Friday, July 31, 2015

Glow TV on DStv and OpenView HD shaking up its channel line-up and giving viewers a choice of audio listening options from 3 August.

The Indian Glow TV channel (DStv 167 / OVHD 108) is shaking up its channel line-up and giving viewers the opportunity of choosing different audio language tracks from Monday.

On Monday, 3 August, the channel from Kagiso Media carried on MultiChoice's DStv and Platco Digital's OpenView HD satellite platforms in South Africa will run soaps back-to-back between 17:30 until 22:00 at night on weekdays.

Viewers will also be able to flick between listening to their soaps in either English or the original Hindi on both DStv and OpenView HD. Glow TV says the line-up changes and language toggle are viewer-driven changes.

Glow TV is also starting children's programming on weekday afternoons and introducing what it calls premium lifestyle content on Saturday mornings and "family viewing" on weekend evenings.

The soap Sadda Haq at 17:30 will now be followed by an hour of Bade Ache Lagte Hai and the new soap Young Love will start at 19:30 until 20:30. Parichay follows at 20:30 and Office at 21:30.

"In the feedback that we've received, across all demographics, our soaps are some of the most loved shows. It made sense for us to dedicate a chunk of the weekday evenings to this genre of entertainment," says Naz Khan, Glow TV channel head.

Glow TV is starting children's programming from Monday on weekdays at 16:00, with programming like Mighty Raju, Little Bheem and Cops and Robbers.

On Saturday mornings Glow TV will have food programmes Mummy Ka Magic at 08:00 and Health Mange More at 09:00. This is followed by the wedding makeover show Band Baaja Bride in which brides are given five star treatment in the build-up to their big day.

On Saturday evenings Glow TV will show How to be Indie at 19:00 with Citizen Khan at 19:30 and a movie at 20:00.

Sunday evenings will now be dedicated to reality programming, with the dance show India's Dancing Superstar at 19:00, followed by the magazine style talk show Up Close and Personal at 20:30 and MTV Roadies at 21:30.

Glow TV, a collaboration between Kagiso Media and Nolava Television, launched in October 2013 on OpenView HD and was added a year later in October 2014 to MultiChoice's platform as well following a distribution agreement.

Why ANN7 dumped Pearl Thusi as a SATY 2015 nominee: Star didn't keep to signed agreement from her management to film her needed TV insert.

ANN7 (DStv 405) dumped Pearl Thusi as a nominee in the Trendsetter category for the upcoming ANN7 2015 South African of the Year Awards since the star made it impossible for the TV news channel to film what needed to be done for the made-for-TV campaign and which her representation agreed to.

Earlier the week Pearl Thusi revealed on Twitter that she "was" a nominee in the Trendsetter of the Year category for the second South African of the Year Awards set to take place on 17 October and which will be broadcast live.

In the run-up to the glitzy awards show which last year boasted high quality production values, ANN7 is broadcasting a second season of I Am South African at 18:00 presented by Maps Maponyane and Avashnee Vandiar.

I Am South African as a TV show needs visual content, and profiles the various personalities and nominees in 83 episodes in the run-up to the awards show.

Pearl Thusi tweeted that "I was removed because I refused to have my friends and family motivate for a video insert" and called the process of allowing friends and family on camera "degrading".

While true it's not the whole truth: Pearl Thusi's management who represent her actually signed and confirmed beforehand the acceptance letter and agreed to the stipulations of being a nominee for the South African of the Year Awards.

The SATY's are a made-for-TV production, as is companion show I Am South African and ANN7 therefore needs people nominated to grant access to themselves and those pivotal to the actual reason they're nominated to appear on camera.

ANN7 tells TV with Thinus the TV news channel tried several times to get time to film with Pearl Thusi to package her special episode and inserts but that it proved impossible.

"Following several attempts by the SATY team to secure time with nominee Pearl Thusi in order to package her episode insert for the I Am South African show, the committee has resolved that in the interest of both parties we recall Pearl Thusi's nomination," Fungayi Kanyuchi tells me in response to a media enquiry.

"Pearl Thusi and her management has not been able to fascilitate the key requirements of being a nominee which are stipulated on the acceptance letter that was signed by her team on her behalf," says ANN7.

MSNBC dumps The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner and Ed Show, brings back Chuck Todd as news channel tries to claw back to hard news coverage.

MSNBC (StarSat 263) is dumping several shows, announcing late on Thursday that The Cycle, Now with Alex Wagner and The Ed Show will all abruptly have their last editions today as the struggling American TV news channel tries to move from a progressive slanted channel to once more focused on straight hard news and breaking news reporting.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin told staff of the 24-hour TV news channel on Thursday in an internal memo that the three shows will be gone after Friday.

It follows the cancellation in February of Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid's shows. Longtime presenter Ed Schultz who've anchored on MSNBC since 2009, as well as Krystal Ball, Abby Huntsman and Toure are leaving MSNBC.

Alex Wagner will stay on and Ari Melber who was one of The Cycle's panelist will also remain as MSNBC's chief legal correspondent.

Chuck Todd, the moderator of Meet the Press seen on Sundays at 23:00 on sister channel CNBC Africa (DStv 410) will get a new, daily hour long show, keeping his Sunday show and adding the new MSNBC programme.

Chuck Todd's new daily MSNBC weekday show which hasn't been named yet will be be seen at 23:00 on weekdays in South Africa.

"In the coming weeks, as we complete our plans to create a new look and flow for our programming, our hours will begin to pivot towards live, breaking news coverage - with interim hosts from among our very talented ranks," Phil Griffin told MSNBC staffers.

"In September we'll unveil a schedule driven by dynamic coverage of breaking news events that are shaping the day".

The discredited, damaged and recently removed news anchor Brian Williams - previously of NBC Nightly News and also seen daily on CNBC Africa on DStv across Africa but now with new anchor Lestor Holt, will now be appearing on MSNBC.

After Brian Williams admitted that he falsified reports during trips covering news stories, he was removed from NBC Nightly News earlier this year, but will now become MSNBC's "anchor for breaking news reports".

MSNBC has not yet said when Brian Williams will start to appear on the 24-hour TV news channel, although its likely that it will co-incide with the new schedule coming into effect from September.

"Change can be hard. There's no doubt it's been a difficult time, but we have exciting opportunities ahead," Phil Griffin told MSNBC staffers.

SABC Ndebele weather presenter Lebo Dhlamini claims harassment, language discrimination; says she had to show male boss daily 'how I'm dressed'.

