to switch analogue off.

With its announced December 2018 shut-down deadline for the Free State, it appears that the department of communications will switch off analogue signals even if the bulk of Free State province TV households have not switched to DTT in just 4 months' time.

It's not clear how TV ratings services and the Broadcasting Research Council of South Africa (BRCSA) - overseeing radio and television audience measurement research and TV ratings for broadcasters, as well as the advertising and marketing industry - are going to handle the issue of the potential drop-off and disappearance of millions of viewers watching public TV channels when their access to analogue signals are taken away.

A week ago Vasili Vass, eMedia Investments group head of corporate affairs, was asked for comment as to whether it's a concern for e.tv, given that a sizeable chunk of TV audience watching e.tv are making use of analogue TV signals and might simply disappear if they have not switched to DTT.

e.tv was also asked for the broadcaster's view on how the switch from analogue to DTT might impact e.tv in terms of possible loss of its available audience because of the swith, but Vasili Vass didn't respond to the written media enquiry.

Last week the SABC was asked the same questions regarding the viewing audience of the public broadcaster watching SABC channels through its analogue signals, and the threat of audiences vanishing when analogue is switched off before viewers have switched over.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago likewise didn't respond to the written media enquiry.

William Bird, director at Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), told TVwithThinus that it's a problem that the public interest isn't represented on the minister of communications' Digital Broadcasting Advisory Council.

"This is indeed a real problem - it means that the public interest is likely to be marginalised in favour of what works for big industry. This is a real problem. We are working on it," he said.

Speaking about DTT and STBs William Bird said "the real question is whether DTT is already dead in the water".

"MMA's view is that its time has passed and we need to be looking to other methods, specifically satellite and broadband to ensure connection for all and to ensure that all people have access to free-to-air services."

"Satellite is already in more than 50% of all homes in South Africa. The costs for reaching all people with DTT are massively prohibitive and will also involve upgrading equipment that is already out of date as well as doing more work on the actual spectrum."

"We see form international experience that DTT will be gone from many countries in the not too distant future."

Meanwhile Marian Shinn, the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party's member of parliament looking after telecommunications, says the Broadcasting Digital Migration Advisory Council "seems to be aimed only at delivering the short-term goal of analogue broadcasting switch-off to the Free State by December 2018, as well as chalking up a pre-election 'achievement for the 2019 general election".

According to Marian Shinn, the minister of communications Nomvula Mokonyane, "ducked out of a joint meeting of the portfolio committees on communications and telecommunications and postal services scheduled for 5 June to discuss the status of the broadcasting digital migration programme".

"The committees' last had a progress report from the former minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, in September 2016".

"The DA once again repeats the callfor a 2-day public hearing in parliament to comprehensively review the entire broadcasting digital migration programme," she said.

"The hearings should look at the full cost of implementing the programme and how this will be funded, determine whether the corrupted government-sponsored STB-programme should be scrapped in favour of integrated digital TV sets [and] how the programme will be funded".

"We also need to know whether to upgrade signal distributor Sentech's terrestrialdigital transmission infrastructure, which has been largely unused since it was erected to meet the International Telecommunications Union's analogue switch-off deadline of 17 June 2015, or switch the entire digital broadcasting programme to satellite transmission."

"The switch-off of the analogue broadcasting signal is extremely urgent to free up desperately needed spectrum for mobile broadband use, but it would be foolish and probably wasteful to focus only on ways to now fast-track an outdated, corrupted, and inadequately-funded process," Mariann Shinn said.

Discovery Channel does Shark Week from Monday 23 July, including a DStv on-demand boxset and exploring what killed 5 Great Whites off the South African coast.

Discovery Channel (DStv 121) is set for its annual Shark Week in South Africa and across Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform from Monday 23 July until Sunday 29 July with new shark stories taking viewers into the mysterious world of these sea predators.

Discovery Networks' Shark Week follows exactly a week after National Geographic's SharkFest week of programming this week.

Discovery says its 2018 Shark Week will bring viewers access to some of the most exotic places in the world, including a team of renowned shark experts and scientists, as well as celebrities including Lindsey Vonn, Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary and Bear Grylls.

Discovery says it is working with nearly two dozen of the world's most respected marine biologists and science institutions to bring brand-new, groundbreaking shark research technology and compelling insight on some of the most unique shark species in the world.

"From using improved shark cam technology to investigate the private lives of bull, and hammerhead sharks to searching for gigantic sharks in Cuban waters that were previously closed to outsiders, Shark Week 2018 delivers brand-new innovative shark stories that will once again take viewers to places, cameras have never been before".

Alongside the linear programming on the Discovery Channel, DStv subscribers will also get access to Discovery's new video-on-demand (VOD) boxset, offering a curated selection of 30 Shark Week shows.

Here's Discovery Channel's Shark Week programming line-up:

Bear vs Shark Monday 23 July 19:00
Bear Grylls has survived the most extreme environments, from the frozen peaks of Everest to blazing sands of the Sahara Desert, but what will happen when he goes head to head with sharks when they have the home field advantage? It will be his greatest test of wits and skill as the ultimate survivor faces off with the ocean’s apex predator.

Shark Week's 30 Best Bites  Tuesday 24 July 19:00
A countdown of 30 great shark moments with celebrities like Craig Ferguson, Tracy Morgan, Andy Samberg and more.

Uncaged: Shark vs Ronda Rousey  Wednesday 25 July 19:00
The WWE star Ronda Rousey is trained by shark conservationist and shark attack survivor, Paul de Gelder, to face her fiercest opponent yet: the fastest, bitiest shark in the world, and the ultimate fighter of the sea, the Mako shark.
First, Rousey, in a cage, dives into the ring with several lightweight shark species in the waters off Fiji and then moves onto the main event in New Zealand where she will "free dive uncaged" with the heavyweight Mako shark.    

