Saturday, April 28, 2012

Exactly how the AfricaMagic and AfricaMagic Movies TV channels changed for South African viewers.

Of course there was no announcement from either MultiChoice nor M-Net for South African DStv subscribers, and M-Net which supplies the channels didn't respond to media enquiries and specific questions I had about it - but now its clear exactly how the AfricaMagic channels changed for South African TV viewers.

ALSO READ: M-Net to launch further AfricaMagic TV channels in Africa - and the hidden clue to M-Net's channel expansion plans for South Africa.
ALSO READ: How the new AfricaMagic channels' logos will look when it debuts on 16 April.

Besides the new on-air look for the various channels AfricaMagic (DStv 114) remains mostly unchanged in terms of content. South African DStv subscribers still only get two, although there exists more AfricaMagic TV channels now all branded under the same moniker.

These channels are actually packaged for viewers outside of South African borders but two channels remain available on DStv within South Africa.

Since the channel changes which happened on 16 April, AfricaMagic Plus (DStv 115) has changed into AfricaMagic Movies (DStv 115). Besides the name and logo change, AfricaMagic Movies now exclusively only has African movies as its channel proposition and no longer carry additional other entertainment content.

Magic World (DStv 112) - so far - remains unaffected and unchanged.

Programming note: New mystery drama Alcatraz coming to M-Net from Tuesday 29 May at 20:30 for a first season of 13 episodes.

The new JJ Abrams drama Alcatraz is coming to M-Net starting on Tuesday 29 May at 20:30 on the pay TV broadcaster after a bit of will-they-won't-they? scheduling.

Very hot still a few weeks ago, Alcatraz also fizzled out. After a first season of 13 episodes which just concluded the show is not expected to return and is another show and another example of where M-Net acquires shows but simply takes too long to start showing them (given what other countries and other pay TV operators do these days).

Just like Terra Nova - if M-Net started showing it earlier - the pay TV broadcaster would have gotten more press and more buzz than once a show suddenly flames out and dies.

Here's (just one reason) why it's a good idea for M-Net to seriously look at it acquisition, scheduling and distribution system: In hindsight, once TV critics know a show is done for - like now with Alcatraz - a broadcaster simply don't get the same amount of exposure, stories, and the show being highlighted as when its shown in close proximity to the American broadcasting date and it's still possible to join in and be a part of the hype.

If M-Net started showing Alcatraz even last month in March - because there were no definite news yet about possible cancellation - more would have been written in a bigger way about the show. By the end of May when Alcatraz finally starts, don't expect a lot of press. If M-Net do away with low-brow bubblegum programming such as Wipeout which doesn't really belong on a premium pay TV channel, there will be enough timeslots to show great TV when it's still carries a fresh rating.

Alcatraz revolves around a group of convicts in the 1960's who "escape" from the unescapable prison (you'll have to watch and follow to slowly find out how), and appear in modern-day San Francisco, but looking exactly like they did when they vanished. Time travel? Some other "device"?

A team of agents are tracking them down not to just recapture them, but to also find out how it happened.

Although Alcatraz' viewership numbers have been disappointing, the show is actually above average good. If you like a show like Fringe, you'll like Alcatraz.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vladimir Duthiers the new international correspondent for CNN International in Lagos, Nigeria.

Vladimir Duthiers is the new international correspondent for CNN International (DStv 401) based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Vladimir Duthiers is fluent in French and Haitian Creole and has a B.A. dedree in political science and a M.S. from Columbia Universit's Graduate School of Journalism.

CNN International currently has new bureaus in Johannesburg (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenia), and Lagos (Nigeria) which all fall under bureau chief Kim Norgaard in Johannesburg.

"Vladimir's passion for journalism, impressive business background and his knack as a natural storyteller make him a fantastic choice to cover such a vibrant country and region," says Parisa Khosravi, the senior vice president for CNN Worldwide in charge of international newsgathering in a press statement.

South African viewers can currently see several Africa-specific weekly shows on the global news channel such as Inside Africa, African Voices and Marketplace Africa.

Oprah and some chicken soup for the homeless who happens to pass by.

Oprah Winfrey gave a homeless man some food, gossips The New York Post, delectably tattling on what so-called "spies" told the tabloid.

According to the newspaper Oprah Winfrey was having a 5 course dinner at the posh Bevery Hills restaurant Scarpetta, when a homeless man passed by and pleaded for some food.

"Oprah can you help a homeless guy get a bowl of soup, please?" the man, known as Eddie asked.