A firestorm is raging after the SABC's Ndebele weather presenter Lebo Dhlamini claims harassment and discrimination and that she had to show her boss daily how she’s dressed.

Lebo Dhlamini (29) has not been back to work doing the weather on SABC1 since March when she left for maternity leave.

Lebo Dhlamini claims she was harassed and that a senior SABC staffer who she had to show daily how she's dressed, also had a problem with her Ndebele language use which she speaks fluently.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn’t immediately repond to a media enquiry about Lebo Dhlamini from TV with Thinus made on Friday morning about the story which was first reported in The Citizen newspaper.

Speaking of an SABC boss, Lebo Dhlamini alleges that she had to "go to the man's office and show him how I am dressed every day. His complaint about my use of language amounts to ethnic discrimination".

The SABC apparently didn't renew the contract of the mother of two who has been a weather presenter on SABC1 for the past three years.

According to Lebo Dhlamini her line manager sent her a SMS at the end of June saying "previously you had problems with [your boss] and language issues. You must make a decision whether you want to continue or move on. I will have no choice but to cancel the new contract for now".

Thursday, July 30, 2015

CONFIRMED. E! announces Maria Menounos is taking over as anchor from Giuliana Rancic; adds 3 new E! News correspondents.

E! Entertainment (DStv 124) confirmed the widely expected announcement on Thursday night, announcing that Maria Menounos who has slowly been pushing Giuliana Rancic out, will be taking over as the new co-anchor of E! News.

The ambitious Maria Menounos has reportedly been steadily gunning for Giuliana Rancic's job since joining E! Entertainment in May last year, edging in on Giuliana Rancic's turf by taking over some red carpet hosting duties, doing her own show Untold with Maria Menounos, and appearing on E! News and across various other E! shows like Live from E!.

Giuliana Rancic who didn't want to appear to have been "pushed out of the network she helped to make a success", actually had her contract extended by two years to mid-2016, but eventually bailed on E!, announcing earlier this month that she's quitting as E! News anchor.

Giuliana Rancic will however continue to make appearances on the 3rd revamp of the derailed Fashion Police returning soon for the 36th Primetime Emmy Awards and continue to do red carpet coverage.

Giuliana Rancic joined E! Entertainment in 2002 as a correspondent for E! News and has been anchoring the show which came to the brink of cancellation since January 2005 when she revived its viewership and turned it into a success.

Maria Menounos will now co-anchor E! News alongside Terrence Jenkins after Giuliana Rancic makes her exit from the daily entertainment news show on 10 August.

Since Maria Menounos joined E!, several insider reports detailed how the two women allegedly couldn't stand each other.

Insiders said they've witnessed how Giuliana Rancic over the past few months refused to talk to Maria Menounos and went out of her way not to be in the same room as her when off-camera, aware of Maria Menounos plotting a so-called "take-over".

Besides Jason Kennedy and Catt Sadler, E! News is also adding three new correspondents, Zuri Hall, Erin Lim and Sibley Scoles who will report for the show.

"As an established entertainment and news journalist with strong Hollywood connections, Maria Menounos has proven herself to be a great fit with the E! News team," says John Najarian, E! executive vice president of news and digital in a statement announcing her show upgrade.

"With their diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging areas of expertise, Sibley Scoles, Erin Lim and Zuri Hall will be key additions to E! News which boasts the youngest and most affluent audience amongst all entertainment shows," says John Najarian.

"We are thrilled with E! News' success as we continue to integrate the show more closely with the network's digital platforms and to create new ways of engaging with an evolving audience that consumes information and entertainment across multiple screens."

South African TV newswoman Debora Patta nominated for a news Emmy for stellar CBS News work covering Africa.

Debora Patta has been nominated for a news and documentary Emmy for her work as the Africa correspondent for the American TV network CBS' evening news, CBS Evening News.

After her incisive court coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial, Debora Patta filed a multitude of stories the past year from across Africa and travelling to several nations, scooping arresting interviews and exclusive and eye-popping stories.

Debora Patta is nominated for a story "The War Against Ebola", covering the Ebola ravaged Liberia last year in October.

Debora Patta is one of the few South African journalists who actually traveled there and she stayed for a week and a half to report daily for the American TV network's news service. 

Her CBS Evening News story is nominated in the Emmy category Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a regularly scheduled newscast.

The half hour news bulletin CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley is broadcast on Sky News (DStv 402) daily, with the seasoned Debora Patta who's also made appearances on other CBS news programming via satellite ranging from Face the Nation to CBS This Morning.

This year alone, Debora Patta, a mother of two, has logged thousands of air miles, out traveled as an investigative TV journalist on the African continent by only Sky News' Alex Crawford.

The category winners of the 36th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards will be announced in New York on 28 September at the Lincoln Center. 

Communications minister Faith Muthambi told axed SABC board member Hope Zinde: 'but Baba loves Hlaudi. We must support him.'

Shocking correspondence between the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi and an axed SABC board member shows how Faith Muthambi allegedly directly interfered in the purging of SABC board members who were against the appointment of the SABC's famously matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with ousted former SABC board member Hope Zinde writing that Faith Muthambi told her "But baba loves Hlaudi".

Faith Muthambi's reference "baba" is a reference to president Jacob Zuma.

Faith Muthambi told SABC board member Hope Zinde - who got axed because she voiced opposition to Hlaudi Motsoeneng: "but baba loves Hlaudi. He loves him so much. We must support him."

As the unstable SABC board keeps lurching from crisis to crisis, former SABC board members Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi were all axed the past few months, allegedly through Faith Muthambi using the Companies Act, not the Broadcasting Act to interfere in the running of the SABC board.

While Dikeledi Tsotetsi, the acting chairperson of the ANC study group on communications said in June that "we have received no formal complaints from those who may have felt they had been treated unfairly" and that "we are of the view that its time to close this chapter and allow the minister of communications space to continue her work with the SABC", is now come to light that the ousted SABC board members wrote several letters to Faith Muthambi, and to complain about her alleged undue interference.

Hope Zinde also wrote that she had "dire concerns" about the contract in which the SABC sold access to the public broadcaster's archives to pay-TV behemoth MultiChoice.

Hope Zinde also complained about Hlaudi Motsoeneng -.

The Public Protector in February 2014 in a damning report found that the controversial chief operating officer (COO) should "never have been appointed at the SABC" and lied about having a matric.