Shark Tank Meets Shark Week  Thursday 26 July 19:00
The stars of Shark Tank USA - Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary - are each paired with an oceanic organisation to uncover the issues they are facing like threats of habitat destruction and overfishing.
They then return to the Shark Tank studio and are joined by fellow Shark, Robert Herjavec to pitch to each other why their organisation deserves the big prize.   

Shark Cam Strikes Back  Friday 27 July 19:00
The show celebrates the remarkable discoveries the team have made in the last six years and takes a look at some of the disasters from napping great whites to SharkCam being attacked.

Air Jaws: The Hunted  Saturday 28 July 19:00
In 2017 five full grown Great White sharks washed up dead on beaches in South Africa. 
The necropsy revealed they were eaten alive. What is the only massive sea predator that has the ability to capture, kill and devour a group of Great White sharks? Orcas. Leading the case is shark biologist Alison Towner.
She teams up with conservationist Chris Fallows and filmmakers Jeff Kurr and Andy Casagrande to find out how these Great Whites are being wiped out and what can be done to save them.

Naked & Afraid of Sharks  Sunday 29 July 19:00
Stranded on a barren island in the middle of the most shark-infested waters on earth, five Naked & Afraid All-Stars must survive for 14 days on what the ocean provides.
Ky Furneaux, Ryan Holt, Chris Fischer, Steven Lee Hall and Eva Rupert are separately inserted by boat on an island in the Bahamas. They may be Naked & Afraid veterans but here they are in Shark territory.

A+E Studios' 10-episode Knightfall drama series coming to SABC3 from 26 July about the mysterious medieval world of the Knights Templar.

After it was scheduled and then abruptly yanked earlier this year, SABC3 has now rescheduled the drama series Knightfall for a new premiere date of Thursday 26 July at 21:30.

The 10-episode series from A+E Studios filmed in the Czech Republic and Croatia and broadcast last year on the History channel in America, revolves around the world of the Knights Templar and takes viewers inside the medieval politics and warfare of this secretive group - the mot powerful, wealthy and mysterious military order of the Middle Ages who were entrusted with protecting Christianity's most previous relics.

Knightfall begins after the fall of the city of Acre, the Templar's last stronghold in the Holy Land, where the Holy Grail is lost. Years later, a clue emerges suggesting the whereabouts of the Grail and sends the Templars, led by the noble, courageous and headstrong Templar Knight Landry (Tom Cullen) on a life-or-death mission to find the lost Cup of Christ.

From their battles in the Holy Land, to their clash with the King of France, to the dark events leading to the demise of the Templar Order on Friday the 13th, 1307 - a date which became synonymous with bad luck - the story of the Knights Templar has never been fully told.

Knightfall goes deep into the clandestine world of this legendary brotherhood of warrior monks to fond out who these knights were, how they lived, and what they died believing.

Sony Pictures Television starts production on new drama series, Reckoning, for its international Sony channels; doesn't want to say whether it will be seen in South Africa.

Sony Pictures Television has started production in Australia of a new 10-episode drama series, Reckoning, that Sony says it will broadcast worldwide on some of its Sony branded international channels.

Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN) was asked through its PR agency in South Africa last week whether Reckoning will also be shown on The Sony Channel (DStv 127) carried on MultiChoice's DStv and GOtv in South Africa and Africa, as well as on Cell C's black subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service on channel 203, but Sony didn't respond with any answer.

Sam Trammell (pictured) known for his role on True Blood that was seen on M-Net and Aden Young, are two of the actors who will appear in Reckoning that, although filmed in Sydney, Australia by production company Playmaker, is set in California in the United States.

Reckoning is described as a psychological thriller drama,written by David Hubbard, with David Eick as the showrunner.

Sony Pictures Television Networks in a statement that it didn't want to release in South Africa for Africa, said Reckoning will be wholly produced and post-produced in Australia and will premiere on some of SPTN's international channels.

Reckoning revolves are around two dads who are secretly both serial killers. Both try to suppress their urges, but then a local teenager is murdered and sets them on a course of mutual destruction in their seemingly quiet suburban community.

"Aden Young and Sam Trammell and the fantastic ensemble cast are crushing it in rehearsals. We're thrilled that production has started in beautiful Sydney," said Marie Jacobson, Sony Pictures Television Networks executive vice president for programming and production.

David Taylor and David Maher are the executive produce for Playmaker and said "We are excited to have Aden Young and Sam Trammell leading a talented ensemble cast to bring this riveting and suspenseful thriller to life".

SABC Sport exec Marcia Mahlalela abruptly resigns rather than face investigation as SABC COO Chris Maroleng is charged over Robert Marawa's R5.5 million contract to return to the Metro FM.

The former SABC Sport executive Marcia Mahlalela has abruptly resigned from the South African public broadcaster rather than face investigation, as Chris Maroleng, the new SABC chief operating officer (COO) has been charged over the SuperSport and SABC on-air talent Robert Marawa's R5.5 million contract to return to the Metro FM.

Sunday World first reported that Marcia Mahlalela resigned from the SABC and that Chris Maroleng is facing charges over their reappointment of Robert Marawa at a multi-million dollar salary at the SABC.

When Marcia Mahlalela were charged, she abruptly resigned from the South African public broadcaster with immediate effect.

Marcia Mahlalela was charged with allegedly demoted her junior for refusing to go along with writing a memorandum to motivate for Robert Marawa's reappointment, that she allegedly signed a contract with Robert Marawa without checking whether the SABC had money for the R5.5 million contract, and for allegedly neglecting her fiduciary duties over the exorbitant price of the 3-year deal.

Chris Maroleng has allegedly been charged with allegedly interfering with Robert Marawa's appointment and allegedly failing to declare his prior personal friendship with Robert Marawa.

