Thursday, June 20, 2024

MasterChef SA season 5 is set to start 13 July on SABC3 - see the quail eggs inside the pantry.

by Thinus Ferreira

Viewers will be surprised to discover that Pick n Pay can source quail eggs and that gleaming Beko appliances now line the walls, when the 5th season of MasterChef South Africa starts on SABC3 on Saturday 13 July at 19:30 with 20 new South Africans competing in this TV cooking competition.

With the drama in the kitchen moving from the Cape Town harbour and M-Net to a custom-build kitchen and pantry at Atlantic Studios and SABC3, Primedia Studios is bringing the localised version of the Banijay format to a lot more South African viewers' homes on Saturday evenings from next month.

I recently did a day-long set visit while the MasterChef SA contestants behind their cooking stations had to conjure up delicious delights for the three judges - Katlego Mlambo, Zola Nene and Justine Drake.

Across the massive two-studio space that incorporates a lounge area, the cook-off workstations with a clock, as well as a beautiful Pick n Pay pantry furnished in black and brown panelling, the MasterChef SA producers, crew and cameramen captured every angle and every soundbite - hours of footage per day that will be edited to 45 minutes per episode.

From baking and basting to seafood and curries the 20 contestants from across South Africa will once again be given big tasks to perform behind the pots and pans inside the state-of-the-art and pressure-cooker kitchen. The winner gets R1 million.

Besides stressful invention tests, there will again be mystery box challenges, limiting them to a mixed bag of ingredients and viewers will also occasionally see world-renowned local chefs visit the MasterChef SA kitchen.

"The contestants are only as good as their last plate, and anything can happen," says Katlego Mlambo. "It's a constant race against the clock and one flop or sub-standard presentation could cost them their MasterChef apron."

Justine Drake says "The competency of this season's home cooks is much higher than in the previous season. Zola Nene adds: "I was surprised by their clear understanding of advanced cooking techniques and knife skills. These people can cook. The question is, who will continue to improve their know-how and rise to the top?"

Inside the pantry
The Pick n Pay pantry set includes the first-ever half-moon gantry, with the design matching those of current stores and focusing on line rhythm but also allowing curves to soften the space. 

The shelves have everything from fresh produce to grocery basics like eggs, coconut milk, spices, pasta and also hide delightful surprises like quail eggs.

Double-door fridges stock all types of dairy and cheese, charcuterie, red meat and chicken, while a freezer section contains ice cream, frozen berries, and seafood, including prawns and mussels. 

Included here are products from the Pick n Pay Innovations range as well as its healthy food Live Well range. Notable in the pantry is the packaging-free section which carries everything from nuts and goji berries to bulgur wheat to help limit waste as contestants can take the exact quantity they require. 

"Every time I walk into the Pick n Pay pantry, I'm blown away. It's a chef's dream come true," says Katlego Mlambo.

Also notably visible alongside @home, Mervyn Gers bespoke crockery and Wüsthoff knives will be Beko appliances during the 5th season of MasterChef SA - the first time this company is sponsoring a South African TV show.

Lindile Xoko exits as Primedia Broadcasting CEO.

by Thinus Ferreira

Lindile Xoko is exiting as Primedia Broadcasting CEO at the end of the month.

The executive who joined Primedia Broadcasting in July 2021 as chief revenue officer was then upped as Primedia Broadcasting CEO, fulfilling dual roles.

Lindile Xoko is going to Harvard in the United States and then "moving into the private equity space" Primedia says in response to a media query.

Primedia Broadcasting was asked who is replacing Lindile Xoko as CEO but didn't respond to the question.

Jonathan Procter, Primedia Group CEO, says in a provided statement "Lindile brought the disciplined mindset of an engineer into the broadcast space and successfully challenged traditional models".

"The local media market has to face and beat international competitors like Google, Facebook, Netflix, YouTube etc., on a daily basis, and Lindile courageously led the revenue team at Primedia in this battle. He will always remain a valued member of the Primedia family, and Primedia extends its best wishes to him and his family for his future academic and business pursuits."

Lindile Xoko says in a prepared quote "I'm grateful for the amazing time that I have had with Jonathan Procter and the brilliant team at Primedia, for the incredible people that I have worked with and for the privilege of serving our listeners and clients".

