Wednesday, May 31, 2017

RiSA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi says sorry to media for trashy treatment, lack of access at 23rd South African Music Awards.

The South African Music Awards (Samas) apologised to media for the trash treatment behind-the-scenes of Saturday’s awards show broadcast on SABC1 that saw media not given demarcated red carpet positions, media bundled into a backroom to watch video with no sound and a litany of media access problems.

Media complained after organisers of the 23rd SAMAs only gave the SABC a proper red carpet position with dozens of accredited journalists deliberately kept away from the carpet and herded into an adjacent “media booth” away from celebrity arrivals.

Even Bonang Matheba and Kat Sinivasan covering the SAMAs for an E! Entertainment (DStv 124) red carpet special – the second time the channel from NBCUniversal International Networks did SAMA red carpet coverage – got shoddy treatment and battled to get proper access.

Media across the board were bundled into a cramped backroom with a TV screen showing the ceremony, but unlike viewers at home they got no audio, with several frustrated journalists remarking they could have gotten better access watching it from home.

Adding to the litany of logistical mismanagement and access problems not addressed by SAMA organisers and HM Entertainment, was a lack of food and a complimentary craft table. While covering the hours long award show, hungry journalists who had money had to forage to try and find something they could buy to eat.

Upset entertainment journalists from several media outlets openly grumbled and spoke about how they will limit coverage for the 24th SAMAs in 2018 and adjust their approach because of the shoddy treatment and lack of proper access and some even saying they will boycott next year’s ceremony.

“There were challenges we faced and we profusely and unreservedly apologise for the unpleasant experience some of you endured on Saturday night,” says Nhlanhla Sibisi, CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) in an email to media.

Hloni Modise, HM Entertainment managing director told media that “it is only fair that you received the correct treatment. Yes, everything was planned well and unfortunately when it came to execution things fell down the cracks, for that, I take full responsibility and I humbly apologise for that”.

RiSA and HM Entertainment said it will be doing a “media debriefing session” soon and is “going back to the drawing board” to prevent a recurrence and to relook press access and media management.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Must-see TV back on M-Net from tonight - but be prepared for a lot of SNL, as This is Us, The Good Fight and American Gods push broadcasting boundaries even further.

Be prepared for SNL – and that doesn't stand for Saturday Night Live: Tonight M-Net (DStv 101) will envelop viewers on M-Net (DStv 101) as the pay-TV channel once again pushes the boundaries of African broadcasting as it frontloads its schedule with hour after hour of risque TV series.

From tonight M-Net is again pushing the boundaries even further of what can be shown on TV in South Africa and Africa, as the pay-TV broadcaster returns to a packed schedule of true “must-see” TV. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Men are baring their butts in the excellent new drama series This Is Us starting at 19:30 as well as in The Good Fight starting at 20:30. 

Then there’s extremely risque language that range from the “F”-word and other mouths needing some soap cussing every which way in several of the new TV shows, and even a boyfriend matter-of-factly asking his girlfriend for “a handy” in This Is Us.

Throw in some lesbians in bed and then the craziest sex scene seen on TV yet – a man literally swallowed by a woman’s vagina during intercourse in the new drama America Gods starting at 22:00 – and M-Net is back with a bang with provocative American TV programming you need to make sure your DStv parental lock-out levels is set for, if you don’t want the kids to see.

So risque is American Gods that M-Net is only showing the Starz produced series on DStv in South Africa and some Southern African countries, and replacing the drama with other programming on the M-Net feed seen on MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV platform in East and West African countries.

There wasn’t an answer from M-Net as to why it deems American Gods not suitable for the rest of Africa, a new drama based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, revolving around mythical gods who’ve immersed themselves into American life.

The Good Fight, a new drama series spin-off to The Good Wife is likewise not your grandma’s legal eagle show.

This excellent series is made for an American streaming service and isn’t constrained by the “broadcast standards and practices” regulations of ordinary American TV. It means that the language, scenes and situations go far further than what TV viewers are used to.