SABC fires 2 more alleged 'Hlaudi Motsoeneng enforcers' with high-level managers Sully Motsweni and Mzu Ndlovu who are both gonners.

The SABC has fired 2 more high-level managers and alleged "Hlaudi Motsoeneng enforcers", with former SABC Sport boss Sully Motsweni facing charges of fraud and corruption, and human resources manager Mzu Ndlovu who got the boot and are gonners from the South African public broadcaster.

Sunday World first reported about the firing of Sully Motsweni and Mzu Ndlovu. The SABC says that "the SABC can confirm that Mzu Ndlovu and Sully Motsweni's employment contracts have been terminated".

Sully Motsweni, the former SABC Sport boss, is in the dock on charges of alleged corruption and allegedly looting the SABC by taking family like her mother, kids and friends on jetset luxury trips using the SABC credit card.

Both Sully Motsweni and Mzu Ndlovu were suspended months ago and were allegedly enforcers of the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng who unleashed chaos, financial destruction, and censorship inside the SABC during his management reign of terror.

eNCA TOO WHITE? eNCA unveils its new, yet dated-looking, stark white washed-out studio 102 as part of the eMedia Investment news channel's latest rebrand on DStv.

eMedia Investment's eNCA (DStv 403) on Monday unveiled its latest rebrand - the 3rd in the South African TV news channel's history - complete with a stark "white washed-out" look for its studio 102 inside its Hyde Park headquarters in Johannesburg.

Some viewers liked the new eNCA studio while other DStv subscribers voiced several complaints about the changed and somewhat dated look. Neither eNCA nor MultiChoice that carries eNCA released any publicity information about the studio to the media covering television.

Together with quietly getting rid of the Africa symbol in the eNCA logo, dumping timeslots like News Day and Moneyline in a new stratified schedule including a Jane Dutton talk show at 20:00, eNCA also got rid of the main anchor desk for a smaller round transparent glass table.

eNCA also unveiled too bright white walls with video screens, together with a white floor including an odd grey stripe, that makes eNCA anchors look washed out and over-exposed.

With too little contrast, too much brightness and off midtones, DStv subscribers not just complained about why eNCA's "rebrand" didn't co-incide with the channel switching to high definition (HD) but also that the white blur-effect are hurting their eyes and that eNCA is now too white.

eNCA's new on-air look on DStv  also has a big and very noticeable problem with proportion.

eNCA's on-screen talent and anchors look shorter and stockier than in real life and come across as bulkier and fatter than what they really.

They're condensed and "squashed" from top and bottom" looking like Teletubbie kids telly characters, that of course has a negative impact on perceived credibility given that it's a news channel and not CBeebies.

At midday on Monday eNCA anchor Jeremy Maggs also apologised to viewers for the technical sound problems that occured on the rebranding day.

DStv subscribers complained that the eNCA channel marker in the bottom left corner is too big and intrude on the viewing experience. It's also not clear how the bottom third main banner that is in turquoise fits into the new overall eNCA on-air colour scheme.

Later on Monday afternoon eNCA added a "countdown clock" on top of its bottom left banner.

This was not for news of importance like what towns in the Free State will have their electricity cut by Eskom for instance (like other Johannesburg-centric news outlets wider small-town South Africa doesn't really matter), but for when Jane Dutton will do an interview with president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Stylistically eNCA also decided to now show and include the various in-studio cameras during shots - with the movable cameras looking like a pack of daleks encroaching on prey. This isn't bad and somewhat breaks the 4th wall,giving viewers a little "behind-the-scenes" glimpse supposed to make the eNCA machine feel more transparent since viewers can no longer see the control room that was visible behind the anchor desk like before.

eNCA's stark white studio 102 makeover feels like a cheaper done rip-off of America's Today show studio in New York on NBC with less colour elements.

Monday, July 16, 2018

SABC to broadcast Barack Obama's lecture on 17 July on its SABC News and SABC2 channels as part of the 6th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.

The SABC will broadcast the former American president, Barack Obama's lecture on Tuesday 17 July as part of the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg.

Barack Obama's lecture is entitled "Renewing the Mandela Legacy and promoting active citizenship in a changing world".

So far there's been no programming advisory notification to media from enCA (DStv 405) and Afro Worldview (DStv 405) as to whether these South African channels would also be covering Barack Obama's lecture.

The SABC's SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC2 channels will broadcast Barack Obama's lecture live between 14:00 and 16:00 on Tuesday, followed by an on-air analysis of the speech.

Ten of the SABC radio stations will also be carrying the speech live from the Nelson Mandela Foundation and it will also be live streamed online through the SABC News service on YouTube. SABC News will have 2 live streams running simultaneously - one focusing on Barack Obama and the speech, and one giving a 360 degree view of the venue, with both starting at 14:00.

Drama series, UnReal, on Lifetime cancelled after 4 seasons, latest season likely to only make its debut on DStv in Africa in 2019.

The drama series UnReal shown on A+E Networks Africa's Lifetime (DStv 131) channel has been quietly cancelled after 4 seasons.

UnReal that followed the drama behind-the-scenes on the set of a fictional American dating reality show, Everlasting, had its 3rd season broadcast on Lifetime since April in South Africa and across Africa earlier this year.

So far there's no word about whether DStv subscribers will be seeing the 4th season of UnReal with A+E Networks that didn't announce the cancellation news.

Instead the shortened 4th season's 8 episodes of UnReal with Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer made their debut on Monday 16 July on America's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, Hulu - again with no word on whether it might show up later on Lifetime in the United States.

UnReal remains fully-owned by A+E Studios. The 4th season of UnReal - if shown on Lifetime Africa - will only be able to be shown during 2019 at the earliest.