As SABC board member, Hope Zinde wrote that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is "a stumbling block" in the proper functioning of the SABC board.

"At [parliament's] portfolio committee on 22 June, Daniel Mantsha, [Faith Muthambi's lawyer] argued that none of the SABC board members had contested their dismissal and that there was therefore no reason to consider their reinstatement."

"Yet a few days after the committee meeting, one of the axed SABC board members, Ronnie Lubisi made a public statement declaring that he had in fact lodged a complaint," says Gavin Davis, the Democratic Alliance's (DA) MP.

Interestingly it has now also come to light that Daniel Mantsha was struck off the roll of attorneys in 2007.

It was on Daniel Mantsha's advice that Faith Muthambi told parliament she intervened in the governance of the SABC which led to the purging of Ronnie Lubisi, Rachel Kalidass and Hope Zinde.

Hope Zinde wrote to Joyce Moloi-Moropa, the chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on communications, writing that "only the members who did not support the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng received these threatening letters [from Faith Muthambi] and are as such targeted".

In another letter Hope Zinde wrote in March this year to Joyce Moloi-Moropa, she said that the SABC chairperson prof. Obert Maguvhe  "is representing Hlaudi Motsoeneng's interests" and not that of the SABC board.

Hope Zinde wrote that Faith Muthambi then informed her that: "But baba loves Hlaudi. He loves him so much. We must support him."

Chester Missing is missing. Air France loses caustic puppet of Conrad Koch as well as Hilary the Ostrich.

Chester Missing has gone missing: Air France has lost the caustic bald-headed puppet of the South African comedian and ventriloquist Conrad Koch after he returned to South Africa following the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Canada.

The usually inseparable Chester Missing and his handler who interview South African politicians on eNCA's (DStv 403) satirical late night news show Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola and occassionally toyi-toyi Woolworths, became a household name the past few years.

According to Conrad Koch, Air France lost both the Chester Missing puppet as well as Hilary the Ostrich.

At Just for Laughs, the world's largest international comedy event, Conrad Koch appeared with other South African comedians like Comedy Central's Trevor Noah and Jason Goliath.

"If I find out you have run away from me for another comedian I am gonna be pissed!" wrote Conrad Koch on Twitter.

"Go to hell Conrad," wrote Chester Missing on Twitter. I told you to buy me a seat on the plane".

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SABC producer arrested after peeing in public - before the police; was allegedly drunk and also hurled insults.

An SABC producer was arrested after peeing in public in front of the police.

Sandile Hlangani working for the public broadcaster's SABC News was arrested last week after peeing in public in front of the police in Auckland Park close to the SABC's headquarters. 

The police were parked when Sandile Hlangani allegedly urinated in front of their vehicle.

Sandile Hlangani was released after intervention from a lawyer after he was booked by the Brixton police.

The police allege that besides urinating, Sandile Hlangani was drunk and also hurled insults. He appeared in court on Thursday morning.

OpenView HD adds the new South African outdoor and adventure lifestyle channel, Wild TV Africa, from 31 July.

Platco Digital's OpenView HD is adding the new outdoor and adventure lifestyle channel Wild TV Africa (OVHD 153) to the satellite platform's channel line-up from Friday, 31 July at 12:00.

Wild TV Africa, developed by Dewald Visser, will bring viewers outdoor and adventure programming focusing on camping, mountain-biking, fishing, 4X4 trails, scuba diving, conservation, mountain climbing, hunting, sport shooting, skydiving and big wave surfing.

The addition of Wild TV Africa is part of an additional investment of R245 million by Seardel into the still loss-making OpenView HD.

Asked about Wild TV Africa last week, responded to a media enquiry with a press release confirming the launch of the channel this week.

"We recognised the gap in the TV landscape presented by the Wild TV Africa team and were quite excited about partnering with the channel to provide for the demand," says Ziyanda Mngomezulu, the head of channel acquisitions at OpenView HD.

Wild TV Africa will run for 24-hours per day and is promising viewers 9 locally produced weekly magazine and talk shows. The Wild TV Africa schedule is themed, with Mountain Mondays, Target Tuesdays, Wet Wednesdays, Turbo Thursdays, Fishing Fridays and Wild Weekends.

Wild TV Africa also aims to find the "Adventure Town of the Year", highlighting smaller towns around South Africa which are enticing visitors with a variety of outdoor and adventure activities.

"Our key content focus is on providing family entertainment with shows about camping, braai and outdoor cooking as well as kiddie outdoor fun activities," says Dewald Visser, the managing director of Wild TV Africa in a statement.

"South Africa is a mecca for outdoor pursuits with amazing weather and incredible natural beauty. This is not a sports channel but rather a channel that focuses on content that makes you feel alive, while exploring the essence of Africa and its wide-open spaces. Although some of the activities are not for the faint-hearted, it makes for great viewing," says Dewald Visser.

"With the Wild TV Africa addition to OpenView HD, we look forward to attracting a new audience that makes up a great part of the South African active outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts," says Ziyanda Mngomezulu.

Monday, July 27, 2015

M-Net and Endemol Shine Africa's Big Brother Africa on MultiChoice's DStv canned over 'cash constraints'; lack of sponsors for 2015.

M-Net and Endemol Shine Africa's Big Brother Africa on DStv has been canned for 2015 apparently due to "cash constraints" and a failure to find sponsors.

Anne Sackey, the manager of MultiChoice Ghana, spilled to Razz newspaper that M-Net told them there won't be a new season of Big Brother Africa (BBA) this year. She thinks it is because of sponsorship constraints.

"I think it's mainly because of cash constraints as we all know the show is very expensive to put up," Anne Sackey reportedly told Razz.

Big Brother Africa and Big Brother Mzansi, both produced for M-Net channels in South Africa by Endemol Shine Africa remain mired in controversy.

Last year the 9th season of Big Brother Africa was postponed by a month after a devastating fire swept through the Sasani Studios complex with the blaze which caused millions of rands of damage.

Endemol Shine Africa refused to disclose the cause of the fire as the production moved to another house.

Sudden dramatic changes to South African visa regulations as well as Ebola fears last year this time also saw chosen Ghana contestants dumped from the show, followed by Sierra Leone and Rwanda as countries being eliminated as well before possible housemates from there had even entered the house.

Last year during South Africa's Big Brother Mzansi season on the Mzansi Magic and Big Brother channels, a male contestant was removed after hitting a woman in the show, which M-Net called "an isolated incident".

