Monday, October 31, 2016

The SABC tells the broadcasting regulator, Icasa, that like free-to-air broadcaster, it now also wants to cut back on its public responsibility of doing TV news during prime time.

The South African public broadcaster apparently now also wants to cut back on its very raison d'ĂȘtre - it's very core mandate for existing - and wants to follow free-to-air broadcaster in getting rid of the onerous public responsibility of proving South African television viewers with TV news during prime time.

It's pathetic - but more than that, its ridiculous and dangerous.

South Africa is a democracy. Television is the biggest and strongest medium. TV news helps to build and maintain a democracy, give voice to a plurality of opinions, and informs.

Literally tens of millions of South African TV viewers work and can only watch TV news on free-to air channels like the SABC and (and they do in their millions) during the evening, when they get home, in what is known as prime time.

Similar to's application at the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), wanting to dump the regulations in its broadcasting licence to provide millions of viewers with a TV news bulletin during prime time - the SABC now apparently also wants out.

It's just like a child who promises to eat his vegetables if he gets a treat; then afterwards refuses.

You can't change the conditions after getting a powerful thing like a TV broadcasting licence and neither nor the SABC should be allowed changes to their existing licensing conditions.

It's preposterous and dangerous.

Imagine a mine consortium, after it got a licence, saying it no longer wants to pay to clean the surrounding water and do environmental rehabilitation as part of its cost to do business and to exist as a business in the first place.

Ridiculous! (yes, Midi!) conveniently forgets that it applied with several other consortiums to get a TV broadcasting licence almost 20 years ago, and made certain promises to get that licence. got its licence because it made bigger and better promises than the others. That's why it got the licence. Now wants to backtrack.

Years after it got its licence, and feeling that the licensing conditions are no longer suitable, that once cared for news and doing news, now wants it changed.

Meanwhile the SABC - as a tax payer and mandated SABC TV licence fee funded public broadcaster that belongs to the South African people - conveniently forgets that its a public broadcaster with a public mandate to not broadcast The Real Housewives of Atlanta but to inform the South African public.

Yes. News makes less money.

Yes. News is actually often a drain on revenues instead of being a profit centre.

Yes. News gets less viewers during prime time than a purely entertainment show.

Yes - deal with it.

The SABC and should use all their other hours when they broadcast entertainment fare like Fear Factor and Generations and SA's Got Talent and Khumbul'ekhaya to cross-subsidise their news responsibilities and budgets.

Imagine a private hospital and a state hospital both saying they want to close down their emergency rooms because the money-guzzling and traumatic ER's are a drain on the bottom-line.

They now rather wants to concentrate on the Botox injections, cataract laser surgery and big ticket heart transplants that come with higher patient co-pays and medical aid contributions.

Lets leave the ugly, harder, yet very real part of what being a hospital actually is and represents, to other places.

That's what both and the SABC now argue: Less of the hard work, the ugly work and the difficult struggle for less viewers - so that they can concentrate more on the beautiful, money-making, less ugly side of life.

In its submission to Icasa that the SABC made in response to's application to get out of doing a 30 minute TV news bulletin during prime time, the SABC says that allowing to no longer do prime time news would unfairly benefit through "flexibility with respect to scheduling of their programmes, whilst the SABC does not have that privilege".

The SABC in its submission says "prime time share movement shows that South Africans follow dramas across the three most watched free-to-air schedules"

"The SABC respectfully submits the prime time flexibility is required by all free-to-air broadcasting services, hence the request for a review of the whole FTA licensing framework."

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party is already weighing in, saying in a statement that "all free-to-air broadcasters, and in particular the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster, have an obligation in terms of the Electronic Communications Act to fascilitate news and educational programming in the national interest".

"It is logical that this must happen during prime time, when most South Africans are watching TV," says Phumzile van Damme, the DA shadow minister of communications.

"By the SABC's own admission, over 12 million people watch TV during prime time, with 79% of adults in urban areas relying on free-to-air television as the most regular source of news."

"Icasa has always held the position that prime time is the right time for broadcasters to broadcast local content when the majority of South Africans are expected to be watching TV."

"It must stick to this position, and not allow and the SABC to dumb down the South African populace by only airing news broadcasts when fewer people are watching TV."

"Icasa must place a further obligation on the SABC in particular, to ensure that the news it provides the South African public is impartial, balanced and an accurate depiction of conditions in South Africa," says Phumzile van Damme.

eNCA and news division dumps longtime newser Amy MacIver without as much as a 'goodbye' as the gutting of its Cape Town bureau continues.

The gutting (and sexist behaviour) continues as eNCA (DStv 403) and's news division dumped Amy MacIver - the latest longtime (female) journalist and anchor who signed off on Friday as its news division people are retrenched in eMedia Investments' ongoing downsizing of its Cape Town operations.

Unlike what eMedia Investments, eNCA and does when men leaves - for instance Andrew Barnes (1), Derek van Dam (2), Pat Pillai (3), Ben Said (4) and Arabile Gumede (5) to mention just a few in a string of examples - the sexist looking, trashy eNCA and could once again not bother even the slightest to tell the media that Amy MacIver is leaving, or issue a basic press release noting the separation and thanking her for her service.

It's already bad that eNCA and is firing people.

It's worse when it never says anything when it's women and fails to comment on the contribution they made - but does it for their male counterparts when they sever ties with eNCA.

Not only does eNCA and executives and its publicity department fail spectacularly when it comes to the basic international standard regarding announcements of on-air talent moves at a news channel, it shows even less regard for its female on-air personalities than its men. And it's deplorably bad.

On Friday, a tearful and emotional Amy MacIver signed off during News Day on eNCA and - clearly distraught, sad and despondent.

What did eNCA and do about this and Amy MacIver leaving?

(Once again as with other women) Nothing.

From there wasn't as much as a peep or even the pro forma press statement of "thank you for your contribution and this is how it affects viewers" about Amy MacIver's retrenchment.

It's exactly like how eNCA treated Bhavna Singh who was tossed away without any announcement or thank you, and when on-air reporting (female) stars like Robyn Kriel (2), Phakamile Hlubi (3) and others left eNCA.

