Tuesday, September 27, 2016

MultiChoice launches new Explora 2A with smaller hard drive, culls unpopular channels to lessen repeats, upgrades 9 more channels to HD.

MultiChoice is launching a new decoder, Explora 2A with a smaller hard drive, culling several TV channels from its DStv satellite pay-TV service to lessen repeats and upgrading 9 more existing channels to high definition (HD) thanks to more satellite capacity.

The new Explora 2A that will go on sale from 14 October, the first new version since the introduction of the original three years ago in 2013 is manufactured in East London and will retail for R1 499, the same price as the existing Explora decoders.

The 1TB hard drive that's half of the existing 2TB Explora model will only record 110 hours compared to 220 hours, but MultiChoice says more content will be made available through its DStv Catch Up video-on-demand (VOD) service so DStv subscribers need to record less.

The new Explora 2A can record 80 hours of HD content, as opposed to 150 hours of HD recordings on the existing Explora and has an enhanced service DStv Catch Up Plus with more on-demand content.

MultiChoice's new Explora 2A also uses H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2 that's a more efficient video compression format. The Explora 2A has a new remote control - A7 - that has backlit buttons that glow in the dark, will indicate when it has "low battery" reserve and needs a change, and has a dedicated hotlink button for Naspers' ShowMax subscription VOD service built-in above the DStv blue button.

"Our new Explora uses the latest video compression technology, which means our customers will in future spend less on data when they connect their new Explora to the internet," says Nyiko Shiburi, MultiChoice's group general manager for broadcast technology.

Unpopular channels cut
MultiChoice is culling unpopular channels and says its reducing the DStv movie channels offering to cut down on the number of repeats that DStv subscribers are complaining about.

DStv is also cancelling CBS Action (16 Oct), CBS Drama (16 Oct), True Movies (12 Nov) and AMC (11 Nov) with AMC that will remain available on competitor StarSat's channels bouquet and that shows premium dramas like Fear The Walking Dead that DStv subscribers will lose access to.

To compensate for the axed channels, MultiChoice is opening some channels to lower-tiered DStv packages, enabling channels like Mzansi Music (for DStv EasyView), JimJam and M-Net Movies Stars (for DStv Family), and ITV Choice and Lifetime (for DStv Extra).

DStv Extra subscribers will also get access to RAI, BVN, RTPI, TV5 Monde and the Deutsche Welle news channel.

More channels switched to HD quality
Nine DStv channels will be upgraded to HD quality: M-Net Movies All Stars, M-Net Family, VUZU, Mzansi Wethu, kykNET & Kie, BBC First, HISTORY, Crime+Investigation and The Food Network. By the end of 2016 MultiChoice will broadcast a total of 35 of its channels in HD.

The festive period kykNET Afrikaans film pop-up channel fliekNET will return for a 3rd consecutive year in December.

"Research helped us identify some channels that weren't popular or that had the same content as other existing channels," says Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice's general manager for content, over why certain DStv channels are cancelled.

"Our customers will be seeing fresher content on a more regular basis".

MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice video rental service will now carry 30 titles in its revolving carousel. By the end of the year DStv Catch Up Plus will contain 1 000 titles.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Public pressure group Right2Know calls on all advertisers to boycott the SABC over unprecedented crisis, calls Hlaudi Motsoeneng 'petty narcissist ruling with absolute impunity'.

The public pressure group Right2Know is calling on all advertisers advertising on the SABC to immediately stop all their ad spend and to start a boycott of the embattled South African public broadcaster, saying the "rampant financial mismanagement" at the SABC must stop.

Right2Know is calling on all advertisers that are advertising on the SABC's TV channels and radio stations to boycott the SABC until the unprecedented crisis has been dealt with.

In a statement Right2Know released on Monday, the organisation calls the controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng "a petty narcissist who continues to rule with absolute impunity".

Right2Know calls the crisis at the SABC unprecedented.

"Rampant financial mismanagement is to blame and can be seen in, among other things,  the massively inflated salary bill for top management and the recent ego-stroking Thank You SABC Concert that turned out to be an enormous and costly flop".

The Right2Known campaign is planning public protests on Wednesday at the SABC's headquarters in Auckland Park, as well as at the offices of big advertisers who continue to advertise on SABC airwaves.

"Under these circumstances, to be advertising with the SABC is to encourage gross mismanagement and unlawfulness," says Right2Know.

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng is where he is simply because he is so eager to lick the boots of his political masters and use the SABC to spin their 'good stories'," says Right2Know.

Right2Know says South Africans deserve a well-funded public broadcaster with the resources to fulfill its mandate, based on accountability and transparency.

IMDb ordered to remove actors' ages under new law - and 90210's Andrea, Gabrielle Carteris who lied about her real age to get the role, helped to get it passed.

American websites like the industry-leading film and television production reference site IMDb will now be forced to remove the ages of actors when requested by actors or their agents - and Beverly Hills, 90210's Andrea helped to get the law passed that worrying those who support freedom of speech.

In a long-running battle in America between actors and supporters of freedom of expression, California just passed a new law - AB 1687 - that forces certain entertainment sites like the industry-leading IMDb, not to make available and to remove when asked, actors' birthdays and ages.

AB 1687 will come into effect from 1 January 2017. 

Actors want to be able to lie about their age when auditioning for roles or to not make that information public in the first place, saying they suffer from age discrimination in Hollywood that's being enabled by the internet and internet movie database sites like IMDb.

90210 actress Gabrielle Carteris who played Andrea in the 90's youth drama and who is president of the SAG-AFTRA, an American screen actors' guild, fought to get the new law passed. 

"AB 1687 [is] a California law that will help prevent age discrimination in film and television casting and hiring," says Gabrielle Carteris in a statement.

Last month in an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter Gabrielle Carteris wrote that "My role on Beverly Hills, 90210 could not have happened for me today, plain and simple".

"I would never have been called to audition for the part of 16 year-old Andrea Zuckerman if they had known I was 29. Electronic casting sites did not exist in 1990; today, they are prevalent and influential. And they affect casting decisions even when casting personnel don't recognize their unconscious bias".

She wrote that actors "face blatant age discrimination every day as websites routinely used for casting talent - sites like IMDb and StudioSystem - force birth dates and ages on casting decision-makers without their even realizing it."

In a statement the Internet Association in America says they are "disappointed that AB 1687 was signed into law. We remain concerned with the bill and the precedent it will set of suppressing factual information on the internet".

In August, Michael Beckerman, the Internet Association's president also wrote an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter saying "requiring the removal of factually accurate age information across websites suppresses free speech".

"This is not a question of preventing salacious rumors; rather it is about the right to present basic facts that live in the public domain. Displaying such information isn’t a form of discrimination, and internet companies should not be punished for how people use public data".

According to Wikipedia, and IMDb that still lists Andrea, uhm, Gabrielle Carteris' age, she will turn 56 on 2 January - perfect now for the role of Beverly Hills High head mistress, Mrs. Teasley.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Baba loves him so much, but not even the SABC knows what to call Hlaudi Motsoeneng anymore, telling viewers his 'current employment status is uncertain'.

While the SABC has dramatically ramped up glowing coverage of its controversial and embattled [insert job title here] Hlaudi Motsoeneng through its SABC News division since June, Friday evening presented a particular problem, since not even the SABC knows anymore how to refer to its caustic dear leader.

