Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 Channel O Video Music Awards is a go; nominations to be announced in the various categories 'in the next few weeks'.

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I can reveal that the 2011 Channel O Video Music Awards is a go. Channel O (DStv 320) will proceed with the awards ceremony its done annually since 2003 (it just didn't happen in 2004) for an 8th time this year.

I'm told that the 2011 Channel O Video Music Awards, created to honour and support music videos and music video production across Africa, will make it official with an announcement soon. Channel O will also ''announce the nominations in the various categories in the next few weeks,'' says a source.

The annual Channel O Video Music Awards is the South African awards ceremony that now boasts the best red carpet production value wise.

BREAKING. TopTV on new channels: 'We will be making announcements around the acquisition of new content in the next couple of months.'

While TopTV CEO Vino Govender told TV with Thinus in January this year that it won't be launching a PVR or high definition (HD) channels in 2011, subscribers and the industry are wondering about new TopTV channels, with TopTV now saying announcements about new content will be made within months.

With many broken promises and constantly pushed-out and revised dates for new TV channels since its launch last May - and zero new TV channels that's been added in 2011 and no real sports channel - TopTV has no credibility left when it comes to channel launch information. The industry and subscribers have become very sceptical of whether TopTV can really add new TV channels, ever since Vino Govender promised at the launch in May 2011 several new channels within 7 months which didn't happen, as well as a sport channel which so far haven't realized.

Yet the pay TV platform tells me ''TopTV will be making some announcements around the acquisition of new content in the next couple of months''. TopTV says ''the acquisition of content is an ongoing priority and even where we haven't been not been able to obtain full TV channels, we are securing content which is first and exclusive to TopTV, for example Steven Spielberg's Falling Skies.''

I broke the new RIGHT HERE at the beginning of the month that TopTV viewership is now being measured by the South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf)
and this past week I had the news that that ratings information won't be broken down or be available for separate TopTV channels.

Now I can also tell you that the first independent TopTV ratings information - which will give an indication of how many people are actually watching TopTV, will be available for the first time from this coming Thursday.

ALSO READ: TopTV set to talk in September, pay TV operator says its subscriber number is now ''in excess of 200 000''.

BREAKING. New offices for the eNews Channel and eNews Africa with full-time correspondents to be up and running from September.

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At the beginning of the month I broke the news RIGHT HERE that the eNews Channel (DStv 403) and eNews Africa is working on setting up offices in Nigeria and Kenya, and now I can be first to tell that the eNews Channel and eNews Africa expect these offices to be up and running by September.

''eNews Africa will establish offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria,'' Chris Maroleng, Africa editor of the eNews Channel and anchor of the weekly Africa 360 tells TV with Thinus, confirming the news I revealed at the beginning of July. 

''These offices are expected to become operational in September 2011,'' he says, ''and will be staffed by two full time correspondents and camera operators''.

''It is anticipated that these offices will cover news and events in the countries in which they are based and will also act as platforms to leverage more content out of the west and east African regions,'' says Chris Maroleng.

ALSO READ: eNews Channel and eNews Africa busy setting up offices in Nigeria and Kenya to expand the news operation's pan-African news coverage and reach.

BREAKING. Top 10 Idols contestants to all stay at the very luxurious Northcliff Palms mansion in Johannesburg from today.

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At the end of tonight there will only be a Top 10 Idols contestants left in the M-Net reality show, and I can reveal that after today the top 10 of the 7th season will all be staying in this Idols mansion in Johannesburg - the exact same place used for the 6th season of Idols: the Northcliff Palms.

The boutique-style manor high on the northern slope of Northcliff Hill with a sweeping vista of Johannesburg has a ''music room'' where the top 10 Idols will be able to practise and prepare. Or they would be able to lounge next to the pool at the pool deck, play pool in the one lounge, or take long luxurious baths. Well, maybe not long luxurious baths - there's no time.

I can tell that up until now some of the contestants have been staying at another guest house further up the street and some in Northcliff Palms, but once 5 contestants get cut from the top 15 in tonight's live episode, the remaining 10 will all stay in Northcliff Palms, which I've visited last September during the 6th season of the show.

Ten is the maximum number of guests the Northcliff Palms can accomodate, so some have been staying there for the past two weeks after they've decided who will get the mansion and who will stay in the guest house. Whoever remains after tonight, will all move (or remain) at the Northcliff Palms.