Once can still be justified as co-incidence. But this isn't co-incidence. It happens time and time again.

It's not a "made-up" thing - it's a real, ongoing, unchanging, tasteless phenomena from eNCA and news that comes across as extremely sexist.

It appears as trashy and sexist behaviour from a TV news channel that used to be much better in years gone by, but now signals how little it actually thinks of TV journalism and the people who work at eNCA. Especially women.

When you can't do or say even the most basic nice departing words where someone like Amy MacIver - who gave almost 12 years of her professional working life to your service - what is inferred in the deafening silence by TV critics and media observers becomes painfully obvious: eNCA and the news division doesn't care and can't care less about the person leaving, who also happens to be female.

It's frankly disgusting that eNCA and thinks so little of its viewers that it cannot even tell viewers when on-air talent - it's actual product - is leaving and changing and won't be on TV anymore.

This lamentable state of affairs is sad - regardless of whether its for a man or a woman.

Sadly, it gets even more trashier and is compounded to say at least something when it men leaving, but nothing when it's women.

Amy MacIver has worked very hard for eNews, eNCA and

She's anchored numerous eNews Early Edition news bulletins, eNews Late Edition and eNews Direct Weekend bulletins, as well as reporting stories over more than a decade.

That was besides her strong presence as a face of eNews Prime Time -'s flagship English TV news bulletin.

That's not nothing. That type of legacy work deserves something - even as small as a basic token departure announcement of thanks and so long.

Recently this year with Michelle Craig on maternity leave, it was Amy MacIver who filled in as News Day co-anchor, after she produced and was a presenter of Earth Watch in 2015 as part of eNCA's now gutted current affairs programming slate.

Amy MacIver wasn't some "throwaway" intern moonlighting for experience at eNews.

She was a bona fide news star.

Sadly the message eNCA seems to be sending, through sending no message at all, is one of: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out Amy!"

Why is eNCA and failing so miserably to announce on-air changes - especially when women are concerned?

It's important to see eNCA's behaviour of how it treats women who gets fired and who resign, against the even broader context and background of eNCA scandal of the "doek" earlier this year and the spate of resignations also earlier this year of female journalists at eNuus - the Afrikaans news division doing news for kykNET (DStv 144) - with allegations that they resigned due to bullying by a man.

In my opinion eNCA has an ugly problem in failing to do basic notifications about changes to its on-air roster - especially when people leave.

By appearing to be even worse at it when it concerns women and female talent, it also comes across as worsening the perceived problem with sexist behaviour, making the ugly problem ... even uglier.

Since it's apparently too much effort and eNCA and couldn't get itself to say it, let me:

"Thank you very much Amy MacIver for your great work over more than a decade to help put eNews, eNCA and eNews Prime Time on the map, your never-ending enthusiasm, your news professionalism and your valued contribution over many years to South African journalism and TV journalism".

Jennifer Lopez to perform for the first time in South Africa at ANN7's South African of the Year Awards 2016 on 25 November.

Jennifer Lopez will be heading to South Africa for her first-ever performance as ANN7 is lining up more American artists for its 3rd South African of the Year Awards.

J.Lo will join Robin Thicke, announced earlier this month as the award show's main act, at ANN7’s (DStv 405) third SATY Awards 2016 that will take place on 25 November at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg and will be broadcast live at 18:00 on the day.

The SABC’s Top Billing presenters' trio of Bonang Matheba, Jonathan Boynton-Lee and Jeannie D will be the three main presenters.

Her SATY Awards 2016 appearance will be her first performance in South Africa, with Jennifer Lopez who is currently doing her Las Vegas concert residency at the AXIS Theatre and is producing the second season of her TV drama series, Shades of Blue.

According to ANN7, Jennifer Lopez will perform her biggest hits throughout the ceremony alongside South African artists.

"The SATY's are the epitome of what it means to be South African," says Moegsien Williams, ANN7 editor-in-chief.

"This year the theme is 'Reflection and Progression'. We take the time to remind people what it means to be South African – as the country commemorates 40 years of youth empowerment".

The SATY 2016 will award prizes to the country’s musicians, artists, conservationists, sport, youth and business leaders with ANN7 viewers voting for the nominees in various categories.

Last year Christina Aguilera who was announced as the headline act at the 2nd SATY Awards 2015 pulled out and was replaced by Jason Derulo whose appearance was widely panned and criticised after he asked the audience who refused to stand up when he asked, “Y’all speak English, right?"

Last year's SATY Awards was changed from a concert to an “invitation only” closed event with other media locked out; no word yet on whether media will be allowed back and invited to this year’s South African of the Year Awards.

Friday, October 28, 2016

New teen princess animation series, Elena of Avalor, starting on the Disney Channel on DStv on Saturday at 8:35am with a one hour premiere.

The new Disney princess series, Elena of Avalor, will start in South Africa and Africa on Saturday morning, 29 October on the Disney Channel (DStv 303) at 08:25 with a one-hour premiere.

The new animation series, with its theme song performed by Gaby Moreno, is set in the magical kingdom of Avalor and revolves around the teenager Elena who must learn to rule as crown princess.

Elena of Avalor incorporates influences from diverse Latin and Hispanic cultures through architecture, traditions, food and customs and every episode has original songs from an array of Latin musical styles, including Mariachi, Latin Pop, Salsa, Banda and Chilean hip hop.

In the first episode of Elena of Avalor that started in America in late-July with Aimee Carrero voicing Elena, Elena officially becomes crown princess and rescues her sister, Isabel, from elf-like creatures known as Noblins.

Elena of Avalor was created by the Emmy award winner Craig Gerber who is also the executive producer.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng now wants new names for the SABC's radio stations, saying 'we are tired of names like Radio Lotus'; attacks SA Constitution.

The SABC's controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng now wants to change the names of the SABC's radio stations because he's "tired of names like Radio Lotus" and attacked South Africa's Constitution, saying "the Constitution itself doesn't favour black people the way it has been written".

After a third of the listenership of the SABC's Indian radio station Lotus FM has fled over the past few months, Hlaudi Motsoeneng now wants to change its name saying "we are tired of names like Radio Lotus and so forth".

