Thursday, April 30, 2020

Coronavirus: Over 152 000 DStv subscribers in South Africa sign a petition in a week asking for similar help as MultiChoice extends free bouquet upgrades in Nigeria and Botswana to Ghana and Zimbabwe as well.


by Thinus Ferreira

A petition started by upset DStv subscribers in South Africa has grown to over 152 000 signatures in 7 days since it was started last week, with South Africans asking for lower monthly fees and payment compassion similar to what's happening in other countries where MultiChoice continues to give massive discounts and free bouquet upgrades and has now provided relief for subscribers in Ghana and Zimbabwe as well after giving reprieve to its pay-TV customers in Nigeria and Botswana.

Last week Thursday Sfiso Gwala started a petition entitled "DStv should give S.A. subscribers a payment break or decrease prices during Covid-19" on the change.org platform where it has quickly shot up to become one of the highest "trending" and popular petitions on the platform.

The over 152 000 signatures a week later which saw a jump of another 41 000 signatures on Wednesday night since the 109 000 of Wednesday afternoon, is more than a hundred thousands more than the petition that was started in October 2019 that demanded that MultiChoice return the Crime+Investigation, History and Lifetime TV channels from A+E Networks UK to DStv and which eventually saw the History and Lifetime channels saved.

The petition was prompted after South African DStv subscribers discovered that MultiChoice through its MultiChoice Africa division is giving discounts of up to 75% to DStv and GOtv subscribers, as well as automatically upgrading them to the next higher bouquet for free as part of consumer relief because of Covid-19 national shutdowns.

MultiChoice Africa runs and oversees the various countries in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa.


After Nigeria and Botswana, MultiChoice has now also extended the free package upgrades to its subscribers in Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Martin Mabutho, MultiChoice Nigeria's chief customer officer said that the huge pay-TV discounts are a way of thanking pay-TV customers for their consistent loyalty.

In Botswana MultiChoice thanked DStv subscribers in that country last week for their loyalty and automatically upgraded them the next DStv bouquet for free.

Lorato Mwape, MultiChoice Botswana's acting managing director, in a statement, said that "It is our priority to put customers at the heart of everything we do, and in line with our mission to make great entertainment available, even during the most trying of times, we wanted to gift our very loyal and valued customer base by giving them a chance to experience a wider range of the quality content we carry on our other packages. This is our token of appreciation for their continued support".

Now MultiChoice Zimbabwe is giving DStv subscribers a free bouquet upgrade as well.

"The upgrades are a reward for customers' support for the DStv brand and a means of supporting customers at this difficult time," says Liz Dziva, MultiChoice Zimbabwe PR manager. "DStv customers who are fully paid up on their subscriptions will automatically get upgraded" to the next higher package at no extra cost."

In Ghana MultiChoice is upgrading DStv and GOTV subscribers to the next higher package for free as well.

Cecil Sunkwa Mills, MultiChoice Ghana managing director, said MultiChoice is doing it to thanks customers for their loyalty.

"It is our priority to put customers at the heart of everything we do, and in line with our mission to make great entertainment available, even during the most trying of times, we wanted to gift our very loyal and valued customer base by giving them a chance to experience a wider range of the quality content we carry on our other packages. This is our token of appreciation for their continued support," said Cecil Sunkwa Mills.

Since a week ago last Thursday, representatives of MultiChoice South Africa and its PR company Aprio were asked for comment and whether MultiChoice has any plans to offer similar discounts or free upgrades to South African customers as in Nigeria and Botswana.

MultiChoice said it was working on a response but a week later haven't yet responded.

In South Africa, MultiChoice's biggest market, DStv subscribers are already paying some of the highest monthly subscription fees after currency adjustments where another annual increase came into effect at the beginning of April amidst the Covid-19 shutdown in the country.

Through no fault of MultiChoice and to make matters worse, the DStv price increase happened as live sports programming on SuperSport dried up because of the global pandemic, while multiple international and local TV channels had to adjust their schedules and push out new programming, while some local weekday soaps have run out of episodes with more to follow during May.


ALSO READ: Coronavirus: South Africa's DStv subscribers up in arms as thousands sign a petition over massive MultiChoice discounts and free bouquet upgrades in other African countries over Covid-19: 'My kids laugh in my face that Anaconda has been repeated so much they are no longer scared'. 

ALSO READ: Coronavirus: Over 100 000 DStv subscribers in South Africa sign a petition in just 4 days asking MultiChoice for payment compassion and a DStv fee decrease after other African countries got up to 75% discounts and free bouquet upgrades.

Netflix announces its next Netflix African original with South African dance drama JIVA! from showrunner Busisiwe Ntintili and produced by Blue Ice Africa starring Noxolo Dlamini.


by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix has commissioned another South African original drama series, JIVA! as part of its growing slate of Netflix African originals, following the dance trials and tribulations of the Durban working class girl Ntombi fighting off rivals and battling family problems to succeed in the country's cutthroat performing arts industry. 

JIVA! will be produced by Cape Town based production team Blue Ice Africa with Busisiwe Ntintili, Adam Friedlander and Tebogo Maila as executive producers and was created by Busisiwe Ntintili of The Ntintili Factory who will serve as showrunner.

Busisiwe Ntintili is an award-winning writer, director and producer with 20 years of television and film under her belt, including the drama series Intersexions and the box office film Happiness is a Four Letter Word.

Scottnes L. Smith (Hear Me Move, There's A Bluebird In My Heart, Long Street), the award-winning Director Mandla Dube (Kalushi) and the award-winning director Mmambatho Montsho (Emoyeni, Lockdown) will join the directing team of JIVA!

Bontle Modiselle, dancer, actor and radio personality and Tom London, founder of South Africa’s dance crew Soweto’s Finest, join the creative team as JIVA!'s choreographers.

The JIVA! cast includes Noxolo Dlamini in the lead role of Ntombi, Candice Modiselle, Sne Mbatha, Stella Dlangalala, Zazi Kunene, Anga Makubalo, Given Stuurman, Ntuthuzelo Grootboom, Zamani Mbatha and veteran actor Tony Kgoroge.