The weary Idols will rest their heads on 100% cotton percale linen in the Northcliff Palms and would be able to look at themselves on large flat screen TV's. The formal lounge even has a fireplace - a sanctuary for the singing stars that's going to have to up their game weekly as their fame quotient increases.

Debby Ryan's own series Jessie gets an increased first season order; Jessie to start in South Africa on The Disney Channel in March 2012.

The Disney Channel (DStv 303) is hoping to turn Debby Ryan (18) from The Suite Life on Deck into the next Miley Cyrus and with production that very recently started on the first season of her own new teen show Jessie, I can reveal that Jessie is scheduled to start in South Africa on The Disney Channel in March of 2012.

The first season order of Jessie was also increased from 13 episodes to 20, which indicates that Disney Channel executives must be very happy with the episodes they're seeing, even before a single episode has yet been broadcast in America.

Disney tells me that ''production has begun in Hollywood on Jessie'' with Debby Ryan playing ''an idealistic teen from rural Texas who moves to New York City and becomes a nanny for a high-profile couple with four kids. The series is scheduled to premiere in 2012 on The Disney Channel in South Africa.''

Jessie was created by Pamela Eels O'Connell responsible for Family Matters, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck and she's also the executive producer. The series is from It's a Laugh Productions Inc.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

OUT OF PLACE. The new ThunderCats and its characters is an anatopistic mistake; won't make sense if you've seen the original.

It's heartbreaking for me to say this but the new ThunderCats is a disappointment because of a major anachronistic, and more specifically a non-sensical anatopistic character flaw.

The re-imagined setting is fine but the characters don't fit. The original characters are back (although only in name and superficial appearance). But here's the thing: they simply shouldn't be, and shouldn't exist within the world where they're placed in the new animation show.

Let me explain.

I just finished watching the first two episodes of the new updated animation show on The Cartoon Network which will most probably be shown on the channel feed for Africa on DStv sometime within next year. A South African broadcasting date still to be determined, although I have asked The Cartoon Network again today about it. Sadly however, in my opinion, the new ThunderCats is not good because its just too ... well, weird.

Whereas, if you've watched Star Wars, you will love Star Wars The Clone Wars since it follows the canon of the established lore and mythology so well and colour in little backstories and details, my guess is that you're (sadly) not going to like the new ThunderCats (if you've watched the classic 80s show).

Here's why. The new 2011 ThunderCats is too Japanese manga-looking (although that's not the big problem). It's other things. The first thing is a big word, and it's called anachronism: things that don't belong in their setting and time (like gunpowder in Egypt or a horse and carriage on a modern-day highway). And while anachronism usually refers to objects out of place and time, in the new ThunderCats its the very characters that don't fit in their time.

It goes even beyond anachronistic - the same characters operate in the future world of the original show - but they're still the same characters. This new ThunderCats - and from now on you'll only understand if you're familiar with the original show - is still taking place in the same setting but the set-up is different. It's very anatopistic.

In line with the established original ThunderCats story, everything starts off fine. However, imagine time has moved forward an indeterminable amount of time. So the Cats' Lair is still there, on the planet Third Earth, but it's now a palace, surrounded by a sprawling city - a civilization and a population. Nothing wrong so far and actually quite a neat idea because, of course, time has moved on. So the cats have multiplied and conquered evil and all that stuff.

Now the first weird bit. All the characters from the original ThuderCats are present but they're different (and I don't mean drawn differently, that goes without saying). They have the same names and the same characteristics and the same skills, but their back stories are completely different. It's like the original ThunderCats arrived on Third Earth, struggled and won and created a society. Then at a time in the future - their own future - they're all suddenly present again as their characters, with their same names, but different.

Therefore, the new ThunderCats is in essence a sequel, yet takes the original characters, ''brainwashes'' them; changes the socio-links between them (Tygra is now Lion-O's resoonsible brother; Cheetara will be Lion-O's love interest; Jaga is alive) and plops them into a framed future that you're asked to accept - yet here's the very characters who created this future in the first place and now they're still here. It doesn't make sense and doesn't feel right. As a viewer you're asked to accept and believe that one part of the established show has evolved, but then the producers want to completely interject and weirdly change this other part that has not evolved. The mish-mash is too much when it comes to the willing suspension of disbelief.