Friday presented a vexing new problem for SABC News executives.

Unable and unwilling to pass on an opportunity to once again thrust the latest Hlaudi Motsoeneng public speaking podium speech on-screen for its audience, it presented a problem the SABC never quite encountered before - what to call him when it gives him fawning exposure.

SABC news staff on Friday were ordered to go big with Hlaudi Motsoeneng's latest off-topic speech at Mandoza's funeral, but the SABC itself no longer knows what to name and call him.

It made it even more confusing - and from an academic and media studies point of view even more interesting when examining it from a news values perspective.

The SABC was and is willing to put someone on air and give a very selective outtake from that person's utterances exposure as news reporting during its TV news bulletin.

Yet the SABC is unable to say or itself explain why legitimately it is doing so. Why give exposure within news reporting to someone who you don't know, and admit you can't confirm, what role and position he speaks from?

On Friday evening in its flagship TV news bulletin in English and in other broadcasts on SABC3, SABC News and the SABC's other channels, the SABC had no idea itself what Hlaudi Motsoeneng now is.

It comes after the Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday ruled that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as permanent chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC is invalid.

On screen on Friday evening the SABC and SABC news staff didn't know what to put in the lower third banner under Hlaudi Motsoeneng's name where SABC News must identify someone to viewers.

The SABC only typed "SABC".

In the report, the SABC - inserting Hlaudi Motsoeneng's comments about the SABC weirdly inside the story reporting about Mandoza's funeral - had to admit and simply said that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's "current employment status at the public broadcaster is uncertain".

SABC board members are now trying to appoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting COO" through a back-door proposal that already led to a new barrage of criticism and a new round of legal action.

INDIAN SUMMERS. MultiChoice adds Bollywood film titles in Hindi and Tamil to its DStv BoxOffice video-on-demand movie rental service from 12 October.

MultiChoice is adding Bollywood film titles in Hindi and Tamil to its DStv BoxOffice video-on-demand (VOD) movie rental service from 12 October.

MultiChoice has now made the DStv BoxOffice functionality available to all DStv subscribers in South Africa with an active HD PVR or DStv Explora, with a film rental that cost R35 per new release.

Previously DStv BoxOffice was only accessible through the green button on the DStv remote control to DStv Premium, DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers.

MultiChoice says DStv subscribers with an Explora can now choose from a selection of 30 BoxOffice films.

New Bollywood films in Hindi and Tamil with stars like Rajnikanth, Sharukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra will cost R35, with older films that will also be added later that will cost less.

"BoxOffice is the most convenient way for our customers to access the latest blockbusters and we're thrilled that all our customers can now experience this service," says Mark Rayner, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa.

"No doubt, the addition of Bollywood movies will bring extra excitement to our customers' summer".

Invalid SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng hijacks Mandoza's funeral to launch into yet another inappropriate rant: 'Problem with transformation is black people'.

The SABC's belligerent [job title unknown] Hlaudi Motsoeneng hijacked the funeral of kwaito star Mandoza on Friday, launching into yet another jaw-droppingly inappropriate rant from the podium that the controversial public broadcaster enfant terrible is known for, this time blaming black people for the lack of transformation,

Instead of talking about the dead Mandoza (real name: Mduduzi Tshabalala) and doing a proper tribute to the celebrity who passed away, a finger-waving Hlaudi Motsoeneng usurped the funeral proceedings by talking about, and making it about himself, and his work at the SABC, vowing he will not be taken away.

While funeral speakers were told to limit their tributes to 2 minutes, the SABC's caustic nkalakatha launched into an off-topic rant of 13 minutes, exactly as he's often been seen doing at SABC press conferences, The New Age Breakfast briefings on SABC2 and in Morning Live interviews where he interrupts and keeps a stream of consciousness going without any intervention.

"When people talk about transformation, they speak English. I don't speak English. I speak implementation. There is difference between speaking English and speaking intelligence. Some of us intelligence is in our blood," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"I have been observing when people have been saying 'Hlaudi is out'. You can't decide for my future. I will decide for my future," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the funeral.

"And let me tell you, if I leave the SABC it will not be the first time. I left the SABC. I came back stronger and stronger. I hear people saying 'Hlaudi stress'. Hlaudi is stress free. I don't know stress. Maybe you are stress yourself because Hlaudi is delivering."

Hlaudi Motsoeneng slammed black people as "the problem" of transformation.

"We can't discuss transformation after 20 years. Actually, who's the problem in South Africa? The problem is black people. If you ask black people, they complain about transformation but they are in charge for this transformation. How do you complain about yourself?"

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he introduced the SABC's 90% local content decision alone and nobody else and kept ranting, telling funeral director Mzwake Mbuli after 10 minutes of talking "just give me 3 minutes my brother, this is 90% [I'm talking about]".

"For the first time I was called by two president [sic] in Africa. I'm not going to mention their names. I'm going to meet them. They said to me, 'Hlaudi, now we want to use South Africa as benchmark because we want to introduce 90% in our countries."

"I have my own belief. And my belief is unique," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"When I was born, I was an ordinary Hlaudi. And I'm going to make sure an ordinary employee delivers."

"You know what is good about me - and I'm not boasting. When SABC dismissed me, because I was empowering workers at the SABC," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng who told those attending Mandoza's funeral to "pay your TV licence".

■ Mzwakhe Mbuli, a poet who also organised the massively flopped Thank You SABC Concert, further ruined Mandoza's funeral with his own relentless barrage of inappropriate comments, praising the SABC at Mandoza's funeral that was held at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto.

Mzwakhe Mbuli slammed people who commented on Mandoza's weight and allegedly spread rumours that he had died [while he was still alive] and warned people to "pray and apologise to God".

After less than 2000 people pitched at the Orlando Stadium that can hold 40 000 and that Mzwakhe Mbuli said he would fill as the SABC broadcast scenes of an empty stadium, Mzwakhe Mbuli used the funeral podium to slam those who said the concert was empty, saying it was an insult to say things like that.

"Mandoza did not perform at an empty stadium. You must apologise for that too," said Mzwakhe Mbuli.

Some SABC board members plan to 're-appoint' invalid Hlaudi Motsoeneng as 'acting chief operating officer', decision slammed by board member Krish Naidoo.

Here is the draft letter that was leaked to TV with Thinus on Thursday by SABC insiders.

SABC board members - including Hlaudi Motsoeneng who isn't supposed to be an employee of the SABC anymore according to the Supreme Court of Appeal (so how can he vote?) - were asked this week to vote him(self) "back" into the SABC as "acting chief operating officer (COO).

On Monday after a protracted court case that the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng kept appealing, the Supreme Court of Appeal found Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as permanent COO invalid.

After the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling, some SABC board members - in a plan spearheaded by SABC board chairperson Obert Maguvhe to keep the "rare skill" Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC, hatched a plan for a "round robin" vote to vote Hlaudi Motsoeneng back as "acting COO".

The Public Protector in her February 2014 found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is a liar

The Public Protector in her February 2014 found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng "should never have been appointed at the SABC".

The Public Protector in her February 2014 found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng was directly involved in several instances of gross maladministration, dramatic salary increases for himself and others that ballooned the SABC salary bill, and implicated him in getting rid of everyone at the SABC who testified against him at an earlier disciplinary hearing.