Speaking on Wednesday in Giyani, the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng, now the head of corporate affairs at the SABC that posted a loss of R411 million, said the SABC is urging people to come forward to rename the SABC's radio stations.

"We urge you as traditional leaders to take part in naming of our radio stations in a way that will represent our culture. We are tired of having names like Radio Lotus and so forth".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's abrupt plan for 90% local music airplay has caused chaos in its abrupt implementation.

The past few months since June the SABC's national and regional radio stations catering to specific language demographics have been forced to include and "cross-promote" music genres on radio stations that listeners are not tuning in for in the first place - for instance Afrikaans songs on the Sesotho Lesedi FM and kwaito on Lotus FM in KwaZulu-Natal catering to the Indian diaspora.

Lotus FM has already shed a third of its listenership in just three months that it had built up over decades, as listeners of the SABC's Indian station tuned the dial to other commercial and community radio stations.

The lotus, the national flower of India and Egypt, is of big cultural and spiritual significance for the Indian community.

"At SABC we have introduced 90 percent local content. This does not only include musicians but also drama, news and cultural contents. We want to give a chance to upcoming producers to take part rather than giving British and Americans money and airtime," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng on Wednesday.

"We used to take R600 million abroad just to watch the Queen of Britain the whole day but since we said 90% local content, that R600 million is used to pay local artists and create jobs for our people in the country."

Speaking on eNCA's Judge for Yourself this week discussing the ongoing crises at the SABC, Krish Naidoo who resigned his position as SABC board member at the beginning of this month, slammed Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng isn't busy with transformation. I think Hlaudi Motsoeneng is looking at projects within the SABC that could look Hlaudi look good".

"You empower local artists in a very responsible way and in a conscientious way where you empower local artists where it's done in a streamlined way so you don't upset local programming. You do it in consultation with stakeholders".

"Lotus FM has lost one third of its listenership because it's been asked to play all sorts of music which doesn't resonate with their listeners. Funders have pulled out, advertisers have pulled out and listeners have pulled out," said Krish Naidoo.

"The 90% local content decree was never a SABC board decision," said Krish Naidoo.

"Most of the SABC board members - for whatever reason - become beholden to Hlaudi Motsoeneng. I don't know what that reason is, but some of us have had the courage not to be captured by him but to stand up and speak for our integrity and our morality and did what we thought is right".

'I think as president Zuma has done well'
On Thursday - again going completely off-message in various rants at the latest The New Age breakfast briefing broadcast on SABC2 and SABC News on DStv where he is often a panelist - Hlaudi Motsoeneng fought back.

"Even some of the SABC board, I have a serious problem. Because they are captured by certain politicians."

"You can see even now, those who resign, they resign because someone captured them from politics," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng. "When you fight SABC, you fight this current board. You're fighting transformation."

"This current board under Prof Maguvhe has done very well," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng, also reiterating the SABC's focus sunshine journalism on doing "positive" stories.

"You can't just talk about negativity. You also need to reflect positive story in South Africa. There are good positive stories in South Africa. Not from politicians only, from individuals."

He said "president Zuma, when it comes to education, he has produced engineers and doctors. And people are not talking about those good stories," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng, saying "but I think as the president of the country he has done well".

Attacks constitution
Hlaudi Motsoeneng also attacked South Africa's constitution.

"The Constitution itself doesn't favour black people the way it has been written. Not people themselves who are taking decisions but the Constitution itself. The policy itself. But the policy is very interesting. Who write the policy?"

"It's certain SOE's. Which is us. The same black people, they write policies that they know themselves, this policy they are not in the interest of their own black people. They're interest for the big companies because there's certain individuals they are captured," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

About the gutted SABC board that's inquorate he said: "The current three board members they shall stay there at the SABC. They shall not even think of resigning. So that we fix the SABC and change the process of portfolio committee to appoint."

He said he wants the process of SABC board member appointments changed and wants the minister of communications "to recommend to the president for the appointments of the board members, like other SOE's."

'SABC crisises are manufactured'
SABC acting CEO James Aguma said "the board can still continue. The crisises at the SABC are manufactured as far as I'm concerned".

"No employee is not paid. No supplier is not paid. Where is the crisis? Where is the crisis? Is the crisis not manufactured?"

Thursday, October 27, 2016

MUST WATCH. BBC World News loses control of Wits University medical school interview as rude BBC World News producer tries to prevent and shut down filming of incident.

BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256) got more than it bargained for when it lost control of its narrative when a Wits University medical student interrupted an interview by reporter Karen Allen, while a BBC producer tried to prevent and shut down filming of the incident.

The cringe-worthy, must-watch and very ugly BBC World News incident started when Karen Allen interviewed a medical student at Wits University at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital and another student interrupted with "stop lying".

A BBC World News producer then told the student doctor to stop shouting in a children's ward.

"I'm a student, I have every right to be here. I'm a medical student, I have every right to be here," the Wits student said.

The student made serious allegations against the BBC and BBC World and asked "Who am I disturbing?"

The student doctor said the BBC producer "dumped" a baby in her lap demanding that she stop the child from crying and disturbing the interview.

"You dumped the baby on my lap and told me to make the baby shush. You are the one that is causing disruption here."
The student doctor who was clearly filmed and said she didn't give consent and that Karen Allen and the producer didn't even knew that she was a doctor, alleges that the BBC and BBC World News had had not been granted permission to interview students inside the hospital.

"Did they even get permission to do this interview? I did not give consent. Don't come and exploit this public space to push your BBC agenda."

"You are only interested in telling one side of the story. There are thousands of students that are financially excluded. Ask anybody here. Medical school is aware of it," she said.

Look at how the producer in a red jacket tries to shut down filming, and the student telling the BBC producer to stop touching her.

"Don't touch me. Please don't touch me. I'm a student. I have every right to be here. I'm a medical student just like everybody else".

Look at the producer wanting to shut down someone else filming the altercation "because our footage of this thing. We're going to be using the footage" and then asking "Are you a student here? Are you a student?"

BBC World News was asked whether Karen Allen asked consent to interview people, whether the producer did ask someone, as is claimed, to keep a baby in the maternity ward quiet and why the BBC producer touched the doctor?