"I am eternally proud of what we have achieved together. I am excited to take this with me into the next chapter of my life, building a legacy of creating value."

Former MultiChoice, M-Net and Netflix exec Nkateko Mabaso dead at 43.

by Thinus Ferreira

The former MultiChoice, M-Net and Netflix Africa executive Nkateko Mabaso has died. He was 43. The cause of his death is not yet known.

Nkateko Mabaso leaves behind his wife Mathapelo, his son Tshimologo and his parents Xithlangoma Bob and Lizzy Mabaso.

According to insiders Nkateko Mabaso had been ill for a few months but recovered. Insiders say he collapsed at home yesterday and was rushed to hospital but didn't make it.

Nomsa Philiso, MultiChoice South Africa CEO for general entertainment who replaced Nkateko Mabaso after his MultiChoice exit to Netflix, said "It is with great sadness that I share the news of Nkateko Mabaso's passing".

"Nkateko, fondly known to most as NK, was a maverick within the M-Net world where he held various roles and was instrumental in the implementation and growth of our mass and middle market propositions with the flagship being the iconic Mzansi Magic."

"We will always remember NK, he left an indelible mark with his work on iconic productions such as Isibaya, The Queen and events such as the Channel O Awards, DMVCAs and a whole host of others. May his family, friends and colleagues find comfort during this very difficult time."

Nkateko Mabaso who had travelled extensively through Africa, Europe and the United States attended the Naspers' Leadership Accelerator programme in Amsterdam - a city he would return to years later to work in as a Netflix executive.

He received several awards including one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Destiny Magazine in 2016 as well as being named in Mail and Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in the media category in 2013.

After graduating from the AAA School of Advertising, he also earned his MBA at Henley Business School and worked for Grey Advertising.

Nkateko Mabaso joined M-Net in 2010 as the marketing manager for the Vuzu and Channel O channels and was M-Net's general manager for local entertainment channels in 2013 before later moving to the director position in 2014 for M-Net's local interest channels, as well as group general manager for M-Net South Africa in 2016.

In October 2018 he became the permanent M-Net CEO after he was acting M-Net CEO since February 2018.

Two years later he was promoted to MultiChoice's group executive in charge of programming in October 2020 overseeing content commissioning for the wider MultiChoice Group. He only worked in the position for a year until he resigned.

He jumped to Netflix where he was appointed as Netflix director of licensing and co-productions for Africa. He was in Amsterdam in this position for a year and five months, after which he quietly exited and returned to South Africa.

Since June 2023 Nkateko Mabaso was self-employed, working in content curation and distribution. 

He popped up publicly at the South African public broadcaster's SABC Video Entertainment Content Fest 2024 programming upfront three months ago in March in Johannesburg, where he was a guest.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

South Africa's parastatal signal distributor Sentech launches its Freevision Play video streaming service.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's overcrowded video streaming space just got another service with the parastatal signal distributor Sentech which launched Freevision Play on Wednesday.

Freevision Play joins a litany of available local and international video streaming services in South Africa which already saw a shake-out that saw market entrants like Altech Node, PCCW's OnTAPTV, Cell C's Black, Telkom ONE, Vodacom's Video Play, Acorn TV and the BBC's BritBox shutter.

Freevision Play will now try and compete in South Africa against MultiChoice and Comcast NBCUniversal's relaunched Showmax, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+, the public broadcaster's SABC+ and eMedia's eVOD. 

Smaller players like PCCW Media's VIU, Jou Afrikaans, Marquee TV, AfriForumTV, PrideTV and CineMagic also exist and are trying to sign up subscribers.

On Wednesday when the service made its debut, Freevision Play at carried no SABC TV channels but had the community TV channels Cape Town TV (CTV), 1KZN TV, Soweto TV, Tshwane TV, Faith TV and South Africa's government-funded BRICS Africa Channel.

Radio channels like Vuma FM, Engcobo FM, Moutse FM, Pheli FM, Mohodi FM, Waterberg Wave Radio and Ekhephini Community Radio are also available but no SABC radio stations.

Freevision Play is free and available online, as well as an app for major smartphone operating systems with Sentech noting that it can be "acccessed via smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs".

Sentech says Freevision Play is "a groundbreaking over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platform designed to provide seamless and free access to a wide array of local and community TV and radio channels".