"Please can we get him some money; get him a meal?" Oprah Winfrey said according to the "spies". "God bless you, Eddie," Oprah said as one of her companions handed Eddie a wad of cash and brought him a feast.

BREAKING. Fringe renewed for a 5th and final season with a shortened 13 episode order.

The brilliant science fiction drama Fringe (M-Net, M-Net Series, Fox FX) was just renewed for a 5th but final season in America and a shortened episode order of 13 hour long episodes to wrap up the series.

The Fox network in America picked up Fringe for a new 5th season for 13 episodes to wrap up the story and bringing Fringe to 100 episodes. After the show was moved to the graveyard Friday night on America it held on remarkably well, but was costing too much to produce, losing the network money.

Fringe is produced by Warner Bros Television and has an extremely loyal fan base.

"Fringe is a remarkably creative series that has set the bar as one of television's most imaginative dramas," said Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment president in a statement. "Bringing it back for a final 13 allows us to provide the climatic conclusion that it's passionate and loyal fans deserve."

"The amazing work the producers, writers and the incredibly talented cast and crew have delivered the last four seasons has literally been out of this world. Although the end is bittersweet, it's going to be a very exciting final chapter.''

""We are thrilled and beyond grateful that Fox – and our fans – have made the impossible possible: Fringe will continue into a fifth season that will allow the series to conclude in a wild and thrilling way," the series co-creator and executive producer JJ Abrams said in the statement.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Programming note: The Tech Report on the eNews Channel tonight comparing all 3 iPads as the new one goes on sale Friday.

The Tech Report on the eNews Channel (DStv 403) will have a South African television first tonight (Wednesdays, 21:30) when this great local weekly magazine show about technology will review the new iPad which will be on sale from Friday.

The third season of The Tech Report remains proof of great local television, done on a weekly basis, and done very well. The show which is remarkably better than the previous two seasons is surely a feather in the cap of the eNews Channel and is a great addition to its crop of weekly magazine shows.

Its telling that The Tech Report in its third season has already (unannounced) had its episode order extended - the current season got additional episodes and is longer than ever before.

The eNews Channel would be well served - as would viewers - to turn The Tech Report in its current relevant, extremely well-produced and high quality format into a regular all year show similar to Maggs on Media and The Justice Factor. Hopefully the already longer running The Tech Report is an indication of that and the kind of shows that should be winning Saftas.

Tonight The Tech Report will  compare all 3 iPads to each other in a funny comparison by correspondent Seth Rotherdam who's hilarious "how do you stop social media notifications" and other instructional tech inserts are hilarious (and well produced).

ALSO READ: The vastly-improved 3rd season of The Tech Report on the eNews Channel.

Viewers to M-Net over Homeland: 'DStv your age restriction of 16 and time schedule is completely inappropriate.'

As I suspected would happen for more than 2 months ever since I noticed it first on a schedule and told M-Net about it, there is now a flood of M-Net subscribers responding about the pay TV broadcaster's odd decision to schedule the brilliant yet explicit drama Homeland on Wednesdays at 20:30.

The show is great, but Homeland's 20:30 timeslot I consider to be completely inappropriate for this show.

Compared to the dramas M-Net shows on other weekdays at 20:30 such as normal family fare NCIS Los Angeles and The Lying Game, its very clear that Homeland in terms of its graphic content is completely different to all the other series in this hour. Explicit shows such as Shameless, Californication and Game of Thrones are all shows much later - the group in which Homeland belongs.

But M-Net told me the pay broadcaster has a dedicated team of people who watches everything before its broadcast and they know exactly what they're showing.

There is of course also the nudity in the show M-Net didn't warn viewers about in the promos and the "N" which was oddly enough not indicated in promos.

Next week's episode of course features some Homeland masturbation.

Here is how just viewers are responding to Homeland on M-Net, and it's very telling of exactly what I thought would happen if a show such as this goes out in a 20:30 timeslot:

  Giuliana Bland (@GiulesB65)
  @DStv your age restriction of 16 and time schedule for tv programme #homeland is completely inappropriate. Please change it.

Lefty Mokoena (@Ntate_Mokoena)
18/04/2012 21:09
Yho! #Homeland too graphic!!

Riz Aziz (@Riz_F1)
18/04/2012 20:47
Oh.......Kay. Just switched channel. S.E.X scenes in #homeland not suitable as my 4 Angels started looking at the ceiling when it came on!!!

