Thursday, September 29, 2022

eMedia's Openview adds BBC Studios' BBC UKTV as a British free-to-air TV channel in South Africa.


by Thinus Ferreira

BBC Studios and eMedia's Openview free-to-air satellite service in South Africa will be adding BBC UKTV from 18 October 2022 as Openview and BBC Studio's first free-to-view channel in South Africa.

Openview used to carry BBC World News but Openview dumped that very well-liked TV news channel after a while.

BBC UKTV will be added to Openview on channel 114 from 18 October which will be the BBC's 100th birthday. Neither Openview nor BBC Studios are saying for how long the initial channel carriage agreement is.

BBC UKTV's programming will include a variety of entertainment, soaps, documentaries and children's shows. 

BBC Studios Africa already has a well-established set of TV channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, including BBC World News, BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Earth and CBeebies.

BBC Kids has been added for MTN customers in South Africa recently. In Australia and New Zealand the version of BBC UKTV is a pay-TV channel.

BBC Studios says that the BBC UKTV's schedule for South Africa is compiled to "match the viewing habits of families in South Africa".

On BBC UKTV there will be a lot of shows DStv subscribers have seen, ranging from factual entertainment like The Great British Bake Off (season 8) and cooking shows Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook and Mary Berry Cooks to motoring shows such as Million Dollar Car Hunters on Thursdays at 20:55 and classic Top Gear (season 19) which will air weekdays at 20:00.

The British hospital based soap Casualty (season 36) will debut in South Africa every Thursday at 18:20 and Doctors (season 22) will premiere weekdays at 19:00.

The long-running sitcom My Family (season 1) joins the channel launch line-up which follows the trials and tribulations of a British family, starring American-British actress ZoĆ« Wanamake and British actor Kris Marshall airing at 06:00 and 19:30 every day.

Viewers will be able to experience the BBC's incredible natural history collection every day at 09:00 and weekdays from 15:35. These will include the BBC Studios Natural History Unit's nature documentary Wild Africa weekdays at 15:35 to unique local travelogue exploring Africa, Africa with Ade Adepitan, Tuesdays at 21:00. 

There will also be a selection of Sir David Attenborough's fascinating docuseries; Big Bird, Giant Dinosaur, Giant Egg, Fabulous Frogs and Natural Curiosities on BBC UKTV later in 2022.

For children up to 12 there will be kids entertainment between 06:00 and 09:00, including the first seasons of the action-packed geographical adventure, Go Jetters, children's cookery show, My World Kitchen, wildlife show, Andy’s Safari Adventures and My Pet & Me which helps children appreciate what it really means to have a pet.

"We are proud to partner with Openview to launch our first ever free-to-view channel in South Africa," says Arran Tindall, senior vice president, for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) key market region at BBC Studios.

"The launch will enable us to reach wider audiences utilising the richness of the BBC's catalogue across multiple genres. I can't wait for new families in South Africa to experience the very best of British content and discover their new favourite shows."

Pierre Cloete, BBC Studios Africa commercial director, says "I am so excited for even more families in South Africa to access BBC Studios' incredible catalogue of bold, British shows".

"From British soaps, fascinating documentaries and children's shows, BBC UKTV has been carefully crafted to match the viewing habits of the whole family, providing all age groups entertainment at every moment of the day."

Marlon Davids, group executive for programming, says "Openview is a growing platform and constantly adding new channels and genres to appeal to a broad audience".

"Earlier this year we added eXposed, ePlesier and The Home Channel+. We are pleased and excited to give our audiences even more choice, and more of the best in world-class entertainment with the addition of BBC UKTV."

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Ultimate Braai Master back for season 8 and new host on e.tv in 2023.


by Thinus Ferreira

The South African competition reality show Ultimate Braai Master will be back for an 8th season in 2023 on e.tv and will be switching to the Western Cape, with creator Justin Bonello stepping away as host but retaining judges Peter Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng.