Sentech isn't disclosing how much it cost and what it spent to create Freevision Play as a late OTT entrant but says it is "part of our ongoing commitment to digital transformation and enhancing connectivity" to "bridge the digital divide by offering rich, diverse content to all South Africans".

According to the signal distributor, Freevision Play "offers broadcasters an innovative solution to reach a broader audience without the high costs associated with creating and maintaining their own OTT platforms and the challenge of aggregating audiences".

"By joining Freevision Play, broadcasters can expand their viewership, engage with their audience more effectively, and generate additional revenue through advertising. Freevision Play takes care of the upfront investment costs. It creates a multitenant platform, giving viewers and listeners a diverse range of choices while providing broadcasters with new audiences and viewers."

Sentech says Freevision Play has "a wide range of live TV and radio channels along with on-demand content" and features Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) channels.

According to Kopano Thage, Sentech's executive for media business "The launch of Freevision Play marks a significant milestone in Sentech's journey of addressing universal access to towards enhancing digital connectivity and content accessibility in South Africa".

"By providing free, high-quality content to all South Africans, we are not only bridging the digital divide but also empowering our communities with information and entertainment. We are excited to see how Freevision Play will transform the way people engage with media and support the growth of local broadcasters."

Friday, June 14, 2024

12th kykNET Silwerskermfees to showcase stories from musical comedy to Muslim burial family drama.

by Thinus Ferreira

Ranging from musical comedy and science fiction to and Anglo Boer War horror story and a Muslim burial family drama, from 28 August the 12th kykNET Silwerskermfees will bring the footfall of established and new film professionals to Camps Bay and a festival line-up that features six feature films, six short films, eight short films by emerging filmmakers, along with five documentaries.

Once again taking place in Cape Town's seabreeze-filled Camps Bay suburb, festival-goers will get to talk show inside the Bay Hotel and Theatre on the Bay while attending various masterclasses, themed panel discussions and workshops, while getting the chance to gaze at episodes of new TV pilots.

The festival will conclude on 31 August with the ritzy blue-carpeted Silwerskerm award ceremony at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) which will be broadcast a day later on 1 September on kykNET (DStv 144).

"We believe in the future of Afrikaans film and television, in the importance of a wide variety of voices, and in the power of stories to change people's lives," says Waldimar Pelser, director of M-Net Premium Channels.

"The kykNET Silwerskermfees film festival aims to do everything possible to discover new storytellers, put talent in the spotlight, and to provide the industry with a space where people can talk, show and come together, with Afrikaans as the glue that binds us," he says.

"The film industry changes constantly, and it certainly faces many economic challenges. Therefore, it is important for kykNET to produce, and help produce films and TV that are commercially amenable, and that will reach the biggest possible audiences in order to keep the industry sustainable."

"We will also continue, even if on a smaller scale, to invest in niche projects that are less commercial but valuable in the context of our culture and our country."

After launching and expanding with a "shotgun shorts" project last year for professional short films, kykNET will debut these films at the festival in August. These will be screened besides six feature films, eight short films by emerging filmmakers, as well as five short documentaries.

Also on the programme for a second year since its introduction last year, are the first public screening of pilot episodes of upcoming new TV series.  

Various workshops, masterclasses and panel discussions with experts and film industry leaders are also on the programme, with topics ranging from how the co-production space is growing, to intimacy coordination on set and adapting works from book to screen. Festival organisers are also making it easier for the public to attend individual screenings and sessions with tickets that can be bought from 26 June through Quicket for specific programme events.

Here is the 12th kykNET Silwerskermfees film festival screening line-up:


Die dekonstruksie van Retta Blom
Based on Zelda Bezuidenhout's debut chick-lit novel adapted by Henriëtta Gryffenberg adapted.
This drama offers a glimpse into the life of Retta (Antoinette Louw), a housewife who had been content for many years with her role as a mother of two boys, and as a wife to Tobias. The film depicts her deconstruction as she starts questioning the so-called certainties of her life.

Gebokste Liefde
Annelize Frost makes her feature film directorial debut with this Showmax Original romcom.
Tarryn Wyngaard stars as divorced single mom, Suma-Lee. When she’s fired from her job as a fashion designer, she joins a boxing gym and finally finds the courage to stand up for herself and fight for what she wants. Also starring Roché Killian and Jandré le Roux.