In April this year, the latest Big Brother Mzansi season exploded incontroversy over alleged rape when a male contestant bragged how he "dipped her" when he allegedly had sex with a drunk and passed out female contestant who was horrified about what she was told happened.

Endemol Shine Africa removed both from the reality competition show after the alleged sexual misconduct which lead to widespread criticism and calls for M-Net and MultiChoice to end the misogynistic and voyeuristic reality show "which keeps encouraging and rewarding" violence and sexual misconduct against women.

M-Net and the production company decided to monitor alcohol consumption more closely in the booze fest series shown across multiple channels on MultiChoice’s DStv platform.

Friday, July 24, 2015

CNN criticised for describing Kenya as a 'hotbed of terror'; former CNN anchor Zain Verjee says CNN International more 'nuanced' over Africa.

CNN is being criticised for describing Kenya as "a hotbed of terror" with a former CNN International (DStv 401) anchor saying her "eyes rolled to the back of my head" when she saw it.

Ahead of the American president Barack Obama's visit to Kenya today, CNN described the African country on Twitter and in a story as "a hotbed of terror".

The Kenyan government demanded an apology following a Twitter uproar, and CNN later added a note to the story, saying that "the headline and lead of this article has been recast to indicate the terror threat is a regional one".

Zain Verjee, a former CNN anchor and correspondent who is from Kenya and who left CNN International last year, says "Kenyans are seriously pissed off" by CNN's "hotbed of terror" remark, and that "Kenyans have given CNN a hard slap on social media".

Zain Verjee writes that the "hotbed of terror" description would probably not have happened on CNN International, since CNN's international version of the 24-hour TV news channel "is more nuanced".

"It's like two separate worlds really. CNN USA is driven much more by short-term gain, higher drama with a daily pressure of ratings and the need to win the minute."

"CNN international is more nuanced, not driven by the business of daily ratings. There is a much more sophisticated internal approach to Africa programming and reporting."

"The entire CNN network should not be slammed for a 'font' that popped up on one package: "hotbed". That font was generated by a single writer, or producer, who didn't know better, or should have known better."

"I've worked at CNN most of my life. There are anchors, producers, writers, reporters and managers that are excellent journalists, that I respect greatly, who have visited Kenya, like Kenya and get the nuances, and gave me personally, a lot of freedom to tell great Kenya stories over 14 years."

DUMPED. Altron done with the Altech Node; ready to dispose of the expensive video-on-demand failure soon after 'poor uptake' from consumers.

Altron is done with its expensive decoder failure, the Altech Node, and is ready to dump the video-on-demand (VOD) flop it launched last year in South Africa which failed to take off after tepid consumer uptake.

Altron's Altech Node was launched in September 2014, but the expensive black set-top box (STB) which was also a home automation system sold for R3 499 and required a monthly subscription fee of R299 failed to gain traction with consumers.

Altron is now ready to off-load the expensive white elephant consumer product which cut into its financial performance since it was launched.

In a trading statement Altron says its getting rid of the Altech Node because of "poor uptake by retail customers" and is looking to sell the under-performing business venture soon.

"Altron TMT has identified a third party, with whom it is at an advanced stage of negotiations, to acquire this business. It is anticipated that Altech Node will be disposed of in the short-term," says the company.

While the Node launched in 2014 with 200 hours of TV series, 140 movies, 150 hours of kids programming, 150 hours of documentaries, and 30 hours of current affairs programming Altech failed to tell consumers, TV critics, the press and potential subscribers about the content ever again.

Altron mistakenly thought South African consumers would buy a box, forgetting that consumers now buy and keep decoders, smartphones and other internet linked devices not for the actual device but for the content it has access to.

The publicity for the Node was basically non-existent and where there was anything, it focused only on the actual decoder, not telling consumer about the programming.

Big marketing billboards only touted the mysterious black box, while a TV ad focused on the Altech Node's technology features.

Unlike other South African pay-TV and VOD players who issue regular programming publicity alerts, Altron after launch of the Altech Node never told potential buyers and new or existing subscribers about the actual TV content they could get access to and specifically what it was, or the new content as additional programming was acquired and cycled through.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Da Vinci's Demons on FOX cancelled after just 3 seasons; third and final 'bittersweet' 'ending to Leonardo's journey' will start end of October.

After not living up to expectations the FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) drama Da Vinci's Demons with Tom Riley has been cancelled with the upcoming delayed 3rd season which will suddenly be its last.

The third season of Da Vinci's Demons revolving around the fictionalised life of a young Leonardo Da Vinci will start at the end of October with John Shiban who took over the reigns as executive producer in the place of creator David Goyer who is out.

There will be a final 10-episode third season, produced by Adjacent Pictures, making the underwhelming Da Vinci's Demons from FOX International Channels (FIC) the latest TV show not to survive the 2014/2015 TV season.

The 3rd and final season of Da Vinci's Demons will start at the end of October more than 17 months after the 2nd season finale.

"While ending Leonardo's journey is bittersweet for me, I'm happy we're ending the story on a high note," says David Goyer said.

"Leonardo was famous for his mirror-writing, and there's a symmetry to the entire series - between the first episode and the final one - that I think the maestro would have appreciated."

"I want to thank our dedicated fans around the world for viewing and engaging with such passion," says David Goyer. "And I want to thank Tom Riley for turning in a consistently brilliant performance. It's no small feat to portray a genius, but Tom did it with grace and humor. I hope everyone enjoys these final episodes as much as we enjoyed making them."

"David Goyer brought us a plan to portray the unknown early years of a genius and we think the fans will enjoy this final chapter which segues into the da Vinci that history knows," says Carmi Zlotnik, the managing director of Starz, the TV channel showing Da Vinci's Demons in the United States while its shown on FOX in the rest of the world.

"John Shiban has done a tremendous job of building on past seasons and by showing how da Vinci matures as his challenges grow."

The final season of Da Vinci's Demons will find Leonardo da Vinci trying to protect the city of Otranto attacked by Ottoman invaders, using some of his own inventions against him as he has to try and come up with new ones.

"To fight those who seek to destroy everything he loves, Leonardo must align with old foes, repair broken friendships, discover hidden secrets, and resume a dangerous quest, all while knowing that he is his own worst enemy."

kykNET Musiek channel on DStv rebranded from August as kykNET NOU; moving away from music only channel to incorporate entertainment.