BBC World News was asked why did the producer tell someone to stop filming, and that the student doctor claims that she wasn't asked for permission to be filmed and that the reporter and producer didn't know who she was.

BBC World News didn't respond to the specific questions but in response to the media enquiry and questions tells TVwithThinus that "the team reporting at the Rahima Moosa Hospital had the necessary permissions to film and conduct interviews at the site".

"The junior doctor who the team were interviewing prior to being interrupted, had given his permission to be filmed. Everyone who was interviewed had given their permission".

National Geographic Channel dropping the 'Channel' from its name permamently; adds 'Further' as a temporary tagline as the channel rebrands on 14 November.

National Geographic Channel is finally dropping the word "Channel" from its name permanently and is adding a temporary tagline "Further" in a global rebranding of the yellow frame TV channel and magazine group.

The rebranding of National Geographic Channel (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) will happen on 14 November to co-incide with the roll-out of the National Geographic's global event documentary series, Mars, about colonising the red planet.

South African and African viewers of the Fox Networks Group channel will see the new on-air imaging of National Geographic introduced on 14 November with the rebrand that will affect all 171 countries where the channel is seen, as well as the magazine as the website "as we reimagine our business for the 21st century," says Declan Moore, CEO of National Geographic Partners.

"Further" as a global tagline "allows us to cement National Geographic in the minds of consumers, whether the magazine, the channels or the society," says Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society.

"Through our unmatched support of explorers, adventurers, scientists, educators, photographers and other storytellers, we aim to build a worldwide, public community of learners".

"This rebrand marks a significant turning point in the realisation of our transformational new vision for National Geographic," says Courteney Moore, CEO of National Geographic Global Television Networks.

"The new visual design is sophisticated, contemporary and cinematic and lives up to the promise of the National Geographic brand".

The new National Geographic on-air look will include new brand animations as well as the channel's stars doing what is called "talent IDs", including Jason Silva of Brain Games and Origins, Neil deGrasse Tyson (StarTalk) and Richard Bacon (Explorer).

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

M-Net turns 30 years old as it celebrates three decades of bringing viewers in South Africa and across Africa a premium TV experience.

M-Net officially turns 30 years old today - celebrating three decades of bringing viewers in South Africa and across the African continent premium TV content since it changed and revolutionised the face of South African television on 26 October 1986 forever.

It's today - exactly 30 years ago - that M-Net went live in South Africa and broke the stranglehold of the often staid South African public broadcaster's moribund programming.

M-Net introduced viewers to exciting TV content and concepts - from the soaps Loving and Egoli and the latest movies shown without commercial breaks, to M-Net East Net for Indian viewers, a dedicated youth slot, KTV; real magazine and investigative programming ranging from Revue Plus to Carte Blanche, and buzz-worthy reality shows from Idols to Big Brother and beyond.

M-Net started with R50 000 after securing a pay-TV licence in April 1985 and while its start was catastrophic - it lost R3.5 million per month just six months after it started - the Randburg based pay-TV operator started to break even on a monthly basis just two years later and since then, has never looked back.

In 1990 the existence of M-Net, that at that time passed the 400 000 subscriber mark, led to the creation of MultiChoice and its DStv satellite pay-TV service that has grown to provide M-Net supplied as well as global third-party channels to million of DStv subscribers in South Africa and across more than 50 countries in Africa.

Remember M-Net Open Time during which viewers could get unencoded access to the M-Net magic on a daily basis between 17:00 and 19:00? 

Remember the multiracial M-Net continuity presenters - white black, Indian, and coloured - all on one channel together - that presented a vision to South African viewers of not how the country was, but who it could be?

With an M-Net decoder costing R595 and a monthly subscription of R29, viewers gorged on the feast of international content and growing local slate as the pay-TV subscribers started running rings around the SABC, realising that viewers wanted to be treated like consumers, instead of being spoonfed on old series and hokey local programming with bad production values.

It also held true for South African and international sports coverage. 

Creating the SuperSport brand, M-Net revolutionised outside broadcasting for sports events - especially rugby - realising that consumers will pay for premium coverage, in multiple languages, with multi camera-angles and insightful commentary, of live events.

While the kids watched the goofy KTV presenters and dad watched the Currie Cup, mom watched Egoli, the local soap from Franz Marx that set new benchmarks for serialised daily TV storytelling in South Africa and spawned the creation of all the other local soap operas that came after it.

From Survivor South Africa, to Who Wants to be a Millionaire? to Dali Thambo's talk show Night Moves, from Sex Etc. to Trevor Noah's first TV talk show and from the creation of kykNET to Mzansi Magic and M-Net Movies, M-Net has always pushed the boundaries to better what South African television could be.

Idols that started in 2002 on M-Net and that is still on, is as popular, judged by the ratings, as when it first aired 14 years ago while M-Net kept with what worked and added: everything from The Weakest Link and MasterChef South Africa to The Voice South Africa.

As M-Net grew, shows like Big Brother SA grew into Big Brother Mzansi and Big Brother Africa - indicative of M-Net and MultiChoice's continental television expansion drive that became and remain as ambitious as when Koos Bekker in the early 1980's at Columbia University in New York did his thesis on a pay-TV model for South Africa and started to dream about bringing a better world of television to viewers.

M-Net's 30th anniversary celebration will carry on during November. M-Net is running a pop-up channel, M-Net Movies BlockParty on DStv channel 109 during October and will do a M-Net Movies Harry Potter pop-up channel during November.

M-Net is doing a 30th anniversary theme song competition in which 30 viewers can each win R30 000 with their rendition of Queen's iconic theme song A Kind of Magic that M-Net used as one of its theme songs, and there is the The Greatest Movie Ever Made competition. 

A coffee table book is in the works, while M-Net is also producing a new TV special looking back at its three decades as a pay-TV broadcaster that will be shown across M-Net's channels on DStv during November.

From this coming Friday, M-Net and DStv will open three of its DStv Premium channels, M-Net (DStv 101), M-Net Edge (DStv 102) and VUZU AMP (DStv 103) to all DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers until Sunday night, 30 October at 23:59.