Die Bloedhonde
This original murder mystery has Stiaan Smith as director and screenwriter.
Elani Dekker stars as Katrien, whose holiday with her family is cut short by an unexplained death in a resort. Katrien suspects the beloved local reverend, played by Tobie Cronjé, as the evildoer.
Also starring Waldemar Schultz and Anrich Herbst.

Som van Twee
A comedy with Simoné Pretorius as director and screenwriter. 
Louw Venter portrays Henk, a psychologist who wants to give up on life after his wife's death. 
He struggles to communicate with his son Renier (Adriaan Havenga). At his wife’s funeral, Henk admits to an old misdemeanour: leaking the matric maths paper to the entire Barberton. His confession results in a dramatic domino effect of comical adventures.
Also starring James Borthwick, Greteli de Swardt, Righard van Jaarsveld and Pierre Breytenbach.

Die Kwiksilwers
Lida Botha portrays Elsabé Marais, a widow in her eighties whose three friends (June van Merch, Susanne Beyers and Theresa Sedras) convince her to join them on a hilarious road trip through the Karoo to experience a meteor shower in Sutherland.

Starring Quanita Adams who is also the director and screenwriter.
The movie addresses issues that affect communities and their faith, and tells the story of the Burgess clan, an open-minded family from Cape Town’s northern suburbs. 
Quanita portrays Juleigha, who prefers to be called Julie and describes herself as a "non-practising Muslim". When she suddenly succumbs to a heart attack, her secular husband, Eric (David Isaacs), grants their daughter Leila (Shiefaa Hendricks) her wish to arrange a Muslim funeral together with Julie's mother Sumaya (June van Merch). Eric, Leila, Sumaya and Julie's son, Deen (Lyle October), now have to navigate the undercurrents of many years in one single stormy day to secure a funeral before sunset as required by Muslim tradition.

Breathing In
A horror film set during the Anglo Boer War with Jaco Bouwer as director. A gravely wounded Boer general is nursed by a mysterious traditional healer and her out worldly daughter, has to face a far greater danger than the English soldiers.


Die Groot Twis
A Johann Vermaak film characterised by a delightful retro approach and featuring puppets created by Marelize Viljoen. The film provides a satirical view on The Great Trek with an absurd perspective on historical figures and events.

Die Skynwerper
psychological drama by Dewet van Rooyen and Linsen Loots that tells the story of Nelis (Ben Albertyn) who is caught up in his dark past. He lives in isolation with his embittered, paralysed father (Dawid Minnaar). After an incident at his work that leads to his dismissal, he auditions for a part in a reality series, Die skynwerper but something is not quite right.

Liewe Dudu
comedy penned by Lydia Anne Stander about Dudu (Gugu Madlanbane), a sprightly beauty therapist who works at a stereotypical day spa in Pretoria. During the annual inspection, Dudu's day turns into complete chaos. Also starring Millie Dintoe, Zetske van Pletzen and Jaco Muller.

Marie se Laaste Dag
Lourensa Eckard and Mercy Kannemeyer combined their talents to produce this comedy tale set in the period after the first democratic election in 1994.
Marie (Mandri Sunderland), the long-time secretary of the Minister of Mineral Resources, Hendrik van der Merwe (Deon Lotz), is tasked to arrange a meeting with the new Defense Minister, Mayihlome Khumalo (Dumisani Mbebe).

Noise & Neighbours
drama by Fraser du Toit. A story about a bored little girl and a man who has given up all hope. Bolelo (Maliaka Adonis), daughter of a working single mom, spends her days alone. The grumpy Helmut (Tobie Cronjé) lives in a flat downstairs. But when Bolelo gets a piano as a birthday present, everything changes.

O, Griet! Sy's droog
dramatic arts film. The artist Johan van der Merwe (Ugan Daniels) literally captured three women in separate framed paintings. Hanging next to one another on a wall, they can't go return to the real world outside. Their only salvation is a new portrait of a girl wearing pearls, who possesses magic powers.

dramatic thriller by Izel Bezuidenhout, featuring the married couple, Liezl (Izel Bezuidenhout) and Dirk (Jacques Adriaanse), whose relationship is shaken to the core by a series of revelations and a fatal incident. They are forced to face their deepest fears, insecurities and the consequences of their actions.