In the draft resolution sent to SABC board members, as part of a convoluted back-door plan, the minister of communications Faith Muthambi is asked to reappoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting COO.

The department of communications says it hasn't yet received such a letter.

"Since the next board meeting is scheduled for 28 October 2016 the board is requested to recommend that the Honourable Minister approves the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the acting COO for the period 19 September 2016 to 18 December 2016 on a Round Robin basis," says the draft document.

"The appointment will be tabled at the next board meeting for ratification."

SABC board member Krish Naidoo in reports said the SABC board's plan is illegal and that he didn't vote yes to support the resolution.

Krish Naidoo told The Times and EWN radio that "when a court says Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not be COO and you appoint him acting COO, it means you haven't applied your mind".

"The SABC is an important institution. The president and the ANC should open their mouths now and say something decisive".

Krish Naidoo slammed other SABC board members saying those who voted in favour of appointing Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting COO" are "acting contrary to the rule of law".

Acting SABC CEO James Aguma gives Hlaudi Motsoeneng a secret R11.4 million bonus not approved by board as some SABC board members plan to 're-appoint' Hlaudi.

The acting SABC CEO James Aguma this week paid the controversial and famously matricless executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng a shocking and secret R11.4 million bonus that wasn't approved by the full SABC board as plans are underway to "re-appoint" Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting chief operating officer after the Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday found his appointment as COO invalid.

The shocking R11.4 million bonus James Aguma secretly authorised and paid to Hlaudi Motsoeneng - two payments of R5.7 million - is for "securing" the highly controversial MultiChoice deal for the SABC to provide the little-watched SABC News and SABC Encore channels to DStv.

The eye-popping R11.4 million payment James Aguma ordered the SABC to make to Hlaudi Motsoeneng comes as the SABC in this coming week will declare yet another loss of hundreds of millions of rand in its latest financial report.

Meanwhile some members of the SABC board in a plan that doesn't have full SABC board approval, is seeking the "re-appointment" of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting chief operating officer (COO).

"Acting COO" is a job title Hlaudi Motsoeneng has had several times before - after the Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday found his permanent appointment as COO invalid after a protracted court case the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng dragged out as long as it could.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party in a statement on Sunday says it will "take the re-appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as 'acting' COO back to court. We have been left with no other option following the deplorable decision taken by the SABC to undermine the Western Cape High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal."

"This decision is a slap in the face of the rule of law and is a desperate attempt to allow the Hlaudi Motsoeneng 'wrecking ball' to continue his disastrous reign at the public broadcaster." 

"This madness needs to be stopped," says the DA. "Our precious public resources should be spent on building a reputable, fair and well-run public broadcaster and not on the propping up of its single greatest impediment."

The Sunday Times on Sunday reported that the secret R11.4 million bonus to Hlaudi Motsoeneng was "made without the knowledge of the SABC board" with some SABC board members calling the massive bonus pay-out "fraud".

James Aguma, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to detailed questions.

Also on Sunday City Press reported on the bonus pay-out that the full SABC board "had never approved" any bonus for Hlaudi Motsoeneng for the controversial MultiChoice SABC channels contract, according to SABC board members speaking on condition of anonymity.

Again Hlaudi Motsoeneng and SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago declined to comment.

City Press also reported that, according to sources, Hlaudi Motsoeneng will be "re-appointed" as "acting" COO at the SABC and willalso replace Bessie Tugwana as the head of corporate affairs in the position she was just moved to a month ago.

The plan is apparently to move Bessie Tugwana to the newly created SABC position as group executive for special projects.

SABC's botched 2016 Paralympics broadcast worsened by 'badly negotiated' contract with SuperSport that saw SuperSport ordering the SABC to cut back to limited coverage.

Following the SABC's bad 2016 Olympic Games coverage, its botched 2016 Paralympics coverage largely imploded due to a bad SuperSport contract that allegedly saw SuperSport order the South African public broadcaster to scale back its coverage to the marginal content seen on the SABC.

SuperSport and the SABC didn't respond to media enquiries about the SABC's Paralympics coverage and the deal the broadcaster made with SuperSport.

City Press on Sunday reported that SuperSport ordered the SABC to stick to the contract for limited 2016 Paralympics visuals use after SABC producers who were not clearly briefed on what the signed contract allowed, started broadcasting more Paralympics content that what was allowed.

The SABC wasn't allowed to broadcast the opening (or closing) events of the 2016 Paralympics from Rio de Janeiro live since it was prohibited by the contract signed with SuperSport, but SABC staff who were not properly informed about the stipulations of the contract showed too much live coverage.

Hannes du Buisson, president of the Broadcast, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) trade union, is quoted in City Press, saying the SABC's deal with SuperSport was "so badly negotiated" that it only allowed the SABC "quick in-and-out live broadcasts when South Africans were competing".

SABC staffers who were not told by SABC executives what's allowed and what's not under the strict SuperSport Paralympics contract, rushed to "began broadcasting everything, using four live feeds" until SuperSport sent the SABC a letter ordering the public broadcaster to immediately stop and to stick to the contract.

"The SABC crew was sent back home," said Hannes du Buisson.

Meanwhile ratings for the 2016 Olympic Games on SuperSport and the SABC during August were a flop during August with very few Olympic broadcast events that were showed on either the public broadcaster on on SuperSport's channels across MultiChoice's DStv platform that managed to lure anything close to a sizeable TV audience.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BREAKING. South African comedian Trevor Noah to host the first MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 in Johannesburg on 22 October.

After scheduling conflicts and too little time last year ahead of his debut as the new host of The Daily Show in 2015, Trevor Noah is now ready and his diary open enough to host the upcoming MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 taking place on Johannesburg on Saturday 22 October.

After criticism about the American comedians hosting an African awards show like Marlon Wayans and Anthony Anderson, Viacom Africa executives who considered and tried for Trevor Noah last year, have now managed to snag the South African stand-up comedian for the award show that is moving from Durban to Johannesburg's Ticketpro Drome.

The MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 will be broadcast live on 22 October on MTV Base (DStv 322) and MTV (DStv 130) at 21:00 with the 2-hour broadcast in front of an expected crowd of 15 000 people that will include performances by Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Ycee, Yemi Alade, Babes Woduma and Alikiba.

"I'm a huge fan of African music and entertainment and it's going to be a massive pleasure celebrating them both at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 in my own home town of Johannesburg," says Trevor Noah in a statement.

Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN Africa) says "Trevor Noah is an outstanding entertainer, and testament to the amazing talent that Africa has to offer the world".

"To have him host the MAMAs, our annual celebration of Africa music, creativity and achievement is a powerful and inspiring message. We are delighted that out first ever show in Johannesburg will be presented by one of the city's most loved and admired personalities."

Nigerian consumer hate against MultiChoice again bubbling up as DStv subscribers say Nigeria 'must protect citizens from exploitation of these foreign companies'.

Ugly and simmering Nigerian hate over pay-TV operator MultiChoice is once again bubbling up after the nasty consumer and political antagonism earlier this year in MultiChoice's second biggest African market, with DStv subscribers in Nigeria saying the Nigerian government must "protect its citizens from exploitation of these foreign companies".