Netflix describes JIVA! as "a fun and energy-packed drama series that follows the life of the talented street dancer Ntombi, who while juggling the demands of a dead end job, family responsibility and a rocky love life realises that her dance moves could be her ticket out of her working class neighbourhood in Durban. But first, she must overcome her fears, beat her rivals and sort out the chaos that is her family."

JIVA! is the next African and South African commission for Netflix under the management of Dorothy Ghettuba who took up the position to head up the commissioning of Netflix's African originals in mid-2019 and who is tasked to expand Netflix's content slate from the African continent from Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Earlier this week Netflix announced a second season pickup for the lukewarm received.drama series Queen Sono headlined by Pearl Thusi and produced by Diprente with director Kagiso Lediga.

Other Netflix African originals in production include its first-ever Nigerian produced, as-yet-untitled 6-episode supernatural series, is first-ever African animation series Mama K's Team 4, and the completed, Cape Town, South African set youth drama Blood & Water that will launch in May 2020.

2020 SAFTAs 'unable to deliver a show to the standards we had hoped for': Inside the delayed and badly done virtual fiasco of 2020's 14th South African Film and Television Awards that started 6 hours late from inside Dineo Ranaka's living room.


by Thinus Ferreira

What was supposed to be a toned-down, frills and fault-free, very basic and simply done video-streamed winners announcement on Wednesday evening for 2020's 14th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) turned into a 6-hour delayed farcical fiasco marred by unexplained technical problems that forced the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) on Friday to apologise for having been "unable to deliver a show to the standards we had hoped for".

In the absence of a televised auditorium-filled awards show because of the sudden Covid-19 pandemic that also reached South Africa, the NFVF that was forced to scupper its planned 27 and 28 March awards show that would have moved back from Sun City to Johannesburg this year, opted for a toned-down, online announcement approach.

But Wednesday night, that too imploded.

After years of struggling to mount an award show to showcase the best of South African film and television that every year panned by the industry itself and is marred by technical mistakes, empty seats, often the opening of wrong envelopes and other errors, the NFVF decided to forego the usual sprinkle of glitz and glam this year for an online video stream read-out of winners.

While insiders thought that the simplified live-stream with reality star Dineo Ranaka announcing winners names would help the NFVF to deliver a better winners' event with less production bells and whistles behind-the-scenes to take care of, the opposite happened Wednesday night. Almost everything that could go wrong did with the 14th Saftas online winners announcement.


Originally announced for 17:00, the starting time was suddenly pushed to 20:00 - after which several hours went by without any live stream starting and nothing but silence from the NFVF's PR division as well as the Instinctif PR agency as to what happened and whether the stream event would still be taking place.

As print publications started to fret whether to pull winners' lists from early editions after embargoed winners were already issued to the media during Wednesday afternoon in case Dineo's living room ceremony didn't go out, the NFVF in a late night advisory told the media at 22:46 that the announcement play-out would still go ahead and would start before 23:00 on Wednesday night.

At 22:53 it did.

"We are aware of the technical issues that limited our ability to stream the Saftas14 broadcast at the times communicated to the public," the NFVF told the media and apologised for the 6-hour delay.

"Our film and television industry, who, without a doubt work tirelessly to provide us with the best on-screen entertainment deserve to be honoured in the best way possible for amazing work they do. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to the film and television industry, the media and our film and television supporters."

The 2020 SAFTAs late playout was marred by multiple mistakes, bad camerawork, some clips playing out as a black screen with sound only, shoddy editing and bad sound, interspersed with Dineo Ranaka doing comedy skits and doing Zoom interviews with some winners.

Rumours were floated that possibly the NFVF decided to delay the playout for the government's latest Covid-19 press conference that took place on Wednesday night but that is untrue. Only technical problems prevented the 2020Saftas video from playing out, and which disappeared from YouTube immediately after and was nowhere to be found by Friday morning.


Insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the NFVF and production struggled with the same, one technical issue for hours: to get the pre-recorded video package properly linked to play in concurrent streams over all of the platforms.

"The NFVF used a service provider who was doing it through a software suite so that all of the platforms like YouTube and Twitter could stream it at the same time. And it didn't work. The production literally just used one camera," explained an insider.

Dineo Ranaka's presentations and skits were all pre-recorded and added. "Everything Dineo wore was her own clothes. Her make-up was done by herself. Her hair was herself. Basically she did everything at home."

On Friday morning the NFVF apologised again and said that "last night the SAFTAs endeavoured to host the 14th annual awards ceremony on social media in response to the uncertainty around the duration of the current nationwide lockdown".

"In trying to use technology to celebrate our industry, we faced unforeseen technical difficulties that severely hampered the streaming of the show. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to deliver a show to the standards we had hoped for and for that we sincerely apologise."

"We would like to send a final word of apology to our nominees, winners, stakeholders, our friends in media, as well as the general public that, despite the delay stayed up with us last night to celebrate South Africa's film and television talent".

Multiple insiders who work in South African film and TV industry and who said they don't want to be named since it might affect future work and SAFTA nominations, told TVwithThinus that the NFVF's 2020 SAFTAs streamcast was disappointing and terribly done. All of them used the word "embarrassing".

They said that the 2020 SAFTAs playout and lack of communication on Wednesday night when nominees tuned in and waited for hours to hear who won only to give up and go to sleep reflected poorly on the incredible work being done by the local industry which needs to be celebrated and supported now more than ever.


ALSO READ: MultiChoice crows about its 2020 14th SAFTAs wins by deleting e.tv - cluelessly culling category winners on its platforms like eNCA, Ultimate Braai Master and films like Buddha in Africa yet listing SABC3's Hectic on 3.

The SABC launches SABC Education as a new TV channel, will debut 4 May 2020 on YouTube and on DTT.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster as part of its digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering will launch a new TV channel, SABC Education, on 4 May that will initially be available for streaming on YouTube and be available for free through DTT decoders.

SABC Education is the first new TV channel that the broadcaster is launching besides its SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 channels set, as well as its SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC Encore (DStv 156) channels carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service.

The SABC is far behind on rolling out new TV channels as part of its DTT offering, citing a lack of funds for the mandated switch from analogue to digital television broadcasting in South Africa.

SABC Education will carry educational programming from the department of education, archived shows from the SABC library, as well as educational programmes seen and available on SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3.

The SABC says that other platforms for SABC Education will hopefully be added later. SABC Education will be a linear DTT TV channel, with additional educational programming that will be streamed on digital platforms.