Lerato (@Lerato_L_)
18/04/2012 21:07
Most traumatic sex scene ever. #homeland

taa madyara (@TaaOreezy)
18/04/2012 21:08
Yoh come on scene jus wen ma granma walks in.......AKWARD

Lesego Mahape (@LeeLeeMillie)
18/04/2012 21:14
That awkward moment when a hectic sex scene comes on when u watchin tv with the parentals..thanks #Homeland #trynafindsomewheretoplacemyeyes

Lefty Mokoena (@Ntate_Mokoena)
25/04/2012 20:55
Parents send your kids to bed! #Homeland is not that kind of a party!!

I have asked M-Net again for a comment or a response about the show now that viewers are responding in this way. As soon as, or if, M-Net responds, I will bring it.

ALSO READ: M-Net brings "t*ts & **s" to primetime at 8:30pm: Is Homeland starting on Wednesday inappropriate for the timeslot? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

BREAKING. Broadcasting Complaints Commission fines MultiChoice R10 000 for a big penis mistake on DStv.

You're reading it here first.

Just over a week after MultiChoice admitted it was wrong and was slapped over the wrists by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), DStv which was fined R10 000, is again in hot water after the BCCSA found MultiChoice guilty of showing a man's penis and full frontal male nudity with an age restriction of only parental guide and 13.

Sony Max on DStv channel 126 broadcast a game show during which five young men stood almost naked on stage. Dressed only in small, tight-fitting speedos of different colours, the viewer had to guess "who has the biggest package".

While the camera zoomed in on each guy's speedo, the show, Banzai, only carried an PG13 rating. After the various guys each had a chance to step forward and put their hands in their speedos, the biggest penis owner then dropped his underwear and showed physical proof of his massive manhood.

"When the third guy steps forward, he does not put his hand in his speedo, but he pulls it down and exposes his very long penis in a close shot full in the face of the viewer," says the BCCSA in the judgement. "The scene lasts only a few seconds, but the shot is close enough to make a lasting impression on the viewer. Thereafter the third man is declared the winner. One has to conclude that the remaining two men have shorter penises, so the viewer is spared further shots of genitals," says the BCCSA.

"We fortunately have no children, but if we had, what use would PG13 have been?" a complainant wrote to the BCCSA. "I feel it's extremely inappropriate to show scenes like these where most people have access to it."

"MultiChoice concedes that classification of PG13 was not suitable for the episode in question and it was due to an error on the on the side of the channel provider," MultiChoice told the BCCSA. "MultiChoice apologised to the complainant for the inconvenience caused."

The BCCSA in its judgement found that for South African television according to the broadcasting code "the close shot of a full frontal 'in your face' penis was offensive to viewers, even the broadminded, balanced and not oversensitive ones."

MultiChoice had the option to present a written response for mitigation before the BCCSA leveled a fine but the pay TV operator chose not to. The BCCSA said it is concerned with the "recurrence of contraventions in this regard" by MultiChoice. The BCCSA fined MultiChoice R10 000 for the contravention and DStv has until 15 May to pay it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

BREAKING. Giuliana and Bill Rancic finally having a baby; pregnant and expecting after a long struggle.

Giuliana and Bill Rancic are pregnant with the reality TV couple saying "we are so thrilled that our prayers have been answered," in a statement to E! Entertainment (DStv 124) where Giuliana Rancic (37) is the anchor of the daily E! News show.

Viewers have been following the couple's desperate struggle to get pregnant the past 4 years in the reality show Giuliana & Bill on E! Entertainment and The Style Network, as well as Giuliana's cancer battle.

Now the couple who've been married for 5 years is pregnant through gestational surrogate which means its their genetic child. "We are absolutely ecstatic to be sharing this with everyone who has been following our journey," says Bill Rancic in the statement.

The couple has battled miscarriage as well as Giuliana's cancer; she had a double mastectomy and is currently cancer free.

Giuliana Rancic knows the gender of her baby but isn't revealing it yet.

BREAKING. MultiChoice will show the 2012 London Olympic Games on 4 HD channels on DStv with SD simulcast broadcasts.

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MultiChoice will have 2012 London Olympic Games coverage on 4 high definition (HD) TV channels from SuperSport on DStv with the coverage simulcast on standard definition (SD) channels, meaning that DStv will be adding additional HD capacity on its platform from the end of July.

I broke the news in December that SuperSport clinched the pay TV broadcasting rights for South Africa  and Africa for the 2012 Olympic Games and that HD coverage will be included, but until now the number of HD channels wasn't revealed yet.