With a new host still to be announced, season 8 of Ultimate Braai Master will be on e.tv from 5 February 2023 at 17:00, with the show telling TVwithThinus it will be filmed between 26 October and 2 December and in the Western Cape this year for 13 episodes after two seasons shot in the Eastern Cape.

With over 8 million viewers who watched season 7 on e.tv as well as on the eXtra and eReality channels on eMedia's Openview satellite service, the show was also picked up by Netflix for a global audience since February this year.


"Another very exciting chapter in the Ultimate Braai Master journey lies ahead of us," says Sivan Pillay, Trace Studios CEO. 

"Trace Studios looks forward to producing another series and is very excited about the sponsor partnerships that G2Connection has brought to the Ultimate Braai Master brand. In addition, there will be a new host presenting the show this round."

The 8th season of Ultimate Braai Master will feature 10 teams having to braai all kinds of food in various locations in all kinds of manner, and will be filmed in the Western Cape. 

The season plans to "showcase the wealth of produce celebrated in the region, from free range dairy and grain fed cattle, to fresh grown organic vegetables from farm to braai to table".

HFPA's scandal-riddled 80th Golden Globes to return to television with awards show on 10 January 2023.

by Thinus Ferreira

America's scandal-riddled Golden Globe Awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the precursor of the annual Oscars, will return to television in 2023 for the 80th Golden Globe Awards on 10 January, meaning that M-Net (DStv 101) will broadcast it for DStv subscribers in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa early that morning, and again as a recorded awards show during primetime.

The HFPA and America's NBC TV network announced in a statement that the 80th Golden Globe Awards will be taking place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on 10 January 2023 as a once-off deal.

The return to television of the scandal-damaged Golden Globes comes after massive negative exposure and a backlash from America's TV and film industry following shocking exposes about HFPA practises, a lack of diversity in its closed membership ranks with no black members, and the HFPA promising to reform but continuing to fail to adequately change.

The HFPA will announce the nominations for the 80th Golden Globes on 12 December 2022. 

"We recognise the HFPA's commitment to ongoing change and look forward to welcoming back the Golden Globes to NBC for its landmark 80th anniversary in January 2023." says Frances Berwick, chairman of entertainment networks at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, in a statement.

Helen Hoehne, HFPA president, in the statement, says "We are thrilled to announce the return of the Golden Globe Awards on NBC and to hosting the party of the year for audiences around the world who have been waiting for its return".

"It's great to be back at the Beverly Hilton for the must-see celebration recognising the best in film and television. The HFPA remains committed to important changes and supporting programmes which prioritise diversity, inclusion, and transparency."

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The fifth Joburg Film Festival 2023 launches workshop sessions for young filmmakers and Young Voices short film competition to showcase Gauteng townships.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Joburg Film Festival will be taking place again in Johannesburg for a fifth time, from 31 January to 5 February 2023. In the run-up to that, the festival is doing a youth and audience development programme during October and November to help upskill young upcoming filmmakers, as well as Young Voices Short Film competition.

The Joburg Film Festival's development programme is taking place in Gauteng during October in the form of various workshop sessions, where those attending will also be able to network and make new contacts besides learning new skills through mentorships and internship opportunities which might follow from that.

Young people between 18 and 35 who are students or young and aspiring filmmakers from previously disadvantaged communities can enter to take part in the film festival's development programme which covers topics ranging from directing, performance and story conceptualisation to production, editing and animation.

The programme spans across 2 days of filmmaking workshops, as well as a 2-day acting workshop.

The first one is taking place on 8 and 9 October in Sedibeng (Chris Hani Sports Complex, Orange Farm, 10:00 - 17:00), followed by the West Rand on 22 and 23 October (Gauteng Archive Centre Kagiso, Krugersdorp, 10:00 - 17:00), Ekurhuleni on 5 and 6 November (venue to be confirmed, 10:00 - 17:00), and Tshwane on 26 and 27 November (venue to be confirmed). 