The kykNET Musiek (DStv 146) channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is being rebranded as kykNET NOU! ending its channel proposition as a "music only" channel and incorporating other entertainment content.

kykNET Musiek, launched in November 2012 and packaged and provided by pay-TV broadcaster M-Net as an Afrikaans launguage channel showing Afrikaans music videos and magazine shows around the Afrikaans music industry and artists, will widen its scope from 3 August when the channel name changes to kykNET NOU! and include wider entertainment coverage.

kykNET NOU! will no longer focus on just Afrikaans music and add additional genres like lifestyle and talk show programming with a lot of the content taken and repurposed from the main Afrikaans entertainment channel, kykNET (DSTv 144).

kykNET NOU! will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact, DStv Extra and DStv Family subscribers when kykNET Musiek changes to the new channel on 3 August on DStv.

kykNET NOU! plans to cover the Afrikaans music and entertainment sphere.

"We plan to keep viewers up to date and to spice up their social calendar with the latest information about concerts and solo performances," says Karen Meiring, M-Net's director for Afrikaans channels.

kykNET's new radio-on-TV breakfast show Die Groot Ontbyt replacing the cancelled Dagbreek will be shown on kykNET NOU! from 10 August between 06:00 and 08:00.

Other kykNET programming shown on kykNET NOU! include talk show Jou Show with Emo Adams, and the travelogue, Reis na Gister.

Fiesta, Leef Jou Reis, Singstories, Bravo!Flits and several other programmes from the premium kykNET channel will be shown on kykNET NOU! Other shows include #MyMusiek, #LekkerTV and Jukebox on Saturdays and a revamped JAM! on Sundays at 19:30.

Sing in Harmonie is a choir competition for primary schools.

kykNET plans to broadcast concerts live on kykNET NOU! in the future.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

M-Net's Mzansi Magic channel on MultiChoice's DStv upgrades to a high definition channel, Mzansi Magic HD, from Friday after 5 years.

Another M-Net provided TV channel packaged for MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV platform is changing from a standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) feed with Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) becoming Mzansi Magic HD from this Friday, 24 July on DStv.

It's still breaking news when a TV channel goes HD in South Africa and Africa and now MultiChoice's DStv and M-Net is finally upgrading Mzansi Magic.

The upgrade of Mzansi Magic to better broadcast quality co-incides with the channel's 5th birthday this month. DStv Premium, DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers with HD enabled DStv decoders will be able to receive Mzansi Magic HD as a high definition channel from Friday.

The M-Net packaged local content channel has made major inroads in viewership since it launched in 2010 as it continues to siphon off viewers from especially SABC1 with shows ranging from Zabalaza and IsiBaya to Our Perfect Wedding, Idols and Date My Family.

"All of our premiere shows are shot in the HD format and we are very pleased to be able to now offer a full HD channel," says Nkateko Mabaso, the director of M-Net's local interest channels.

"We know that our TV audiences increasingly appreciate and access top quality programming, so this development will specifically add value to their overall viewing experience. The channel also remains available in standard definition."

On Friday Mzansi Magic starts a new primetime drama, It's Complicated with Atandwa Kani, Siyabonga Radebe and Tsishiwe Ziqubu at 19:30.

The new local telenovela, The Road will start on Mzansi Magic at the end of August.

SABC3 waiting on Tyra's tapes for the 10th cycle of America's Next Top Model; reality show couldn't start Saturday due to no episodes delivered.

The 10th season of America’s Next Top Model which was supposed to start on SABC3 this past Saturday didn't – again the tapes didn't arrive in time.

Viewers tuning in to SABC3 at 15:00 on Saturday for the 10th season waited in vain for the Tyra Banks created, and executive produced competition reality show, which SABC3 decided to return to the channel.

Since 2010, SABC3's schedule has been impacted several times the past five years with shows which ran out of available tapes and episodes.

Several times, new seasons of existing shows as well as new shows haven't started as scheduled because of payment issues between the SABC and international distributors, and problems with tape delivery.

The 10th "cycle" of America’s Next Top Model is the latest show being impacted by non-delivery of cassettes in time to the Auckland Park headquarters of the SABC – the same issue which previously impacted and delayed episodes of Survivor: Gabon, Expedition: Impossible which jumped to M-Net, Days of Our Lives, The Cape and even The Oprah Winfrey Show on SABC3.

The public broadcaster now hopes that tapes of America’s Next Top Model will arrive at the SABC's programme acceptance department this week in time for the 10th cycle to start this Saturday at 15:00.

It's not clear whether SABC3 is bringing the show back for just one season after SABC3 lost the show to M-Net's Vuzu (DStv 116) a few years ago.

For the 10th season America’s Next Top Model, which was shown in America in 2008, moves back to New York from Los Angeles.

Monday, July 20, 2015

NOT IM(PRESS)ED. 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards 'imprisons' red carpet press in a steel pen; 'please come to the fence' reporters beg.

PR organisers of the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards on MTV Base (DStv 322) which took place on Saturday evening showed little love to the media, literally banishing them from the red carpet and bizarrely putting them in a waist-high steel pen alongside the carpet like animals.

The fenced-off red carpet at Durban's International Convention Centre not only dramatically curtailed the way TV, print and online media platforms interviewed and photographed the stars who had arrived from across Africa, but also limited the access the media traditionally get for snap interviews and quick pics of celebrities and TV executives.

It's not clear why Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), which runs MTV Base and the MAMAs, made the drastic break with last year's traditional red rope to separate the strolling celebrities and the press for a walled-off approach.

A black steel wall to push the press aside is never seen alongside American red carpet events or even hyper-security events like the Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes as it wouldn't be tolerated by reporters in America.

'Please come to the fence'
Several shorter female reporters struggled for whom the steel fence was basically almost shoulder-length high, and who could only lean over with an arm and outstretched microphone.

Stars who walk the red carpet because they and their publicist want the exposure, are usually gently grabbed and steered or softly "hand-guided" over for a quick question or five seconds to smile for camera flashes before moving on a metre to the next media outlet against the sponsors’' backdrop – the wall-length banner and the process both known in the trade as a Step and Repeat.

This year it was harder for all media who had to call celebrities to "please come to the fence" with several stars who simply walked on by.

While electronic media create the illusion that the interviewer is also on the red carpet although they're actually standing on the very edge, VIMN Africa made that impossible this year.

Reporters had to stretch microphones, dictaphones and smartphones over the fence, hoping to catch some celebrity lightning in a bottle.