"M-Net has grown immensely over the past 30 years – from being one pay-television channel to producing more than 40 channels for different audiences across the continent on different platforms," says Yolisa Phahle, M-Net CEO.

"But we wouldn't have been here without the continued support of every single person who finds our kaleidoscope of story-telling entertaining, informative or inspiring."

Monday, October 24, 2016

New 7de Laan episode will be broadcast on SABC2 on Monday night, after crisis over new 7de Laan and Muvhango contracts are finally resolved.

The SABC's 7de Laan will be broadcast tonight on SABC2 after the SABC rushed to sign off on a long-delayed new contract for the Afrikaans weekday soap after an ultimatum from the production company that it won’t deliver any new episodes from today without a signed contract.

After waiting for months, the SABC has now put signatures on new contracts for both 7de Laan and the Venda soap Muvhango.

It's not the first time that the SABC stalled to sign contract extensions for 7de Laan and Muvhango. Muvhango is SABC2's most watched show, with 7de Laan its 7th highest rated programme according to September viewership figures.

ALSO READ: Why the SABC should temporarily lose access to 7de Laan on SABC2 even if it does manage to sign a new contract for the soap's18th season.

Late last week the production company of 7de Laan, Danie Odendaal Productions, said that it won't be delivering any new episodes of the 18th season starting today to the SABC for playout on SABC2 without a signed off contract, and also warned the cast and crew that they might not get paid at the end of this month and to make alternative arrangements to get money in their bank accounts for debit orders to go through.

Muvhango's production company, Word of Mouth Productions had to take out a loan to pay cast and crew earlier this month and 7de Laan’s producers said it would no longer be able to pay staff out of its own pocket without money coming in and a signed new contract.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, trying to downplay the crisis, told Eyewitness News that 7de Laan will now continue and will be shown on SABC2 this evening.

"There’s never been a crisis over this matter because discussions have been taking place over a period of time," Kaizer Kganyago told EWN.

"The contract has now been finalised and I don't think anyone should worry about anything. Whoever was spreading these messages out there did so with malicious intent."

It was ironically the SABC's own service providers spreading the messages.

Frances Maposa, 7de Laan producer in an internal memo told staff that "it is with great concern and sympathy that I write this memo today, in all the years of being at 7de Laan, this is the first time that this type of memo has to be sent out,", saying that because the SABC didn't ensure that a new timeous contract is in place, "the ripple effect of this sees no end".

The 7de Laan spokesperson said on Friday and over the weekend that there will only be finality on Monday as to whether there would be a further episode of 7de Laan screened on Monday evening on SABC2.

SABC again wins awards at the Media Sunshine Awards - yes, there is such a thing.

The SABC has again won awards at the Media Sunshine Awards.

The 2nd Mpumalanga Media Sunshine Awards took place on Saturday in Middelburg where the South African public broadcaster scooped prizes at the awards ceremony for talent in the media and music industries.

Flomi Skhosana, executive producer for the SABC's Ndebele TV news and Ndebele news reader Reader Vusi Ndlovu won, as well as Ligwalagwala FM radio presenters Lungile Mhango and Dumisa Mavuso.

Tys Mngidi from Ikwekwezi FM won as best sports commentator.

The SABC winning awards at this ceremony is ironic, given that the public broadcaster's controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng is known for his push for what is known as "sunshine journalism" - so-called "positive stories" that shy away from topics like corruption, failures around goverment and government service delivery issues and service delivery protests.

His plan and announcement earlier this year of 90% local music airplay on SABC radio stations was followed by an order for 80% local TV content on SABC3, and was preceded a few year's ago with a dictum of "70% happy news" on the SABC's TV and radio stations.

In 2013 Hlaudi Motsoeneng said that "from the SABC's side, 70% should be positive news stories and then you can have 30% negative stories. The reason I am championing this is because if you only talk about the negative, people can't even try to think on their feet."

In mid-July this year the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) ordered the SABC - after a public hearing and a massive public outcry - to reverse Hlaudi Motsoeneng's decision taken in May this year, to censor visuals of the destruction of property on SABC TV news.

Nigeria wins the most, followed by South Africa at the MAMAs 2016; awards show flat with awkward hosting trio of Bonang Matheba, Yemi Alade and Nomzamo Mbatha.

The MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 took place on Saturday night at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg for the first time with the live awards ceremony that was broadcast on MTV Base (DStv 322) and MTV (DStv 130), as well as delayed-live on

Bonang Matheba replaced the ill Trevor Noah at short notice.

Bonang Matheba presented with Nomzamo Mbatha and the Nigerian singer Yemi Alade but the trio's presenting style came across as awkward, forced and bland and the awards show with short songs, and a very dark stage, as flat and uninspiring.

Performances during the awards show included Cassper Nyovest, Wizkid, Maphorisa, Yemi Alade, American rapper Future, Nasty C,Wodumo and a tribute to Mandoza who died recently.

Nigeria won 6 awards, followed by South Africa with 5.

The winners of the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 were:

Artist of the Year: Wizkid (Nigeria)
Best Female: Yemi Alade (Nigeria)
Best Male: Wizkid (Nigeria)
Best Group: Sauti Sol (Kenya)
Best Breakthrough Act: Tekno (Nigeria)
Best Live Act:  Cassper Nyovest (South Africa)
Best Hip Hop: Emtee (South Africa)
Song of the Year: “My Woman, My Everything” Patoranking feat. Wande Coal (Nigeria)
Listener’s Choice: Jah Prayzah (Zimbabwe)
Video of the Year:  “Niquer Ma Vie” - Youssoupha (Congo) - Director: Antony Abdelli & Jose Eon
Best Pop & Alternative: Shekinah & Kyle Deutsch (South Africa)
Best Francophone: Serge Beynaud (Ivory Coast)
Best Lusophone: C4 Pedro (Angola)
Personality of the Year:  Caster Semenya (South Africa)
Legend Award: Hugh Masekela
Best Collaboration: DJ Maphorisa feat. Wizkid & DJ Buckz - "Soweto Baby" (South Africa/Nigeria)
Africa Reimagined: Vivian Onano and Mary Taedzerwa
Best International: Drake (USA)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why the SABC should temporarily lose access to 7de Laan on SABC2 even if it does manage to sign a new contract for the soap's 18th season.