Steek vir Steek
comedy by Jacqueline Viljoen and Jaco van Bosch that follows Rita (Susan Coetzer), an elderly woman, and the ladies of her knitting club who become aware that their retirement home is up for sale. They collaborate to confront Gertjie (Andrew Jordaan), the young owner of the place.
With the help of the receptionist Koekie (Jacqueline Viljoen), Rita creates an online dating app to meet older men and raise funds so save the home.


By die Soutwater
documentary by Marguerite Venter and the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation that puts the spotlight on the other side of the V&A Waterfront in the heart of Cape Town, where a team of marine specialists, scientists and volunteers try to protect sea animals from tourists and an active commercial harbour.

Jan Bloed
A documentary that focuses on the life of Alister Fortuin, aka Jan Bloed, a former member of the Fast Gun gang in Westbury, Johannesburg. He also is a former general of the notorious 26 gang. We see the place where he has committed his first murder, his "flower dens", and we meet the people from his past. His son Vercaino is also in jail. Will father and son be reunited, or will their paths go in different directions?

Maak stil die geblaf
Marisa van Tonder's love for animals and a visit to De Doorns inspired this film.
It follows a group of eleven-year-olds and their dogs in a farming community. As the children go about their lives in an environment marked by limited opportunities and violence close to home, they teach Tiger, Fluffy, Sussa and Lady to jump hurdles and navigate them through tunnels.

Tussen die draad en die dropper
Photojournalist Willem van der Berg goes on a mission to track down the Karoo’s master fencer. Willem has a long and close friendship with Hans Jors, about whom he wrote an article in 2015. But now Hans is nowhere to be found and the farmer whose Karoo kingdom was fenced in by Hans, refuses to provide information. This is a story about people born on the wrong side of the fence.

Vergeet van my
musical documentary made by Dirkie van der Merwe and the actor Beer Adriaanse. 
When Beer's parents cleaned out their storeroom in 2021, they discovered a forgotten crate containing photos, journals and plastic bags with tapes that were recorded during various music tours. The treasure trove highlights a series of events from an almost forgotten period in the South African music industry. Archive material spanning more than a decade during a revival of alternative Afrikaans music, unveil a story of discovery, coming of age and the dream to be part of something bigger. With music by Zinkplaat, Foto na Dans, eF-eL, Straatligkinders, Tidal Waves and New Holland.


Baas se honne
Directed by Bennie Fourie. A dark comedy about the life and times of Gys (Albert Pretorius). His existence is a mess, and he finds himself in a dark corner. His boss Roelf (Carel Nel) burdens him with an unwanted dog that Gys must put out.

musical comedy that features that little voice in everybody's head. In the case of Deuntjie (Anja Taljaard), a shy, obedient girl, her inner voice manifests as Vera (Daneel van der Walt), a larger-than-life diva accompanied by two backing vocalists, Moses and Jacob. They sing and causes havoc in poor Deuntjie’s head. Chaos ensues when Deuntjie can no longer distinguish between reality and the voices.
Also starring Dean Smith and Cindy Swanepoel.

Die boodskapper
fantasy story produced by Rebecca Scher and directed by Paul Crafford. 
A model clay man comes to life when the tears of Jake (Liam Kruger), a young boy caught in a bitter conflict between his parents, falls on him. Jake has made the little fellow from modelling clay himself, but now the model is on a mission: He must find a discarded letter written by Jake’s dad Frank (Emile Hager), and see it delivered to Jake’s mom, Susan (Izaan du Toit).

In die verloop van
Written by Philip Rademeyer and Emma Kotze. An intimate film focusing on everyday life amidst a tragic personal loss. It tells the story of Jana (Emma Kotze) and Chris (Wilhelm van der Walt) who wake up after an eventful night. Both are caught up in their own thoughts, but something between them remains unsaid. As they go through their morning routine, the events of the previous evening are gradually revealed.

science fiction drama by Hanneke Schutte. It explores the broken psyche of the depressed Mia (Inge Beckmann), who finds herself in a futuristic institution while being harassed by memories of her husband’s abuse. A psychiatrist, Dr Venter (Michele Burgers), introduces her to the groundbreaking new form of VR therapy.