The digital streaming of the channel will be carried using the SABC Education portal, SABC Education Virtual Academy (SEVA), social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and other SABC channel websites.  

Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, says in a statement that "The launch of the channel is timely, as the nation requires these interventions to fill gaps that have been created by Covid-19 related adjustments. In particular, this initiative will ensure that education and learning continues outside the traditional classroom environment".

"The introduction of the SABC Education channel is in line with our education strategy which has been in the pipeline for some time."

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Coronavirus: e.tv’s The Morning Show off-air, crew and presenters of the Cheeky Media produced show all axed over Covid-19 national shutdown.


by Thinus Ferreira

The three presenters of e.tv's The Morning Show - Tumelo Mothotoane, William Lehong and Clement Manyathela - along with 19 others who worked on the show are abruptly out work with everyone involved who had their contracts axed after the Cheeky Media produced breakfast show shut down.

The Morning Show on e.tv went off the air at the end of March, 2 years after it suddenly replaced Sunrise in May 2018 on e.tv after a decade. The Morning Show during its run underwent one format change towards a more news-oriented focus and dropped some presenters a year ago.

In late-March e.tv pulled The Morning Show off the air when South Africa's Covid-19 national lockdown period started, to try and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

SABC News and SABC2's breakfast show and the country's most-watched morning show, Morning Live that is produced in-house by the South African public broadcaster, as well as Expresso on SABC3 produced by the external production company Cardova Productions, both currently remain on-air.

In the same early morning timeslot e.tv is now showing a combination of films and children's programming.

On 9 April Marlon Davids, e.tv managing director, in response to a media enquiry about the disappearance of the show, then said that The Morning Show was not cancelled but pulled from the schedule because local production companies can't operate as per the government regulations.

"The Morning Show has not been cancelled and will return when the national lockdown ends. All our external production companies are currently not operating, as per lockdown regulations," Marlon Davids told TVwithThinus.

On Thursday e.tv was asked again about the future of The Morning Show that was produced from Steyn City, after it emerged that the production crew and presenters have actually been fired. Lerato Maboi, e.tv publicist said that the initial statement still stands and that The Morning Show is temporarily off-air in adherence to Covid-19 regulations.

Cheeky Media and director Yusuf Stevens couldn't be reached.

Meanwhile the entire crew of the Johannesburg-based The Morning Show that was broadcast between 06:00 and 08:00  are out of jobs. They were told to apply for unemployment at the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

In a letter send to staffers on Whatsapp and first reported by The Daily Sun, Yusuf Stevens told the crew and presenters that they no longer have work and that all permanent and fixed-term contracts have been suspended, including services provided by independent contractors.

"e.tv has pulled The Morning Show off-air due to government regulations. At this stage, the entire nation is unsure of the duration of the pandemic and Cheeky Media is no exception."

"We're facing trying times, with our key clients having cancelled campaigns and cut down spend as they too are unsure of what the next couple of months will entail."

"We write to you to, our loyal and trusted staff, with the sole objective to provide transparency in these unclear times. Please take note that based on the feedback from e.tv today [26 March 2020], Cheeky Media will, with immediate effect, suspend all business activities until further notice."

"As of today, Cheeky Media will specifically terminate all permanent and fixed-term contracts, as well as services rendered by independent contractors. Any payment due to you will be pro-rated for the month of March, up to and incuding 26 March. This is a tough decision for us and all businesses alike, to make."

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Coronavirus: Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2020 back on and taking place 2 May - with slime - but now done mostly from home with Victoria Justice as host.


by Thinus Ferreira

The Nickelodeon channel's Kids' Choice Awards 2020 is back on and will take place this Saturday, 2 May - and although there will still be slime it will mostly be a done-from-home show.

After the Kids' Choice Awards 2020 that was set for 22 March was called off because of the growing global Covid-19 pandemic, it will now be shown on Nickelodeon in the United States on Saturday.

A broadcast date for the Kids' Choice Awards 2020 on the African Nickelodeon (DStv 305) channel feed of ViacomCBS Networks Africa isn't known yet with the awards that doesn't appear on the latest schedule yet.

The awards will be hosted by Victoria Justice and celebrities scheduled to appear on the Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards 2020 include Dwayne Johnson, Ariana Grande, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Camila Cabello, Millie Bobby Brown, Ellen DeGeneres, BTS, Shawn Mendes, Lil Nas X, Dove Cameron, Tom Holland, David Dobrik, Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke and SSSniperWolf.

There will also be appearances from cast members of The Avengers: Endgame (Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner), and a sneak peek of Nickelodeon's new live-action series The Astronauts, from Imagine Entertainment.

Segments will include JoJo Siwa discovering slime secretly placed in every area of her home; a performance by recording artist and actor Asher Angel of his chart-topping single "All Day"; and an look at Nick's Slime in Space voyage.

The NBA champion LeBron James will receive the 2020 Generation Change Award. Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards 2020 is produced by Nickelodeon Productions with Jay Schmalholz as executive producer.

Coronavirus: From Oprah and the African Children's Choir to Archbishop Thabo Makgoba join The Call to Unite global live-stream event.


by Thinus Ferreira

Oprah Winfrey, the African Children's Choir, Archibishop Thabo Makgoba, Julia Roberts and a growing list of headliners are joining to take part in a new global live-streamed event, The Call to Unite, this weekend to uplift and inspire people amidst the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Call to Unite will be live-streamed in English at www.unite.us as well as on the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and others. It will run for 24 hours, starting on Saturday morning, 2 May at 02:00 (South African time SAST).

The event will feature a special opening hour by Tim Shriver, the longtime chairperson and CEO of the Special Olympics, with people like Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, T.J. Jakes and former American presidents.

Throughout the 24 hours, leaders and entertainers will joint frontline heroes and citizens from around the world by performing a song, teaching something, sharing a memory, or announcing a commitment to action.

"Today, billions of people around the world are isolated and anxious because of the Covid-19 pandemic - unable to gather with loved-ones, go to work, or even mourn those they've lost," says Call to Unite.

"Still, in this moment of isolation, millions are rising to the occasion by showing each other love and support in countless ways. The Call to Unite is a celebration of those acts of humanity, and an invitation to the world to join in lifting one another in this moment of need."