Even if the SABC manages to put a signature on a new contract – delayed for months already – for its Afrikaans soap 7de Laan before it literally runs out of episodes on Monday, SABC2 should actually rightly lose the ability to air episodes, at least temporarily.

Even if the SABC manages to sign a new contract with Danie Odendaal Productions for new 7de Laan episodes before the 18th season is supposed to start on Monday on SABC2, it's actually wholly unfair of the public broadcaster to expect a new episode and subsequent episodes to immediately, and seamlessly, be available for playout.

Local soap productions – those of the SABC but also of other South African broadcasters like, M-Net and Mzansi Magic – work at breakneck speed, Rumpelstilskin-like, as they churn out episode after episode often under gruelling conditions with long and exhausting production schedules.

In order to provide an adequate "buffer", in-production soaps film episodes roughly around two to two and a half months in advance of what the TV biz refers to as the actual “TX” or broadcasting date.

Rightly, if the SABC signs a new contract over the weekend, the SABC and SABC2 should actually wait two months for new episodes to be produced and delivered since it allowed the entire "buffer"period to collapse.

In the latest 7de Laan case, Danie Odendaal Productions as a production company has actually been too nice with the SABC, and already produced 18th season episodes not yet paid for, out of its own 17th season budget that's already completed and available.

Technically it's actually an unfair expectation for the SABC to get those episodes immediately after signing a long overdue contract and having new episodes appear "magically" to broadcast on SABC2 on Monday.

Imagine ordering a wedding dress, only paying for it on a Friday, and wanting it on a Monday. It's wholly unfair to the tailor.

The Afrikaans weekday soap from Danie Odendaal Productions, along with fellow SABC2 soap Muvhango from Duma Ndlovu's Word of Mouth Pictures, saw their existing contracts with the SABC run out in August already.

In almost three months since then the SABC hasn't gotten as far as putting final signatures on contract extensions for the soaps – yet at the same time the controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng in May exerted massive pressure on Duma Ndlovu to sign three year contracts with his actors on the soap.

The SABC basically wants production companies to take on the bigger responsibility of guarantee work and improved work security to actors, but isn't doing the same to the production companies making its prized local content.

The questions needs to be asked how the SABC and SABC2, where Gerhard Pretorius is the SABC2 channel head, improved and streamlined the system – or not – since Muvhango and 7de Laan signed their previous contracts.

‘Nuclear option’
Recently Muvhango's Duma Ndlovu took out a loan just to pay cast and crew out of his own pocket, while Danie Odendaal Productions also paid cast and crew for the past two months when the guarantee of further income from the SABC ran out.

The latest "hullabaloo" pushed the production company to breaking point with Danie Odendaal Productions that has been forced to tell its staff that it simply can no longer pay them without a new, signed contract from the SABC.

It's been extremely awkward and uncomfortable for Danie Odendaal Productions – as a production company and as a service provider in the business of creating entertainment and escapism to millions of SABC viewers on a daily basis – having to tell the SABC that it will be withholding episodes from Monday.

In doing so, it pulled the trigger on a final "nuclear option", literally now forcing the SABC to sign a contract or go without further content.

It's not preferable, since it damages the existing relation between production company and broadcaster; however the initial business damage – and resulting bad publicity and brand damage – was caused by the SABC for dragging its feet for months.

This is not the first time the SABC delayed in signing new contracts with both Muvhango and 7de Laan, although it is the most extreme and deadline pushing crisis yet.

Neither are these the only two local production companies the SABC has been stringing along for months, desperately waiting for the signed-off greenlight to make local content for the SABC.

TVwithThinus specifically asked the SABC on Thursday if it has any comment or a response as to how the SABC feels about the situation after it publicly said numerous times in 2016 how it supports local productions, local content and local South African artists, yet fails to sign actual contracts timeously.

"The SABC does not discuss or negotiate contractual issues in the public domain or through the media," said SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago.

'Still waiting for payment from the SABC'
In the process of making television where it's usually presenters and actors hogging the limelight and whose contractual issues as on-air talent grab the headlines, it's the South African TV producer just trying to make a living and delivering good content under difficult circumstances who is very often suffering in silence.

Over the past few months since mid-July when Hlaudi Motsoeneng, then as chief operating officer (COO) suddenly announced a dramatic 90% local TV content increase for the SABC’s TV stations – starting with 80% for SABC3 – TVwithThinus has spoken to several exasperated TV producers in business with the SABC.

These TV makers – including longstanding as well as brand-new producers – speaking off the record since they're scared to damage existing and new business relationships with the SABC, all complained about "the terrible way" in which the SABC commissions local programming and acquires content.

Just like in the case with Muvhango and 7de Laan who want to remain in business with the SABC through lucrative serialised TV contracts, these other South African TV producers are angry and despondent over the haphazard and drawn-out process just to get contracts signed, too little time to meet content deliver deadlines once contracts are finally signed off, and the "debilitating" bureaucratic red tape.

Producers feel they have very little recourse and feel powerless to change the system.

When the SABC hastily "commissioned" a slate of new, mostly talk show and lifestyle magazine shows to fill sudden holes in its SABC3 schedule where international series had to be yanked mid-season from its roster, several TV producers told TVwithThinus that they were expected to produce finished episodes of brand-new shows within as little as three weeks without having proper signed-off contracts.

"Producers are extremely worried if they will be paid by the SABC, and in turn be able to pay their writers, actors and crew," a veteran TV producer said.

"The production house I work for has just sent out a notification that they are still waiting for payment from the SABC, which should hopefully happen at the end of the month," a TV producer told TVwithThinus in late-August.

"Until then, they can't pay us, the workers. Now I know the producers are anal about getting their invoices in to the SABC in good time, so this is really concerning".

Wide-ranging public inquiry needed
In September the SABC quickly found R2.6 million to help fund the hastily arranged and then disastrous #ThankYouSABC Concert, yet the past few years TV producers who have been in business with the SABC were forced to sell cars, houses and even shutter production companies after ongoing payment issues with the public broadcaster.