I was told and confirmed that there will be 4 HD channels showing 2012 London Olympics coverage (besides standard definition and 24 hour coverage) from the end of July. Each of the channels (but not necessarily all of the HD channels) will broadcast for at least 14 hours per day; some will run 24 hours. The HD channels' content will be simulcast on SD channels.

Asked about the HD channels specifically and which channels will specifically be in HD, SuperSport declined official comment but said plans are still "being worked out".

MultiChoice doesn't currently run 4 HD SuperSport channels, which means the amount of HD broadcasting on DStv will increase from the end of July. 

SuperSport is sending a large production crew to London with four news crews which will follow South African and African athletes, with daily news and highlights packages as well as special shows which will be produced.

The SABC will use SABC2 to broadcast free-to-air Olympic Games coverage in South Africa.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

SABC3 messes up Survivor for viewers by giving away too much ... again. Outraged viewers livid over 'spoiler' promo.

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SABC3 has spoilt Survivor again with outraged viewers who have followed the show who are absolutely livid that the broadcaster has once a messed up the reality show. SABC3 has been playing an on-screen "spoiler" promo where the popular contestant Brett Clouser is already seen sitting in the tribal council jury.

The problem is that as far as viewers are concerned - and as SABC3 has shown in the latest episode - Brett Clouser is still supposedly very much in the show.

SABC3 therefore played the wrong future promo too soon (or cut a TV promo using incorrect episode footage of events still to transpire). Viewers are outraged. This is the second time that SABC3 has seriously botched Survivor - this time through incorrectly revealing the status of a contestant in the 19th season.

In September 2009 SABC3 messed up the order of the episodes for the Survivor China finale which led to massive viewer outrage. Advertisers and the sponsor demanding money back, the final control worker was immediately sent home, and later disciplined; besides the rebroadcast SABC3 had to rescreen the finale and the issue was even addressed in parliament where the massive mistake was lamented as indicative of the worrying state of the public broadcaster.

Now Survivor Samoa on SABC3 is messed up for loyal viewers who have invested many hours of watching the show over the past few weeks which is set to broadcast its finale on 30 April.

"Thanks a lot SABC3, your new Survivor advert shows contestant Brett Clouser in the jury already. That means we already know who is going to be voted out! You guys suck," wrote Kevin McLennan. "Really really? Your Survivor finale ad is one week too early...Well done for spoiling 2 Survivor finales for us," wrote Gabi Milne. "Thanks for ruining Survivor AGAIN," wrote Nicks Andrews.

SABC3 didn't respond to a media enquiry about Survivor made late on Sunday. I will keep updating with what went wrong and why, when and if SABC3 responds in the week.

The Amazing Race problems
Meanwhile SABC3 will be following Survivor Samoa immediately with Survivor Heroes vs Villains news I broke RIGHT HERE on Thursday already and told you why. The public broadcaster is having issues with licensing the broadcasting rights of the next season of The Amazing Race in time to start on 7 May and decided to rather go with more Survivor immediately without the usual break.

To prevent a bigger schedule disruption, SABC3 has decided to yank the planned new season of The Amazing Race from the line-up and to rather start another new Survivor season - the 20th - immediately after Survivor Samoa concludes. This will be the the first time ever that SABC3 shows Survivor seasons immediately back to back since the channel acquired the show more than a decade ago.

EMPTY BILLING? Top Billing takes viewers exclusively inside ... well, almost nothing.

Sparse. Empty. Dull as dead. This is what Top Billing (SABC3, Tuesdays, 20:00) showed viewers this week. The problem? It was a "Fabulous Homes" episode, showing was is supposedly billed as just the verybest houses.

Meanwhile this - what in the trade is called the "after" or the made-over end-result - more resembles the "before".

From the carpet to the badly done drapes to the ... well, there isn't much more is there... looks more like what is left 5 minutes before the moving van stops outside, than a "fabulous home".

This "empty nest syndrome" which resembles an empty OK Bazaars or Russells showroom floor gets a Top Billing fail.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

SABC Television News makes an on-air apology for mistakes SABC News made in broadcasting a gang-rape story on Thursday evening.

The SABC's Television News has apologised on-air for its reporting about the story of an alleged gang-rape by 7 men of a mentally challenged Soweto teenager - saying that the public broadcaster made mistakes in the way the story was shown on television on Thursday evening.

"SABC Televison News acknowledges that it erred in the manner in which it covered the appearance of the 7 accused in our story yesterday. Our story was in breach of SABC editorial policy," news anchor Vabakshnee Chetty said on Friday night on the News @ 7 on SABC3.