The Call to Unite will feature a growing list of people, including the African Children's Choir, Alanis Morissette, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Biso Tutu-Gxashe, Deepak Chopra, Eva Longoria, LeAnn Rimes, Mandy Moore, Maria Shriver, Marianne Williamson, Marie Kondo, Naomi Campbell, Ndaba Mandela, former American president George W. Bush, Quincy Jones, Rob Lowe, Shaka Sisulu and many more.

"All participants will be providing the world with hope and inspiration, purpose and directive, laughter and light," says The Call to Unite.

"Whether a story, sermon, meditation, poem, dance, song, practice, talk, call to inaction or call to action, they each will offer their unique gift to the world at a moment in which we need each other more than ever before."

Coronavirus: Trevor Noah upsizes The Daily Show on Comedy Central to 45 minute episodes.


by Thinus Ferreira

The South African comedian Trevor Noah is upsizing his late-night talk show done from his New York highrise with The Daily Show that will expand this week from a half-hour show to 45 minutes on Comedy Central.

With less original and new content on television because of the global Covid-19 pandemic that has had a massive negative impact on the South African and international TV and film industry, and coupled with the success of the renamed "The Daily Social Distancing Show", Comedy Central is expanding the show with an additional 15 minutes per episode.

The Daily Show is broadcast in the United States from Mondays to Thursdays and seen a day later in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa from Tuesdays to Fridays at 22:30 on the African channel feed of ViacomCBS Networks Africa's Comedy Central (DStv 122).

It will be the first time in the 24-year history of The Daily Show that episodes will be longer says Comedy Central in a statement.

"The news of supersized Daily Show episodes comes at a moment in time when viewers are heading to host Trevor Noah not just for satire and escapism, but also for an honest point of view and as a source of trustworthy information."

This week is the 6th week of "The Daily Social Distancing Show" that Trevor Noah now anchors from his home without the help of a live audience or the New York-based studio. The show has seen linear TV ratings rise as well as digital gains over the last month.

The home shopping channel TV Mall is toast on DStv as TV telesales experiment shuts down after 2 years.


by Thinus Ferreira

The TV Mall and MultiChoice telesales experiment is toast with the TV Mall channel that will go dark on DStv at the end of April after 2 years.

MultiChoice added the TV Mall channel to DStv in mid-2018 although DStv subscribers complained about the shoddy and low production values of the selling segments. 

"It has been wonderful to work with the TV Mall team, being the first African live shopping mall, they have been a true milestone in Africa’s broadcast industry," says Aletta Alberts, executive head of content strategy at the MultiChoice Group.

"MultiChoice remains committed to providing the best local and international content for its customers. We are proud and appreciative of our association with TV Mall and will continue to provide the most compelling and entertaining content for our customers."

The MultiChoice Group says that it constantly reviews its content and channel offering to ensure that the pay-TV operator give its customers local content that resonates with them at great value.

Despite "TV" in its name and no longer being on TV, TV Mall that will shut down on 30 April 2020 on DStv will apparently continue to sell stuff online.

Nicky Fintz, TV Mall CEO, says in a statement that "During this time, we need to understand the dynamics of the market we aim to please, and we’re cognisant of the state of the economy during this pandemic".

"With that said, it has been a pleasure to have had the opportunity of being on the DStv platform which enabled us to have a bigger footprint in South African homes."

Coronavirus: Winners of the 14th South African Film and Television Awards announced on Twitter on 29 April 2020 after televised awards got scrapped over Covid-19.



by Thinus Ferreira

The winners of the 14th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) will now be announced on 29 April 2020 as part of a "virtual awards ceremony" held on the Twitter social media platform after the televised awards show was scuppered in March because of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Because of the growing Covid-19 pandemic and to stem the spread of the ovel coronavirus in South Africa, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) like others in South Africa's TV and film industry was forced to scrap the televised awards show that was scheduled for 27 and 28 March.

On 16 March the NFVF announced the cancellation of the 14th SAFTAs, and then started the process of trying to figure out how to still hand out Golden Horn trophies this year.

Now Dineo Ranaka will do a Twitter awards show on 29 April 2020 at 17:00 to announce the winners in the various categories.

"It has been an incredibly difficult decision to make for all concerned with the running of these awards," says NFVF CEO, Makhosazana Khanyile.

"As the NFVF we extend our sincere gratitude to the nominees and creative industry at large for their understanding and patience as we sought to find solutions. Whilst the celebrations for all our winners will be muted this year, it does not take away from all our deserving winners."

"We consulted widely to find the best possible way of presenting the awards that would still adhear to the lockdown regulations and not put any lives in danger of contracting this deadly virus."

Netflix's first South African drama series Queen Sono produced by Diprente renewed for a second season.


by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix has renewed its South African drama series Queen Sono for a second season.

Headlined by Pearl Thusi and produced by Diprente in Johannesburg, South Africa with showrunner and director Kagiso Lediga, the 6-episode trope-filled spy drama tale made its debut at the end of February 2020 to mostly lukewarm reviews.

Diprente will continue to produce the second season of Queen Sono with the cast who have not yet been signed but according to Netflix are all expected to return, including Pearl Thusi, Vuyo Dabula, Sechaba Morojele, Chi Mhende, Loyiso Madinga, Rob van Vuuren, Kate Liquorish, Khathu Ramabulana and Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa.

Production is expected to start later in 2020 once more clarity exists over TV and film production given the multiple national lockdown periods in effect in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa because of the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Queen Sono's second season renewal is the first African Netflix production renewal handed out under Dorothy Ghettuba who took up the position to head up the commissioning of Netflix's African originals in mid-2019 and is tasked to expand Netflix's content slate from the African continent from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. 

"The first season of Queen Sono marked the beginning of our journey to introduce the world to exciting stories that are made in Africa. It was an unprecedented representation of a strong female black lead in African television," says Dorothy Ghettuba in a prepared statement issued on Tuesday announcing the second season renewal.

"Kagiso Lediga and the Diprente team delivered a compelling story that resonated with our viewers and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for Queen Sono in this coming season."

Kagiso Lediga in the press release says "I am so excited by the appetite for African stories and that Netflix is continuing to partner with us to bring to life the next chapter of Queen’s story and showcase it to the world".