After the raid on MultiChoice Nigeria's head office in Lagos in October 2015, followed by Nigerian politicians in February this year slamming "the menace of MultiChoice" and the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council (CPC) ordering onerous and draconian adjustments, Nigerian DStv subscribers are angry again.

Unable to understand that MultiChoice's DStv is a premium, pay-television service, Nigerians are once again lashing out  at the pan-African pay-TV operator demanding free TV channels and furious that their pay-TV gets cut off "as soon as your subscription expires".

While MultiChoice Africa last month told TV with Thinus the pay-TV operator remains committed to Nigeria and won't pack up and leave as many other South African and intercontinental companies have been doing, DStv subscribers in the West African nation seem to harbour strong negative sentiments about MultiChoice that it sees as a "foreign" company.

With a litany of published complaints and subscribers' venting, DStv subscribers in Nigeria are once again apparently up in arms, saying "the Nigerian government has to stand up and protect its citizens from the exploitation of these foreign companies".

The avalanche of complaints come as even Nigeria's CPC now says MultiChoice in Nigeria has complied with the onerous additional conditions demanded of it - things like toll-free customer care telephone numbers and the ability to switch off DStv and not pay for weeks at a time.

While these MultiChoice consumer "privileges" are unique to Nigeria, clueless Nigerians are again venting their anger, saying things like they "don't think this is how they [MultiChoice] operate in other countries such as South Africa".

Ironically, they're right - the new set of consumer conditions imposed on the pay-TV operator the past few months in Nigeria provides Nigerian DStv and GOtv subscribers with benefits not available in other African countries.

Nigerian DStv subscribers like Erica Ovuakporoye are for instance saying that since she had subscribed to DStv she "had a nasty experience".

Erica Ovuakporoye is apparently under the impression that she's forced to pay for pay-TV and doesn't understand that as a consumer with free will that she can cancel a service if she's not happy with it and had a "nasty experience".

The continuing nasty negative narrative from Nigerians against MultiChoice feels odd.

It feels as if MultiChoice is being made a scapegoat as an easy punching bag for larger consumer issues playing out in Nigeria amidst a worsening economy.

Keep in mind that it is also in Nigeria where increasing TV censorship - specifically of content on MultiChoice from international channel providers - has meant that complaining and irrational Nigerian DStv subscribers have forced content off the air for the entire Africa in at least 3 instances in just the past few months.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

TOLDJA! The Voice South Africa returns to M-Net for a second season that will start in January 2017; adds a city as auditions kick off in October.

The Voice South Africa will be back on M-Net for a second season that will broadcast from January 2017 and with audition that will start from October.

Four months ago in May, TV with Thinus explained why M-Net will definitely bring back The Voice South Africa for a second season.

Similar to the surging Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), The Voice SA provides M-Net as a sister pay-TV channel on DStv in South Africa with brilliant numbers in the same two extremely sought after metrics that make producers happy and that money can't buy.

Firstly there's positive critical buzz in the press and social media. Secondly there's phenomenally strong viewer engagement that translates into "trending" and direct online music sales on iTunes and massive viewer voting numbers.

Besides actual linear TV ratings (that's also great for Idols and The Voice SA) these additional factors nowadays heavily influence the renewal of especially these types of reality format shows where their success are measured not just by viewership alone but the amount of helium generated from online and mobile viewer engagement that helps with lift.

Case in point - wannabe contestants for the upcoming second season will be able to submit a song online for a possible "fast track" to the selection committee.

The Voice SA is again looking for exceptional South African talent 18 years and older with a unique sound and solo singers as well as duos from any musical background who can enter. There's no upper age limit.

Similar to Idols, contestants have to sign a document stating that they don't have any existing contract with any recording company.

"The phenomenal talent from The Voice SA season 1 has set the bar incredibly high, and we are looking forward to opening doors for more fantastic talent who deserve to become household names," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

Auditions for the second season of The Voice SA will start in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday 12 October at The Beach Hotel on Marine Drive with the city that has been added to the audition cities list for the first time after vocal requests from viewers during the first season who were upset about the exclusion.

Cape Town is next on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October at Belmont Square in Rondebosch, followed by Durban on Wednesday 19 October at the Growth Point Kings Park Stadium.

Johannesburg follows on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October at Sasani Studios in Balfour Park where The Voice South Africa and the other African countries' versions like The Voice Angola have been being filmed.

Urban Brew Studios executive Markus Davies was a juror for Current Affairs and News category for International Emmy Awards 2016.

Markus Davies, chief content officer at Urban Brew Studios was a juror of the International Emmy Awards this year for the category of Current Affairs and News.

Markus Davies was also a juror in the semi-final round of the International Emmy Awards in 2015.

In June Markus Davies was part of the judging panel for the Current Affairs and News category in Cologne, Germany.

"Being able to be in a position to judge some of the world's best content is always a fantastic honour, but it comes with real gravitas and responsibility," says Markus Davies in a statement.

In 2012 he produced a documentary called Battle Ground Afghanistan that was nominated by National Geographic to contend for a Prime Time United States Emmy in the category of Current Affairs.

Trish Taylor, Urban Brew CEO says "Markus who has been involved in the film and television industry since 1996, has extensive experience in film making and this honour is well-deserved and comes as no surprise to us".

"Markus, who is a producer and director, is also an active participant in the global broadcasting business with a finger on the pulse in the industry and as such we believe a compelling Emmy Awards juror."

Organisers of disastrous Thank You SABC Concert: 'We do not define success by numbers', slams 'vicious media' for making whole thing 'a Mandoza cancer story'.

Organisers of the disastrous Thank You SABC Concert that turned into a spectacular flop two weeks ago at the Orlando Stadium now say "we do not define success by numbers" and now blames the "viscious media" for turning it into a "Mandoza cancer story like when Princess Diana was chased and died".

The shocking show that was put up as a self-indulgent celebration of the controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng's abrupt decision in May for 90% local music on the SABC's radio stations lurched from chaos to crisis in the few days since the concert was announced on a Tuesday for the upcoming Saturday and turned into a highly embarrassing flop that inflicted further brand damage to the SABC's already tarnished public reputation.

As artists billed to perform and even the SABC choir were no-shows at the infamous concert, artists said they were not paid and pulled out, while only around 1 000 people showed up in the stadium that can hold 40 000 people for the expensive flop that started hours late.

Before the show, organiser Mzwakhe Mbuli who did the concert with the controversial concert promotor Morris Roda, promised to "fill up the stadium and fill up the stomachs of the artists" with 100 artists - none of which were made good on.

The SABC helped to hype the "record breaking" nature of the Thank You SABC concert beforehand, with Mzwakhe Mbuli going as far as saying that "what we are doing must go to the Guinness Book of Records," because the SABC is better than CNN International, the BBC and Al Jazeera that "never had a concert where people in London or artists in London will say 'Thank you CNN or BBC".

Mzwake Mbuli is now explaining the Thank You SABC Concert failure, telling SABC News that "we do not define success by numbers".

Mzwake Mbuli has now turned around and blames a lack of sponsors for the concert's flop, telling SABC News "It is unfortunate that we did not get funding. We ended up either thinking:  Should we go ahead or not? We soldiered on; we continued".

'Vicious media turned it into a Mandoza cancer story'
Mzwake Mbuli also turned on the media in a tirade on how the media didn't cover the Thank You SABC Concert correctly. 