"UnReal has captivated audiences on Hulu since season one, so when this opportunity came to us, we knew we couldn't miss out," said Craig Erwich, the senior vice president for content at Hulu in a statement on Monday.

"This is a unique way to both satisfy fans of the show, while also continuing to introduce it to new audiences."

Barry Jossen, A+E Studios executive vice president, says "We love season four of UnReal and its visionary creativity in bringing back many favourite characters for an all-star competition".

"When the opportunity to partner with Hulu arose, we immediately saw the huge benefit to UnReal's loyal fans, as well as a unique way of recruiting first-time viewers to this ground-breaking series."

"UnReal has been an incredible ride filled with awards, critical recognition, committed fans and, best of all, insightful cultural dialogue throughout its run. We expect season four to deliver another great round of cultural influence with its timely themes."

New season of the Xitonga talk show, Vusaseki, starting on SABC2 with new presenter Timiya Mhlari as the public broadcaster works at increasing its Tsonga language content.

A new season of the emotainment Xitonga TV talk show, Vusaseki will start on SABC2 on Tuesday 17 July at 20:30, this time with Timiya Mhlari as the new presenter as the South African public broadcaster works at increasing the Tsonga language content on the SABC.

The SABC says Vusaseki aim is to "guide viewers from the dark to the light" and that a new season has bee commissioned since it performed well previously.

The new season of Vusaseki will have a new title sequence with the SABC that says discussion topics will be appealing beyond the Tsonga spoken in the show.

"The return of Vusaseki highlights the seriousness that the SABC takes to meeting the language mandate in ensuring that every culture is taken care of," says the public broadcaster.

"Timiya is quite a seasoned broadcaster and her command of the language makes her a perfect fit for this show. One of our key pillars talks to identity and it is programmes like Vusaseki will assist in engaging the viewers on cultural issues in the modern South Africa," says SABC2.

Timiya Mhlari (36) hails from Elim, a small village in Makhado, in the Limpopo province and started her TV career in 2002 as a presenter on SABC2's educational programme, Take 5.

Timiya can converse in all 11 South African languages and speaks one Zimbabwean language.

Discovery's quick-do documentary, Operation Thai Cave Rescue, about the saving of the 12 Thai boys from a flooded cave now set for broadcast on Discovery Channel in South Africa and Africa on Wednesday 18 July.

Discovery quick-do commissioned TV documentary about the rescue of the 12 Thailand boys and their 25-year old soccer coach that gripped audiences worldwide in early-July will now be shown on Discovery (DStv 121) in South Africa, and across the rest of Africa as well, on Wednesday 18 July at 19:00.

Last week Discovery Networks International couldn't say when TVwithThinus asked, if Operation Thai Cave Rescue would also be shown in South Africa, but on Monday DNI confirmed that the hour long special, produced by ITN Productions in the United Kingdom, will be shown locally as well.

Operation Thai Cave Rescue will only be on the Discovery Channel on Wednesday evening, with no broadcast on Discovery Science (320) as well - the other TV channel in the Discovery set the documentary is being shown on in the United States.

Operation Thai Cave Rescue looks at how the boys entered the cave near the Myanmar border and became trapped, how they managed to survive without food or knowing how to swim, as well as the scientific and technical innovations that were used in their rescue. The last boys and their coach were rescued on 10 July after 18 days in the treacherous Thai cave system.

Operation Thai Rescue has Jon Bardin and Andrew O’Connell as executive producers for Discovery, and Ian Russell as executive producer for ITN Productions.

The documentary will include interviews with those involved in the rescue effort, including medical experts and cave diving instructors, explore the living conditions faced by the children who are between the ages of 11 and 16, and how the cave's unique geology - and being flooded - presented so many challenges.

The special looks at the extraordinary scientific and technological innovations used to complete the daring rescue while monsoon rains loomed and rescuers in the cave and above ground plotted their next move, while renowned cave diving instructors and the world's leading cave diving rescue experts paint a full picture of what the boys and their rescuers were experiencing and how the heroic divers pulled off an almost impossible feat.

Which one is better or cheaper: DStv or Netflix? That's actually the wrong question to ask. Here's the real question to ask for yourself when it comes to paying for television content.

With a new "blue state/ red state" graphic with incorrect and incomplete information that started circulating on social media late last week asking people whether DStv or Netflix is cheaper, it is once again fueling the debate over which service is cheaper and better when it comes to paying for pay-TV - although that's actually the wrong question.

On the face of it, it looks as if Netflix South Africa is cheaper than MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service run by Naspers - but the graphic doesn't tell the whole story.

Better or cheaper are in fact also not the right questions to ask. Consumers with expendable income to pay for a subscription TV service should ask what it is that you want to watch and are interested in, what is it that you (and/or your family) want to see, and whether the price for the content you get is something you are personally willing to pay for.

Let's do a more accurate, impartial comparison, since the graphic left out the data and internet costs required to watch Netflix and that came to R3 960 for a 2-year subscription. The DStv side coming to R23 016 in turn included irrelevant stuff for a like-for-like comparison, although you can't really compare the two.

Here at TVwithThinus we watch, track and report about content on MultiChoice's DStv and Netflix South Africa equally, will continue to, and can't bear imagining not having access to or watching content on both. Both MultiChoice and Netflix South Africa have stuff, some good stuff, and some must-see stuff that you want to watch if you're a TV fanatic.

Now let's compare.

It's correct to keep the SABC TV licence fee of R265 per year added in to the DStv cost which must be paid annually according law for anyone with a TV set. It is correct that a SABC TV licence is not required to watch Netflix on your computer or a mobile device.

Let's dump DStv BoxOffice rentals that's an additional pay-for-play service.

The R959 per month for DStv Premium, MultiChoice's most expensive package is correct, as is Netflix South Africa's $11.99 per month for its most expensive offering (which at an exchange rate of $1 = R13.21 on Monday 16 July 2018 comes to R158.34 per month - Netflix still doesn't price its packages in rand).