With director Brett Michael Innes. A disturbing exploration of postnatal depression and the unvoiced challenges of new parents who struggle to cope. It is about a mother (Erica Wessels) who struggles with her colic baby.

Director and cinematographer Jozua Malherbe creates a rich, immersive visual dream full of conflicting emotions around a poem by Hunter Kennedy about fatherhood and how we change over time yet remain the same.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Shaka iLembe leads nominations in 2024's 11th Simon Sabela KZN Film & TV Awards that adds public vote reality category.

by Thinus Ferreira

The nominees have been announced for the 2024 Simon Mabhunu Sabela KwaZulu-Natal Film and Television Awards, with MultiChoice and Mzansi Magic's Shaka iLembe historical drama series grabbing the most nods.

The 11th edition of the awards has added two technical categories this year, as well as a reality TV category that will be decided through a public vote.

Thursday's nominee announcement took place at the Coastlands Skye Hotel in Umhlanga, with the awards ceremony, aimed at bolstering KwaZulu-Natal's TV and film industry, set for
20 July

The awards is run by the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism and Film Authority, a newly-formed body following the merger of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and KZN Tourism. 

The new organisation has the combined aim to promote the KwaZulu-Natal province as a premier film destination for local filmmakers as well as under the international film industry.

This year the awards is adding two technical categories – Best use of Cinematography and Best production design. The public will also be able to vote for a winner in a reality TV category.

The Bomb! Productions series Shaka iLembe currently filming its second season for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) leads with the most nominations, including nominations for Best Actor - TV, Best Actress - TV, Best Supporting Actress and Best Production Design just to name a few.

Nominated household names include Nomzamo Mbatha, Deli Malinga, Hope Mbele, Thembinkosi Mthembu, Wiseman Mncube and Kwenzo Ngcobo.

Notable films on the film festival circuit like Jacintha De Nobrega's London Recruits, Daudi Anguka's Mvera and Carolyn Carew's Music Is My Life – Joseph Tshabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are also in contention in the various film categories.

"The introduction of the public voting category acknowledges the popularity of reality TV and allows the audience to actively participate in recognising their favourite shows and personalities," says Jackie Motsepe, executive project lead of the Simon Mabhunu Sabela KwaZulu-Natal Film and Television Awards.

About the nominees, she says "These individuals have displayed remarkable talent, creativity, and dedication to their craft. The 2024 surge in entries exceeded expectations and surpassed previous records, underscoring the immense enthusiasm and dedication of filmmakers and television producers in the province."

Here is the full list of nominees:

1.Best actor - TV
Thembinkosi Mthembu (Shaka iLembe)
Wiseman Mncube (Shaka iLembe)
Wiseman Mncube (Uzalo)

2. Best actress - TV
Deli Malinga (Umkhokha the Curse)
Nirvana Nokwe-Mseluku (Outlaws)
Nomzamo Mbatha (SHaka iLembe)

3. Best supporting actor - TV
Ernest Ndlovu (uZulu no Mhlaba)
Khayelihle Dladla (House of Zwide)
Melusi Yeni (Sibongile and the Dlaminis)

4. Best supporting actress - TV
Dawn Thandeka King (Shaka iLembe)
Hope Mbhele (Shaka iLembe)
Slindile Nodangala (Outlaws)

5. Best actor - film
Kwenzo Ngcobo (Freedom Street)
Masoja Msiza (Dear Future Wife)
Mpho Sebeng (Ingoma)
Siyabonga Shibe (Blind Eye)

6. Best actress - film
Jo-Anne Reyneke (A Queen's Lobola)
Leleti Khumalo (Dear Future Wife)
Phumzile Puting (Why it Came)

7. Best supporting actor - film
Mbongeni Ngema (A Queen's Lobola)
Nkosinathi Keswa (Inkabi)
Muzi Mthabela (Inkabi)

8. Best supporting actress - film
Tumelo Nkwanca (London Recruits)
Nqobile Dhlomo (Amathambo)
Thembi Mtshali-Jones (Blind Eye)

9. Best director
Mengameli Nhlabathi (Blind Eye)
Obett Motaung (Dear Future Wife)
Tumelo Lekena (Father's Day)
Vivek Mehta (A Queen's Lobola)