The spin-off with 10 brilliant weekly episodes tackling fascinating cases together with an interesting overall story arch, follows Diane Lockhart (played by Christine Baranski) who is forced out of her legal practice and joins a new one.

Besides the new 6th season of comedy Veep starting tonight at 21:30 the most unmissable new show is the fantastic drama series, This Is Us starting at 19:30 on M-Net.

To say too much about this “thirtysomething – the next generation” would be giving away too much but this moving new 18-episode drama series with Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Harley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown revolves around different people who all share the same birthday and have different issues as they celebrate their 36th birthdays.

If the surprise hasn’t yet been spoilt for you, you will hugely enjoy the surprising and emotive twist at the end of the first episode of This Is Us that just won the MTV Movie & TV Awards category for “Best Tearjerker Moment in 2017” with the show that recently crowned “Top TV Program” by the American Film Institute.

Besides This is Us, The Good Fight and American Gods, M-Net has loaded its schedule with the new Twin Peaks, while local shows Wingin’ It, the second season of The Voice South Africa and Carte Blanche keep viewers transfixed on Sundays while nationwide auditions are taking place for My Kitchen Rules South Africa coming soon.

Also add Timeless, The Arrangement and Mozart in the Jungle and M-Net (DStv 101) has at the moment one of the strongest contemporaneous programming line-ups the channel has had in years.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sex den actor from's Scandal! will appear in court today after arrest following police's brothel raid on Thursday.

The prominent young actor from TV soap Scandal! arrested in a sex den raid on Thursday by police in the East Rand will appear in court today.

The 21-year old actor who appears in’s most watched TV show produced by Ochre Moving Pictures luring 4.5 milion viewers on weeknights, was arrested on Thursday during the brothel raid in Springs after a 25-year old woman managed to escape the sex den in Springs, east of Johannesburg, and fled to the police.

The woman who told police that she is fearing for her life, has since been taken to a place of safety.

Seventeen people – 11 women and 6 men ranging in age between 19 and 43 – were arrested and charged with sexual exploitation and human trafficking, with TVwithThinus that understands that police found a large number of condoms on the premises.

The group including the actor who can't yet be named, will appear in the Springs Magistrate’s Court later today, charged under the Sexual Offences Act.

Police recently did another brothel bust in the same area where five girls were freed after they were held as teenage sex slaves in what was disguised as a barber shop.

Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele told me on Friday morning that the escaped woman ran from the brothel to the police. “She pointed out the brothel and that’s why the police went and raided the brothel”.

According to Kay Makhubele the preliminary police investigation identified the one person arrested as a TV actor in’s Scandal!. in response to a media enquiry told me on Thursday evening that “ is aware of the stories and speculation surrounding the arrest of an actor, but has received no further details at this stage".

"The channel will respectfully allow due process to take place,” said Vasili Vass,’s head of corporate affairs.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Actor who is a soap star in's Scandal! prime time soap has been arrested in a brothel raid in Springs.

A South African actor appearing in’s popular prime time soap Scandal! has been arrested following a raid on a brothel.

The actor - charged under the Sexual Offences Act – has been arrested along with 16 other people at a Springs brothel east of Johannesburg in a police raid.

eNCA reports that the soap actor, who can't be named yet is, is one of six men and 11 women who were found in the brothel.

There's no word yet on whether the brothel sting is linked to the recent sex slaves rescue in the same area where police uncovered a brothel disguised as a barber shop.

I reached out to on Thursday evening, with the broadcaster saying it is aware of the soap star’s arrest.

" is aware of the stories and speculation surrounding the arrest of an actor, but has received no further details at this stage,” Vasili Vass,’s head of corporate affairs said in response to a media enquiry. “The channel will respectfully allow due process to take place.”

SABC: Pay your R265 TV licence, get R500 discount from Shoprite Checkers in return.