Netflix South Africa requires data to work. Let's use Telkom's 10MBps ADSL package for your home on a 2-year contract, since 10MBps is the recommended download speed according to Netflix to watch 4K streaming content.

Electricity is of course needed for but lets leave that out of the comparison. Let's also assume you already have a TV set, and already have a device to watch Netflix on. Let's also assume that you already have a DStv decoder, although we'll also include a price option if you have to buy one.

DStv Premium
2-year subscription fee: R23 016
2-year SABC TV Licence: R530
[DStv HD decoder, installed]: R499
Total (without a DStv decoder): R23 546
Total (with a DStv decoder): R24 045

2-year subscription fee: $287.76 =  R3 795.32
2-year 10MBps/ADSL: R19 368
Total: R23 163.32

The winner is clear on price - but keep more in mind
So Netflix is the winner because it's cheaper, and depending on if you're able to find a better data package from whatever service provider, it can even be cheaper.

DStv Premium subscribers get free access to Naspers' subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, but to use that you need data. The DStv Explora to record content also costs more and comes with an additional monthly charge, so neither of those were included in tabulating the cost.

Now, again, cheaper and better isn't actually the right question to ask or the (sole) comparison to do when you want to work out which one of these two are "better" for you. You need to start by asking what it is that you want from your viewing experience and what content you want to see.

Netflix is spending more than $8 billion on creating new content and by the end of this year will have around 700 original TV shows on its global video streaming service. Netflix has some great drama series, comedies, kids content, documentaries and films and are constantly adding more.

MultiChoice and M-Net however produce a large amount of local South Africa content for its M-Net, kykNET and Mzansi Magic channels that revolve around local stories that resonate with viewers. DStv also carried a number of linear TV news channels and SuperSport has a set of exclusive pay-TV licensing agreements for live sports coverage of major sporting tournaments. Netflix doesn't have any of these three things.

At the moment MultiChoice has more content than Netflix and from more diverse sources. This is both a plus and a minus depending on what you think you want. On the plus side you get access to a lot of localised and international linear TV channels like History, the Travel Channel, channels from the BBC and so on.

On the minus side, DStv subscribers who don't want ITV Choice, The Home Channel, Africa Magic, CBeebies or SuperSport's chanels are forced to pay for these bundled TV channels that they can't unselect, or just choose to pay for the channels they want.

What to do?
So what are you to do? Firstly, do your own research as a consumer and do your own homework. Whether you're an individual or a family looking for a viewing option, decide what is best for you and what works for your own personalised set-up.

Work out your own price point and research Netflix and DStv and see what content they offer and which one has more of the stuff you want and are willing to pay for.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

New 4-part Videovision Entertainment Nelson Mandela miniseries from Anant Singh, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, part of M-Net and MultiChoice's Madiba 100 pop-up channel on DStv.

A new 4-part miniseries, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, from VideoVision producer and filmmaker Anant Singh is forming part of M-Net and MultiChoice's Mandela 100 pop-up channel that will be running on DStv channel 199 from 18 to 22 July.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has been put together using left-over footage shot for the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 2013 British South African film that was filmed in South Africa with Idris Alba.

The Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom miniseries produced by Anant Singh stars Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Atandwa Kani, Jamie Bartlett and Deon Lotz and gives a more detailed, comprehensive and more nuanced perspective than the film.

"During the production, we shot an enormous amount of footage that was not used in the feature film and decided to create the mini-series," says Anant Singh.

"We are very pleased that this enables us to tell the complete Madiba story as it includes scenes of his childhood in the Transkei; being sent to live with the Tembu Regent, Jongintaba; his move to Johannesburg and experiencing the vibrance of Sophiatown and its destruction, and his internship with the Johannesburg law firm, Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman and many other watershed moments in his life."

"We are thrilled to share our vision of a 4-part miniseries of Madiba's journey with South African audiences as we celebrate his 100th birthday."

Besides the new 4-part miniseries, Anant Singh also produced a "Mandela documentary collection" that will also be broadcast on the Mandela 100 channel on DStv, and include Beyond Long Walk To FreedomCountdown To FreedomPrisoners Of HopeA Hero For AllViva Madiba as well as the film produced specifically to commemorate what would have been Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday, Celebrating Mandela One Hundred.

This special documentary collection covers the period shortly before South Africa's first democratic elections to Nelson Mandela's passing in December 2013. The various documentaries look at:

  • Countdown To Freedom: This documents the first free election in South Africa with exclusive access to Nelson Mandela as he took the final steps on his walk from prisoner to president. 
  • Prisoners Of Hope: This charts the reunion on Robben Island of 1 250 of its former political prisoners led by President Mandela. 
  • A Hero For All: This tracks the activities of Mandela from the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections and throughout his presidency.
  • Viva Madiba: This is the story of a rich life, a record of comradeship, and a new glimpse into historical and personal facets of this great man’s rise from an anonymous child to a world icon and celebrating the man who shaped the destiny of a nation. 
  • Beyond Long Walk To Freedom: This fascinating five-part series examines the history and issues behind Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom through the use of original interviews with Mandela and the people who knew him well. 
  • Celebrating Mandela One Hundred, traces Mandela’s life from his roots in the rural village of Mveso, to becoming one of the greatest statesmen the world has  seen. The film goes beyond the political and into the personal, and features exclusive interviews with family members, close friends, comrades, politicians and international celebrities.

"I am fortunate to have had unprecedented access to events with Madiba after his release from prison, and to record historic events for posterity through the production of these films which remind us of Madiba’s legacy and his selfless leadership. We are delighted to have partnered with DStv to broadcast them as part of the Mandela centenary celebrations," says Anant Singh.

