Monday, March 8, 2021

PR expert: MultiChoice and M-Net's silence over its Love Island South Africa scandal instead of giving facts are making things worse as people now just want to watch it to see how bad it is.


by Thinus Ferreira

The silence from MultiChoice and M-Net (DStv 101) over Love Island South Africa and the pay-TV operator's refusal after a week to give any facts or explanations as to what happened and how it got the diversity casting wrong - as well as the cause of the ongoing production gaffes - are making the scandal worse, while people now just want to watch it to see how bad it is.

So says the respected PR expert, Anne Dolinschek, founder of nflu#ntial that is a strategic consultancy firm in Sandton, Johannesburg that focuses on developing influencer marketing strategies for brands.

Love Island South Africa, a local adaptation of the ITV Studios format produced by Rapid Blue, remains mired in scandal after it was engulfed in a firestorm of criticism since its debut last Sunday.

DStv subscribers have been up in arms over the lack of diversity in its casting of contestants, as well as a litany of highly embarrassing production gaffes that have continued in playout every episode last week including Friday night's edition when the episode didn't start for several minutes after it was inexplicable stuck on a freeze-frame.

At Rapid Blue, also responsible for The Bachelorette SA currently on M-Net, Love Island SA is overseen by executive producers Adi de Lancey and Duncan Irvine, series producer Abigail Clark, series director Nadia White, and Kim Thwaites as head of production.

M-Net has already been limiting further exposure of the damaged show, which also lost its main sponsor LottoStar on Tuesday last week, by blocking the placing on any of the episodes on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service.

Meanwhile insiders said that the crew is in a "flat spin" and feeling as if they're "living through a nightmare" as they are scrambling to try and attempt fixes and workarounds.

M-Net also pulled the plug on all Love Island South Africa repeats and reduced the original episode order by axing the Love Island SA Unseen Bits episode on Sunday.

Illegally ripped copies of Love Island SA episodes, including Sunday's mistake-filled debut episode, are available for streaming and download across the internet. where they have already presumably been watched thousands of times.

M-Net and MultiChoice last week also scrapped and backtracked on a promised new feature called "Early Access" that was introduced by Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO of general entertainment and that would have made the day's Love Island SA episode available for viewing an hour earlier before broadcast on DStv Catch Up.

M-Net hasn't responded to any media enquiries, with MultiChoice and its PR firm Aprio that have continued to decline repeated interview requests over the past week to try and talk to M-Net executives and Rapid Blue producers to explain the issues around the show, what went wrong, the casting choices and the causes behind the low production values.

With several questions in media enquiries as yet unanswered, Joanne Botha at Aprio told TVwithThinus to "please refer to the channel’s social media pages". 

There M-Net's only comment to date late on Tuesday was a statement card, not issued to the media, saying "We are working tirelessly to fix things".

The glaring production gaffes, extremely unusual for a show on M-Net as DStv's most premium pay-TV channel, continue to inflict daily reputational damage on MultiChoice, ITV Studios, M-Net, Rapid Blue and the Love Island format name as a brand, and has been made worse by the lack of any communication with the media and DStv pay-TV subscribers.

A week after the debut of Love Island SA there's yet to be a virtual press conference from the pay-TV operator's top execs to take questions.

There have been no statements yet from Yolisa Phahle as MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, group executive of general entertainment Gideon Khobane, Nkateko Mabaso as group executive of programming, M-Net director Jan du Plessis; or Kaye-Ann Williams as M-Net's head of local productions, who don't appear to want their names attached to anything to do with the mess around Love Island South Africa.

Asked what MultiChoice and M-Net did wrong in communicating about Love Island SA when viewers started noticing and talking about the lack of diversity and the production problems and mistakes, Anne Dolinschek says "the moment they started seeing these negative comments and people literally mocking Love Island SA and making fun of it - literally people now just want to watch it to see how bad it is - the first thing that they should have done was to get ahead of the game and to take ownership of it and to say 'we know that there are issues'."

"People also asked 'Why are they not communicating with us?' and 'What's happening?'."

"I think it would have been very beneficial to them to just put out facts - maybe not all of them - to just own it and say 'Yes, we're having technical issues, we are working on it within the next 3 episodes, you'll see it and by then Love Island SA will be fine'."