The Johannesburg regional session will be taking place in January 2023.

Registration is free and can be done by anyone with a valid matric certificate on the film festival's website at https://joburgfilmfestival.co.za/youngvoices.

The 2023 Joburg Film Festival is also doing a Young Voices Short Film competition under the banner of "What inspires you about your township?"

For this short film competition three winners will be selected from across five regions who will receive a range of prizes and with one filmmaker chosen to get a scholarship. Details to enter the short film competition is also on the festival's website.

MultiChoice to add the Moonbug Kids TV channel to DStv in October.


by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice will be adding the Moonbug Kids TV channel to DStv in October, bringing content from several well-known YouTube shows to subscribers in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa like Blippi, CoComelon, Gecko's Garage, Arpo, Morphle as well as Little Angel and Oddbods.

The Moonbug Kids channel, run by the British company Moonbug Entertainment, already launched elsewhere in the world, for instance on Sky in the United Kingdom in mid-2020 with many of the Moonbug shows available to stream for free on YouTube.

Georginah Machiridza, MultiChoice head of content strategy and third party channels, in a statement says MultiChoice "constantly reviews its channel offering to ensure we continue to bring our customers the best quality local and international content, and we believe that Moonbug Kids is exactly what our customers have been asking for".

Moonbug Kids will broadcast in English in 45 African countries.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Quizzical Pictures COO Odirile Mekwa upped as new managing director after acquiring a stake in the production company, Harriet Gavshon shifting to creative director role.


by Thinus Ferreira

The chartered accountant Odirile Mekwa who has been chief operating officer (COO) of Quizzical Pictures is becoming its new managing director after acquiring a stake in the South African production company, replacing producer Harriet Gavshon who is becoming creative director.

Quizzical Pictures is now 71% black-owned. Andile Khumalo is the majority shareholder in Quizzical Pictures, with the balance owned by founders Harriet Gavshon and David Jimmy. Harriet Gavshon who has been running Quizzical Pictures for the past 28 years is moving to the creative director role.

The rest of the Quizzical Pictures management team consists of JP Potgieter as senior producer and Nimrod Geva as head of development, with Kwena Ngoasheng as financial manager.

Quizzical Pictures has produced numerous TV series for various South African TV channels over the past almost three decades, including a number of international co-productions. 

Established in 1993 as Weekly Mail Television, then Mail and Guardian Television, the production company was spun out in 1999 as Curious Pictures and rebranded as Quizzical Pictures in 2012.

The production company produced shows like the first Showmax Original drama series, The Girl from St. Agnes for MultiChoice's video streaming service Showmax, and the last few years the drama series Reyka and Desert Rose for M-Net (DStv 101), Swartwater for SABC2, the long-running Rhythm City weekday soap for e.tv, and Savage Beauty for Netflix Africa as one of the first original series for Netflix South Africa.

Other series include Lithapo for SABC2, MTV Shuga Down South for Viacom Africa now Paramount Africa, MasterChef SA for M-Net, Hard Copy for SABC3, Umlilo for e.tv, Intersexions for SABC1, and several others.

Recently Quizzical Pictures has strategically been eyeing more and more international co-productions and international sales for series filmed in South Africa,

Odirile Mekwa says "These are most exciting times for African content producers. There is a growing appetite for our stories. The last few years have seen Quizzical Pictures, and our peers integrate into an increasingly global television and film marketplace. This development is transforming our industry and business practices at a fast pace".

"This growth makes us very excited for the future as it affords us the opportunity to share our ever-improving expertise and storytelling with our traditional customer base, and now also with business partners from across borders and continents."

Harriet Gavshon says "I am excited about our upcoming slate of co-productions and projects and delighted to have the space to give them the attention they deserve".