Think of this. The original Battlestar Galactica from the 1970s got a 2000's remake. The new Battlestar Galactica was a new show with a new Starbuck and new Adama and new stories but it was the same idea and took place in the same time period of the original show. Now imagine that the new Battlestar Galactica of 2000 took place in the future time of the 1970s Battlestar Galactica story time. Nothing wrong with that. (It would be like Robotech New Generation and Robotech Masters following Robotech The Macross Saga). What you simply cannot have though - not even in science fiction - is then the original Starbuck and Adama characters, still being that very Starbuck and Adama but in their ''future'' again as themselves. That is the crazy that is the new ThunderCats - characters placed there, but who don't belong in their own future.

The milieu integration in the new ThunderCats is correct. Sadly the character integration is completely wrong. The new ThunderCats, if it kept the new setting and set-up, should have changed the characters to a ''next or new generation'' - or should have given them different names. Just have new characters. If they had to, the new protagonist could have again been called Lion-O (but what about Lion-E (''lioney?'') or Lion-O2) and would have worked better and have been believable as something like the great grandson who've only heard of his great ancestor (the original Lion-O) but don't know the full tail of how their society has lost sight of the technology and ideals of the original ThunderCats.

Then Lion-O could have met up with other characters that contain vestiges or the traces of other ThunderCats forebearers (instead of weird adaptations of the original ones) and together experience a new adventure and move forward with their own new story as they uncover some of the past original story. Now its just a mess.

Another weird bit, which could be cool, and is plotcentric (and is now not cool because of the character problem) is the exposition that the future setting and the society of the cats has no technology. So basically something happened that the currently superficially happy (although it's clear that the society is no longer utopian and actually oppressing other species on Third Earth) is in a medieval state where technology is scarce. Technology isn't outlawed per se, but science isn't pursued. It's clear that whatever the new Lion-O's quest is going to be, it's also going to be about finding new (lost) technology and why the society lost the knowledge of that.

Sadly I won't be a part of that TV journey. If you've watched the original, and you see the new ThunderCats, you will see exactly what I mean when I say they've messed up the characters. The characters are messed up though in a way where there's nothing really wrong with them - it's just that they shouldn't be able to exist as they are. Oh, if Snarf could talk.

ALSO READ: The first trailer of the new ThunderCats updated cartoon series.
ALSO READ: The first official look at the new new ThunderCats series starting in 2011 on The Cartoon Network.
ALSO READ: The new Lion-O in The Cartoon Network's new ThunderCats animation show.
ALSO READ: Mumm-Ra will NOT be happy. The Cartoon Network is reviving the classic 80s animation series ThunderCats.

BREAKING. SuperSport planning a 24 hour rugby channel for the 2011 Rugby World Cup; plus a new daily special Kia Ora magazine show.

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I cane exclusively reveal that SuperSport and MultiChoice is planning to bring subscribers a 24 hour rugby channel for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand starting on 9 September, as well as a dedicated Rugby World Cup magazine show called Kia Ora on DStv.

SuperSport is planning to bring all 48 games of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in high definition (HD) to South African viewers with English and Afrikaans commentary and Xhosa in ''selected games'' (meaning probably games in which the Springboks play). I'm not sure which channel will serve as the dedicated 24 hour rugby channel, but it will probably be SuperSport 2 (DStv 202).

SuperSport tells me it's working on a special dedicated daily magazine show called Kia Ora for the duration of the 2011 Rugby World Cup but isn't saying anything more. ''Kia Ora'' according to Wikipedia is a traditional, informal Maori greeting meaning ''stay well/be healthy'' similar to ''good day''.

In a TV promo in which SuperSport mentions that the rugby magazine show will be coming as well as hyping its 2011 Rugby World Cup coverage - which prompted my enquiries - SuperSport says it will have international in-studio guests and experts helping out for the duration of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. SuperSport also says it will have ''live cross-overs to New Zealand'' besides the matches that will be shown.

SABC's dumped former group CEO Robin Nicholson is suing the SABC for R2,8 million; SABC board told beforehand there will be 'hostility'.

While a majority of SABC board members voted to extend the contract of the SABC's now inexplicably axed former acting group CEO, Robin Nicholson - plunging the beleaguered South African public broadcaster into another public scandal - the SABC board still got rid of him overnight a month ago knowing full well that there will be ''animosity'' and that it will be ''difficult to convince Robin Nicholson to assist with the transitional handover'' to Phil Molefe.