"As a public broadcaster we have a responsibility to protect the dignity and identity of both victims and suspects - especially minors and other vulnerable members of society." 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The brand-new BET show, Don't Sleep with T.J. Holmes, definitely coming to BET in South Africa.

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I can reveal that a brand-new weekday show, Don't Sleep with T.J. Holmes will definitely be seen by South African viewers on BET (TopTV 190) as part of the BET United Kingdom channel feed on TopTV when the show starts later this year on BET in America.

The new weekday show, aiming to be a kind of Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report will have T.J. Holmes as the anchor who recently left CNN in America after he was lured away by BET.

When BET in America made the announcement last week that T.J. Holmes will be getting his own show, I immediately asked TopTV whether Don't Sleep with T.J. Holmes will be shown in South Africa, and if yes, whether the show would also be a same day episode for South Africa in the same way that The Wendy Williams Show is seen here on the same day as in America.

I finally heard back from TopTV after making a second enquiry. The pay TV operator tells me that BET UK will indeed have Don't Sleep with T.J. Holmes on its programming schedule. Not known yet is when the show will start here and how far, if any, South Africa will be behind, or the timeslot the show will be seen in.

END OF THE ROAD. After 7 years The Discovery Channel cancels Cash Cab.

After 7 years Discovery has cancelled its reality game show Cash Cab with Ben Bailey. The news was first reported by New York magazine's Vulture blog.

In Cash Cab unsuspecting commuters would climb into a taxi and be asked general knowledge questions about specific subjects, earning more money for correct answers, and getting dropped immediately curb side when they fail.

Cash Cab could continue, should the production company, Lion Television, be able to find a new TV channel that wants the show.

BREAKING. Carte Blanche on M-Net appealing the ruling from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission regarding the Electro Smart device.

M-Net's weekly investigative magazine show Carte Blanche is appealing a ruling made by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) which ordered Carte Blanche to apologise regarding a certain insert broadcast in August last year.

ALSO READ: Carte Blanche on M-Net ordered to apologise on-air for its Electro Smart apparatus insert which was described as a timer.

Earlier today the BCCSA, in a judgement, ordered Carte Blanche to apologise on-air for what the BCCSA found in its judgement was a "mischaracterisation" by the TV show of a device from Electro Smart.

In a just-issued press release, M-Net's Carte Blanche says "Carte Blanche respectfully disagrees with the ruling and imposed sanctions made by the BSSCA regarding an insert that investigated a power-saving product called the Electro Smart apparatus. Therefore, Carte Blanche is appealing the BCCSA judgment."

"The imposed sanction required Carte Blanche to broadcast the BCCSA ruling on either Sunday, 22 April 2012 or Sunday, 29 April 2012, but the chairperson of the tribunal has subsequently granted the Carte Blanche request to suspend the sanction."

M-Net says "Carte Blanche, renowned for its superb investigative journalism, has won more than 120 prestigious local and international awards for its in-depth stories. Being a respected consumer watchdog for South Africans, Carte Blanche prides itself on delivering accurate and honest content."

BREAKING. SABC3 dropping The Amazing for another season of Survivor immediately following Survivor: Samoa on 7 May.

You're reading it here first.

Although not announced officially, I can exclusively reveal that the 15th season of The Amazing Race will no longer be following the current season of Survivor: Samoa on SABC3 and that the next season of Survivor, the 20th season entitled Survivor: Heroes vs Villains will replace the scheduled The Amazing Race.

What this means is that South African viewers will see two seasons of Survivor without a break. Although the SABC isn't yet making the news official, I'm told from multiple insiders knowledgeable about the programming change coming for SABC3 that the broadcaster has not yet sorted out the broadcasting rights and the license for The Amazing Race.

"Instead of waiting until the last minute and then not getting The Amazing Race in time, they decided to just go with the 20th season of Survivor in the meantime immediately following the conclusion of the 19th season."

What it means is basically the first ''double season'' of Survivor on South African television coming, ever.

BREAKING. After less than a year, MultiChoice's DStv Box Office already cited as impacting South Africa's movie attendance figures.

Eight months after MultiChoice launched its DStv Box Office digital movie rental service, the in-home, on-demand rental service is already being cited by some of South Africa's cinema chains as a contributing factor to growing pressure on movie attendance figures in the country.