"It's literally just giving facts to the consumers or viewers so that they're in the loop, because the more that they know the less they will speculate and the less they will actually cause havoc with a brand," says Anne Dolinschek.

About MultiChoice and M-Net's unwillingness to talk to the media, Anne Dolinschek says "I get where they're coming from - they obviously want to try and minimise the fallout - but the fact is if you're not giving journalists information they're going to speculate and it's going to get worse, right?"

"So the minute they saw something had gone wrong they should have sent out a press release immediately to at least the entertainment media just to give them the facts."

"Even if it wasn't a formal press conference they should just have issued some sort of statement so that the media have the facts and are not speculating and not putting up what people are saying on Twitter - because that's literally what's happening - and saying here are the facts, we will keep you updated. That is what they should do and they're just not," she says.

How does South Africa compare when it comes to professional crisis communication and brands and companies being able to very quickly jump in with a best practice and responsive communication approach around an unfolding crisis?

Anne Dolinschek says that "there's nothing wrong with South Africa and our standards as far as this is concerned. We have amazing crisis communications specialists in South Africa and PR agencies who take care of that."

"I don't know where the disconnect is sometimes. From a PR perspective, we've got amazing experts in South Africa."

Anne Dolinschek who is also a Love Island fan, when asked what she would like to see happen, says "unfortunately I didn't get to see any of Love Island South Africa because I was trying to get it on DStv Catch Up but I'm definitely a fan of the international one."

"I definitely want them to follow the international recipe, but definitely obviously following it with a South African flavour and definitely with a recipe that we want to see. I'm just looking forward to the drama in the house - that's always what keeps people going back for more, right?"


Saturday, March 6, 2021

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV reports and articles to read - 6 March 2021.


Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:    


Hollywood can't believe Prince Harry snubbed the Queen ... Queen Oprah by talking to James Corden before his interview with her is being broadcast.

















-






Mpumalanga listeners say the axing of staffers would cause the collapse of the SABC's radio station.


A pattern of inappropriate and disparaging behaviour toward those who worked for him.

M-Net pulls all Love Island South Africa repeats from its schedule and reduces original episode order by axing the Love Island SA Unseen Bits episode on Sundays.


by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net is cutting down on its embarrassing Love Island South Africa reality series and is yanking all repeats from the schedule by removing the Saturday omnibus repeat block of the week's episodes in its entirety and is also quietly reducing the originally ordered number of episodes by axing the Sunday episode, Love Island SA: Unseen Bits, completely.

The scaling back of Love Island SA, produced by Rapid Blue, comes after the disastrous debut of the local adaptation of the ITV Studios reality format show this past Sunday on M-Net (Dstv 101).

Love Island South Africa was engulfed in a firestorm of criticism over the lack of diversity in its casting of contestants, as well as a litany of highly embarrassing production gaffes that have continued in playout every episode this week including Friday night's edition when the episode didn't start for several minutes after it was inexplicable stuck on a freeze-frame.

M-Net has already been limiting further exposure of the damaged show, which also lost its main sponsor LottoStar on Tuesday, by blocking the placing on any of the episodes on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service with insiders saying the crew is in a "flat spin" and feeling as if they're "living through a nightmare" as they are scrambling to try and attempt fixes and workarounds.

M-Net hasn't responded to any media enquiries, with MultiChoice and its PR firm Aprio that have continued to decline repeated interview requests over the past week to try and talk to M-Net executives and Rapid Blue producers to explain the issues around the show, what went wrong, the casting choices and the causes behind the low production values.

With several questions in media enquiries as yet unanswered, Joanne Botha at Aprio told TVwithThinus to "please refer to the channel’s social media pages". 

There M-Net's only comment to date late on Tuesday was a statement card, not issued to the media, saying "We are working tirelessly to fix things".

The glaring production gaffes, extremely unusual for a show on M-Net as DStv's most premium pay-TV channel, continue to inflict daily reputational damage on MultiChoice, ITV Studios, M-Net, Rapid Blue and the Love Island format name as a brand and has been made worse by the lack of any communication with the media and DStv pay-TV subscribers.