ALSO READ: The dumped Robin Nicholson ready to sue the SABC for millions of rands after the latest massive upheaval at the public broadcaster.

Robin Nicholson has issued a summons against the SABC and demands R2,8 million as well as interest and legal fees.

Justice Ndaba, the SABC's acting group head of human capital services told the SABC board - nine of which voted to extend Robin Nicholson's contract and two who voted against it - that a proper handover from Robin Nicholson to Phil Molefe is going to be ''difficult'' because of the way in which the SABC board is handling the situation.

''Since Robin Nicholson's contract is ending today, June 30, and given the hostility that would be displayed by Robin Nicholson, noting the decision by the board that his contract would not be renewed, as well as the potential for external animosity from certain quarters, possibilities of legal battles etc., it will be difficult for us to convince Robin Nicholson to assist with the transitional handover,'' Justice Ndaba wrote to the SABC board.

The SABC board offered a contract extension to Robin Nicholson while he was on holiday, and suddenly took back the offer while the SABC chairperson dr Ben Ngubane was away. Robin Nicholson has a copy of the 6 month contract extension the SABC board gave to him on 27 June and which has already been signed by dr Ben Ngubane before he left for Japan. All that was left to do was for Robin Nicholson to sign it, when the SABC board suddenly decided to bring in Phil Molefe and blindsided Robin Nicholson.

Justice Ndaba recommended to the SABC board that Robin Nicholson might have a legitimate claim against the SABC and that the broadcaster should pay Robin Nicholson the contractual amount for the 6 month contract extension offered, since the SABC has created a legitimate expectation with the signed contract by dr Ben Ngubane that Robin Nicholson is getting to stay on.

The SABC has not responded to media enquiries made.

Friday, July 29, 2011

BREAKING. Oprah aint going anywhere. 'The Best of Oprah' episodes to continue at 17:30 on SABC3 into December.

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The 25th and final ''Farewell Season'' of The Oprah Winfrey might be finishing soon on SABC3 but the talk show isn't going anywhere - I can reveal that Oprah will stay put in the weekday 17:30 timeslot right into December on SABC3 that will start running ''The Best of Oprah'' episodes from the current season.

The late night repeat slot of 00:50 on SABC3 of the day's Oprah episode will also remain for several more months. The 17:30 timeslot on SABC3 will remain Oprah territory for at least another five months.

Wardah Hartley returns to eNews and joins the eNews Channel as sports anchor in the afternoons.

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Wardah Hartley is back with and back on-air, this time on the eNews Channel (DStv 403) as a sports anchor.

For any television channel what you see, is what it's brand is, its identity. And The eNews Channel (DStv 403) should be taking more pride in its on-air talent and appointments, although it sadly doesn't seem to. The eNews Channel made no announcement (just like it made no effort to tell the press about the series of special reports on globilization starting on 1 August) about Wardah Hartley's return to the broadcaster and its 24 hour news channel operation.

The terrific Wardah Hartley started her career with eNews back in 2001 as a sports reporter and remained with eNews until 2005 when she left. She recently moved to Johannesburg and now she's back with eNews and anchoring sports coverage for the eNews Channel during the afternoons since 1 July.

''I love the fact that I'm back home,'' says Wardah Hartley who clearly knows what she's talking about when it comes to sports coverage. ''I'm on at different times, as we are circulated on different shifts.

SPECIAL REPORT. How Discovery is increasingly willing and able to deliver fast produced high-quality, topical documentaries on world events.

Discovery is working on a new TV documentary special Norway Massacre: The Killer's Mind (produced by ITN) after this past weekend's horrific terror incident in Norway, which Discovery Networks International tells me will definitely be shown in South Africa on the Discovery Channel (DStv 121) soon.

Discovery Networks International that has multiple channels on MultiChoice's DStv as well as on On Digital Media's TopTV, tells TV with Thinus that it prides itself on providing viewers ''high quality and topical current affairs programming''.

After the news very early this week that Discovery has immediately greenlit a Norway TV special (with unnerving speed), I asked Discovery Networks International how the global factual network and programmer - that's not even in the breaking news business - is adapting, realigning and able to now move so incredibly swiftly to greenlit productions almost instantaneously after global news events.