Nu Metro is closing its second movie cinema within a year - the Sunny Park cinema in Pretoria - citing poor foot traffic. Fay Amaral, the managing director of Nu Metro told Business Day that South African movie cinemas remain viable entertainment destinations. She however specifically highlighted MultiChoice's DStv Box Office digital movie rentals as one of the contributing factors now playing a definite role in adding competition to cinema attendance figures in South Africa which remain under pressure.

Bruce Mubayiwa, social media coach at Chess Plains Media talked to Destiny Man about it. "The question I would have for Nu Metro is: to what extent have they embraced the new technology? If they were losing market share to the digital movie rental business, how flexible was their business model for tweaking? Are they flexible enough to consider making investments in the booming digital movie rental business?"

In a new attempt to lure more South African moviegoers, Ster-Kinekor Theatres which no longer wants to advertise its movie listings in daily and weekly newspapers, is launching Ster-Kinekor Cine Prestige in Johannesburg, which it describes as a "business class experience" cinema offering. The cinema boasts large leather recliner seats at R85 per ticket.

"With Cine Prestige, we are now able to reach an even wider market and are able to offer something unique and more sophisticated, loosely modelled on similar concepts seen in the UK and Australia," says Fiaz Mahomed, the CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

BREAKING. Style renews reality show Tia & Tamera for a 2nd season; will roll out 5 new series in the coming year.

Style Media which runs The Style Network (DStv 183) has renewed Tia & Tamera for second season as well as Glam Fairy and is adding 5 new TV series to its schedule which would also be seen on the channel in South Africa.

The new Style shows include Betsy + LuLu about the fashion designer Betsey Johnson; a home makeover series with Bill Rancic (the husband of Giuliana Rancic); a show from Adrienne Bailon and Lulissa Bermudez, and the Jerseylicious spinoff Chicagolicious which has already been announced.

Style is also developing some new series. It includes Cat Deeley and another show by Kimora Lee Simmons. "Our upcoming slate builds on Style's commitment to develop compelling programming that showcases fascinating personalities with an insatiable appetite for stylish living," says Style's senior vice president for original programming Sarah Weidman in a statement.

BREAKING. Carte Blanche on M-Net ordered to apologise on-air for its Electro Smart apparatus insert which was described as a timer.

Carte Blanche on M-Net has been ordered to apologise on-air for a story after the weekly investigative magazine show on the South African pay TV broadcaster was found by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) to have "mischaracterised" a device from Electro Smart "as a timer" which is sold as an energy savings device.

According to the BCCSA "a clear statement must be broadcast to the Carte Blanche audience that what they had viewed did not give a balanced picture of the situation".

The BCCSA was asked to, but decided not to impose a fine for the insert which was shown on 14 August 2011. Carte Blanche is a Combined Artists production.

Carte Blanche has indicated that the show will be appealing the decision from the BCCSA and that no apology will be happening, awaiting the appeal of the BCCSA judgement. The show's legal representation tells me that "Carte Blanche will be bringing an application for leave to appeal the judgement. In the meantime, the sanction has been suspended."

The BCCSA in its judgement said: "The respondent [Carte Blanche] must, without comment, and during the first five minutes of the first or the second programme after the issue of this order, broadcast the following statement," says the BCCSA in its findings of the case:

"The Broadcasting Complaints Commission has directed M-Net to broadcast the following statement during the programme:

"In its 2011 insert on the Electro Smart apparatus, which is sold as an electricity saver, Carte Blanche contravened the Broadcasting Code in the following aspects:

1.Carte Blanche failed to obtain available evidence from an expert, which had been provided by Electro Smart's distributors, which would have confirmed the company's assertation that the apparatus does save electricity;

2.Carte Blanche failed to inform viewers fully that a device almost identical to the Electro Smart apparatus had been approved in 1986 by the SABS as an electricity saver;

3.And lastly; a statement was made in the insert that Electro Smart agreements after 2005 were nul and void because they violated the National Credit Act, yet the distributor was not invited to comment on this statement. Had Carte Blanche done so, the distributor would have indicated that the National Credit Act, in his view, were not applicable to the contracts and that the contracts were, indeed, valid."

ALSO READ: Carte Blanche on M-Net appealing the ruling from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission regarding the Electro Smart device.

OOPS, AND OFF. Oprah Winfrey dropped - for the first time ever - from TIME's 100 Most Influential list.

Oprah Winfrey - the only person to appear in every special issue - has been dropped from the TIME 100 Most Influential people in the world list.

TIME just announced the list and Oprah Winfrey who started her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in America is not on it. Her Oprah Winfrey Show ended last year; South African viewers now see OWN shows such as Your Own Show on Mzansi Magic (DStv 107) and Soul Food Family starting on 22 April on The Discovery Channel (DStv 121).