The units used to separate the press were more solid and heavier than even the customary crowd control barriers, wrapped with black fabric, which were used inside the auditorium this year to separate the standing crowd from the actual stage and walkways to prevent them from touching it and the on-stage talent.

Comedian and actor Trevor Gumbi, who represented MultiChoice and was DStv's reporter alongside the red carpet, was one of a few reporters who initially dared to step onto the side of the red carpet to conduct on-camera interviews.

TV with Thinus observed how VIMN publicists banished Trevor Gumbi from the red carpet – twice – saying reporters must stay behind the steel barrier.

'Too difficult'
"What next year? Floor to ceiling transparent plastic with a little hole like at the bank to shout through so the famous don’t have to breathe the same air as us?" remarked one journalist on Saturday evening.

"This is too difficult. They don't see and can't hear us," said another journalist, as a female reporter from GoldMyneTV in Nigeria valiantly battled for whatever celebrities were willing to give soundbytes.

At the end, while stars like Basetsana Kumalo were still walking the red carpet and doing interviews, VIMN Africa suddenly announced the red carpet over and said "the press must now leave".

There were positive changes from last year however. The first was a reversal of the red carpet direction – with celebrities who started from a back entrance and elevator and walked towards the front of the Durban ICC. Also better and more audible were the announcements of who was entering the red carpet.

Several African artists and celebrities at the 2015 MAMAs appeared clueless about the inner workings of the red carpet walk, appearing without their publicist, several failing to stop once as journalists dropped expletives off the side about why the stars are bothering if they’re just going to walk by without doing interviews or stopping for photos.

The dismissive Anthony Anderson who was the host this year, only did interviews at the top of the press run where media like CNN, AFP and CNBC Africa were allocated their A4 paper spots after which he walked the whole length of the red carpet without stopping once for photos or interviews until the very end for another short media engagement.

While most South African stars yet again seemed bewildered and somewhat overwhelmed by having to walk the red carpet, some South African and African stars showed the difference that real red carpet know-how and experience make.

Without wasting time, local celebrities like Boity Thulo, Bonang Matheba and Bucie proved red carpet pro's as usual, making time for any media which called, yet moving along at a steady pace.

Stars like Pearl Thusi remembered the golden rule as she twirled in her ice blue dress – giving individual media outlets covering the red carpet all something worthwhile which took brief seconds each time, instead of sprinting for the end.

The majority of stars appeared unbriefed about keeping to the imaginary straight line down the middle to ensure the best exposure to the Step and Repeat whilst remaining accessible to the media, opting instead to scuttle down the carpet the furthest away from the press against the back wall.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards on MTV Base less about surprises as Nigeria's P-Square honoured as Africa's Artist of the Decade.

The 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards on Saturday night on MTV Base (DStv 322) and broadcast live across the African continent on Viacom International Media Networks' channels was this year less about surprises and novelty and more about consolidation, settling down and entrenchment of the brand and logistics of this African awards show as a brand. 

The 2015 MAMAs was held for the second consecutive time in Durban since the revival last year of the pan-African music awards show, and Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) took a lot of the playbook from 2014 - from planning to execution - redoing what worked, with tweaks here and there.

The 2015 MAMAs was held again at Durban's International Convention Centre, this year with American comedian Anthony Anderson as host, and adding some new categories.

The big winners was the Nigerian stars Davido and Yemi Alade who won in the Best Male and Best Female categories while Nigeria's P-Square won as Best Group and was awarded the Artist of the Decade award.

D'Banji won the MAMA Evolution award, a new category that's been introduced to recognise an artists who've made an indelible mark on African and global music culture; while the South African comedian Trevor Noah set to take over as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central (DStv 122) from 28 September won in the category for Personality of the Year to loud applause.

"I want to thank my two Ethiopian fans," said Trevor Noah in a funny pre-taped acceptance speech message.

"Africa is a continent of the now and the future; tonight was testament to that," said Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of VIMN Africa.

"The 2015 MAMAs represented and reflected the abundant amount of creativity and passion this continent breeds."

The 2015 MAMAs winners:

Best Female: Yemi Alade (Nigeria)
Best Male: Davido (Nigeria)
Best Group: P-Square (Nigeria)
Best New Act: Patoranking (Nigeria)
Best Hip Hop:  Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)
Best Collaboration: AKA, Burna Boy, Da LES & JR: "All Eyes On Me" (SA/Nigeria)
Song of the Year: Mavins: "Dorobucci" (Nigeria)
Best Live: Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania)
Video of the Year:  "Nafukwa" – Riky Rick; Director: Adriaan Louw
Best Pop & Alternative: Jeremy Loops (South Africa)
Best Francophone: DJ Arafat (Ivory Coast)
Best Lusophone: Ary (Angola)
Personality of the Year:  Trevor Noah (South Africa)
MAMA Evolution: D'Banj (Nigeria)
Best International: Nicki Minaj
Artist of the Decade: P-Square

MTV Base Leadership Award: Saran Kaba Jones & S'Bu Mavundla

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bonang Matheba: 'Success takes hard work, commitment'; 2015 MAMAs nominee says social media makes it easier for Africa to be seen'.

Queen B and popular multimedia personality Bonang Matheba says success takes hard work, persistence and commitment and says young people across Africa should resist the lure of the instant gratification they see on social media and the instant fame they seek, and rather work hard to achieve their dreams.

Bonang Matheba is a nominee in the category for Personality of the Year at the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards taking place in Durban on Saturday evening at the Durban International Convention Centre that will be broadcast live on MTV Base (DStv 322), MTV (DStv 130) and BET (DStv 129) from 21:00 and from 22:00 on

Bonang Matheba spoke at the pre-event press conference which took place on Friday evening at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban.

"For this generation is a lot about instant gratification who sometimes forget about the true value of hard work and persistence that needs to go into achievement. I would say that 'overnight success' takes four to five years to create."

"You won't be successful tomorrow. Or next week. Or the year after that. It really does take hard work. It really does take commitment. It really does take four, five years. But anything really worth having is really worth working hard for," said Bonang Matheba.

"Unfortunately we live in an era where peer pressure surrounds you on Instagram, on Twitter, on Facebook. You want everything to happen quickly. Because of that few people see the true value of hard work. There is no limit to what you can achieve through hard work."

Bonang Matheba also had good words for social media though. "Social media - Twitter, YouTube - makes it easier for us as Africa to be seen by the world."

She said that the influence that comes with having a large number of followers, and cyber fans is beneficial to artists' careers and helps with exposure but also cautioned that "as a personality you need to have a boundary" and that social media shouldn't be allowed to consume your life.