The Independent Producers' Organisation (IPO), representing over 80% of working TV producers in South Africa, has now called for a wide-ranging inquiry into the ongoing problems at the crisis-riddled SABC.

This "broader, stakeholder inclusive public enquiry into the SABC should include looking at the SABC's persistent crises of governance, management, funding, policy, programming and operations," says the IPO, as well as "key requirements for the public broadcaster to effectively fulfill its mandate".

"The current crisis surrounding the SABC board is not new. It is one that South Africa has experienced before. It points to the problems of the SABC as systemic, needing to be addressed beyond the failings of the present SABC board and senior management". and OpenView HD to broadcast the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 in HD as a delayed-live broadcast an hour after MTV Base and MTV on DStv. and OpenView HD will broadcast the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 in high definition (HD) as a delayed live broadcast on Saturday night at 22:00 as a delayed live broadcast, starting one hour after the live broadcast in Johannesburg from the Ticketpro Dome at 21:00 that will be shown on MTV Base (DStv 322) and MTV (DStv 130).

Trevor Noah has dropped out out as host citing illness and is replaced by Bonang Matheba as the pan-African music awards show from Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) moved to Johannesburg for the first time, since it was started in 2008.

It is the 3rd time this year that is partnering with VIMN Africa and MTV Base to bring viewers the MAMAs that celebrates musicians and achievers who have made the biggest impact on African culture and the continent's music scene over the past 12 months.

"We are once again excited to be partnering with MTV Base to bring millions of our diverse free-to-air viewers the MAMAs," says Marlon Davids, managing director at channels division.

"The event offers a fantastic, rare glimpse into both the vibrant continental and global entertainment trends."

Monde Twala, the vice president for BET, youth and music at VIMN Africa says "we are thrilled to partner with to bring this amazing awards ceremony to viewers - packed with stars, music, spectacle and world class performances and collaborations".

The MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 will celebrate 18 award categories, which includes categories, which includes categories such as Best Male, Best Female, Listener's Choice and Best Group. Additional categories include the Africa Re-Imagined Award and Personality of the Year.

Viewers can look forward to African and international musicians. 

Award-winning American rapper, Future is set to join some of Africa's best entertainers such as Alikiba, Babes Wodumo, Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Ycee, Yemi Alade, Diamond, Emtee, Kwesta and Patoranking.

AKA and Black Coffee are nominated in the Best Male category alongside Patoranking, Wizkid and Diamond. Gold medallist Caster Semenya and Pearl Thusi will compete against the likes of Linda Ikeji, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Wizkid in the Personality of the Year category. 

The South African rap sensation, Emtee  is nominated in the Best Hip Hop category.

Comedian Trevor Noah pulls out as host of the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 over illness, replaced by Bonang Matheba; says 'I'm disappointed'.

A video posted by Trevor Noah (@trevornoah) on

The South African comedian and host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show Trevor Noah has pulled out as host of the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 set for Saturday night in Johannesburg as a live broadcast on MTV Base (DStv 322) and MTV (DStv 130) from the Ticketpro Dome at 21:00.

Not travelling to South Africa from New York over illness, Trevor Noah has been replaced by the South African presenter Bonang Matheba as the fill-on host for the pan-African awards show that will also be shown as a delayed-live broadcast on on Saturday night from 22:00.

It means that Bonang Matheba, a SABC presenter, will be seen on

In a video message on social media, Trevor Noah says "Thank you to everyone that supports me, I know that a lot of you are going to be disappointed, I'm disappointed."

Before the video message, in a social media posting, Trevor Noah wrote that he's dropping out of his MAMAs 206 hosting duties "due to a severe upper respiratory and ear infection".

"Due to the infection and strain on my vocal chords the doctor has ordered me to rest my voice and recover my health. I desperately wish I could dismiss the doctor but the added risk of flying means that decision would be highly irresponsible and may cause further damage," wrote Trevor Noah.

"I love the MAMAs and more importantly I love performing in my country. Myself and MTV Africa have been trying to make the MAMAs a reality for a few years and I was so excited because this was finally the year where the pieces fell into place and the date was one I could do."

"I push myself as hard as I can all the time because I appreciate every opportunity I am afforded in life. Unfortunately there comes a day like today when it all catches up and my body cannot do what my mind wishes I could."

"I'm so sorry if I've disappointed you but please know that I love performing more than anything in life and so having to cancel any show, breaks my heart. Sorry isn't enough of a word to convey how I feel and again to all my fans I will do my utmost to make it up to you."

MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 organisers called Bonang Matheba on Thursday night at 20:30 and asked her is she could fill in as replacement host for Trevor Noah with 24 hours to prepare.

"We are thrilled that Bonang Matheba, one of Africa's most inspiring and luminous media personalities, will be hosting the MTV Africa Music Awards on 22 October," says Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director at Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) in a statement.

"With her extensive presenting experience, personal charm and beauty, Bonang Matheba is going to make a fabulous host for the MAMAs 2016 and we look forward to an amazing show on 22 October with her at the helm."

"We are naturally disappointed that Trevor NOah will be unable to join us on Saturday, but his health is of paramount importance and we wish him a speedy recovery," says Alex Okosi.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hearing coming at broadcasting regulator on 25 October over's desire to stop giving South African TV viewers a news bulletin during primetime.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator has set 25 October as the date for a public hearing into's controversial application to get its broadcasting licence conditions changed because no longer wants to do a TV news bulletin during prime time.

If is successful in getting its longstanding broadcasting licence conditions changed and stops broadcasting a daily half hour TV news bulletin during prime time, it will leave the SABC as the sole terrestral television broadcaster in South Africa to do national news bulletins in the country. wants to get rid of its responsibility to do a daily half hour TV news bulletin during prime time, saying its not lucrative enough and that as a free-to-air broadcaster is a commercial channel with entertainment programming that would benefit its financial bottom-line more than giving viewers a half hour news bulletin.'s move to dump its half hour news bulletin would marginalise the diversity of voices and TV news offering that tens of millions of South African TV households rely on who do not have access to pay-TV services and those services' 24-hour TV news channels.