Oprah Winfrey was included in the TIME 100 Most Influential when it first appeared in 1999 and appeared in every subsequent issue from 2004 when it became an annual special issue. She therefore appeared the most times of anybody.

Televisionists who did make the TIME 100 2012 very America-centric and esoteric list this year which I've just gone through, include actress Kristen Wiig from Saturday Night Live, comedian Chelsea Handler of E! Entertainment, Matt Lauer from the one morning show Today on an American TV network, Claire Danes from Homeland which just started on M-Net and Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BREAKING. SABC signs as the free-to-air broadcaster for 2012 London Olympic; coverage from 27 July on SABC2.

The SABC announced that the South African public broadcaster has acquired the free-to-air broadcasting rights for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and will be using all 11 official languages during portions of different event coverage during the globalsport event.

The SABC's announcement follows SuperSport which tied upthe pay TV broadcasting rights to the 2012 London Olympics last year - I broke the news RIGHT HERE in December. The SABC will be using its 3 TV channels - but primarily SABC2 - as well as radio stations - but primarily Radio 2000 for Olympic Games coverage.

The SABC's Olympic Games coverage will stretch from 27 July until 12 August. SABC2 will start a new countdown show, Countdown to London 2012 every Sunday at 13:30 and also use the youthcentric afternoon slot Henctic Nine 9 on weekdays at 16:00 for additional Olympic Games coverage.

"The SABC has gained immense experience in covering sporting events of this magnitude following our successful coverage of the 2008 Olympics in beijing, the 2010 Fifa World Cup which was held on home ground as well as the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup," says Kaizer Kganyago, SABC spokesperson.

"As a public broadcaster we are pleased that we have managed to secure the broadcasting rights for the 2012 London Olympics as we serve the needs of sports loving fans in our country. Viewers and listeners can expect exciting coverage from the broadcaster, complimented by world-class on-air talent, which will bring the games live into their homes."

DOWNTON WHAMMY. Downton Abbey on BBC Entertainment hastily back for South African viewers; 2nd series set to start on 8 July.

You're reading it here first.

The best made television that South African TV viewers will see all year will suddenly last a whole lot longer: Downton Abbey - the absolutely terrific Britcast set 100 years ago - is getting the starting date of its second series dramatically moved up and will now start on BBC Entertainment on 8 July.

Last month just before the first series of the sumptuous show ended, I asked the BBC about when South African viewers would get to see the second series of Downton Abbey which just concluded earlier this year in America. Usually the time between TV seasons is roughly a year. BBC told me last month there is no definite starting date ... yet. And now its changed!

If you haven't watched the aristocratic antics of the Crawleys yet ... do so ... please. BBC Entertainment actually shows repeats as well as marathon weekend episodes of Downton Abbey - check your TV guides. BBC Entertainment also has very interesting behind-the-scenes bits and cast interviews running between shows on the channel's programme schedule.

The first series of Downton Abbey scored a massive 400 000 viewers for BBC Entertainment, making the channel the number 1 international channel on DStv during its timeslot and achieving the second highest viewing figure on the channel this year.

The second series of Downton Abbey which starts on 8 July will take place amidst the shadow of the First World War. Viewers can get ready for more captivating plot line twists of deception, intrigue and of course love and scandal in a further 9 episodes. Downton Abbey becomes a kind of hospital for war wounded, but there's war on every front as everybody within the household - upstairs as well as downstairs - are battling with their own issues.

Take a look at this (superbly well done absolutely perfect) promo for the second series of Downton Abbey (as done by ITV, the British broadcaster which has the show).

BREAKING. MacGyver saves the SABC. (Never thought you'd see this real headline did you?)

You're reading it here first.

Anything remains possible with a Swiss army knife and a little bit of ingenuity: in an amazing display of viewership traction Angus MacGyver is singlehandedly saving the SABC with a rebroadcast of MacGyver on SABC3 which is helping to drive a successful ratings gain for the public broadcaster's struggling TV channel.

MacGyver - almost 30 years old - is suddenly a massive viewership hit on SABC3 since the library title was recently reacquired by the broadcaster. It started showing again on the SABC's only commercial TV channel since the end of February. The SABC first showed MacGyver 27 years ago on TV1 when the American action drama ran in America from the mid-eighties to early nineties.

It made the mullet-wearing Richard Dean Anderson a star - fighting everything from killer ants to his achnemesis Murdock with little more than a Swiss army knife.