10. Best pan-African film
Norman Maake (Inkabi)
Jacintha De Nobrega (London Recruits)
Daudi Anguka (Mvera)

11. Best isiZulu film
Joe Spirit (Amathambo)
Caroline Doherty (Dear Future Wife)
Zamani Mthiyane (Ingodusoyami)

12. Best micro-budget film
Zamani Mthiyane (Ingodusoyami)
Sanele Ndlovu (Intandokazi)
Lwazi Duma (Thulebona)

13. Best feature film
Ashish Gangapersad (A Queen's Lobola)
Joe Spirit (Amathambo)
Sans Moonsamy (Who's my Daddy?)

14. Best screenplay
Obett Motaung & Caroline Doherty (Dear Future Wife)
Tumelo Lekena (Father's Day)
Mli Dube (Freedom Street)

15. Best student film
Sithabiso Ndlovu (Cipher)
Sithabiso Ndlovu (hobo)
Lindani Msibi (Isibazi)
Jarnell Kisten (The Captive)

16. Best newcomer - actor
Bonga Mhlongo (Father's Day)
Ntando Zondi (Shaka iLembe)
Ntokozo Mthembu (Uzalo)
Ntokozo Vilakazi (uZulu no Mhlaba)

17. Best newcomer - actress
Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku (Outlaws)
Zamuntu Khoza (Sibongile and the Dlaminis)
Ziya Zulu (Shaka iLembe)

18. Best use of cinematography
Tiyane Nyembe (A Queen's Lobola)
Jimmy Reynolds (Dear Future Wife)
Jimmy Reynolds (Freedom Street)

19. Best production design
Boitumelo Nhlapo (A Queen's Lobola)
Dylan Lloyd (Shaka iLembe)
Shalen Haluman (Who's my Daddy?)

20. Best use of KZN as filming location
Caroline Doherty (Dear Future Wife)
Gabhisa Khuluse (Ithesho Lami - My Hustle)
Christy Denn (Sibongile and the Dlaminis)

21. Best documentary short film
Sibusisiwe Buthelezi (Checkpoint)
Enver Samuel (Truth Be Told - Ntombi Kubheka - Bones of Memory)
Enver Samuel (Truth Be Told - Phila Portia Ndwandwe - The Breastfeeding Warrior)

22. Best documentary feature film
Jacintha De Nobrega (London Recruits)
Carolyn Carew (Music Is My Life Joseph Shabalala And Ladysmith Black Mambazo)

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Shocking cord-cutting hits Africa's MultiChoice as it loses 9% of subscribers in a year while DStv premium segment plummets further.

by Thinus Ferreira

Africa's MultiChoice pay-TV business saw ongoing cord-cutting take a massive bite out of its subscriber base as it lost 9% of its active subscribers - 5% in South Africa and 13% in the Rest of Africa (RoA) - over the past year with its premium subscriber segment plummeting further.

MultiChoice, currently part of a corporate take-over and buyout process by Vivendi's Canal+, continues to blame Eskom's loadshedding and a "challenging consumer environment" for its shocking DStv subscriber losses it revealed in its financial results for the year until 31 March 2024.

In its RoA business, MultiChoice Africa blamed its operations in Nigeria, Angola and Zambia for "worst performance", citing rampant inflation and volatile currencies.

After the latest customer cord-cutting, MultiChoice has 7.6 million South African DStv subscribers left. 

In its so-called "premium tier" of DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus subscribers - MultiChoice's most-valuable consumers who contribute most to Average Revenue per User (ARPU) - MultiChoice saw subscriber numbers plummet another 8%.

By the end of March 2024, MultiChoice now has only 1.8 million 90-day active DStv premium segment subscribers left - a loss of another 200 000 top-end DStv subscribers in South Africa in the past year.

In its "midmarket" tier - DStv Compact subscribers - MultiChoice saw cord-cutting of a whopping 9%, while its mass-market subscribers decreased by 2% "due to pressure in the DStv Family base, loadshedding and the reduction of DStv decoder subsidies".

In these segments, MultiChoice shed around another 200 000 DStv subscribers in South Africa, meaning that in total MultiChoice lost around 400 000 DStv subscribers over the past year.