Tamsin Andersson, executive producer, in the statement says "We are thrilled to continue our production of Queen Sono season 2 with Netflix. The hard work from season 1 paid off and we're excited that the brand is investing further in the growth of our local production team."


ALSO READ: REVIEW. The flawed Queen Sono's first season on Netflix is an unremarkable, uneven and missable spy trope-filled tale.

Coronavirus: Over 100 000 DStv subscribers in South Africa sign a petition in just 4 days asking MultiChoice for payment compassion and a DStv fee decrease after other African countries got up to 75% discounts and free bouquet upgrades.


by Thinus Ferreira

In a significant sign of subscriber discontent, the number of people who have signed a petition asking MultiChoice to lower monthly DStv fees and to show payment compassion in South Africa surged past 100 000 signatures on Tuesday morning just 4 days after it was started last week.

MultiChoice ignited anger under specifically South African DStv subscribers after the Randburg-based company's MultiChoice Africa division decided to give massive discounts of up to 75% and automatic free bouquet upgrades to its DStv and GOtv subscribers elsewhere in Africa to offer consumer relief because of Covid-19 national shutdowns.

Because of the various Covid-19 national lockdown situations enacted across the African continent, MultiChoice has given subscription fee discounts of up to 44% to DStv subscribers and up to 75% to GOtv subscribers in Nigeria.

Martin Mabutho, MultiChoice Nigeria's chief customer officer said that the huge pay-TV discounts are a way of thanking pay-TV customers for their consistent loyalty.

In Botswana MultiChoice thanked DStv subscribers in that country last week for their loyalty and automatically upgraded them the next DStv bouquet for free.

Lorato Mwape, MultiChoice Botswana's acting managing director, in a statement, said that "It is our priority to put customers at the heart of everything we do, and in line with our mission to make great entertainment available, even during the most trying of times, we wanted to gift our very loyal and valued customer base by giving them a chance to experience a wider range of the quality content we carry on our other packages. This is our token of appreciation for their continued support".

Since Thursday last week representatives of MultiChoice South Africa and its PR company Aprio were asked whether MultiChoice has any plans to offer similar discounts or free upgrades to South African customers as in Nigeria and Botswana.

MultiChoice said it is working on a response. When comment is received from MultiChoice it will be added here.


In South Africa, MultiChoice's biggest market, DStv subscribers are already paying some of the highest monthly subscription fees after currency adjustments where another annual increase came into effect at the beginning of April amidst the Covid-19 shutdown in the country.

Through no fault of MultiChoice and to make matters worse, the DStv price increase happened as live sports programming on SuperSport dried up because of the global pandemic, while multiple international and local TV channels had to adjust their schedules and push out new programming, while some local weekday soaps have run out of episodes with more to follow during May.

Sfiso Gwala started the petition entitled "DStv should give S.A. subscribers a payment break or decrease prices during Covid-19" on the change.org platform last week Thursday 23 April, and has quickly become one of the highest "trending" and popular petitions on the platform.

The over 101 000 signatures that the petition amassed by Tuesday morning is tens of thousands more than the petition that was started in October 2019 that demanded that MultiChoice return the Crime+Investigation, History and Lifetime TV channels from A+E Networks UK to DStv and which eventually saw the History and Lifetime channels saved.


ALSO READ: Coronavirus: South Africa's DStv subscribers up in arms as thousands sign a petition over massive MultiChoice discounts and free bouquet upgrades in other African countries over Covid-19: 'My kids laugh in my face that Anaconda has been repeated so much they are no longer scared'.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Coronavirus: Uzalo to remain shuttered after South Africa's most-watched TV show applied and got 'an essential service' permit.


by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's most-watched TV show, Uzalo on SABC1 produced by Stained Glass TV, has been told to remain shut down after it tried to resume production during the ongoing Covid-19 national lockdown period when it applied and was approved as an "essential service".

All South African local TV and film productions were shuttered following president Cyril Ramaphosa announcement of a national lockdown period to try and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country - including Uzalo.

The local prime time soap however applied for exempt status as an essential service and was approved with a permit issued by the Company and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

The hugely popular, local weekday soaps seen on the South African public broadcaster's channels, the free-to-air commercial broadcaster e.tv, and those produced by M-Net for its 1Magic (DStv 103), Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) channels on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV service attract a combined evening audience of millions of viewers but like restaurants are not an essential service.

Last week insiders raised concerns about the eye-popping approval of Uzalo to continue production, wondering if permission were perhaps granted because Uzalo co-producer Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube is the daughter of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's current minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, and former president Jacob Zuma.

Uzalo's last new, stockpiled episode will be broadcast on 8 May on SABC1, after which the show, filmed in Durban and set in KwaMashu, will have to go into repeats. It is SABC1 and South Africa's most-watched TV show and in March saw a ratings surge, climbing almost a million viewers from 9.31 million viewers to 10.29 million viewers

The SABC has now said that under no circumstances is Stained Glass TV, owned by Gugu Zuma-Ncube and Pepsi Pokane, or any other local production company to resume production on entertainment shows before the national lockdown period is over.

Uzalo was told to keep the cameras switched off and work on the public broadcaster's local TV productions will remain suspended.

Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson, told TVwithThinus on Monday that "The SABC maintains that all its productions remain closed until a collective decision regarding production houses resuming work is made, in line with government regulations".

"We would also like to reiterate that we have put measures in place including crucial engagements with relevant stakeholders concerning the organisation’s delivery on the set local content quotas."

"Based on the president’s announcement to move to alert Level 4 of the lockdown from 1 May 2020, the department of communications and digital technologies, and the department of sport, arts and culture, are developing a proposal on mechanisms to ease the lockdown on productions."

"Once the guidelines and framework for easing restrictions on productions are finalised, the SABC will apply its mind to make informed decisions regarding resuming work on impacted productions. For now, work on productions will remain suspended."

Mmoni Seapolelo says that "the SABC continues to ensure full compliance with all regulations set by the government during this period as well as strictly prioritising adherence to health and safety measures, for the benefit of our employees and production houses alike".

Stained Glass TV was asked why it applied to film Uzalo and saw it as an essential service, what the SABC said when Uzalo wanted to resume production, and how the show films when make-up, hair, wardrobe and other technical production aspects make social distancing extremely difficult or impossible.