Since reairing MacGyver, the show has shot up in the ratings, with only Isidingo - SABC3's local soap - and Days of Our Lives managing to get a bigger viewership on the channel.

Making MacGuyver's viewership feat as a library title even more impressive, is the fact that the show is broadcast not in primetime, but at 12 noon when a much smaller potential TV audience is available. It therefore makes it even harder for a show to pull a sizeable TV audience, let alone becoming a TV hit ranked 3rd on a channel's top 10 list.

MacGuyver is more popular than anything else in all of SABC3's primetime line-up, including strong performers such as Top Billing, Survivor, Gossip Girl and reality show The Voice. With a consistent 5,1 to 5,3 rating on TAMS over the past few weeks,a MacGyver episode pulls roughly 1,54 million viewers. It's a welcome viewership uptick for the channel which lost The Oprah Winfrey Show when it concluded its 25th season last year and which was a stable and strong ratings grabber for SABC3.

I can reveal that SABC3 has surprisingly also heard from viewers who phoned the channel and told them they're rushing home during lunch time to now watch MacGyver.

The show's remarkable performance is good news for the channel which has to submit a special SABC3 Channel Turnaround Plan to parliament.

The turnaround plan forms part of the SABC's overall turnaround strategy. That turnaround strategy includes an emphasis on the rebuilding of SABC3 as a TV channel specifically, following sliding viewership due to a lack of compelling content, erratic scheduling, waning brand quality perception and a steep drop in advertising income since 2009.

SABC3's acting channel head Ed Worster has made considerable improvements since he took over.

The remarkable ratings strength of MacGyver is actually not surprising, the television and popular culture expert dr Nadia van der Merwe from the department of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg, tells me.

"The story context and action-adventure genre of MacGyver is easily transferable even thirty years later - not like some programmes that are context specific," she says. "Viewing of reruns are often associated with what I would like to call nostalgic viewing - in these cases the appeal of the programme can be linked to what we as viewers associate with the time when we first viewed the show".

"MacGyver's non-violent resolutions to problems might also be appealing to an audience who themselves are part of a violent society and would like to escape from that."

"SABC3 also successfully marketed the programme," says dr. Nadia van der Merwe, "bringing it to the attention of the larger SABC3 viewership".

Also possibly driving viewership is time-shifted viewing, she says. "Although it is shown during the daytime, it could be recorded by some viewers to watch later," she says.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TOP LOSS. How TopTV lost a top opportunity to get Trace Sports and - through association - enhance the TopTV brand.

Don't believe it next time the South African pay TV provider TopTV says all of the sports rights and sports channels have already been gobbled up by MultiChoice for its DStv platform and wants to lament the "fact" that nothing is actually available.

TopTV was very well aware that the Trace Sports channel - now channel 129 on DStv and broadcast from today - is being created as a new TV channel and that the owners wanted to pursue the the aim of worldwide reach. That meant that the Trace Group wanted to also expand into Africa (and South Africa) at the same time as its global roll-out for the new channel.

TopTV was also aware and was told that the Trace Group from France was looking for a pay TV distribution platform in South Africa and wanted to try and is eager to sign a carriage agreement. And Trace told me they would be open to talk to whoever (and not just MultiChoice) and would be willing to take meetings with anybody when high ranking Trace executives visited South Africa in 2011 and 2010.

I asked TopTV about Trace Sports and The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) - both soon to start new TV channels at the same time - and the pay TV operator said they're looking into it.

So, there existed at least the possibility, at least right at the beginning, that Trace Sports could have been a channel on TopTV, but the sport entertainment channel which TV with Thinus scooped months ago is coming to MultiChoice, is now on DStv - and that's where it will stay. Because MultiChoice was quicker to grab it.

Here's the interesting sidenote: Trace Sports, if the TV channel were to have been on TopTV, would have unintentionally - beyond mere content - have helped to actually enhance TopTV from a brand name perspective and to entrench TopTV's "Top" moniker. Why? Well Trace Sports has many branded "shows" or segments and fillers - a lot of it in heavy repeat rotation, meaning viewers will see it often and over and over - and almost all carry the word "Top" in the title.

From Top Games, Top Money, Top Video Games and Top Fan to Top Female, Top Male and Top Gossip, its clear to see how segmented branded content actually carrying the same first word as your own overall brand name, would serve to enhance - and through that repetition - strengthen the 'Top"-form in subscribers' minds. Trace Sports would have been a great fit on TopTV for this reason - but it's not to be.