After 5 days there's yet to be a virtual press conference from the pay-TV operator's top execs to take questions with no statements yet from Yolisa Phahle as MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, group executive of general entertainment Gideon Khobane, Nkateko Mabaso as group executive of programming, M-Net director Jan du Plessis; or Kaye-Ann Williams as M-Net's head of local productions.

Illegally ripped copies of Love Island SA episodes, including Sunday's mistake-filled debut episode, are available for streaming and download across the internet where they have already presumably been watched thousands of times.


M-Net and MultiChoice this week scrapped and backtracked on a promised new feature called "Early Access" that was introduced by Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO of general entertainment and that would have made the day's Love Island SA episode available for viewing an hour earlier before broadcast on DStv Catch Up.

They are also removing the Saturday repeat omnibus and is cutting down the episodes from 6 to 5 per week by axing Sunday's episode.

M-Net on Friday decided that there will no longer be any repeats of any Love Island SA episodes shown and removed the Saturday omnibus repeat block that would have been a screening of a week's six episodes between 22:00 and 04:30.

On Sundays M-Net is eliminating the week's 6th episode with Love Island SA: Unseen Bits scheduled at 21:55 that is getting culled and replaced with a movie before even a single Unseen Bits episode was ever shown.

The decision to cut back on repeats and dropping a weekly episode is presumably made to limit exposure of the show and its mistakes and to take some pressure off of the production team struggling to cope.

At Rapid Blue, also responsible for The Bachelorette SA currently on M-Net, Love Island SA is overseen by executive producers Adi de Lancey and Duncan Irvine, series producer Abigail Clark, series director Nadia White, and Kim Thwaites as head of production.


Friday, March 5, 2021

It is M-Net that is blocking Love Island South Africa episodes being placed on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up to limit people seeing it, with an expert that says the content is misleading Africa’s viewers.


by Thinus Ferreira

It was M-Net executives who have ordered a block on Love Island South Africa episodes being placed on DStv Catch Up to try and limit more viewers from seeing how unrepresentative and badly-produced its new reality series is, while an expert says that South African TV content like this is misleading Africa's viewers through misrepresentation.

A firestorm of criticism has engulfed Love Island SA since its debut this past Sunday for its lack of diversity in casting and cringe-worthy production gaffes that DStv subscribers are not used to seeing on M-Net (DStv 101) as MultiChoice's top premium pay-TV channel.

Love Island SA is a local adaptation of the ITV Studios format show with the main sponsor LottoStar that dropped the embarrassing series on Tuesday to distance itself from the public fallout and reputation damage, while insiders said that the crew that is in a "flatspin" is "living through a nightmare". 

Numerous interview requests – all rebuffed – have been made all week to try and talk to M-Net executives and Rapid Blue producers to explain the issues around the show, and with several questions in media enquiries as yet unanswered, Joanne Botha at Aprio, the PR firm representing MultiChoice told TVwithThinus on Thursday to "please refer to the channel’s social media pages".

There, M-Net's only comment to date late on Tuesday was a statement card, not issued to the media, saying "We are working tirelessly to fix things".

After 5 days there's yet to be a virtual press conference from the pay-TV operator's top execs to take questions with no statements yet from Yolisa Phahle as MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, group executive of general entertainment Gideon Khobane, Nkateko Mabaso as group executive of programming, M-Net director Jan du Plessis; or Kaye-Ann Williams as M-Net's head of local productions.

At Rapid Blue Love Island SA is overseen by executive producers Adi de Lancey and Duncan Irvine, series producer Abigail Clark, series director Nadia White, and Kim Thwaites as head of production who have all been silent too.

By Friday none of the the already shown 5 episodes of Love Island SA is available on DStv Catch Up and it has now come to light that it is M-Net who is trying to keep the show away from a wider DStv audience who might see it through time-shifted viewing. 

M-Net decided to limit episode availability to a single late-night linear airing on the channel to try and curtail the damage.

After only episode 2 was made briefly made available on Tuesday morning and removed by Tuesday afternoon, DStv is telling subscribers that Love Island SA episodes on DStv Catch Up have been removed at the request of M-Net. 

Speaking about where channels like M-Net and shows like Love Island SA go wrong, the linguist Lutendo Nendauni, lecturer and language editor at North-West University, tells TVwithThinus that "what causes them to get out of line is that they're trying, by all means, to grab content from overseas, from Western countries to incorporate it here".