Discovery will be bringing Norway Massacre: The Killer's Mind to South African viewers as the latest must-see TV special but it will only be the latest in an eye-popping string of special documentaries in recent months on Discovery ranging from the gunman at Discovery headquarters, the Chilean miners, Wikileaks, the Japan earthquake and tsunami, the death of Osama bin Laden - and coming early in August, even a must-seen all-access documentary about the final space mission of the space shuttle Atlantis.

This wonderful Discovery programming trend to cover breaking news events worldwide extremely quickly and in an scientific-entertaining approach with ample perspective, is amazing. The sheer speed with which Discovery Networks International can confirm these specials and right after unexpected events take place, should give established news organisations reason to ponder.

It's also not something Discovery has to do (its focus is solid factual series programming that it excels at). However, these above-and-beyond, additional once-off TV specials are clearly indicative of an executive mindset shift at Discovery and Discovery Networks International that's taken a jump to a whole next level. Discovery is clearly realizing that there's opportunity and value that can be unlocked by putting in the effort and time and money into immediately covering big global news events in documentary style and to present the human drama with the scientific facts to viewers from a factual perspective.

It's therefore no wonder that its seemingly now only M-Net that outperforms Discovery when it comes to time-shifted viewing in South Africa when you look at just PVR viewing which is crossing the threshold and starting to become significant to advertisers and media planners.

It means that viewers value the quality and the kind of programming on Discovery so much that they want to record Discovery shows more than almost anything else on other channels. Discovery ranks extremely high when it comes to having programming that South African viewers might not be able to watch immediately, but value enough or are interested in enough to want to watch. (Discovery rate the highest together with M-Net, SuperSport, Disney, M-Net Series and the M-Net movie channels.)

Discovery Networks International says its moving fast with Norway Massacre: The Killer's Mind although its unable to confirm an exact broadcast date. ''Whereas viewers will switch on the news to determine 'what' is happening, our aim at Discovery is to provide context about the 'how and why' which enables the viewer to shape their own views and perceptions of events that take place in the world around us,'' says Discovery.

''This year we have been able to broadcast a number of specials, such as The Death of bin Laden, Wikileaks, Chilean Miners and the Japanese Tsunami and it's an approach that is working because each have rated well and we have received positive feedback directly from viewers. We are equally committed to firm favourites such as Ultimate Survival, Cake Boss and others and we have some factual entertainment shows in the pipeline that we will reveal later in the year,'' says Discovery.

''Our local programming teams have a very clear idea of what our viewers want to see and are able to make quick decisions about which shows we put on air,'' says Discovery. ''This combines with the creation of an International Production and Development Unit headed by Luis Silberwasser which is responsible for producing programmes across our international operation. This team plus increased investment into our content means that we are uniquely placed to quickly deliver high-quality, topical, documentaries on world events.''

BREAKING. M-Met Movies 2 changing its on-air look on Monday to look identical to M-Net Movies 1 from August.

I've just been told by M-Net Movies 2 (DStv 104) that the movie channel is getting an on-air revamp for its look coming into effect on Monday 1 August.

M-Met Movies 2 is changing to become in terms of its look identical to the look of M-Net Movies 1 (DStv 103). The on-air revamp includes bumpers, idents, PG advisories and next up boards. The Oscar statuette (and the accompanying music will be a thing of the past.

BREAKING. Raging wildfire engulfs the set of M-Net's soap The Wild; threatened cast and crew evacuated as flames threatened production.

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I can break the news exclusively - and have all the real-life dramatic details - about a raging, out-of-control wildfire that threatened the set, cast and crew of M-Net's soap The Wild and caused the complete evacuation from the game farm outside Heidelberg on Wednesday and forced an unexpected shutdown of the production as flames advanced to the lodge.

''It was a real-life drama behind the scenes of The Wild,'' executive producer Bobby Heaney, tells TV with Thinus. ''On Wednesday at 13:00 someone noticed smoke in the distance, drove to the top of the mountain and saw that a fire has started in the distance two farms away and was advancing - due to very strong winds - in the direction of The Wild,'' he says. ''Luckily we're surrounded by an informed, very tight community well-used to dealing with fires immediately and everyone was immediately aware of the threatening fire coming towards us.''