"The media is vicious. The whole thing became a Mandoza cancer story. Not being sensitive to the family. The Mandoza cancer [was like the] Princess Diana chase until she crashed and died. Mandela it was announced long before his actual death".

"With Mandoza, the cancer thing. It was all about Mandoza is terminal. Wednesday. Thursday. Every call; email is about Mandoza. The audience, the people who attended the festival on Saturday, it was big news: 'Mandoza dead. Mandoza dead.'

'You can imagine the pressure. Then later Mandoza came. The print media on Monday asked who forced Mandoza to perform. Now then they changed the story because there was nothing tangible they could find corruption, scandal."

"Then they changed, saying the minister of communications Faith Muthambi, herself went to pick up Mandoza at home to prove and dispel the rumour that Mandoza is alive. The minister came wearing in black, she was late, she was coming from a funeral," said Mzwake Mbuli.

"Mandoza phoned after the whole hullabaloo after him having cancer, midweek, Mandoza himself called he wanted to perform. Mandoza came with his wife, with his children."

Mzwakhe Mbuli said another similar concert could take place again "provided big business, those with dollars, will come forward, and give us money upfront. Then we will book artists and celebrate".

Friday, September 16, 2016

SA'S DIGITAL TV SHOCKER: The 'secret' R800 South Africa's TV viewers don't know they'll have to pay just to keep watching their free television.

Tens of millions of South African TV households literally have no idea that they're going to be forced to pay around R800 and more just to keep watching the free TV they've been watching as the country's long-delayed and derailed switch from analogue to digital television drags on.

More than a year after South Africa's department of communications missed the international deadline of June 2015 to complete the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT) - a process known as digital migration that's already fraught with several allegations of corruption that's being investigated - the South African government finally revealed in parliament on Thursday the shocking cost to TV households of the very expensive exercise.

South Africa's TV households without satellite television - people who watch the SABC, e.tv and community TV stations without DStv, M-Net, StarSat or OpenView HD - are going to be forced to fork out hundreds of rands to buy a decoder known as a set-top box (STB) and in many instances also a new antenna.

Without it, viewers will eventually be cut off and no longer be able to receive free-to-air channels like SABC1 for instance.

While the government is set to give free STBs away to only the poorest of the poor households - around 5,2 million TV households - it leaves millions of South African TV households who are going to discover that they have to pay out of their own pocket hundreds of rand just to keep watching their Generations, Muvhango and Rhythm City on the SABC and e.tv when the existing analogue TV signals are eventually switched off.

In its presentation to parliament, the department of communications revealed that about 650 000 STBs without any encryption system have been manufactured in South Africa and have been delivered to the South African Post Office. The Post Office will have to help with distribution.

These STBs that were ordered and manufactured in bulk cost the government (including VAT) R687,94 (CZ Electronics), R689,26 (BUA Africa) and R689,26 (Leratidima) each.

Ellies satellite dishes cost R441,71 and antennas from Temic Manufacturing and QEC cost R135,09 and R177,70 each.

The costing gives a shocking indication of what South Africans who don't qualify for a DTT subsidy will have to pay commercially when they are forced to buy a STB and an antenna for their TV sets.

While most new flatscreen TV sets now have DTT tuners already built-in, millions of South African TV households who don't qualify as poor enough but already have a TV set, simply don't have the expendable income to buy a new flatscreen costing thousands or even the R800 to buy a STB and antenna.

Further complicating the already convoluted and delayed process is ongoing legal action further hampering the DTT roll-out process.

These already manufactured STBs - around 650 000 - were made without a built-in encryption system known as (CA) conditional access.

e.tv took the government to court over the lack of a CA system in STBs and in May this year won its digital TV box encryption case in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The minister of communications Faith Muthambi decided to appeal the decision further and is taking it to the Constitutional Court in a case that is set to be heard on 17 February 2017.

If Faith Muthambi's appeal here fails as well, the already manufactured STBs that's cost the government R305 million so far - some of which have already been handed out to poor households - will be the wrong ones that doesn't have the encryption features broadcasters like e.tv and others might use in future to protect their content and broadcast high definition (HD) TV channels.

'Minor challenges'
Faith Muthambi told parliament on Thursday that "the DTT project is being rolled out despite minor challenges".

"Challenges relate to lack of funding for a public awareness campaign, dual illumination [and] the establishment of a contact centre. On The South African Post Office, there is also risk issues".

Besides average South Africans being clueless that they're going to have to pay to keep watching free television, there's also controversy about the awarding of the STB tenders with an forensic investigation that was launched, as well as an investigation into a company that got a tender to do DTT public awareness campaigns.

As the department of communications has said for over a decade now with few actual DTT "deliverables" as South Africa kept falling behind with the switch to digital TV, Faith Muthambi again on Thursday told parliament that "the department is committed to work with all key role players to ensure that the broadcasting digital migration process is successfully implemented".

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sarah-Jane Mee replacing Eamonn Holmes as new anchor of Sunrise on Sky News; will broadcast from 17 October from Sky Central's new glass studio.

Sarah-Jane Mee will be the new main anchor of the breakfast morning show Sunrise on Sky News with Jonathan Samuels as co-presenter from 17 October with a new look for the programme.

Sarah-Jane Mee is replacing Eamonn Holmes who is leaving Sky News (DStv 402) along with a lot of longtime Sky News anchors as the TV news channel is cutting down costs.

Sarah-Jane Mee and Jonathan Samuels will anchor Sunrise from Mondays to Thursdays. Stephen Dixon will continue to host Sunrise Fridays to Sunday with Isabel Webster.

Sunrise with Sarah-Jane Mee and Jonathan Samuels will be broadcast from the new state-of-the-art, glass studio that Sky News has been constructing at Sky News' studios in Osterley in West London called Sky Central.

The new studio will give Sunrise a new on-air look.

Sarah-Jane Mee has been a familiar face on Sunrise, and Jonathan Samuels, a senior correspondent, has been further honing his skills as night-time sit-in anchor on Sky News.

Joining Sarah-Jane Mee and Jonathan Samuels will be sports presenter, Jacquie Beltrao and weather presenters, Isobel Lang and Nazaneen Ghaffar.

Sarah-Jane Mee started her career at Sky, left and returned to Sky News in 2008.

"I'm so excited about returning to the Sunrise hotseat; taking over from Eamonn is a real honour and I I feel privileged that I will be starting the day with Sunrise viewers around the UK and beyond, " says Sarah-Jane Mee in a statement.

"Live news is always such a thrill, you never know where the morning will take you and I looking forward to finding out.”

John Ryley, the head of Sky News, says "I'm delighted that Sarah-Jane is to anchor Sunrise. She's enjoying a stellar career here at Sky and will bring a fresh outlook to Sunrise, combining a lightness of touch with sharp journalistic nous; I know she will excel in her new role."

Production drama with impossible deadlines sees new Star Trek: Discovery launch inevitably postponed by months from January to May 2017.

It was inevitable and now the wholly unrealistic launch date of January 2017 of the latest new Star Trek: Discovery has finally been pushed out by months to May 2017.

After CBS and executive producer Bryan Fuller a few months ago announced mind-boggling production dates - saying that filming would start in September - this month - on Star Trek Discovery, it quickly became obvious that the unrealistic deadlines would never be met.