Lutendo Nenduani has authored an academic paper critiquing the cultural and racial representation in South African TV soapies.

"Those programmes sometimes come with their own culture – just like when they say that when you adopt someone's language you also adopt their culture. So once they adapt those programmes, they tend to do away with what actually represents us."

"There are a lot of programmes on South African television that does not actually talk to who we are as South Africans. For them is business – they want to attract viewership. They want to increase revenue through international soapies; international programmes."

"However, in the midst of doing that, they sometimes do away with our traditions which must be embedded to show who we are. That is where questions about representation and under-representation come in". 



Africa's viewers mislead by South African content
Lutendo Nendauni says "Love Island SA should incorporate more people of colour" and that "we are in Africa. The content is serving African people".

"Eight percent of the people in South Africa are black. How come should a TV programme have 90% white people? It means it's not really reflecting our rainbow nation." 

He says M-Net going forward "should ensure that whatever content they're broadcasting to people should actually speak to people. That's why we've got the local content policy. They shouldn't overlook that – that should be taken into account when they're designing their programmes; their reality shows".

While Love Island SA is being pirate-viewed globally with viewers in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom online asking where they can stream-watch and download illegally uploaded episodes, Love Island SA is also seen across sub-Saharan Africa as far as Nigeria, and in all neighbouring Southern African countries.

"Remember, people watch South African programmes because they want to have an experience of what it's like living in South Africa," says Lutendo Nendauni

"They want a taste of what being a South African is. If you're going to be showing them something that is not actually a representation of what South Africa is, you are misleading them."

"They watch a show because they want to get a taste of our culture; a taste of how we live. If you're giving them something that is not us, it means you are not actually representing us. That's where the problem comes in. It sends a wrong message to the people who are in our neighbouring countries and all other countries."

"They are expecting to get the real reality – not something else that doesn't reflect who we really are."



TV biz: Allow more people in with new ideas
Lutendo Nendauni says "we definitely need change within our media industry from the gatekeepers."

"The gatekeepers are the same old people. That's why we see the same people, over and over, in different programmes – the same actors doing the same thing in different programmes – because the gatekeepers are the same."

"We need to open up the media sector and allow for more people to come in," he says. "And allowing more people to come in, means having new ideas because they will come with new ideas that get to be incorporated within those ones that exist and we can then have a better media sector wherein everybody stands a chance to go in."

"Ideas that are then reflected are many, meaning that we get to cover at least more of the views that need to be included, we get to reach more people, we get to compete better globally with the media industries of other countries."

"We need to open up the space and allow more new people to come in – young people with different ideas – and to add sort of 'va-va-voom' to uplift our media industry".


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Vuyo Mvoko has exited eNCA as anchor and political editor, TV news channel has been without a political editor for the past 3 months.


by Thinus Ferreira

Vuyo Mvoko has exited eNCA (DStv 403) where he has been an anchor as well as the TV news channel's political editor, leaving eNCA without a political editor for the past 3 months and counting, TVwithThinus has confirmed.

Although Vuyo Mvoko has been gone from the eMedia Investments-run TV news channel carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform since the end of November 2020, news of his departure has not been reported before and eNCA didn't bother to announce it or to inform the media at the time.

Vuyo Mvoko joined eNCA in April 2017 after he was fired from the SABC in July 2016 as part of a purge of journalists who at the time resisted the reign of the controversial SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Vuyo Mvoko who also anchored eNCA programming during prime time on the channel was appointed as eNCA's political editor in January 2019, a role he held for close to two years.

In September 2019 the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) found that Vuyo Mvoko had transgressed the Broadcasting Code of Conduct by mixing commentary with news presentation with eNCA that had to run an on-air apology.

eNCA in response to a media enquiry on Thursday asking whether Vuyo Mvoko had left and who is now political editor confirmed to TVwithThinus that Vuyo Mvoko had left and moved on months ago, saying "Vuyo Mvoko left eNCA on 30 November 2020 and currently eNCA does not have a political editor".

Asked why eNCA didn't inform the media and public with a basic statement that Vuyo Mvoko had left and the time when he exited in late-2020, an eNCA spokesperson said "In regards to the issuing of a statement – it is the company's prerogative to choose if an announcement will be made when an employee leaves the company".