Fire prevention sprang into action to try and contain the fire with 70 people, including fire beaters and 20 vehicles trying to bring it under control as the cast and crew evacuated the lodge set. A bakkie got damaged while a fire truck got stuck but nobody was injured as the production called for an immediate evacuation. The fire actually started as a firebreak two farms away but the farmer underestimated the wind. By 22:00 on Wednesday the fire drama than engulfed The Wild was over.

''We had to drop 4 scenes and with the production schedule as tight as this one is, it did create a bit of an issue,'' says Bobby Heaney. ''But the scenes have been picked up and by the end of today [Friday] we will be back on schedule.''

''We were very lucky,'' he says when it comes to outside scenes and scenic shots. ''I was very concerned about how the result of the fire will be impacting the vista. Luckily the only part destroyed is one section over the plains on the right of the lodge - actually a part we burned as a quick firebreak.''

''The irony is that while The Wild was experiencing a very dramatic real-life fire event, the soap is working on exactly such a story and some of the fire footage we managed to shoot will be making it into the actual show,'' says Bobby Heaney. ''In upcoming episodes Ian Roberts who plays Karel is burning firebreaks and some of this footage will be built into that storyline. We will even be using a section of the burnt farm now. In an ironic sense some of the real-life drama will be seen on screen in The Wild soon.''

Programming note: jumps to secure the broadcasting rights to Amy Winehouse special, My Daughter Amy.

Great to see some responsive programming from an unexpected quarter - The red letter channel has jumped quickly to secure the broadcasting rights to the Amy Winehouse documentary entitled My Daughter Amy which will be showing on Tuesday 9 August at 21:30. will be pre-empting 3rd Degree on 9 August to show the My Daughter Amy special after the unexpected death of the British singer this past weekend.

BREAKING. M-Net secures the broadcasting rights to the great new Franklin & Bash; new buddy-lawyer dramedy to air before end of 2011.

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I can exclusively break the news and reveal that M-Net has signed for the broadcasting rights to the brand-new (and funny-good!) new buddy-lawyer show Franklin & Bash, and that Franklin & Bash will start on M-Net before the end of the year.

I've been watching Franklin & Bash and love it, and earlier this week the delightful bromance dramedy was renewed for a second season in America. Now I can reveal that M-Net's definitely grabbed the show, and although a specific broadcasting date isn't certain yet, the first season's 10 episodes will definitely start sometime between October and December of this year still on M-Net. The first season of Franklin & Bash started last month in America.

Imagine a male version of Ally McBeal - kooky, kinda crazy, kinda outrageous cases with a wonderful Indian nerdy assistant Pindar and a kinda-weird, aloof-yet-present, eccentric British boss. Franklin & Bash is about two best friends (Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer), both lawyers, who leave their own ragtag firm and go to work (after they're asked) for a spiffy law firm - but they're adamant to keep their level of to school for cool.

Of course they have no idea what he's talking about, but says their Indian nerdy assistant Pindar (who fears people) with visible trepidation when they show up in front of the gleaming new building on their first day: ''This place looks like a Borg cube.''

Thursday, July 28, 2011

BREAKING. DStv ratings to go down 9% on average from August as PVR viewership that has become 'significant' gets removed temporarily.

The viewership ratings of MultiChoice's DStv will decrease on average by 9% on TAMS from August - not really because of less people watching DStv or television in South Africa, but actually due to a technical, temporary, adjustment that will see TV households in South Africa with personal video recorders (PVRs) no longer being counted or their viewership taken into effect.

ALSO READ: PVR viewership removed from TAMS from August; viewership of M-Net, kykNET, SuperSport will appear lower.

The South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf) that measures television viewership in South Africa with the TAMS system wanted to include - for the first time from August - so-called ''time-shifted viewing'' or viewing happening, or influenced by PVR usage. The organisation that manages the TAMS TV currency and which is used widely by media planners, ad buyers and marketing strategists decided to not only delay time shifted viewing, it decided to remove PVR households from the viewership.

Saarf says it first wants to properly adjust, align and understand PVR viewing, and that PVR viewership will then be added back. PVR viewing information will also be available as a separate set of viewership data to give a very clear picture of what is being watched on PVRs and how that affect overall viewing and audience figures. Saarf says PVR usage and PVR viewing in South Africa has become ''significant'' and has crossed the viewership threshold where this kind of significant time-delayed viewing can be accurately measured and has an impact on overall viewership figures.