StarTimes Media SA continues to create new jobs with dubbing of global telenovelas into South African languages on StarSat, says diverse slate of Zulu-dubbed series from several countries planned.


by Thinus Ferreira

StarTimes Media SA says it continues to create new jobs in South Africa's film and TV industry through the use of its Midrand-based dubbing studios to create new voiceover soundtracks in Zulu and other South African languages for global telenovelas on its StarSat satellite pay-TV service - and that several more Zulu-dubbed series are in the works.

eMedia was first to start dubbing international telenovelas for its set of e.tv-packaged TV channels in South Africa into Afrikaans, along with ZEE Africa also doing dubbing work into English and other languages.

This was followed by StarTimes Media SA which started to dub international telenovelas into Zulu. Lately MultiChoice is also using its Dolby Atmos equipped studio in Randburg to now dub Turkish telenovelas into Afrikaans for M-Net's Afrikaans-run kykNET channels on DStv.

"In 2021 StarSat launched its state-of-the-art dubbing studios in Midrand, South Africa. The main objective of its new initiative is to adapt its best-performing telenovelas to Zulu and other indigenous South African languages," says Debbie Wu, On Digital Media (ODM) CEO.

"We are very excited about the possibility of ensuring the widest accessibility of South African audiences to award-winning telenovelas dubbed into main indigenous languages."

"Our dubbing initiative continues to create many new jobs along the value chain. Since the launch of our dubbing studios, we have recruited and trained numerous South African youth as voice actors, directors, translators, editors, and sound engineers."

StarSat says that based on the recent success of the Zulu-dubbed version of the Philippine novella The Blood Sisters, StarSat has since launched a Zulu version of the popular Zee TV novella Waaris: Indlalifa.

StarSat says a diverse slate of more Zulu-dubbed telenovelas from Mexico, South Korea, Spain and India are in the works to be broadcast on StarSat's StarTimes RISE (StarSat 120) channel.

"Running parallel to our novella content adaption strategy is our focus on delivering the best English novellas to more South Africans," says Debbie Wu.

"We are proud to announce the broadcast of the Philippine novella La Vida Lena on the StarTimes Novella E Plus channel. Another novella 'must-see' is Zee Novella's My Left Side – the story of a powerful woman whose riches-to-rags experience puts her in direct conflict and interest with a man who has lived in the lap of luxury his whole life."

La Vida Lena is shown daily on ST Novella E Plus (StarTimes 128) at 20:40. My Left Side is shown daily on ST Novella E (StarSat 127) at 19:00. Love by Chance is shown daily on StarLife (StarSat 550) at 18:00.

Mzansi Magic adds Marriage Boot Camp rip-off reality series Forever Maybe while Phumeza and Mnqobi 'Shota' Mdabe sell TV wedding rights for 4-episode special.


by Thinus Ferreira

Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) is adding a new marriage conflict reality show which is a rip-off of the American Marriage Boot Camp series which will have Lerato Kganyago as presenter, as well as a 4-episode wedding special after actress Phumeza Mdabe and music producer Mnqobi "Shota" Mdabe sold the TV rights to the M-Net packaged channel.

Forever Maybe, a rip-off of the American series Marriage Boot Camp, will start on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) on Sunday 6 October at 19:00 with presenter Lerato Kganyago who is known for her own tumultuous personal relationships, and psychologist Lindelani Magubane showing "how couples navigate through marital crisis" according to the channel.

Mzansi Magic in a press release says "Four couples will move into a house to either try and find a healthier path in their union or call it quits forever".

Shirley Adonisi, M-Net director of local entertainment channels, says "Mzansi Magic's reality shows are loved by our audiences – it's a genre that resonates strongly with them because they are authentic and relatable".

"With the addition of Forever Maybe to our Sunday slate, we know that we are providing infotainment that could also help the viewers at home take the first step towards navigating their own interpersonal relationships in a healthier manner."

Meanwhile, Phumeza Mdabe, an actress, and her husband and music producer Mnqobi "Shota" Mdabe is the next South African couple who have sold their TV wedding rights to M-Net like Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Motaung, Dineo Moeketsi and Solo Langa, as well as Minnie Dlamini and Quinton Jones.