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice CEO for general entertainment says "This is a very special 5-day pop-up channel to honour and celebrate the extraordinary life and legacy of the global icon Nelson Mandela; a man whose life-long commitment to justice and freedom shaped the world. We pride ourselves in only acquiring the very best content and couldn’t have asked for a better line-up".

Friday, July 13, 2018

M-Net says I do to new Marry Me Now reality series for 1Magic, starting from November.

M-Net has said I do to the new Marry Me Now reality series, with a local South African version in which wannabe brides ambush their partners and ask them to marry them on the spot, that will start on the 1Magic (DStv 103) channel in November.

M-Net continues its successful "marriage season" streak with programmes across its set of channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform like The Wedding Bashers and Our Perfect Wedding getting buzz and ratings.

Naspers' VIA (DStv 147) female-skewed lifestyle channel has been running an Afrikaans version of Marry Me Now, Kom Ons Trou, Nou! in which brides, tired of waiting, pre-plan their dream weddings and then surprise their partners with a proposal while wearing their wedding dresses. If he says no, it's over, but if he says yes, they get married on the spot.

The 13-episode Marry Me Now will be shown on 1Magic and acros ssub-Saharan Africa. Reneilwe Sema, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, says Marry Me Now "offers the fun viewing" that appeals to 1Magic viewers.

eNCA updates its on-air look with a rebuild studio and video wall, adjusted timeslots and a Jane Dutton talk show.

On Monday 16 July eNCA (DStv 403), that turned 10 years old last month, is redoing its on-air look with a rebuilt Hyde Park studio that includes touch screens and a big video wall, as well as reducing the number of its on-air blocks including folding the afternoon slot News Day into a bigger midday slot rebranded as eNCA Now, and a prime time talk show for Jane Dutton.

From Monday Morning News between 06:00 and 09:00 becomes Morning News Today anchored by Dan Moyane and Uveka Rangappa.

Morning News Today on weekdays will look at overnight news stories and provides an overview of the day that lies ahead. The timeslot will also take a look at the lighter side of life in the country with human interest and lifestyle features.

The Lead between 09:00 and 13:00, News Day between 13:00 and 14:00 and Afternoon News between 16:00 and 18:00 all fall away and are folded into the more generic eNCA Now block from 09:00 to 17:00 with rolling news coverage.

eNCA Now will be anchored by by Xoli Mngambi, Jeremy Maggs, Michelle Craig and Thulasizwe Simelane throughout the day. Devan Murugan will be doing business news coverage.

News Night that used to start at 18:00 will now start an hour earlier at 17:00 from Monday anchored by Vuyo Mvoko and Cathy Mohahlana and go until 20:00 instead of 21:00.

News Night will continue to cover the day's big news stories.

At 20:00 on eNCA there's the introduction of Tonight with Jane Dutton, a new weekday talk show that eNCA calls its "flagship daily talk show" that will feature interviews various guests and newsmakers.

Jane Dutton returns to South Africa and e.tv from Al Jazeera.

The half hour Moneyline on eNCA falls away to make space for the hour long News Hour at 22:00 on weekdays, anchored by Shahan Ramkissoon and Siki Mgabadeli.

News Hour will take a look at the day's top news and business stories and will feature business reports as well as in-depth coverage of the day's news events.

Late Edition follows at 23:00, that eNCA calls " comprehensive, relaxed and conversational review of the day's news and a first look at the next day's action".

Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA's managing director and editor-in-chief, says the redone studio where news anchors will be able to move around more and the big video wall will make eNCA's "news delivery more contemporary, more interactive and faster moving".

She says that eNCA will continue to do "quality news".

"Audiences today have far more choice in a fragmenting television environment. My promise to the eNCA community is that despite the changing nature of news consumption, we will continue to rely on what has made us successful:  quality news that reflects the complexity of South African society, always mindful that we are a voice for ordinary people and their daily struggles," says Mapi Mhlangu.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Netflix stuns as it passes HBO with the most Emmy nominations for the 70th Emmy Awards, although the winner remains M-Net.

Netflix stunned when it passed HBO grabbing the most and more Emmy nominations on Thursday during the announcement out of North Hollywood of this year's nominees for the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, although M-Net remained the winner as the African broadcaster having the rights to the bulk of the nominated shows.

Netflix snagged 112 nominations in total compared to HBO's 108.

With the latest season of HBO's Game of Thrones seen on M-Net (DStv 101) back in contention, HBO did at least manage to get the most nominations for a single show (22) - as well as also for the second-most nominated show, Westworld (21), also shown on M-Net.

It is the first time in 18 years that HBO hasn't received the most Emmy nominations - indicative of how Netflix is taking over in both volume and quality when it comes to creating and pushing TV content to viewers globally.

Netflix is spending billions of dollars on locking up top producers and on commissioning an ever-growing array of original programming.

The 70th Annual Primetime Emmys will be broadcast on Monday 17 September in the United States and will be shown on M-Net in South Africa and across the rest of Africa, from the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles with Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost and Michael Che as the hosts.

"This year's nominations continue to represent increased diversity and inclusion in front of the camera. There is a wealth of new and returning programs that reflect so many of today's critical issues," said Hayma Washington, the Television Academy chairperson and CEO in a statement.

As Netflix expanded its original content slate, it also dramatically started to up its number of Emmy nominees from 34 in 2015 to 54 in 2016 and 91 in 2017 when it came second to HBO. Now Netflix is in first place.

"We congratulate our creative partners on their unprecedented success today, garnering Netflix a leading 112 nominations," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer in a statement.

"We are particularly enthused to see the breadth of our programming celebrated with nominations spread across 40 new and returning titles which showcase our varied and expansive slate – comedies, dramas, movies, limited series, documentary, variety, animation and reality."