Stained Glass TV didn't answer any of the specific questions but told TVwithThinus on Monday that the show remains shut down.

"Uzalo will only resume production post the extended lockdown. It is important to us to do our part in this effort to combat the Covid-19 global pandemic and safeguard our cast, production crew and the greater community."

 Meanwhile, it looks like the Uzalo cast and crew might have to remain at home for even longer.

With an ongoing increase in cases Durban might very likely remain at Level 5 lockdown from 1 May and beyond. Sihle Zikalala, KwaZulu-Natal premier, on Sunday said at a press conference that parts of the eThekwini municipality that includes Durban will very likely remain under Level 5 conditions from May.

"As things stand it looks like eThekwini will still remain under stricter lockdown regulations compared to other districts, unless there is a drastic change in the coming days," Sihle Zikalala said.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Coronavirus: South Africa's DStv subscribers up in arms as thousands sign a petition over massive MultiChoice discounts and free bouquet upgrades in other African countries over Covid-19: 'My kids laugh in my face that Anaconda has been repeated so much they are no longer scared'.


by Thinus Ferreira

DStv subscribers in South Africa are adding their names to a petition that has been growing by tens of thousands, saying that they want similar across-the-board reductions in their monthly subscription fees and payment compassion from MultiChoice after the pay-TV operator gave massive discounts of up to 75% and free bouquet upgrades to subscribers elsewhere in Africa.

A parent complaining about DStv repeats said that her kids "laughed in my face that Anaconda has been repeated so much they are no longer scared".

By Friday morning over 28 200 people have signed the petition that increased by over another 10 000 to 38 800 by early Friday afternoon, after it was started on Thursday by Sfiso Gwala on the change.org platform.

The petition instantly became one of the "trending" and most popular petitions over the last 24 hours after South African DStv subscribers noticed the discounts and upgrades MultiChoice gave to its pay-TV customers in other African countries.

Because of the various Covid-19 national lockdown situations enacted across the African continent, MultiChoice has given subscription fee discounts of up to 44% to DStv subscribers and up to 75% to GOtv subscribers in Nigeria.

Meanwhile MultiChoice thanked DStv subscribers in Botswana this week for their loyalty and automatically upgraded them the next DStv bouquet for free.

While several other African countries already pay less than DStv subscribers in South Africa - MultiChoice's biggest market - South African subscribers haven't received reductions in their subscription fees or package upgrades where an annual price increase came into effect at the beginning of April.


MultiChoice Nigeria told DStv subscribers that it is giving the massive DStv and GOtv discounts to lessen the impact of the ongoing socio-economic crisis caused by Covid-19 in the West African country.

Martin Mabutho, MultiChoice Nigeria's chief customer officer said that the huge pay-TV discounts are a way of thanking pay-TV customers for their consistent loyalty.

MultiChoice Botswana automatically upgraded DStv subscribers on Monday 20 April to the next higher DStv bouquet for free.

"It is our priority to put customers at the heart of everything we do, and in line with our mission to make great entertainment available, even during the most trying of times, we wanted to gift our very loyal and valued customer base by giving them a chance to experience a wider range of the quality content we carry on our other packages," says Lorato Mwape, MultiChoice Botswana's acting managing director, in a statement.

"This is our token of appreciation for their continued support," she says.

On Thursday and again on Friday morning representatives of MultiChoice South Africa and it's PR company Aprio were asked whether MultiChoice has any plans to offer similar discounts or free upgrades to South African customers as in Nigeria and Botswana.

MultiChoice said it is working on a response. When comment is received from MultiChoice it will be added here.

TVwithThinus scanned and read through all of the comments left on the petition by 02:00 on Friday morning. Here is a selection:

"After cutting back and going back to DStv Compact since the kids are at home, I'm really disappointed that even the kids told me to cut back and save my money because they are tired of repeats. They laughed in my face that Anaconda has been repeated so much they are no longer scared."
- Lih Mcrepeat


"DStv keep on repeating shows. Now with lockdown, we do not get salaries and I think DStv can give us payers a holiday payment for at least 1 month or else they are going to lose subscribers." "I love DStv and for 8 years I subscribed with DStv that gives me good entertainment. Now with this pandemic Covid-19 I lost my job and I only have few savings. Please help reduce the cost." 
- Lindokuhle Dlamini


"We can't be paying for repeats. No soccer and Indian soapies are on. Repeats and South African soapies will be on repeats as well."

- Itshekeng Mogotlhe





"DStv lacks content, they repeat programmes. Even the cartoons are repeated yet they charge so much. How can one watch Anaconda in 2020?"
- Pamela Mkonto


"DStv doesn't have a heart for their customers, my vehicle insurance has offered 10% during Covid-19 period, I expected DStv to ease or postpone the subscription. When my fibre is done I am going to Netflix period, DStv keeps on repeating the same old movies, It's a pity they take our loyalty for granted."
- Steven Mdlalose


"Prices are just too high. How can they give a price drop to other African countries except their own country? Do we not deserve it?"
-Simphiwe Mtshali


"Prices are ridiculous and we are not working at the moment. The content has been reduced as there is no sport which is why I have DStv in the first place."
- Buzwe Jongolo


"I'm a student and I'm in Grade 12 and my mom hasn't been paid. I follow the Mindset channel to learn. So now if my mom can't pay how am I going to learn because self-studying is not easy for us."
- Oratile Simelane


"I have been a DStv client for over 10 years and a DStv Premium subscriber. What I have seen is that premium subscribers pay the most but get the least incentives. The subscription has also become too expensive over the years but very little benefit."
- Mdumiseni Mtshali


"I don't know why MultiChoice hasn't done this already amidst of what is happening in our country. I'm deeply disappointed with the company."
- Simpiwe Panziso


"There are lot of repeat shows, and soapies are temporary coming to an end. So we really deserve a payment break."
- Nkosinabo Vilakazi


"DStv is disrespectful to its South Afrikan clients. No sympathy even when the country is going through it's worst period in recent memory. The lack of compassion is absolutely ridiculous."
- Mpho Ratshefola


"This petition should go beyond the subscription fees, they should also stop showing the same thing over and over."
- Nyikk Maluleke