''PVR households are now separated out,'' says Saarf. ''In the next South African TV universe update we should be in a better position to get a clearer view of PVR viewing. Time-shifted viewing in South Africa is going to change the industry and change television,'' says Saarf. Saarf actually wants to double the current TAMS sample size and the number of households whose TV viewing is monitored with electronic meters so that South African TV ratings can be ''more robust and so that we're more prepared for the viewership fragmentation coming with digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the country.''

From August with PVR households that's gone - actually still there but just ''invisible'' for the moment since their viewing isn't factored in - the biggest change will be a drop of 9% in DStv ratings. The biggest TV universe reduction comes DStv Premium subscribers, says Saarf. Channels that will suffer a marked decrease in viewers (although they're actually still there) will be kykNET, M-Net, Discovery, the M-Net movie channels, M-Net Series, Disney and BBC Lifestyle. Channels that will be showing a marked increase due to growth in DStv Compact subscribers will be KidsCo, ONE Gospel and SowetoTV.

''Not all channels are adversely affected,'' says Saarf. ''DStv Compact channels are actually growing. Some DStv Premium channels will be going through separation anxiety. But that viewership will come back.''

ALSO READ: VOSDAL is finally coming to the South African television industry. Say what? get ready for same-day-as-live ratings.
ALSO READ: TopTV viewership numbers for the pay TV service is coming, but audience ratings won't be available for individual channels.
ALSO READ: South African television viewership could actually be higher .. if the content broadcasters are showing weren't so crap - industry expert.
ALSO READ: PVR viewership removed from TAMS from August; viewership of M-Net, kykNET and SuperSport to decline.

BREAKING. VOSDAL is finally coming to the South African television industry. What you say? Get ready for Viewing-on-same-day-as-live ratings.

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I can reveal that VOSDAL is coming soon to the South African television industry for the very first time. No. Not a third type of alien in the new drama series Falling Skies, or the annual spring day The Wombles decide to peek out their burrow. Say hello to Viewing-on-same-day-as-live (VOSDAL) television ratings for South Africa.

The South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf), custodian of the TAMS system that measures television viewing and audience ratings in South Africa, says that it's planning to introduce VOSDAL as well as a detailed, individual, live+7 day viewership rating measurement system for PVRs when it introduces its time-shifted viewership measurement with the next TV universe update, probably sometime in early 2012.

Saarf has decided to remove PVR households for now, temporarily, from the new TV universe for South African television viewership that will come into effect on 1 August. That decision will lead to a sudden, unexpected decrease in the perceived viewership of some TV channels (because the PVR households are no longer considered towards the viewing total). Saarf promises that this ''missing'' or invisible viewership will however be added back in later with more robust, separate viewership information.

With this new set of PVR household viewership information, ad buyers, media planners, marketing strategists and TV executives will be able to get a detailed and very clear breakdown - for the first time ever - of what specific TV watching of what specific shows happens delayed but still on the same day as broadcast, as well as for each of the 7 consecutive days after a broadcast day.

Saarf plans to make a consolidated file available that will contain ''live+7 day'' PVR information. It will be similar to the live+7 DVR rating the American TV industry has been using for the past few years to get a clearer picture of how many additional viewers really watched a specific show or channel.

The industry will be able to ''customize'' and select what PVR viewership they deem of importance. Ad buyers or media agencies might want to focus on only ''live+VODAL'' - how many viewers saw a show live, plus recorded it but still watched it on that same day. Or you might decide ''live+2'' - viewers who watched a show live as well as those who recorded it and watched it within two days - are still significant enough to count towards your viewership total.

Example: Let's say Idols on M-Net at 17:30 on Sunday attracts a viewership of 950 000 people.
PVR viewership is going to give you a VOSDAL rating of 20 000, meaning that a further 20 000 people watched Idols not at 17:30 but still on the Sunday, bringing the total Idols viewership to actually 970 000.
Then you can add Idols live+1 that might now give you an additional 14 000 viewers who watched the show they've recorded on their PVR on Monday, bringing the total to 984 000.
As you add live+2, live+3, live+4 and so on, the number of viewers on these later days go down as less and less people actually watch what they've PVRed. But it does still make a difference to the overall total number of people who've watched.