The out-of-cash and struggling SABC is now telling people to pay their SABC TV licence of R265 for which they will get R500 discount from Shoprite Checkers in return.

After offering free funeral in August 2016 for those who pay their TV licence, the SABC is now promising a discount from Checkers that's worth more than the TV licence amount.

Again teetering on the verge of bankrupty after its government bailout of R1.47 billion in 2009, the SABC is now sending out messages to people imploring them to pay their R265 TV licence to get "R500 discount at Shoprite Checkers".

While South Africa's number of TV households continue to grow at a rapid pace, less than a third of TV viewers pay their SABC TV licence fees.

The beleaguered public broadcaster is projecting its revenue from its TV licence stream to fall another 8% this year compared to the previous financial year although it keeps spending more and more money on TV licence collection.

The SABC's acting CEO James Aguma told parliament earlier this month that the SABC wants the Broadcasting Act changed so that people are forced to pay for a TV licence for more viewing devices like tablets, computers and smart phones.

James Aguma also said the SABC wants commercial broadcasters and pay-TV operators like MultiChoice running the DStv satellite pay-TV platform to be compelled to "collect TV licences on behalf of the SABC".

Earlier this year he told parliament that the SABC wrote off a staggering R17.7 billion in outstanding TV licence fees, that over 400 000 accounts on its system were invalid, and that the SABC had sent demands to "grannies owing R15 000" and dead people who can't pay.

He said the South African public responded aggressively over SABC TV licence demands the past few years, sending the SABC expletives but that the SABC decided to recently change its approach.

In a poll on the news app NetNuus, South Africans are however pouring scorn on the SABC's latest TV licence payment enticement, saying they won't be paying and wondering how the Checkers discount is even possible.

"Math at its best," said Anneke Piek. "R265 licence and I get R500 groceries. Loss for the SABC of R235. What a joke."

"I'm now going to Checkers to spend R265 and then I will get 1 Little Shop. Forget the licence," said Trevor Koshter.

"They can just take my Checkers discount and then they owe me R500 - R265 = R235. That they can just pay directly to MultiChoice," said Gerrie Labuschagne.

The SABC is hovering on the brink of financial collapse, barely able to pay staff and no longer able to pay all TV producers who it only wants to pay 25% monthly.

The SABC is awaiting another government bailout in the form of another government-guaranteed bank loan from the treasury, organised through the department of communications.

The new minister of communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, has so far declined to mention the amount the SABC requested in a bailout from treasury that's being made through her department.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Comedy Central on DStv adds The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon from 5 June as Viacom Africa gives the American late night talker a second try.

Comedy Central (DStv 122) is continuing its content investment spend to improve the channel's offering and is adding The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon from 5 June in a second try-out from Viacom Africa.

From Monday 5 June at 22:00 South African and African viewers will be able to watch The Tonight Show again but this time on the Comedy Central channel that's supplied to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform by Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa).

After CNBC Africa (DStv 410) dumped The Tonight Show in April 2014 following the exit of Jay Leno, VIMN Africa quickly picked up the new The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in September 2014 for its MTV channel in Africa.

The show's broadcast however was short-lived as VIMN Africa didn't keep the show on MTV for very long before it quietly disappeared.

Now VIMN Africa is trying again as it's busy boosting the content spend and programming line-up of Comedy Central with Viacom Africa that will be giving The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon a second try, this time placing the show, from NBCUniversal International Distribution, on a channel where the late night American talk show naturally fits better.

Paired with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central, VIMN Africa is also closing the broadcasting gap of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Where it previously was 36 hours when it was on MTV, episodes of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon will now be shown on Comedy Central on weekdays 24 hours after broadcast in America.

"We are delighted that Jimmy will be joining our stellar line-up as star of The Tonight Show, and thrilled to bring the show to our audiences within 24 hours of the US premier to make life funnier," says Dillon Khan, Comedy Central Africa vice president.