HBO in a statement said "HBO is very pleased with its 108 nominations, especially the wide range over so many categories. We're grateful to all our nominees for making this the eighth year we've had 100 nominations or more. We look forward to 17 September".

Jennifer Salke, Amazon Studios boss in a statement said "We are extremely proud that the Television Academy honoured so many of our talented actors, creators and craftspeople across a number of Amazon series. This includes a record breaking number – 14 – for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel making it the studio's most nominated series ever. It's truly a Marvelous day!"

M-Net still collecting the most
Counted by individual shows, in terms of South Africa and African viewers, M-Net still remains tops in first place, having the most nominated Emmy shows.

M-Net, together with MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV platform DStv still manage to capture the bulk of the Emmy nominated content for DStv subscribers over its collection of other channels that scored Emmy nominations for shows.

These include channels like The Sony Channel (The Amazing Race), BBC Earth (Planet Earth II), ITV Choice (The Tracey Ullman Show), National Geographic (Jane, Genius: Picasso), CNN International (Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown) and Comedy Central (Drunk History and The Daily Show) that have shows that got nominated.

Put another way: While Netflix has the most single nominations, the combined nominations from shows on M-Net and across the rest of the channels carried on MultiChoice's DStv, are still - for now - more than Netflix.

Also notable is that The Daily Show shown on Viacom International Media Networks Africa's Comedy Central channel in Africa scored its first Emmy nomination since South Africa's Trevor Noah took over, this time in the variety talk series category.

The following shows each got more than 10 Emmy nominations:

Game of Thrones (22) on M-Net
Saturday Night Live (21) on Comedy Central (DStv 122)
Westworld (21) on M-Net
The Handmaid's Tale (20) on M-Net
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (18) on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201)
Atlanta (16) on FOX
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Video
Barry (13) on M-Net
The Crown (13) on Netflix South Africa
Jesus Christ Superstar Live (13)
Godless (13) on Netflix South Africa
Stranger Things (12) on Netflix South Africa
Glow (10) on Netflix South Africa
RuPaul's Drag Race (10) on Vuzu (DStv 116)
The Voice (10) on M-Net

Here's the list of nominees:

Outstanding Drama Series
The Americans
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid's Tale
Stranger Things
This is Us

Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Lead Actor, Drama
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
Ed Harris, Westworld
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Lead Actress, Drama
Claire Foy, The Crown
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Lead Actor, Comedy
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Bill Hader, Barry
William H. Macy, Shameless

Lead Actress, Comedy
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Allison Janney, Mom
Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Supporting Actor, Drama
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid's Tale
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Matt Smith, The Crown

Supporting Actress, Drama
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Henry Winkler, Barry

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live
Betty Gilpin, Glow
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne

Outstanding Limited Series
The Alienist
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
Patrick Melrose

Outstanding Television Movie
Fahrenheit 451
The Tale
USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Lead Actor, Limited Series or Movie
Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live
Jesse Plemons, USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie
Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Laura Dern, The Tale
Michelle Dockery, Godless
Edie Falco, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Regina King, Seven Seconds
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult

Outstanding Reality Show Program
Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
Project Runway
Rupaul’s Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
At Home with Amy Sedaris
Drunk History
I Love You America with Sarah Silverman
Saturday Night Live
The Tracey Ullman Show

Outstanding Variety Talk Series
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Late Late Show with James Croden
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

M-Net schedules a Carte Blanche special for this Sunday at 6pm, revealing Madiba’s never-before-seen letters.

M-Net (DStv 101) has scheduled a Carte Blanche Special: Mandela's Letters as a once-off documentary special for this Sunday at 18:00 that will replace the second season of My Kitchen Rules SA for one week.

The Carte Blanche special at 18:00, that will be followed by the regular Sunday evening's Carte Blanche episode at 19:00, is one of the new programmes that form part of the MultiChoice, M-Net, Anant Singh and Carte Blanche TV and film content celebrating what would have been former president Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday on 18 July.

The Carte Blanche Special: Mandela’s Letters is a prelude to the DStv Mandela 100 Tribute pop-up channel that will be running on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the South African National Archives have been collecting and assembling letters Nelson Mandela wrote during his 27 years in prison.

Poignant, impassioned, gripping and inspirational, the letters – many of them never before revealed to the public – paint an intimate portrait of Madiba and provide insights into the ways in which he kept his spirits up during his incarceration.

"Carte Blanche, which is turning 30 this year, has reported on Madiba’s work and life in many exclusive inserts, and came closer to the man we got to know and love than most media outlets. Sunday’s programme continues this proud tradition," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

My Kitchen Rules SA will return to the 18:00 timeslot on M-Net on Sunday 22 July.

Sunday's normal Carte Blanche episode at 19:00 on M-Net will look at the government's plan for national health insurance of which the details are sketchy and whether it's a silver bullet or a black hole.

Carte Blanche is also again looking at the beleaguered South African Airways (SAA) as the struggling national airline continues with yet another cost-cutting exercise trying to claw back to profitability. The show looks at how international low-cost models could provide the answer.

The show will also have an insert on home hijacking at a residential complex in Gauteng's East Rand, as well as the future of self-driving and electric cars that are bound to make their way to South Africa as well and how the country's laws and infrastructure will have to catch up.

South Africa's National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) urgently looking for a new CEO.

The struggling National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is urgently looking for a new CEO after the abrupt departure of Zama Mkosi under a cloud at the end of May.

Shadrack Bokaba is temporarily standing in as acting CEO of the NFVF to provide "organisational stability".

The minister of arts and culture, Nathi Mthethwa ordered a forensic investigation into the NFVF months ago and the report and findings were delivered to the government in March 2018 already.

So far Nathi Mthethwa has refused to make the report into the findings of corruption and mismanagement public.