Without any proper Discovery ship designs - let alone actual ship and bridge sets construction (and up in Toronto, Canada where it would be filmed) - with no confirmed cast, with no female lead, with only 3 episodes' actual scripts, artistic issues like the shockingly bad new ship demo that producers suddenly said is not the final version and is being redesigned, and with no established editing and special effects departments, the insane Star Trek: Discovery announcements about when it would do what, started to feel like Hlaudi Motsoeneng's hot air SABC proclamations.

Also remember that Star Trek: Discovery isn't Bryan Fuller's only project - like Hlaudi Motsoeneng constantly darting off to Venda, Durban and Cape Town - Bryan Fuller is also furiously working on other shows like American Gods with divided attention.

With actual filming that had to start now in Toronto while basically very little else exists, CBS and the production company had no choice but to pull the plug on the already chaotic behind-the-scenes production madness to announce a postponement.

And chaotic behind the scenes at Star Trek: Discovery it surely is, although CBS is keeping a lid on what is really going on.

TV's business is also - very importantly - almost more than anything else it is a scheduling business (once again: Hlaudi Motsoeneng's SABC3's local content order is a flopsies because the forced scheduling caused a washout).

CBS plans and schedules better than the SABC. So when it sat down and planned Star Trek: Discovery to start shooting in September and then broadcast a first episode in early January, it did that, working on mapped out production schedules.

So clearly day-to-day deadlines and production deadlines went very wrong and now CBS and the TV show had to backtrack.

It's a big problem, since CBS wanted to use Star Trek: Discovery to launch and relaunch its CBS All Access video-on-demand (VOD) service in America, with Star Trek: Discovery that is being distributed in the rest of the world on Netflix.

Instead of starting in January 2017 as fakely and unrealistically promised, Star Trek: Discovery has now been pushed out by 5 months to May 2017.

Earlier this month, producers already started the process of tempering and trying to adjust down the expectations of the show - which means that they knew they would have a crap product given the production deadlines.

In fact, Star Trek: Discovery might still be - but hopefully won't - be bad, since the producers seemed to hint that the budget isn't as big to fully realise the vision of what Star Trek viewers expect the show to be.

It seems as if producers want Star Trek viewers to tone down their expectations and rather expect a Star Trek: Discovery that's close to the trash-bad Star Trek: Enterprise than the smoother high brow Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: DS9.

Star Trek: Discovery executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Bryan Fuller now say in a statement the show must be delayed by months to mid-2017 "to achieve a vision we can all be proud of".

"Bringing Star Trek back to television carries a responsibility and mission: to connect fans and newcomers alike to the series that has fed our imaginations since childhood."

"We aim to dream big and deliver, and that means making sure the demands of physical and post-production for a show that takes place entirely in space, and the need to meet an air date, don't result in compromised quality," they say in a statement.

The producers reveal that they misjudged what it would take to ramp up the production machine on the new iteration of the science fiction series that will have a 13 episode first season and suddenly got to a point where they realised it's not possible to film Star Trek: Discovery starting in September.

The actual filming of Star Trek: Discovery will now only start in November - two months later.

"Before heading into production, we evaluated these realities with our partners at CBS and they agreed: Star Trek deserves the very best, and these extra few months will help us achieve a vision we can all be proud of".

CBS TV Studios president David Stapf says in the same statement announcing the Star Trek: Discovery postponement: "They are building a new, very ambitious Star Trek world for television, and everyone involved supports their vision for the best timing to bring to life what we all love on the page".

BREAKING. The dishonest contestant Siyakha Tshayela dumped from Idols on Mzansi Magic with immediate effect amidst behind-the-scenes recording contract fight.

The dishonest Idols contestant Siyakha Tshayela has been dumped from the M-Net reality show on its Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel on DStv with immediate effect earlier today.

Siyakha Tshayela's axing by Idols producers comes comes after she was being not only dishonest with the producers and M-Net, but is also involved in a shocking and ongoing behind-the-scenes fight between her and an independent record label making her continued inclusion in the reality show untenable.

Siyakha Tshayela (23) is a full-time musician from Vosloorus in the East Rand and was included in the group of Top 16 Idols contestants as one of the 8 women vying to win the current 12th season.

While Idols contestants are told in no uncertain terms that they're not allowed to have any prior recording contracts with any recording companies and also sign paperwork to that effect saying they're not represented by any record labels - because they might end up having to sign an exclusive record deal with Universal Music South Africa - a month ago it suddenly came to light that Siyakha Tshayela is involved with an independent record company.

Siyakha Tshayela admitted to Idols producers SIC Entertainment producing the FremantleMedia format show, that she has had dealing with the independent record label before she entered Idols - with the record company that maintains that they actually made a record deal and signed a contract with her.

"Siyakha Tshayela has been withdrawn from the 2016 season of Idols with effect from 15 September as a result of a dispute between herself and an independent recording company," says Idols.

"Participants are required to sign an exclusive recording deal with the Idols appointed recording label when they enter the series."

"On 1 August Siyakha Tshayela informed us that she had entered into discussions with an independent recording company before entering Idols, but she maintained there was no contract in place. The recording company insists there is."

Idols says there's been "no resolution" to the behind-the-scenes fight.

"Due to conditions stipulated by the Idols format rights holder," says Idols - in this case FremantleMedia - "we are unable to continue with a contestant that is currently involved in a legal dispute of this nature".

Idols, M-Net and Mzansi Magic, and SIC Entertainment are slamming the door on Siyakha Tshayela, saying they wish her "all the best with her music career".

Zimbabwe freaks out over CNN International correspondent David McKenzie's brilliant 2-day reporting from inside the country that it claims 'was stage managed'.

Zimbabwe is freaking out over the absolutely terrific 2-day reporting on CNN International  this week and done by its Africa correspondent David McKenzie from inside the failed state.

With inside access and tracking, tracing and persuading scared insiders to talk, correspondent David McKenzie's brilliant reporting gave CNN International (DStv 401) viewers a first hand view and insight on what is really going on in Zimbabwe.

The country is again being ravaged by renewed violence and unrest, growing public protest, a police clampdown and a new wave of civil resistance against despot Robert Mugabe's rule but the past few months outside media has been barred from access to the country to report freely on what's happening inside it.

Please watch and read David McKenzie's brilliant report right here.

For the past month and a half both CNN International and Sky News (DStv 402) have been brilliant at incisive, on the ground reporting from inside Zimbabwe and from South Africa's Limpopo border, exploring and showing the latest crisis escalating in the beleaguered Southern African nation.

Please watch and read Alex Crawford's incredible report right here.

Meanwhile South African TV news channels - eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 have done literally nothing besides running really old file footage and some wire service visuals with voice-overs - largely ignoring the growing crisis and humanitarian issues in South Africa's neighbouring country.

In an unintentionally hilarious response released today by the Zimbabwe Police, it starts by saying "While we agree that CNN like any other media institution have journalistic privileges these should never be abused".

"We watched with total disbelief an interview purported to have been carried out with a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police," says C. Charamba, Zimbabwe police senior assistant commissioner.

"By merely looking at the shadowy figure with a voice that had been modified it is clear that this fictitious character would fit in a Hollywood style movie".

The Zimbabwe police then accuses CNN International that "it is very clear that the whole interview was manufactured and concocted or simply put it was stage managed".

The Zimbabwe police says "this is clearly unorthodox, unprofessional and malicious".