MultiChoice adds AMC Networks International's SundanceTV channel to DStv for DStv Premium subscribers to replace the lost content of AMC.

MultiChoice is adding the SundanceTV channel from 1 June to DStv as a replacement for the AMC channel, for DStv Premium subscribers.

SundanceTV, from AMC Networks International (AMCNI) that will be in high definition (HD) will continue to show programming like the drama series Fear The Walking Dead and Into the Badlands that would have been lost to South African pay-TV viewers after the AMC channel was dumped last year, and the new Pierce Brosnan Western series, The Son that just started.

SundanceTV is actually a film channel that was launched by film star Robert Redford in 1996, but the version for South Africa on DStv will also carry series, as well as selection of local programming.

"SundanceTV will offer a selection of award winning and locally appealing programming exclusively to audiences in South Africa," says Louise Cottrell, AMCNI UK vice president for affiliate sales in a statement.

"We're excited to launch this premium channel for the first time in South Africa on the DStv platform, which reinforces our long-standing partnership with MultiChoice."

Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice's head of content says "we've listened to what our customers are saying about our content, and are committed to bring them more fresh content more often and fewer repeats."

"SundanceTV will bring great variety through its high quality art movies and unforgettable series. We're confident our customers will welcome SundanceTV to the DStv family and into their homes."

SundanceTV offers a mix of exclusive festival films and original drama series.

Some of the film festival selections which will be shown on SundanceTV includes the documentary Cries from Syria, which bears witness to the resiliency of the people of Syria in the wake of their exposure to unthinkable crimes against humanity.

I Smile Back is an unflinchingly authentic and humanising portrait of a suburban wife and mother dealing with depression and disillusionment that send her careening into a secret world of reckless compulsion.

The Eyes of My Mother is the debut movie from writer/director Nicolas Pesce and is the tale of Francisca. She grows up in a secluded farmhouse where her mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, teaches her to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death. One afternoon, a mysterious visitor horrifyingly shatters the idyll of Francisca’s family life, deeply traumatizing the young girl, but also awakening some unique curiosities.

The Son with Pierce Brosnan will start on 6 June at 21:00.

A rebroadcast of the first two seasons of Fear the Walking Dead will start on 5 June. The third season of Fear the Walking Dead will start on SundanceTV on Monday 24 July at 21:00.

SABC again fails to broadcast South Africa's international cricket tour; can't secure broadcasting rights for Proteas' international tour to England and Wales.

The SABC has announced that it has once again failed to secure the broadcasting rights for yet another South African cricket tour, this time the outbound cricket tour of the Proteas to England and Wales starting Wednesday 24 May.

In another failure from the South African Broadcasting Corporation in terms of its barely there sports coverage on television when it comes to sports of national importance, the SABC yet again won't be providing broadcasting coverage and says it was unable to secure the rights.

The Proteas' tour to England consists of three ODI's, three T20's and four test matches that will all be broadcast live on the SuperSport channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Besides that there is also the 2017 ICC Champions Tropy cricket tournament taking place between 1 and 18 June.

Monday, May 22, 2017

SABC tells parliament: It's 2017 but we're using tapes like it's 1980.

The out-of-cash SABC hovering on the brink of financial collapse has shocked the new interim board members, new communications minister, as well as returning staffers, who discovered that the broadcaster not only has no money for the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT) but is still using tapes.

Like a real-life Upside Down in the hit Netflix TV drama Stranger Things set in the 1980s, the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters and its regional offices across the nation are caught in a bizarre time warp, working as if it’s still living in the era of the Sony Walkman, VHS video cassettes and Betamax video players.

Mathatha Tsedu, SABC interim board deputy chairperson revealed to parliament that although the media and broadcasting world of 2017 is a fully digital environment, the beleaguered South African Broadcasting Corporation is operating in an old and outdated analogue bubble as if it’s still the 1980s. 