"Wanted to watch the movie Contagion but wasn't on a premium package. The same movie was played within a week on SABC television. To top it they didn't even put it on catch-up. Too many repeats and some shows are no longer filming, meaning I'll be paying for repeats."
- Mmakgoadi Ramaroko


"I am signing this petition because lots of companies, like banks, insurances and gym, are giving discounts or not charging at all. Why is DStv not doing the same for their customers. Is is arrogance or what?"
- Lindile Qubeka


"We find that so many movies are a repeat and it is old movies as well. In our lockdown period we need value for what we are paying for. Movie entertainment and the exploration of DStv should be top quality to promote your service. Most of your viewers do not have the full packages, BoxOffice or Netflix for variety movie choices. Now we request good service in this lockdown time and request for a discount or lower rate billing amount during this lockdown period."
- Renee Erasmus


"DStv must reduce the prices of their packages. They must open their decoders even to subscribers who did not pay. But they must only open learning channels and news. That DStv Now app is not working because people do not have data. Unless if they talk to service providers to zero-rate data charges on that useless DStv Now app."
- Mathule Letuka


"No one has money at the moment. People are struggling for everyday needs. We have been faithful subscribers since day 1 and now that we need you the most, we get cut off. Thank you. It has been a good ride. Maybe we should find comfort elsewhere."
- Tatenda Mtangi


"I'm the breadwinner who have 5 dependents including my husband who's a contractor and is currently affected by Covid-19 and doesn't earn any money! So my little salary can't cover most of my debt as we have to eat as well. The cut can make a huge difference."
- Linda Manyane


"We are at home with little to no income. This is the least they can do, we have been DStv subscribers for years. Else we switching to Netflix."
- Dimpho Ndlovu


"The content we are watching is obsolete. We are paying for new content not repeats. The least they can do is open up all channels at a fixed lower price to every subscriber during this lockdown. People are beginning to see the actual value they are getting from DStv because they watch TV everyday now."
- Bandile Mbanda


"I have been dedicated for many years to DStv. I never missed a payment, even with me being now unemployed. With Covid-19 indefinite lockdown why we all need a break."
- Stephen Ngcobo


"DStv only caters for other African nations but not for SA of which makes this company discriminatory."
- Mbulelo Magidela


"Many major companies that play a role in our daily lives have made a difference by taking a load off customers backs. This is not the time of making a quick buck while we’re home with no choice. As the human race we need to stand together now more than ever. Every little bit counts."
- Gugulethu Msibi


"There is no longer live sport, the rest is repeat rubbish. Premium subscribers are being ripped off."
- Edgar Hoffmann


"I'm very disappointed in the service that DStv is providing us with us as paying customers. DStv continues to air old content and has recently told us that they will be airing old episodes of some the local dramas/telenovelas, yet we're expected to pay the full amount by the end of the month. This is unfair as it is known that the country is in Lockdown and DStv should be offering us discounts or opening up all channels for us".
- Ntethelelo Hlongwa


"Isibaya, is about to run out of episodes, Gomora too, there are no live sports games so nothing is worth paying the ridiculous monthly premium."

Hennie Jacobs the next longtime actor to exit SABC2's Afrikaans soap 7de Laan after 13 years, cites his 'family's well-being' for moving abroad.


by Thinus Ferreira

Hennie Jacobs who had portrayed the character of Diederik Greyling on the SABC2's 7de Laan is the next longtime actor who has exited the SABC's Afrikaans weekday soap citing "his family's well-being".

His last on-air appearance was last night on Thursday 23 April 2020 in which his character decides to take over the farm from his dad who is becoming blind after years in the city in the fictional Hillside community where his marriage went bust, he got addicted to drugs and he contracted HIV.

The production says Hennie Jacobs will not be doing any interviews regarding his exit from the show after 13 years.

In a prepared statement, released by Danie Odendaal Productions on Friday morning - the show gave the press no prior warning about the casting change - Hennie Jacobs says "I loved playing Diederik and will always be extremely grateful to 7de Laan, specifically Thandi Ramathesele, Danie Odendaal and Annie Basson for giving me this opportunity".

"As a professional actor, I could not have asked for a better environment, where I worked with the best in the industry. To be directed and mentored by the likes of Chris Voster and Henry Mylne has shaped me into the actor I am today."

"I have made lasting friendships with the cast and crew, both on set and off, which I will always treasure. It's not ‘goodbye’, it's ‘until I see you again’. I wish my 7de Laan family the very best for the future success of this wonderful production".

Thandi Ramathesele, 7de Laan executive producer, says: "As sad as we are about the departure of such a talented and dependable actor as Hennie, we support his decision. We wish him and his family well on their new adventure. He will always have a home here at 7de Laan".

Henry Mylne, 7de Laan series director says: "Act, he will again, because when the acting profession chooses you like it has chosen Hennie- you have no choice".

Francois Lensley who plays the role of Marko in the show, Diederik’s cousin, says: "Hennie being the more experienced actor between us, arrived the first day to set and being new I recall he looked like that frog in front of a snake that Danie always wrote about in his scripts. I introduced myself to set him at ease, his first scene was with me and we just hit it off".

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Coronavirus: Free Netflix and chill? Thousands sign petition for video streaming services to be made freely available for 60 days.


by Thinus Ferreira

With several countries in various stages of national lockdowns because of the Covid-19 pandemic people across the globe are now signing a petition asking for Netflix and other global streaming services to be made available for free during this period.

Millions of people forming part of TV viewing households and now cloistered at home to try and spread the curb the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus. With growing levels of frustration, cabin fever and boredom setting in, they want something new or else to watch and are now asking for Netflix and other global streaming services to be made available for free during this period.

Whether traditional direct-to-home (DTH) satellite pay-TV services like MultiChoice DStv and StarTimes's StarSat, as well as various subscription video-on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Showmax, Disney+ or Apple TV+ are, or should be classified as essential services is debatable, although they do serve two purposes.

In no order of importance, firstly they provide access to information - with programming that include news, current affairs and documentaries, including about Covid-19. Netflix for instance just added a new Covid-19 documentary.

Secondly, TV viewing provides escapism - entertainment content that helps to pass the time. By Thursday afternoon, the petition has reached close to 60 000 signatures that is headlined as: "Make streaming media services free to encourage people to stay at home during a quarantine".