Love Island SA's crew 'in a total flat spin' and 'living through a nightmare', as MultiChoice tells DStv subscribers that M-Net's botched show is affected and unavailable on all platforms.


by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net's shoddily produced Love Island South Africa remains badly "affected" across all DStv platforms with the reality show that has been unable to fix embarrassing production problems by Wednesday night's 4th episode while insiders who are "living through a nightmare" admit that the production is" in a total flat spin" over the show's implosion and loss of its main sponsor.

By Thursday morning not a single episode of the cringe-worthy local adaptation of the ITV Studios format show, produced by Rapid Blue, has yet been made available on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service, with the pay-TV operator telling DStv subscribers trying to access episodes that the problem with the highly criticised show affects all DStv decoders as well as all other devices. 

MultiChoice and its PR company Aprio haven't responded to media enquiries as to why the show is not available on Catch Up, or with comment about the loss of LottoStar that withdrew as the Love Island SA main sponsor on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, pirates have swarmed the show to see and share globally what MultiChoice doesn't want them to replay.

Illegally ripped copies of episodes in pristine 1080p high-definition clarity - including Sunday's mistake-filled debut episode - are available for streaming and download across the internet where they have already presumably been watched thousands of times. M-Net publicists didn't respond to media enquiries about it.

Wednesday night's embarrassing 4th episode of Love Island SA was once again marred by a new contestant, Xavier, whose mic didn't work, bad sound throughout and the narrator speaking over contestants, bad editing, as well as whole scenes literally being replayed minutes later in TV déjà vu.

According to insiders, the crew working on Love Island SA are "in a total flat spin" and feeling as if they're "living through a nightmare" as they are scrambling to try and attempt fixes and workarounds.

Meanwhile, all of the glaring production gaffes, extremely unusual for a show on M-Net as DStv's most premium pay-TV channel, continue to inflict daily reputational damage on MultiChoice, ITV Studios, M-Net, Rapid Blue and the Love Island format name as a brand and made worse by the lack of any communication with the media and DStv pay-TV subscribers.

MultiChoice and Aprio have rebuffed ongoing interview requests to talk to any M-Net executives and Rapid Blue producers for them to explain what the cause of the various persisting issues are around the local adaptation of the ITV Studios reality format show, as well as the controversy about the lack of diversity in casting.

After 4 days there's yet to be a virtual press conference from the pay-TV operator's top execs to take questions with no statements yet from Yolisa Phahle as MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, group executive of general entertainment Gideon Khobane, Nkateko Mabaso as group executive of programming, M-Net director Jan du Plessis; or Kaye-Ann Williams as M-Net's head of local productions.

At Rapid Blue, also responsible for The Bachelorette SA currently on M-Net, Love Island SA is overseen by executive producers Adi de Lancey and Duncan Irvine, series producer Abigail Clark, series director Nadia White, and Kim Thwaites as head of production.


Coronavirus: eNCA anchor of The Fix Karima Brown has died after losing her battle after weeks against Covid-19, called 'a constellation all of her own who could do things that other journalists simply can't'.


by Thinus Ferreira

eNCA (DStv 403) on Thursday morning calling it "shocking news" announced that its regularly used analyst and anchor of its weekly weekend programme The Fix, Karima Brown, has died from Covid-19. She was 53.

Karima Brown, born Karima Semaar in 1967, was admitted to hospital a few weeks ago and moved to an intensive care unit (ICU) where she has been fighting for her life against the coronavirus.

Karima Brown was placed on a ventilator but her condition steadily worsened and she passed away on Thursday morning.

The family in a statement said that "Karima will be laid to rest in a burial ceremony which will be held in accordance with Islamic rites and traditions. A small number of people will attend the funeral and all Covid-19 regulations will be observed".

"In due course an announcement will be made about a more public memorial service in honour of Karima's life."

Known for her often abrasive style of interviewing, Karima Brown appeared as an analyst on eNCA over several years before she was made the host of The Fix

"For a long time, Karima has been a robust voice in South Africa’s media landscape. Her years of activism preceded this," says Norman Munzhelele, eNCA managing director, in a brief statement.