“The majority of the SABC’s outside broadcasting (OB) trucks that do the outside broadcasts are analogue,” Tsedu told parliament’s portfolio committee on communications.

“So we need to replace them. It’s just that simple.”

“The SABC buys content outside in digital form. But when we store it, because we don’t have digital storage, we store it in tapes. So we buy it as 2017 content, and we store it as 1980 format.”

Mathatha Tsedu explained to parliament how the SABC will have perform a Back to the Future like miracle maneuver to catch up with digital broadcasting at some point in the future.

“When the SABC eventually gets money to get a digital library we’re going to have to take our 2017 content – that we took back to 1980 – back to whatever the year will be when we do that,” said Mathatha Tsedu.

“Even in the news broadcasts, the final output of news still goes, some of it, in tape – in 2017! There’s need for a huge budget that should help us to cross over.”

Current affairs ‘still working on tapes’
An SABC current affairs producer in mid-April during a "rediffusion" staff session with the new SABC interim board, told the board that she was shocked to find upon her return to the South African public broadcaster that the SABC still works with tapes.

She stood up and said “I returned to the SABC 20 months ago. It was like moving back in time."

"The technology or the lack of technology in this place is shocking. In TV current affairs we're still working on tapes."

"In current affairs there are 7 or 8 cameramen available to all the current affairs programmes. We've been told we can only have one cameraman, per programme, per week. How are we supposed to shoot our inserts?"

Dumile Mateza, TV news presenter said the SABC News (DStv 404) channel the SABC supplies to MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV platform “is under threat."

"The channel started in 2013. We had a channel head. Today SABC News doesn't have a channel head. It means the channel has been driven by freelancers, all the time. All the staff you see on that channel has been driven by freelancers."

"When the SABC got the chance to set up this channel on DStv, they got the opportunity to start something that they could take forward once digital TV migration comes in. SABC News has been neglected."

"We have been rudderless on the SABC News channel since Themba Mthembu retired three years ago and we have been left to our own devices."

Poobie Pillay, an SABC advertising executive said "Landmark was implemented last year April. Landmark is an ad booking system that was meant to book client adverts and run across all 18 SABC radio stations. Landmark wasn't tested before implementation, there was no research done as to why we should use this software system for radio."

"The SABC has lost million by using and implementing the Landmark system. My colleagues and I've got clients on a daily basis ... we've got, Afrikaans ads are on Ukhozi FM; it's just a mess. We can't execute competitions and we are losing millions of rand."

"It's a year later and we're passing credits of over R100 million to clients."

No money for digital TV switch
Last week Ayanda Dlodlo, the new minister of communications, told parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) that the SABC doesn’t have any money for the broadcaster’s long-delayed switch from analogue to digital TV (DTT), a process known as digital migration.

In September 2011 SABC executives and the board promised parliament that the SABC’s DTT offering will entail 18 TV channels – 17 TV channels and one interactive video service channel.

In May 2015 the SABC’s former controversial chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the SABC will launch its DTT offering with only 5 channels.

In April 2016 Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the SABC will launch 4 so-called “language-based” TV channels: one Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi language TV channel; one Nguni focused channel for Zulu, Xhosa, Siswati and Ndebele; a third channel for Tsonga and Venda language speakers; and a fourth SABC TV channel for Afrikaans viewers.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he secured R1 billion for the SABC for the production of new local TV content for these "language-based" channels. Over a year later, again nothing materialised.

Ayanda Dlodlo told SCOPA that the SABC’s latest bailout request to treasury – similar to the one it got in 2009 in the form of a R1.47 billion government guaranteed loan from Nedbank – was completely inadequate, since the SABC, beyond staying afloat, must also switch to digital broadcasting.

“What was presented to me, does not take account of that fact that we are moving from analogue to digital. Therefore the funding request does not cover all of those things that are related to the migration from analogue to digital.”