"In short, would like to move their prime time news bulletins outside the prime time period," says the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

Icasa has received one submission about's application to dump its half hour TV news, has scheduled a public meeting for 25 October that anyone can attend, at its Sandon offices in Pinmill Farm from 10:00 in the morning. says in its submission that if it's forced to do a half hour TV news bulletin during prime time, "English news bulletins in prime time have seen a rapid decline in ratings across all free-to-air channels over the last few years".

"As a commercial broadcaster generating most of its revenue in prime time, this presents serious revenue challenges – which ultimately lead to commercial viability challenges". has already dumped a half hour Zulu prime time TV news bulletin it introduced in 2015.'s eNews Prime Time, renamed eNews Direct, was the most watched TV news bulletin on South African television for several years.

Debilitating tinkering as well as bad and perplexing time slot and style changes has seen its viewership fall as gave its soaps Scandal! and Rhythm City more attention and better timeslots, leading to the very viewership drop is complaining. moved its news bulletin from its prime TV real estate at 19:00 to a dead zone 20:30, and then to 18:30 where eNews Direct is a ratings failure. at the time said the move to 18:30 is because market research showed that viewers want to see the main English news bulletin earlier.'s claim that South African viewers don't watch TV news and that TV news ratings are falling appears to be untrue.

SABC1's Xhosa news bulletin at 19:30 drew roughly 4.2 million viewers (12.6 AR) in September and the Zulu TV news on SABC1 4.17 million viewers (12.2 AR) - both making the top 20 most watched shows on the channel during the month.

On SABC2 the Afrikaans TV news bulletin pulled 1.45 million viewers (4.3 AR) during September, while the SABC's flagship English news bulletin on SABC3 grabbed 666 162 viewers (2 AR).

While's eNews Direct has plunged and doesn't even rate high enough to make its monthly 20 most watched programming, its one minute eNews Direct headlines at 18:00 is very strong and lured 3.2 million viewers (9.6 AR) in September, indicating that viewers will watch news on when it's done at a time that works for them.

SABC2 soap 7de Laan forced to warn cast and crew that they might not get paid since,like Muvhango, the SABC has so far failed to sign a new contract.

SABC2's 7de Laan production has been forced to warn its entire cast and crew to try and manage their finances since they might not be paid at the end of this month because the SABC continues to drag its feet in signing a new contract just like with Muvhango.

UPDATE Thursday 20 October 2016 14:00 - I'm told by production sources who confirm to me that the show will definitely not be giving the SABC any 7de Laan episodes unless there isn't a signed contract and that it means that if there is no signed contract, there won't be a 7de Laan episode on Monday on SABC2.

Like the SABC's other local soap on SABC2, Muvhango, that ran out of its current contract months ago and doesn't have a signed new one leading to financial hardship for the actors and crew who struggled to get paid, the SABC has so far also failed to sign a new contract with 7de Laan producers. 

According to multiple insiders at Danie Odendaal Productions, the soap is in crisis with production that might shut down this coming Wednesday.

Frances Maposa, 7de Laan line producer wrote a memo to all 7de Laan staff - the cast, crew and writers - saying "it is with great concern" that 7de Laan is forced "for the first time that this type of memo has to be sent out".

YOU magazine reports that Frances Maposa told the cast and crew that the production company will withhold all episodes for the upcoming 18th season, set to start on Monday 24 October until the SABC has signed a new contract.

It means that if the SABC fails to sign an actual new contract, that there won't be new episodes on SABC2 from Monday.

According to insiders the SABC has been dragging its feet since August, and more than two months later 7de Laan is yet to see a signed contract.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says in response to a media enquiry asking why new contracts haven't been signed with Muvhango and 7de Laan, why there's been a delay, and how the SABC that says it supports local content and artists that the SABC doesn't pay staff of any production company and can't comment.

"The SABC does not discuss or negotiate contractual issues in the public domain or through the media," says Kaizer Kganyago.

The other SABC2 local soap, Muvhango, also doesn't have a new contract after month's of waiting. There the production company is paying actors and staff out of its own pocket, waiting for the SABC to sign a new contract as well.

Production on 7de Laan might shut down on Wednesday, according to sources, if cast and crew are not paid since several people use public transport to get to work.

In the memo Francis Maposa warns people about "the ripple effect of this sees no end" and that "each and every one of us make alternative arrangements to ensure our debits go off as well as other commitments are met".

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MultiChoice adding Nigeria's ROK channel from ROK Studios to DStv from 1 November across Africa, excluding South Africa.

The Nigerian ROK channel from ROK Studios will launching on MultiChoice's DStv on 1 November across sub-Saharan Africa with original Nollywood series and films.

ROK will be available on DStv channel 168 in 52 countries and in Southern Africa, but excluding South Africa.

ROK will launch with ROK Studios' exclusively-produced content, including Festac Town, Banks Chronicles and Bloodline

ROK Studios was launched in 2013 and has a production house based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Nigerian cinema, known colloquially as Nollywood, is the second largest film industry in the world, in terms of production output and in its short history ROK Studios has become a prolific prducer of original content, creating a Nollywood catalogue of 12 TV series and over 150 movies.

ROK is programmed, produced and developed in-house by ROK's Lagos-based team and is headed up by Mary Njoku, an award-winning Nollywood actress and film producer.

"Joining the DStv family is the next step in ROK's evolution as Nollywood's leading film production house and brand," says Mary Njoku.

"What lies beneath every ROK production, the ROK brand, be it movies or TV series, is our fanatical love of African storytelling; we want to relate amazing African stories that our fans can recognise, be swept away by and be entertained with."

"We work with Nigeria's most exceptional talent, in front of and behind the camera, and we continue to push the boundaries in terms of production values. This has given us the edge, in our short history, and has helped us build a fanbase around the world."

"ROK on DStv allows us to bring ROK to every corner of the continent and connect viewers with content they love".

John Ugbe, MultiChoice Nigeria managing director, says in a statement "one of the cornerstones of our customer promise is to deliver content that our customers love and enjoy, and that is why we're excited to introduce ROK which will boost DStv's local content offering and showcase even more African stories made in Africa, for us Africans".