"She had a big personality and didn’t shy away from voicing her opinions. Karima believed in hope. She was also a loving mother, a loyal friend and a committed colleague. Her death leaves a massive void for many."

eNCA on Thursday morning on-air paid tribute to Karima Brown saying she was "one of the stalwarts of journalism" and that "she really played a significant role in asking tough questions to those in power trying to get to details and trying to get to the bottom of many tough developments in this country".

eNCA said that Karima Brown was a "very widely respected political commentator and analyst" and that colleagues are shocked at the news. 

John Bailey, eNCA managing editor, told Newzroom Afrika in an interview about Karima Brown's death that "it is indeed a sad day for eNCA but also for the broader South African community".

"This is somebody who was completely committed to the cause of journalism and she saw it as a way of also continuing with the activism that she was involved in. She was fierce in her approach and she had strong opinions which obviously didn't sit well with some people, but Karima was that person that we needed in South Africa".

He described her as a "committed person and also a very loving mother to her son and also a good friend to us here at eNCA" and said that she was a mentor for many young and upcoming journalists in South Africa "to tell them to keep asking those difficult questions of those in power".

Besides eNCA the veteran journalist had also worked at Independent Media and Business Day where she often had the inside track and scoop with her deep contacts on the undercurrents and news within the ANC political party.

Her stint at Independent Newspapers under the Sekunjalo boss Iqbal Surve resulted in a fallout among some of her peers.

Kate Skinner, SANEF director, told eNCA that "Karima Brown was very brave and was very courageous in terms of asking the hard questions".

"It's not to say that she wasn't controversial. Some people didn't like her views and at times felt that she was too close to the ruling party - there were those kinds of issues."

Peter Bruce, former Business Day editor, said "many foreign correspondents would often remark how they read her first because she was the more reliable of all of the political correspondents".

He said Karima Brown "was a constellation all of her own. She could do things that other journalists can't do. She could actually call people that other journalists simply can't".

In her career Karima Brown also hosted programmes like Political Capital on CNBC Africa (DStv 410) and The Karima Brown Show on 702 talk radio. She later lodged a complaint accusing 702 of censorship and editorial interference and her contract wasn't renewed.

Several other eNCA workers and staffers working for eMedia Investments's TV channels and news outfits have already died from Covid-19.

In May 2020 the cameraman Lungile Tom who worked for eNCA and eNews died from Covid-19 related complications as the first South African media worker to die from this coronavirus. 

In July 2020 the longtime eNCA graphic designer Michael Wilson passed away from Covid-19.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

M-Net bags the exclusive rights for Oprah’s Harry and Meghan tell-all TV special for Africa with DStv subscribers in South Africa that will see it on 8 March just 16 hours after America and before Britain.


by Thinus Ferreira

TVwithThinus can reveal that M-Net (DStv 101) has grabbed the broadcasting rights for Africa to Oprah Winfrey's exclusive sit-down TV special with Prince Harry and Meghan containing some shocking revelations and will show the 2-hour interview on Monday 8 March at 19:30 in South Africa. 

The TV special entitled CBS presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry that was originally meant to be 90-minutes has since been extended to 2 hours and will air in Africa on M-Net just 16 hours after it is broadcast in America on Sunday night 7 March in the United States.

In Australia the TV special will air on Network 10 and the United Kingdom the special will be seen on ITV at 23:00, which means that South African DStv subscribers will see the special and its contents 2 and a half hours before British viewers.

In CBS presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry, Oprah Winfrey will speak with Meghan The Duchess of Sussex in a wide-ranging interview covering everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, and philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure.

Later, the two are joined by Prince Harry as they speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family.


In the CBS TV promo released for the special, Oprah makes sure to confirm with Meghan that "I just want to make it clear to everybody that there is no subject that is off-limits, and that one of the questions the talk show queen later asks Meghan is: "Were you silent or were you silenced?"

Later Oprah says "You've said some pretty shocking things here".

It's understood that the couple wanted ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group responsible for the TV special's international distribution, to find the best and most prominent broadcasters around the world who might be interested in showing their Oprah interview.

TVwithThinus first asked M-Net on 15 February whether it's secured the possible right or are interested in acquiring it and if it hadn't, whether it is something that M-Net is looking at getting. 