Mzansi Magic will broadcast it as a 4-episode special from 24 September at 18:00 titled PS: I Love You, Phumeza and Shota's Wedding Special.

The couple will show DStv subscribers their rites of umembeso and umbondo, followed by wedding.

Shirley Adonisi says "reality is one of the genres our viewers love the most, and while they enjoy the stories of everyday people being told on screen, our specials and shows that take us into the lives of public figures also fan favourites".

"September marks the start of the South African wedding season, so it's appropriate that we introduce a wedding special at this time. Phumeza and Shota are among the most private couples in South Africa, so it will be a treat for viewers to see them open up."

"We explore the couple's relationship with one another, as well as their relationships with their respective families. While love is at the centre of this special, it's also a story of cultural identity, overcoming challenges, family bonds, and friendship."

DStv subscribers in South Africa are fuming after MultiChoice added Disney+ to their bills without any customer consent.


by Thinus Ferreira

DStv subscribers in South Africa are angry after MultiChoice added Disney+ subscriptions to DStv accounts without customers' consent and without them specifically asking for it, with subscribers saying they've been struggling to get it removed.

The DStv billing trouble is the latest in a string of ongoing technical issues with Disney+ in South Africa since The Walt Disney Company launched its video streaming service in the country in May this year.

MultiChoice and The Walt Disney Company signed a partnership contract for Disney+ to be carried as one of the over-the-top (OTT) streaming service on its DStv Explora Ultra decoders. Shortly before launch MultiChoice gave some DStv subscribers a 3-month free subscription to Disney+.

DStv customers can opt-in to get Disney+ through MultiChoice, with the Disney+ subscription fee added to their DStv account and monthly bill, which then comes with an R49 discount on the Disney+ monthly fee.

DStv subscribers are however furious after discovering that MultiChoice has added Disney+ to their DStv accounts without them ever requesting it, wanting the service or giving their content or supplying a cellphone number which is required to sign up for the streaming service in South Africa.

"Thanks for adding Disney+ to your DStv bill. Look out for communication from Disney+ with info on how to start streaming," MultiChoice said in emails and SMS messages sent to DStv account holders who haven't signed up for Disney+ and who don't want to, or haven't given any consent for Disney+ to be added.

On social media DStv subscribers have been complaining, asking MultiChoice"why did you add Disney+ to my subscription, without my permission?", "When did I subscribe? Put your things in wonder and stop being industrial bullies", 

DStv subscriber Zanele Nkosi said "DStv are acting like crooks. Some of us took the annual subscription of Disney+ so now it means we will be expected to pay for a service we already paid for. I think the best is to cancel DStv", with Stefan Buys who said "DStv who gave you the right to activate Disney+ on my account? I did not give any consent for this at all! Buddy thieves stealing my money."

DStv subscriber Charl Solomons said "DStv please be so kind and advise me who gave permission for the Disney+ service to be added to my DStv bill? I did not give any permission for this to happen."

David Bradley noted that "DStv just had Disney+ added to my account with no authority to do so. Email actually says I added it! What a nerve!".

"Why are you adding products to my billing without my permission?" asked Barbara Loots. "I did not activate this but woke up to email and SMS notifications that I added Disney+ to my billing. What the hell is this?"


The Walt Disney Company Africa headquartered in Johannesburg which has remained silent over the myriad of ongoing technical issues that are plaguing Disney+ since its South African launch didn't respond to a media query from TVwithThinus made on Monday about the issue. If there is comment it will be added here.

Litlhare Moteetee, MultiChoice spokesperson, told TVwithThinus in response to a media query that "MultiChoice is aware that Disney+ subscriptions were opened for selected customers who opted in for DStv Rewards".

"This is a 3-month free subscription and customers who have do not opt in following this period will have the service automatically discontinued and they will not be billed for it. Customers who wish to continue viewing Disney+ will need to either opt in or reactivate the product on self-service. This has now been communicated to all affected."