Due to weaker local currencies and consumer pressure, MultiChoice revenue declined by 5% to R56 billion.

According to MultiChoice, its RoA business "faced the toughest macro-economic conditions in its core markets with high, double-digit inflation and extreme depreciation of local currencies - especially in Nigeria, Angola, Kenya and Zambia - which impacted USD revenues by 32%".

In RoA MultiChoice Africa's active subscriber base declined to 8.1 million subscribers.

For its video streaming service Showmax relaunched and now done in partnership with Comcast's NBCUniversal, revenues for the year grew by 22% R1 billion, although trading losses increased to R2.6 billion.

MultiChoice says "The linear video-entertainment business remains the mainstay of the group's operations and provides a valuable base from which to expand its service offerings".

"The new streaming, interactive entertainment, fintech and connectivity services are having a positive impact on the business, and more importantly, on the lives of its customers. Going forward, the group will focus its efforts on scaling Showmax, Moment, SuperSportBet, as well as on driving growth in insurance (NMSIS), DStv Internet and DStv Stream."

TStv boss Bright Echefu and other execs dragged to court over tax evasion, money-laundering and fraud.

by Thinus Ferreira

The CEO of the failed Nigerian pay-TV service TStv and three other executives have appeared in the federal high court of Abuja in Nigeria on 9 charges of tax evasion, money-laundering and fraud.

According to Nigerian media, TStv CEO and managing director Bright Echefu, executive director Felix Igboanuga, and well as TStv and Briechberg Investment Ltd. are accused of money-laundering, tax evasion, as well as unremitted Value Added Tax (VAT) and Paye As You Earn (PAYE) that was deducted from the salaries of 165 TStv staffers.

Bright Echefu is also charged by Nigeria's Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with fraud and is alleged to have received N150 million from Turaki Kabiru Tanimu, the managing director of Kalsiyam Farm.

In addition, Bright Echefu is charged with fraud and is alleged to have defrauded Turaki Kabiru Tanimu of another N380 million. The money was allegedly paid into the account of Briechberg Investment Ltd. under the false pretence of being a loan to Telcom Satellite for buying technology infrastructure.

Bright Echefu allegedly used the money for personal expenses.

The fake Nigerian pay-TV operation of TStv had a stop-start-stop launch in xxxxx - hoping to compete with MultiChoice Africa's DStv, but quickly became mired in a web of lies and empty broken promises to the Nigerian government, investors, installers and consumers.

The disastrous TStv that made several false promises of launching a new satellite pay-TV service in Nigeria to compete with MultiChoice's DStv and China's StarTimes never got off the ground, pirated TV channel signals from the Middle East and across Africa, made false content claimsstole other contentkept lying about sports content, took millions from investors and installer agents without ever providing anything in return, and failed to pay rent and was eventually locked out of its building.

MultiChoice Zambia shuts shops and service centre outlets as over 100 staffers lose their jobs.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice Zambia is shutting several shops and service centre outlets across Zambia at the end of the month that will see over 100 people lose their jobs.

MultiChoice in response to a media query confirmed to TVwithThinus that it is shuttering branches across Lusaka and Kitwe at the end of June as part of "a business optimisation process" with others elsewhere in the country to follow.

Over 100 people working in Eastpark Mall in Lusaka, the ECL Mall and others will close down at the end of this month. 

"MultiChoice Zambia will be implementing a business optimisation process and to this effect, we will be restructuring our branches and migrating service to our full-service centre agencies The impacted branches are ECL Kitwe, Ndola Rekays, East Park and Manda Hill," MultiChoice Zambia says in a holding statement.

"The objective is to optimise and integrate customer experience in line with the mission to deliver value to customers by making great entertainment more accessible through cutting-edge technology. The business is optimising its operations to align with an advanced customer service delivery model, whilst increasing agility amidst challenging economic conditions," the company says.

"Operating in an industry driven by advancing technologies, the business must continue to drive efficiencies, whilst being responsive to evolving customer needs to ensure that the business remains relevant, competitive and sustainable in a challenging macro-economic environment," says Leah Kooma, MultiChoice Zambia managing director.

"As a responsible corporate citizen, we have worked hard to minimise the impact of this change on our people and remain committed to supporting all staff that will be affected. The process is guided by the labour laws of Zambia."