On Monday M-Net was asked again after insiders said that M-Net had indeed now reached out to ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group with the pay-TV broadcaster that was waiting to hear back from the distributor early this week.

Prince Harry and Meghan's last TV special, their personally-managed documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, that detailed their South Africa and Southern African visit was broadcast in November 2019 on ITV Choice, ITV Studios' TV channel that MultiChoice shuttered last year.

That special gave a behind-the-scenes look at the Sussexes visit and included the Dutchess of Sussex at the time opening up about her struggles with motherhood in the public eye for the first time.

With the defunct ITV Choice out of the picture, M-Net and BBC Studios' BBC Brit (DStv 120) were the natural two TV frontrunners to pick up the special for Africa with M-Net that closed the deal.

CBS presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry is produced by Harpo Productions with Terry Wood and Tara Montgomery as the executive producers and Brian Piotrowicz as co-executive producer.

Now the pirates have come for M-Net’s Love Island South Africa.

 
by Thinus Ferreira

The pirates have come for Love Island South Africa with all 3 episodes of M-Net's controversial reality show that MultiChoice doesn't want subscribers to see on DStv Catch Up that have been uploaded to the interwebs and where an untold number of people are now globally watching, downloading and sharing the series, including Sunday's technically flawed premiere episode.

MultiChoice has not made any of the 3 episodes of the widely panned South African adaptation of the ITV Studios format available on its DStv Catch Up service by Wednesday afternoon - except for the second episode of Love Island SA that was only available for a few brief hours between Tuesday morning and Tuesday afternoon.

However, people globally now have access to Love Island South Africa through pirate viewing on the internet including the debut episode that can be watched in pristine 1080p high-definition clarity.

Excluding locally-produced Netflix South Africa series carried on global servers and available for illegal viewing on torrent sites, Love Island South Africa produced by Rapid Blue has now become only the second South African series after Survivor SA, an Afrokaans production also done for M-Net, to be so sought after for whatever reasons that episodes have been illegally ripped and uploaded for sharing to the internet.

TVwithThinus checked to verify the content and if it's really Love Island SA episodes but haven't downloaded anything and won't be publishing any links. 

The much-maligned debut episode of Love Island South Africa is indeed viewable through services like Google Drive uploads and even includes at least one unlisted upload on YouTube where viewers can stream it with all its flaws in 1080p clarity and where it has garnered hundreds of views already by Wednesday afternoon. 

There also exist handy-cam filmed Love Island SA episodes with pirates who had apparently turned video cameras to their TV screens and uploaded copies of episodes of this to the internet.

With an expanding digital video economy, piracy in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing problem for not just MultiChoice and M-Net delivering subscription television services across the continent, but for all broadcasters desperately trying to protect their content and intellectual property (IP).

M-Net didn't respond to a media enquiry made earlier on Wednesday seeking comment about the Love Island SA piracy issue but comment will be added here if received. 

M-Net was asked what it is making of the fact that people are sharing and illegally watching the 3 episodes that have so far been broadcast and what actions, if any, M-Net has been taking, and to how many sites and services it had already sent possible cease-and-desist copyright infringement takedown notices to.

Since the start of the show and again on Wednesday M-Net was asked as part of an ongoing interview request to please make executives available to speak about and answer questions about Love Island SA.

MultiChoice and its PR company Aprio have rebuffed interview requests to talk to M-Net executives and Rapid Blue producers for them to explain what the cause of the various persisting issues are around the local adaptation of the ITV Studios reality format show. 

After 3 days there's also been no virtual press conference from the pay-TV broadcaster to take questions or any statements from Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment and connected video; M-Net CEO Nkateko Mabaso; M-Net director Jan du Plessis; or Kaye-Ann Williams as M-Net's head of local productions.

At Rapid Blue, also responsible for The Bachelorette SA currently on M-Net, Love Island SA is overseen by executive producers Adi de Lancey and Duncan Irvine, series producer Abigail Clark, series director Nadia White, and Kim Thwaites as head of production.

Love Island SA on Tuesday lost its main sponsor LottoStar - presumably partly responsible for the show's R1 million and other prizes - while parody accounts have also sprung up on social media.


TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV reports and articles to read - 3 March 2021.


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