"It belies understanding why people go to such unprofessional lengths to plump the depth to come up with an entirely fictitious story.The reportage by CNN  reporters is one sided to say the least suggesting that they had come to Zimbabwe on a mission."

Times Media spinning out its Business Day TV channel to create SME Zone as a new weekend TV channel extension on DStv broadcasting to entrepreneurs.

Times Media is spinning out its Business Day TV (DStv 412) channel on MultiChoice's DStv to create SME Zone as a new weekend TV channel extension from this Saturday, 17 September.

Similar to what Times Media did with the IgnitionTV channel, SME Zone will start off running over weekends with dedicated content aimed at small business owners and entrepreneurs.

SME Zone is being created as a "self-help manual for small business and those looking to start their own enterprises" and follows the success of programmes on Business Day TV like The Big Small Business Show, now in its fourth year

SME Zone will feature step-by-step guides on how to identify, start and grow a successful business; educational modules such as The Small Business MBA; real-life mentoring sessions with experts; and tips and inspiration from some of SA's top entrepreneurs.

"Nine out of 10 small businesses fail within the first 3 years," says Semeyi Zake, creator and executive producer of the SME Zone.

"We aim to give entrepreneurs a fighting chance, through clear templates and business models that will greatly increase their chances of success."

Shows in the SME Zone line-up include Jumpstart (self-help jobs you can start with R500 or less); Biz Guide 101 (a blueprint for running 25 popular businesses); Pimp my Bizz (revamping a faltering enterprise); Pitch & Polish (a nationwide search for the best ideas); and SME Funding.

"We realized there's a hunger for business knowledge beyond the markets and corporate deals. As a channel, we are passionate about small business, realizing that this is where we can make an impact in addressing the country’s skills gap and play our role in creating employment and growing this economy," says Semeyi Zake.

Vernon Matzopoulos, head of broadcast at Times Media, says "TV is an incredibly powerful medium of instruction. Thanks to DStv's generosity in making the airtime available, we can now reach into 5.5 million homes – and hopefully inspire a small business revolution."

Lucy Pryke appointed as animation manager for Disney's 3 Disney channels brands in Africa, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.

The Walt Disney Company for Africa and Europe (EMEA) has appointed Lucy Pryke as animation manager for its three Disney Channels EMEA brands.

Lucy Pryke previously worked at the BBC as animation manager for its CBeebies channel for the past 6 years.

In South Africa and across parts of Africa Disney runs its Disney Channel (DStv 303), Disney XD (DStv 304) and Disney Junior (DStv 309) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Uzalo on SABC1 is offering 6 on-set crew internships in Durban to work behind-the-scenes on the show to learn about and get experience in filmmaking.

Uzalo on SABC1 is giving 6 young people the chance to do a crew internship, working behind-the-scenes on the hugely popular South African show filmed in KwaMashu, Durban.

Stained Glass Productions will give training and experience to 6 young people, and the 6 lucky people who doesn't necessarily have to be a film student - will be people who already have some basic knowledge of filmmaking, or who have demonstrated an interest in choosing film or TV as a career, or who are interested in one day working in one of the six film and TV industry fields.

In the Uzalo trainee programme one person will get the chance to work in sound, as a camera assistant, in the make-up and hair department, the art department, helping with scripts, and helping the wardrobe department.

Here is what each internship job will entail:
Sound – training as "boom swinger" in the basics of sound mixing. (Suitable for someone who is interested in sound design and has an ear for music.)

Camera– training as a camera assistant with exposure to camera operating, lighting and focus pulling, with a view to equipping the trainee to be a competent camera assistant. (Suitable for someone who has the ability to pay attention to detail, a basic understanding of camera equipment and previous experience/ interest in photography).

Make-up and hair – training as a make-up and hair standby assistant to be able to do onset checks and touch ups required by actors and performers. This trainee will also be exposed to the basics of television make-up application, hair styling and basic special effects.

Art department – training as art department standby assistant. This trainee will be exposed to set dressing, prop management and production design. They will become competent in seeing to all the onset art department needs; making sure artists have appropriate props handy and that the set is dressed to the directors satisfaction. (Applicants must have an Interest in art, painting, carpentry, fine arts, graffiti and graphic design).

Continuity/Script Supervision-training as Script supervisor. This trainee is responsible for marking up scripts with continuity notes. His/her duties also include maintaining a detailed log of daily scene shots slated for production with accompanying production notes and continuity suggestions.

Wardrobe – training as a wardrobe standby assistant who will be competent in all the onset checks and adjustments needed for artists and their wardrobe needs. (Applicants must have an eye for design and training in dress making, costume design/ construction, interest in fashion and styling would be an advantage).

Whilst all of the training is on the job and hands on, the production house will be testing the trainees' development in their respective basic functions every two months.

"This is the second year that we are running this training programme, we are very pleased with the outcomes of the first cycle of training, and we look forward to welcoming more skilled film technicians into the fold." says Toni Monty, the head of the Durban Film Office.

To apply to do an internship on Uzalo, people need to send a CV and motivation letter to Fezile Peko, DFO Project Manager, 11th Floor Rennies House, 41s Margaret Mncadi Avenue. Durban and can call Fezile Peko or Nosipho Hlophe on 031 311 4243. Email applications are not accepted and the closing date  for applications is 12 October 2016 at 12pm.

StarTimes building in Nigeria burnt down after armed gunmen attack and leave explosive device at pay-TV operator's building.

Reports emerged from 01:20am this morning after gunmen stormed the StarTimes building in Onitsha, Nigeria and burned down the building amidst gunfire.

An explosive device was also planted, with tyres that were lit around the premises to set the station on fire. The makeshift explosive device was later removed.

As gunfire erupted between the armed men and police, the StarTimes building burnt down, destroying equipment. The Nigerian Television Authortiy (NTA) is housed in the same building.

Three men have been arrested according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

SABC2's long-delayed local telenovela, Keeping Score, is finally starting in mid-October with Sonia Mbele as a vengeful matriarch and her son who's a boxer.

SABC2's long-delayed local telenovela Keeping Score is finally set to start next month on the channel.

Rolling out with two episodes per week from 17 October, Keeping Score on SABC2 will unspool a story that will have themes already known to a lot of viewers that's similar to hit shows like Mzansi Magic's The Queen and boxing drama Ring of Lies.

In 2014 the SABC told TV critics that SABC2 plans to start broadcasting its own telenovela from July 2015 to give the channel a foothold in the burgeoning local telenovela sphere.

The deadline however came and went as SABC1 launched the highly successful Uzalo.while SABC3 turned High Rollers from a drama into a telenovela as well.

While e.tv unspooled telenovelas like Gold Diggers, Umlilo and Ashes to Ashes and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) went to town with an ongoing series of telenovela hits, SABC2 remained the lone hold-out not able to cash in on telenovela buzz and ratings.

Now Keeping Score is set to start from 17 October with two weekly episodes about a wealthy matriarch seeking revenge, as her oldest son is a boxer, taking viewers like Ring of Lies to the inside world behind-the-scenes of the local sport filled with personality clashes, physical and mental challenges and a lot of intrigue.

If it sounds a bit familiar, it might be because viewers have seen some of the themes before.