Viacom Africa boss Alex Okosi on why American comedian Anthony Anderson is hosting the 2015 MAMAs: 'The best available host'.

Viacom Africa boss Alex Okosi responded to criticism that MTV Base's (DStv 322) MTV Africa Music Awards again chose an American and not an African artist to be the host of the 2015 MAMAs taking place on Saturday night and said comedian Anthony Anderson who will be performing hosting duties was "the best available host".

The 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards will be broadcast live on MTV Base (DStv 322), MTV (DStv 130) and BET (DStv 129) on Saturday night with Anthony Anderson on the stage following in the footsteps of Marlon Wayans last year.

TV with Thinus asked Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), about criticism regarding the apparent preference for American comedians to host the MAMAs which VIMN Africa and MTV Base say is done to celebrate the excellence of African artists.

Without mentioning names like the South African comedian Trevor Noah who was a frontrunner this year to host but couldn't due to preparation and diary pressures due to taking over hosting of The Daily Show from Jon Stewart on Comedy Central (DStv 122) on 28 September, Alex Okosi explained that the MAMAs organisers choose the best available host.

Alex Okosi explained at the pre-event press conference which took place on Friday evening at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban, that it's actually good that some shortlisted artists and performers from Africa are not available to host the MAMAs, because it means they have work and are working and that as talent they're sought-after marquee names.

"When we looked at hosts for this year's 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards there were a few names, including some people's names that I'm sure you can imagine who should be considered."

"This show has to be accessible to a global audience. We air this show across Africa, its our celebration but also a global audience."

"So you do put together a list that does combine international and African names because I do believe we have strong African contenders who can host the MAMAs," said Alex Okosi.

"Now, some of the African people are unavailable. And I think that's a beautiful thing, because [it means] they're working. Right? So we cut down the list. Anthony Anderson was definitely in the top part of our list as well."

"And you go and look at who can really do this. You really have only a few people who can host a global award show such as this."

"So our strategy is not about always having an international host, our strategy is having the best available host," said Alex Okosi.

"99% of the talent you see on the talent you will see on the 2015 MAMAs stage is African, and that's what we're celebrating on Saturday."

At the press conference Anthony Anderson said "my expectation is just to have a great show and I'm glad to be here and to be a part of it and to be here in South Africa and have some fun with you guys."

Comedian and 2015 MAMAs host Anthony Anderson's advice for African artists and producers: 'Be truthful with the product that you put out'.

The American comedian and host of the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards, Anthony Anderson, has advice for African artists and producers: "Be truthful with the product that you put out".

Anthony Anderson also declared his love for the South African comedian Trevor Noah, set to take over as host of The Daily Show on Viacom's Comedy Central (DStv 122) from 28 September.

The 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards will be broadcast live on MTV Base (DStv 322), MTV (DStv 130) and BET (DStv 129) on Saturday night.

TV with Thinus asked the star of the American comedy Black-ish at the pre-event press conference held at the Playhouse Threate in Durban on Friday evening, what advice he has for Africa's artists, entertainers and producers - given the rapid emergence of much greater diversity in the American TV landscape with hit shows like Empire, Blach-ish, Power and others now seen around the world at the same time as its shown in America.

"When Black-ish premiered a year ago, I don't think there were any African-American shows on the air produced by an African-American star about an African-American family. We're only standing on the shoulders of those who came before us."

"People resonate with our show because we're just telling honest stories, as truthfully as we can. And that's our responsibility. We entertain, we're having fun but we're also opening the door for the next generation of story tellers to come through who have are minorities," said Anthony Anderson.

"Because of the success of Blach-ish, there's room for show like Fresh Off the Boat. Eventually we will kick the door off its hinges for everybody to come through and tell their stories."

"My advice for Africa is to keep pushing on, and to keep telling your stories and to keep creating. Because that's what we do and that what we're doing."

About the South African comedian Trevor Noah, Anthony Anderson says "Trevor Noah is a friend of mine, I love that brother".

"Hopefully we can come up with something great for his show," said Anthony Anderson.

Trophy for the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards on MTV Base undergoes a colourful change; ditches the gold for a multi-coloured makeover.

The trophy for the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards on MTV Base (DStv 322) set to take place tonight in Durban has undergone a multi-coloured makeover a year after it was reimagined and changed into its existing form.

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) which runs MTV Base and the MAMAs last year announced that the trophy from now on will be refreshed and tweaked when the award show takes place.

The trophy's basic new design which was introduced last year remains which was designed by the husband-and-wife design duo Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin of Dokter And Misses in Braamfontein.

The "M"-block forming the base of the trophy also remains silver in colour, but the "TV" and the interconnected cogs and industrial machinery look forming the African continent are now in different colours.

The previous "cog-like" circles have also been changed into hexagonal shapes, more resembling the DNA-ish look of the MAMAs logo.

The new 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards trophy which will be handed out in several categories tonight, now sports pink, purple, turquoise and navy blue colours.

The new 2015 MAMAs trophy was unveiled Friday night at the pre-event press conference held at the Playhouse Theatre.

"This year we've changed and gone for a more colourful approach, whereas last year it was a gold trophy," says Tim Horwood, MTV Base channel director. "This year the trophy is more colourful which we feel represents the vibrancy and youth culture that we're all here to celebrate and it represents Africa emerging".

Friday, July 17, 2015

StarSat adds 3 channels from Saturday: sports channel StarTimes Sports Premium and two Nollywood channels, AMC Series and Iroko Play.

StarSat is adding the three TV channels StarTimes Sports Premium, AMC Series and Iroko Play from tomorrow.

The South African satellite pay-TV service run by On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA got approval from the broadcasting regulator, Icasa, to add the channels.

The addition of StarTimes Sports Premium, a self-packaged sports channel, is the first real inroads to bring its subscribers relevant sports content which includes live sport coverage, one of the biggest drawbacks which hampered StarSat subscriber growth since the service launched under the much maligned and since retired "TopTV" brand in May 2010.

StarTimes Sports Premium (StarSat 242) which became available on StarTimes' platform elsewhere in Africa in May and awaited approval from Icasa, already started to siphon sports coverage away from competitor MultiChoice and SuperSport, netting exclusive broadcasting rights to sporting events and sport series across several types of sport which will be rolled out over the next two years.

StarTimes Sports Premium will show subscribers live sport events ranging from Bundesliga football, athletics, motorsport and boxing to volleyball and table tennis, including a range of sports magazine shows.