The past few years the NFVF has been embroiled in various allegations of money wasting and mismanagement of funds by senior executives, seriously damaging the credibility and reputation of the NFVF with the organisation that has seen its relationship with both the TV and film industry deteriorate, as well as with the media.

The allegations of mismanagement and money waste included not just overseas trips and expense accounts for foreign travel in luxury hotels with outrageous travel demands - money meant to fund film and television in South Africa - but also local splurging with trips to Sun City.

The bulk of NFVF staffers in an open letter complained about NFVF working conditions and made a litany of allegations of corruption within the NFVF and other irregular issues, implicating Zama Mkosi, as well as the NFVF's chief financial officer and NFVF council members.

The NFVF is now urgently looking for a new CEO, with the closing date for applications that's 16 July.

The new NFVF CEO will have to "develop and oversee the strategy of the NFVF" and will have to "direct, lead and manage the NFVF in its strategic growth and operations path"

People who want to apply must send their CV to vacancies@nfvf.co.za by no later than 16 July 2018.

Nat Geo WILD literally jumping the shark with jaws-dropping documentaries for its 6th SharkFest week starting 16 July.

Nat Geo WILD (Dstv 182 / StarSat 262 / Cell C black 221) is once again doing a SharkFest week for a 6th time in 2018, starting Monday 16 July with several jaws-dropping documentaries that will bring new insights about several shark species from the world's top shark researchers.

"What is better than one day of shark TV? A week of SharkFest," says Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo WILD.

"We are literally jumping the shark this year by serving a supersized feeding frenzy of jaw-some shar specials, and by taking the first bite, we're giving Nat Geo WILD viewers a week of the shark shows they love. Why wait, when we need to inspire everyone to save our sharks now, more than ever?"

Nat Geo WILD will show new shark behaviour captured on camera in 700 Sharks, show expert insights on why the world's most massive shark species congregate in one region called "shark central" off the coast of South Africa in Big Sharks Rule, do a breakdown of why sharks are the apex oceanic predator in Shark v. Tuna, as well as scientific analyses of shark attacks and why they occasionally mistake humans for prey in When Sharks Attack.

Nat Geo WILD's 6th SharkFest premieres include:

Shark v. Tuna  Monday 16 July 18:00
Witness a clash of oceanic titans in the remote crystal-blue battlefields of Ascension Island. Yellowfin tuna and mako and tiger sharks are all apex predators, but to these sharks, yellowfin tuna are the ultimate prize. The tuna are often faster, fitter and bigger than the sharks, reaching well over 113 kilograms. Any shark hunting these beasts needs brute strength and a little bit of luck to capture one. But when a third player enters the game, the scales tip. Who will win? 

When Sharks Attack: Anatomy of a Shark Attack (6 episodes)
Monday 16 July 19:00 / Tuesday 17 July 19:00 / Wednesday 18 July 19:00 / Thursday 19 July 18:00 & 19:00, Friday 20 July 18:00
Without a doubt, sharks are the most notorious and feared predators in the ocean. In recent years, the number of shark attacks around the world has risen, and understanding how these predators think and behave is more important than ever. Experts break down stories from shark attack survivors, and the science behind shark behaviours and attack methods, to reveal how to handle an attack.

700 Sharks  Tuesday 17 July 18:00
Imagine diving into the ocean only to discover that you are surrounded by one of the largest shark frenzies on the planet. Well, that is exactly what these researchers did in the name of science. In Polynesia, the largest school of sharks - about 700 - patrols the waters en masse. Follow an international team of scientists as they study these magnificent creatures at night, when they are most aggressive, to discover their mysterious hunting strategies and social behaviours. The result: incredible new behaviours never seen before, or caught on camera.

Big Sharks Rule  Wednesday 18 July 18:00
It is an ocean of giants. South Africa has a dramatic, rocky coast that is raked by churning currents. Warm, cold, rich and murky water collide to create "shark central", with enough food to sustain the biggest. Giant sharks like great whites, tiger sharks, bull sharks, ragged tooth sharks, and whale sharks all reign supreme in these waters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The #SaveShadowhunters campaign goes global as fans rally to try and get Netflix to pick up and continue to fantasy series for the worldwide audience.

The #SaveShadowhunters campaign has gone global as fans across the world are rallying to try and get Netflix to pick up and continue the fantasy series Shadowhunters for its worldwide audience.

The Disney-ABC Television Group's Freeform channel in June announced that it had cancelled Shadowhunters after 3 seasons after the production company Constantin Film lost its output deal with Netflix.

While Freeform had the rights to show Shadowhunters in the United States, episodes of Shadowhunters were shown globally in Netflix, like Netflix South Africa. After having lost its output deal, Constantin Film could no longer make the Shadowhunters production budget work.

Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, the former Smallville showrunners, are responsible for the series based on Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments books.

At the moment Shadowhunters is set to end in 2019 with an expanded 12 episode order including a 2-hour finale to properly wrap up the series - but fans worldwide are adamant that they don't want it to end and Netflix to take over and continue the show.

Globally fans have been behind the over 10 million #SaveShadowhunters tweets using the hashtag on social media, organised and paid for a plane with marketing banner to fly over Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles and even hired two billboard in New York's Times Square.

Shadowhunters fans have also been reaching out to Amazon Prime Video to possibly pick up and take over the fantasy series.

On Wednesday #SaveShadowhunters showed up in South Korea in the Seoul subway system for amonth-long campaign, very close to Netflix's local office in that city.

A change.org petition to #SaveShadowhunters has so far amassed over 143 000 signatures by Wednesday night and keeps growing.

Editor: "My guiltiest pleasure on all of television. I'm totally not the demo but I just love watching this show," is how I described Shadowhunters when all invited members from the press attended the first Netflix House South Africa event  in October 2017, and were asked by Netflix to name their favourite show they're watching on Netflix South Africa.