ALSO READ: DStv viewership to go down 9% on average from August as PVR viewership, that has become ''significant'', gets temporarily removed.
ALSO READ: TopTV viewership numbers for the pay TV service is coming, but audience ratings won't be available for individual channels.
ALSO READ: PVR viewership removed from TAMS from August; viewership of M-Net, kykNET, SuperSport will decline.

BREAKING. Current TV's CEO Mark Rosenthal leaving the youth news network; Joel Hyatt returning to Al Gore's network.

Mark Rosenthal, CEO of  Current TV (TopTV 406) is leaving Al Gore's youth news network and will be replaced by Joel Hyatt who returns to his CEO role at the struggling channel.

Mark Rosenthal was was previously COO and president of MTV succeeded Joel Hyatt as CEO in 2009 after Joel Hyatt resigned in 2009. Now Joel Hyatt returns who founded Current TV with Al Gore.

BREAKING. TopTV viewership numbers for the pay TV service is coming, but audience ratings won't be available for individual channels.

You're reading it here first.

Viewership numbers for TopTV is coming, but it won't be viewership figures per channel, but rather for TopTV as a whole.

Since the new pay TV entrant to the South African television market started its commercial satellite pay TV service in May last year, no independent, verifiable, viewership figures or audience ratings have been available.

The South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf) said today that TopTV viewership is coming and will soon be available. There will be one snag however - it's not going to be possible for ad buyers or media planners to find out what the South African viewership is for a specific channel on TopTV. ''The only viewership figures that will be released initially will be the overall total - just the overall viewership of TopTV,'' says Saarf, saying that the sample of TopTV subscribers that represent all South African television viewers is still too small.

''Only overall viewership will be available for TopTV,'' says Saarf. ''The sample of TopTV subscribers is too small and not yet robust enough for measurement of separate channels on the TopTV bouquet. We're speaking about ,04 of a rating point. You just can't break it up at the moment.''

Saarf says when MultiChoice's DStv pay platform entered the market it was measured in the same way initially. ''It's too small initially as a part of the total TV audience to pick up individual channels but as DStv grew you're later able to separate out individual channels. The same approach will be taken with TopTV.''

ALSO READ: South African television viewership in total could actually be higher ... if the content broadcasters are showing weren't so crap - viewership research expert.

BREAKING.'s local dance reality show Step Up or Step Out renewed for a second season that will be shown in 2012.

Sadly can't be bothered to invite Cape Town press covering television (or even explain why not) to what it calls the ''glitz and glamorous finale'' this coming Sunday of its reality show Step Up or Step Out. But I can reveal that this reality show with competing dance crews produced by Endemol SA, has been renewed for a second season.

The second season of Step Up or Step Out will be on in 2012 after the show garnered enough viewers to crack the list of top 10 shows on on a weekly basis. ''We look forward to an even better and mind-blowing new season,'' says Monde Twala, the group head of channels division.

Of course the Step Up and Step Out live finale on Sunday on will be competing - at least in terms of press attention - with the finale of Big Brother Africa Amplified also happening live on Sunday evening.

Sunday nights TV with Thinus of course cover Idols - so come for the coverage, stay for the snark.

BREAKING. South African television viewership in total could actually be higher ... if the content broadcasters are showing weren't so crap.

A leading and authoritative industry expert tracking television viewership in South Africa says combined total television viewership in South Africa could actually be higher - if the TV content broadcasters are showing wasn't so crap.

Dr Chris Eyre, managing director of AGB Nielsen Media Research spoke this morning and addressed a group of journalists, ad buyers, media planners as well as media and marketing executives about the new TAMS universe of the South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf). Saarf is the leading organisation in South Africa tracking television viewership in South Africa and will temporarily remove PVR households from the audience universe from August.

ALSO READ: PVR viewership removed from TAMS from August, viewership of M-Net, kykNET and SuperSport will appear lower.

The authoritative and widely-respected Dr Chris Eyre suggested that general total television viewership in South Africa could actually be higher than what it is currently but that less viewers are watching because the content that broadcasters and TV channels are showing South African viewers are substandard and not of a good quality. He was very direct and blunt in his assessment of why television viewership in South Africa could actually be higher - but isn't.

''Data suggest that content is approaching ... crap,'' dr Chris Eyre said. ''Television is going up in the South African context all the time, but it could actually be higher.'' He suggested that low quality TV content is to blame for the growth not being higher. ''You have to factor in the quality of the content South African viewers are getting to view.''