AMC Series (StarSat 134) - not to be confused with the American AMC (DStv 140 / StarSat 115) - is being added as a sister channel to the other AMC channel: Africa Movie Channel (StarSat 185) showing Nollywood movies.

AMC Series will showNollywood and other African content and TV series like Clinic Matters, Dear Mother - Reloaded and The Benjamins.

Iroko Play (StarSat 116) is another Nollywood movie channel showing African movies.

"These channels  bring a high level of entertainment  and are further evidence of our ongoing commitment to bring good, quality and varied programmes to our subscribers," says Ian Woodrow, StarSat general content manager.

Thursday, July 16, 2015 adds the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards to Saturday schedule at 22:00; 2015 MAMAs promises a cornucopia of parties and stars.

Red-letter broadcaster has added the 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) to its Saturday night schedule starting at 22:00 after again securing the free-to-air broadcasting rights for South Africa.

From tomorrow celebrities - those draped with faux gold and real - from across Africa and the United States, along with press, publicist, producers and entourages will descend on Durban in KwaZulu-Natal where the Elangeni Hotel, the Playhouse Theatre and the Durban International Convention Centre will form the trifecta epicentre of this year's made-for-TV awards show.

The pan-African music awards show from Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) with the American comedian Anthony Anderson will be shown live and simultaneously on MTV Base (DStv 322), MTV (DStv 130) and BET (DStv 129) from 21:00 - and now also on from 22:00. It will also be shown on BET International (StarSat 167) on a later date.

" is pleased to be associated with the 2015 MTV African Music Awards," says Monde Twala, managing director of channels division.

"The 2014 MAMAs was a great hit with our audience and we look forward to a great showcase of authentic African music. As the official free-to-air partner, we are extremely excited to be able to bring the event to millions of Africans who watch"

While stars and their entourages will start to check-in at the Elangeni Hotel on Durban's famed beachfront tomorrow, there's will be a press conference on pre-MAMAs press conference late Friday afternoon with VIMN Africa and MTV Base executives as well as some artists, followed by a vodka cocktails sundowner get-together.

Later Friday night there's the official pre-party at Under the Moon in Inanda where Uhuru, K.O., DJ Feel, Benny Maverick, Jnr De Rocka and King Sfiso will perform.

On Saturday there will be a VIP cocktail pre-party before the MAMAs at the Durban International Convention Centre where Junior B and Touch of Soul will perform.

While the arrested Young Thug will likely be a no-show at the Saturday's MAMAs, a platinum of stars from across Africa and South Africa are expected to attend and sweep down the red carpet.

Bonang Matheba, Cassper Nyovest, P-Square, Seyi Shay, BET's Top Actor winner Altovise Lawrence, Miss South Africa 2015 Liesl Laurie, Trevor Gumbi, Mr Nigeria Emmanuel Ikbese, HHP, MTV Base VJ Sizwe, Khuli Chana, Davido, Bucie, AKA, DJ Tira and Boity Thulo (who is not engaged) are just some of the stars who are confirmed to razzle-dazzle at this year's MAMAs.

SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng: South African decoder manufacturers must now also pay a levy to SABC to support the public broadcaster.

Because a lot of South African TV households simply don't – or can't – pay their annual SABC TV licence, the public broadcaster's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng now wants decoder manufacters to pay a levy and contribute to the SABC.

The controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng is currently mired in a protracted court case following the Public Protector's report from February 2014 ordering him to be suspended and finding that he "never should have been appointed at the SABC", as well as the Western Cape High Court which ruled twice that the SABC suspend him and start a disciplinary hearing immediately. He is appealing the decision.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng this year already said several times publicly that Naspers' satellite pay-TV platform MultiChoice, which runs the DStv service and carries SABC channels, must pay the SABC and that he wants more money from MultiChoice.

On Monday at the latest The New Age breakfast briefing held in Sandton, Hlaudi Motsoeneng reiterated that the "MultiChoice partnership is to also make sure that we sustain employees within the SABC, we create jobs".

The finger-waving Hlaudi Motsoeneng on Monday said that he now also wants decoder manufacters to now contribute to the SABC and pay a levy – especially new decoder manufacturers who are getting lucrative government tenders worth millions of rand to manufacture the locally-produced set-top boxes (STBs) which millions of TV households will have to buy in the switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

"Some of our own people can't pay TV licence. How do we make sure that when these people manufacture those boxes, they also pay levy for SABC to represent those people who can't afford to pay TV licence? They should also contribute as business people," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng as decoder manufacturers who were present shook their heads and one uttered a silent "wow".

"In other countries, you know what actually happens, people don’t pay TV licence," Hlaudi Motsoeneng informed the audience.

"Your decoders, when you buy decoders, you pay TV licence – the business people."

"We are also saying the same manufacturers, when they distribute those decoders, they should be able to say 'Where is your TV licence?' But they shall make sure that they pay TV licence first."

DTT contact centre
Details have so far been scarce about the national contact centre that must be established to help ordinary South Africans with enquiries and help over the phone with their decoders, faults, and decoder and antenna installation issues after they buy a STB during the digital TV migration process.

At the breakfast briefing, the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, said that it will have to be made as easy as possible for people.

"I’m a decoder holder of DStv," said Faith Muthambi. "I need to stand on the line, phone the call centre, you’ll be told you're caller 2 000 and something. It's airtime that I'm using, and then I have to hold. The thing about the poor old man somewhere in the Northern Cape who is relying on a pension grant, where is he going to get this money?"

No talk about EPG, channel allocation
At the breakfast briefing it was revealed that no discussions regarding DTT have taken place about the consolidation of on-air services, like the electronic programme guide (EPG) for free-to-air STBs or channel allocation – which TV channel gets what number and is placed where.

The government has no answers for how the 5 million poor TV households who will get a STB for free worth about R700 to R800, as well as antennas through the South African Post Office, will be prevented from selling that asset for money once they receive it.

The government has set aside billions of rand to subsidise 5 million of the poorest TV households who will get a STB for free, although it worked with outdated figures which according to the 2011 national census places indigent households who will actually qualify for a free decoder now at 8.3 million.

South Africa is years behind with the switch from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting and on 17 June embarrassingly missed the international agreed-upon deadline of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to complete the process.

On Monday at the breakfast briefing, Solly Mokoetle, the head of South Africa's DTT programme said missing the deadline "is not a train smash".