Sonia Mbele from SABC1's Generations fame plays matriarch Mmamosa who has a grudge to settle against her former lover Justice (Saint Seseli) in a cast filled with Didie Makobane, Nicholas Nkuna and Solomon Sebothoma.

Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC2's programme manager, described Keeping Score to The Sowetan as "an action-packed drama full of rage, lies and love that takes viewers deep into the sullied heart of the sports industry".

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New #BreakTheNet mobile TV reality show the first foray into original television content creation for Cell C looking to build its own VOD service.

A new mobile TV reality show, #BreakTheNet, is coming to Cell C that plans to start its own video-on-demand (VOD) service and hopes to cash in on the "trending" social media craze with user-videos that end up going viral.

By downloading the specifically designed Cell C Reality App from the Apple App store or the Google Play store, people can enter from Thursday 15 September until 15 October to become one of the 30 contestants on the show.

#BreakTheNet, produced by Bl!nk Pictures, is part of Cell C's plans to launch its own Netflix and ShowMax style video-on-demand (VOD) service with the show that will have a second season in 2017.

The first episode of #BreakTheNet will be shown on 19:00 on Sunday 23 October on the Cell C Channel on YouTube with the first season that will conclude on Sunday 11 December with the chance to win R250 000 and a trip to Hollywood, Los Angeles.

From 23 October viewers will be able to watch a continuous digital flow of content from the weekly shows, to tasks and behind the scenes clips as well as celebrity one-on-one interviews. 

Contestants will be given a task to include in the filming of their videos and will be selected to continue week by week based on the number of views that they receive for each video. 

#BreakTheNet contestants will get 48 hours to complete and upload a video, with the aim of getting videos to go "viral" and to create "the next online sensation".

Derick Watts and the Sunday Blues are the presenters of #BreakTheNet with Whackhead Simpson as the Task Master.

Mentors include the YouTube star, Suzelle DIY, the Instagrammer Ofentse Mwase and the online personality Theodora Lee. The South African actor Blessing Xaba is participating as a "celebrity" contestant.

Cell C says #BreakTheNet will be a never-before-seen talent search show that will challenge the typical way in which television content is produced and consumed and is Cell C's start into "content production for a future content delivery platform".

"How and where content is delivered to consumers is changing dramatically in South Africa as internet access becomes more pervasive. As an innovator, Cell C is taking its first steps into playing a role in the production and delivery of incredible content," says Cell C CEO, Jose Dos Santos.

"This is just the first step for Cell C into this arena and as a business, we plan on taking it by storm," says Jose Dos Santos.

"In the move towards a digital world, it's becoming more and more apparent that if it doesn't exist on your smart phone, it doesn’t exist at all," says Bl!nk Pictures director, Odette Schwegler.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

TOLDJA! Another FOX channel is suddenly chopped and changed as FOX Crime flips to FOX Life at short notice; changes on DStv with no word about StarSat.

The horribly bad communication from FOX Networks Group, MultiChoice, and On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa, continues with ongoing confusion, lack of clarifty and non-answers about the FOX Crime channel that is suddenly going to change to FOX Life, with FX that's getting dumped in the process as well.

As TV with Thinus already reported previously and again earlier this month, FOX Crime is get culled and replaced by FOX Life.

The very sad part is this: the shockingly bad communication from FOX Networks Group in Africa to properly and fully explain what is going on and why.

Then there's also the "collusion" by FOX Networks Group in Africa, MultiChoice and ODM and StarTimes Media SA to not explain, and explain clearly and far in advance enough to paying subscribers to their services, what exactly is happening - and how their customers will be impacted.

It's very bad.

As it stands now, new boss Gary Alfonso, general manager for FOX Networks Group Africa, has been terrible in not being fully forthcoming and properly explaining to FOX Crime and FX viewers what is happening here.

FOX Crime is getting yanked from MultiChoice's DStv on 28 September. That news isn't coming from MultiChoice itself but from the FOX News Group.

FOX Crime is getting pulled with less than a month's notice to DStv subscribers on channel 126.

There is absolutely no word about what is happening with FOX Crime for StarSat subscribers - but its basically a given that StarSat is losing FOX Crime too.

Not only that, but FX is also going to dark on StarSat - that is also not being told to StarSat subscribers and no mention of a date yet. Presumably FX will also go "poof" in half a month's time but FOX Networks Group isn't saying (yet).

Furthermore there's no explanation why exactly this is happening - because why should subscribers or the media deserve any actual real explanation as to why FOX Crime is suddenly being canned.

It's a take-it-or-leave-it situation that according to FOX Networks Group in Africa, MultiChoice and ODM and StarTimes Media SA apparently doesn't need a lot of explanation or transparency given the bad communication on this.

Imagine hearing two weeks before the time that your bank is changing and shutting down your cheque account, and will reopen it as a new product with a new look a few days later - without even telling you the details about it.

That is what FOX Networks Group, MultiChoice and StarSat are badly (non-) communicating to people who are actually paying for FOX Crime as a TV channel. In essence it's a "crime".

FOX Crime was added by MultiChoice to DStv from July 2013 and was added by StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media ()DM) to StarSat from November 2013 - it basically lasted for only three years.

Here is what is now known:

FOX Crime is shutting down on MultiChoice's DStv on 28 September on MultiChoice's DStv.

FOX Life will start in its place on 3 October, as I've reported previously, on channel 126. FOX Life will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Extra, DStv Compact, DStv Family and DStv Access subscribers.

So far there's been zero comment from MultiChoice about this change to DStv. Will FOX Life be in high definition (HD)? We don't know.

So far, and after having been asked repeatedly, there's been no comment from StarSat about the loss of FOX Crime - who also hasn't said a word about the coming demise and shut down of FX.

So far there is no official answer as to what is happening to FOX Crime on StarSat or the exact date FOX Crime on channel 132 and FX is being yanked away from StarSat subscribers.

What is happening to shows that people have been watching on FOX Crime? You'd think subscribers of the channel would be told that. I had to ask first, to get somewhat more information.

TV with Thinus in response to a media enquiry is told:
"All shows currently on FOX Crime will end naturally on the channel. Rogue is the only show that has already moved to FOX and season 3 premiered on FOX. There will however be some repeats of the FOX Crime procedurals on FOX during daytime".

Why is FOX Crime dumped and replaced?
"We are launching FOX Life to better service local markets and show our ambition in Africa by creating a production hub locally that will tap into the latest trends and ensure the brands stay relevant locally".

Of course that explains very little, since the FOX channel as the premium channel brand already exists and can cope with presumably whatever new local content is produced by a local production hub.

Why is FX suddenly also being shut down and when?
No official answer yet. FOX Crime and FX are both being dumped and replaced with one channel, FOX Life.

SAngry sbscribers have already started saying they're angry and upset and can't understand why FOX Crime and FOX Life on DStv and StarSat can't both be given to them.

"Why replacing instead of adding?" asks John Johnson.

"No, you must add to FOX Crime. We will boycott you if you replace FOX Crime with FOX Life. Add [it] next to FOX Crime, we pleading. After all, we pay. We have a say. You can't take off FOX Crime," says Norman Lambert.

"FOX Crime I enjoyed," says Maruska Honiball. "Why take it away???"

"FOX Crime was good," says Myburgh Dewald.

And Kedibone Mametja sums up what a lot of people are thinking about the upcoming dumping of FOX Crime and replacement with FOX Life: "Why replace and not add?"