Of course Netflix like other SVOD services are commercial, private businesses.

The petition asks that SVODs become free services for 60 days.

"Many people are turning to their streaming services to alleviate their monotony. The problem with this is that many people cannot afford these membership fees, especially in a time like now when many people's economic livelihood is already strained."

"Therefore, this petition asks that all worldwide streaming services inact a temporary 60-day stoppage of membership charges, as well as per-movie rental fees."

"If people can watch as much as they want, whenever they want, this will help alleviate the stress of home isolation, as well as encourage people to stay home. This is a responsible community health strategy," says the petition that was started by Philip Kolas.

"Many other media markets have done similar ideas. This is an easily manageable path of assistance for these corporations, one specifically which only they can provide."

Coronavirus: The River and South African television's well of stockpiled new episodes of the most-watched prime time soaps will start to run out from Friday 24 April.


by Thinus Ferreira

The well of stockpiled television episodes of South Africa's most-watched prime time soaps will start to run dry from Friday.

Both public and pay-TV channels will begin to run out of available new episodes for the highest-rated shows in the country over the next couple of days and weeks because of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus national lockdown. 

With the national shutdown in effect in South Africa that has been extended by further weeks to try and curb the spread of Covid-19, the broadcaster pantry will start to run dry from tomorrow.

That will be followed over the next few days and weeks by a cascading effect of programming changes across channels as broadcasters and pay-TV services from MultiChoice to the SABC are forced to pad their schedules with different content as new pre-recorded, locally-produced shows run out of episodes.

With the country marking record TV ratings gains during day time and prime time for South African television as families - including parents and kids - remain cloistered at home, it remains to be seen whether the massive viewership surge will hold once broadcasters are forced to schedule repeats and content viewers have already seen.

On Friday 24 April the M-Net-run channel Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) will broadcast the last new episodes of Isibaya, produced by The Bomb Shelter and the new telenovela Gomora produced by Seriti TV that have both now run out of stockpiled episodes. 

M-Net schedulers are replacing these two hours on Mzansi Magic with double episodes at 19:00 of the first season of The River, produced by Tshedza Pictures, from Monday 27 April.

Both are two of the most-watched shows on pay-TV with Gomora that lured up to 1.7 million viewers in March and Isibaya 1.003 million viewers, together with The Queen from Ferguson Films that also shut down in March that was the most-watched show on DStv last month with 2.2 million viewers.

The Queen will screen the last episode of the current season at the end of the second week of May.

While first season episodes of The River is now shown on Mzansi Magic, the telenovela that is actually in its third season with first-run episodes on the other M-Net channel, 1Magic (DStv 103), is also running out of episodes. 

The River that lured 1.165 million pay-TV subscribers in March to DStv will end on 8 May, replaced by Is'thunzi, produced by Rapid Blue.

The River has also been on a hiatus and production break because of the Covid-19 lockdown with no fourth season that has been confirmed says M-Net.

The Somizi & Mohale: The Union wedding reality limited series, produced by The BarLeader, that was exclusively produced for MultiChoice's streaming service Showmax will now pad the linear TV schedule and unspool on Mzansi Magic from 27 April at 20:00.

Similar to what international broadcasters are now doing, the M-Net programming team is also working to pad the Mzansi Magic schedule with repeat blocks of popular reality shows like Date My Family and Our Perfect Wedding, both produced by Connect TV. Both series about family dates and reality weddings continue to draw huge audiences.

On 1 May the Real Housewives of Johannesburg, produced by RHOSA Productions, will start on Mzansi Magic for 14 episodes until 20 May with season 1 of Madam & Mercy taking over after that. 

"As M-Net local entertainment channels, we pride ourselves on our authentic local content and this lockdown period provides us with the perfect opportunity to share this. Viewers now have time to catch up on their favourite shows and we are excited to keep them entertained with a double dose of a drama series that has received recognition on the global stage," says Nomsa Philiso, director of M-Net local entertainment channels.

"M-Net continues to enjoy healthy relations with our content suppliers and we are all working together to ensure that our customers don't miss out on a single moment of excellent entertainment, even when production has to take a break."

"With these changes to our line-up and a host of award-winning shows, viewers can still enjoy a riveting line-up of great entertainment to make staying at home more bearable." 


SA's most-watched show out of new episodes on 8 May
On South Africa's public broadcaster, the country's most-watched prime time series, Uzalo on weekdays at 20:30 that lured over 10.29 million viewers in March will broadcast it's last new episode two weeks from now on 8 May on SABC1.

From 11 May the SABC will have to switch to repeats of old Uzalo episodes for at least a week.

The Durban-based production company Stained Glass TV remains shuttered along with others and can only resume production once the national lockdown is lifted.

"The lockdown has put production under immense 'post lockdown' pressure,' Stained Glass TV tells TViwithThinus in response to a media enquiry. 

"Pre-recorded episodes will be on-air up until 8 May, thereafter viewers should expect episode reruns while the production works determinedly to deliver more episodes per week and catch up with our delivery schedule."

"Viewers can anticipate new and exciting episodes from Monday 18 May," says the show.

This is all however contingent on production companies being allowed to open the studio doors after 30 April if the national lockdown is lifted and lifted and in heavily-affected provinces like Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

On e.tv the free-to-air commercial broadcaster still has enough stockpiled episodes of both of its local weekday soaps - Rhythm City, produced by Quizzical Pictures and Scandal! produced by Ochre Moving Pictures - as well as telenovela Imbewu done from KwaZulu-Natal by Grapevine Productions for now to stave off repeat broadcasts during prime time.

SABC2's 7de Laan, produced by Danie Odendaal Productions, currently has enough new half-hours stockpiled to last until 25 May.

Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson, told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that the public broadcaster has a sufficient TV soap content, will communicate when soaps run out of episodes and switch to repeats, and is in contact with production companies.

"The organisation has a sufficient soapie content offering to cover the duration of the lockdown period. The organisation has also ensured that, as part of its efforts to build resilience in its broadcasting environment, there are measures in place to ensure business continuity during this period and in the event of further extensions."

"Should future repeats of popular soaps be required, this will be communicated to the public."

"The SABC remains committed to continue to provide an essential service of broadcasting to the millions of South Africans, who rely solely on the corporation for information, education and entertainment."