“So to me, it was a funding request that was inadequate. It was almost like putting Elastoplast on a wound, instead of treating the wound,” said Ayanda Dlodlo.

While other South Africa broadcasters like M-Net and available streaming services in Africa like Naspers’ ShowMax and Netflix work in a fully digital environment with digital playout and literally beam episodes and seasons of shows in by satellite to vast digital libraries, the SABC struggles on with tapes.

In April the SABC experienced severe schedule disruption and had to delay the start of the new season of Survivor San Juan Del Sur on SABC3 when the channel’s playout division suddenly discovered technical issues with the tape it was unable to fix in time for broadcast.

Friday, May 19, 2017

FIRST LOOK: The new stage set of The Voice South Africa on M-Net from Sunday as second season moves to Mosaiek Teatro for its first live showstopper.

Here's your first look at the brand new stage set of The Voice South Africa that viewers will see from this Sunday on M-Net (DStv 101) at 17:30 as the second season of the singing reality competition show moves to a bigger venue for the first live showstopper episode.

You can click the pic to open it bigger for a better look.

From this Sunday The Voice South Africa, produced by African Media & Production Network (AMPN) will be broadcast live from the state-of-the-art Mosaiek Teatro in Fairland, Johannesburg, where the remaining talent will have to sing live for South Africa's votes.

In the first live showstopper performance, the 4-person teams of coaches Karen Zoid and Kahn Morbee will compete against each other, with only two of them who will remain in the competition after their performances on Sunday.

The new bigger The Voice SA set comes complete with a dazzling light array, multi-platforms, ramps, steps and walkways and a mezzanine level at the back where the singers will also be performing from.

"We promised that this year's live shows will be bigger and better - and Sunday's show is bound to knock your socks off," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

"The set is absolutely spectacular, the audience will be more than triple the size, the phenomenal talent is ready to give it their all, and some of South Africa's most popular music acts will join them each week."

The electronic band Goodluck, which has been the opening act for Pharrel Williams' South African tour as well as singer-songwriter Connell Cruise will set the scene for the first spectacular live show.

Kahn's team have an assorted line-up of songs that they'll be performing on Sunday.

Alternative, raspy-voiced Freddy Lalendle (23) from Durban will stray from his usual rocker roots by performing the emotional Labrinth ballad “Jealous”.

After larger-than-life comedian Fatman (40) from Bela Bela wowed the coaches in his Knock-Out performance with an Afrikaans classic, he will be sticking to this winning recipe in the first live show by performing the Kurt Darren hit “Kaptein”.

Soulful Information Systems graduate Zee Gqamana (23) from Grahamstown will be performing Allesia Cara’s equally poignant “Scars to Your Beautiful”, while Capetonian Economics graduate-turned singer Craig Lucas (23) will show off his giant pop vocals with the Killers anthem “Human”.

Karen’s top four talent will also be whipping out some chart-topping favourites in their attempt to woo the South African public. 

Lindo Sithole (23) from Pietermaritzburg will showcase some of his signature dance moves when he performs Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic”, while Samantha Leonard (24) from Kimberly will showcase her impressive vocal range with the Enrique Iglesias hit “Hero”.

Worship leader PJ Pretorius (26) from Secunda will mix things up with a dose of Shania Twain’s “You’re Still The One” and Amanda Faku (23) from Port Elizabeth will step out of her more traditional R&B comfort zone with Kings of Leon’s rocking sing-a-long hit “Use Somebody”.

Each coach will only have one opportunity to save one member of their team this season, and they have to exercise their save in the first round. Thereafter, the public will decide which team members from both teams they choose to save with their votes.

Voting for Kahn and Karen’s talent will open directly after the end of Sunday's episode at 19:00, and will close on Tuesday, 23 May at 22:00. Tickets for The Voice SA live shows are available from Computicket.

Episodes of The Voice South Africa is rebroadcast on M-Net City (DStv 115) on Mondays at 18:00.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

SABC2 returning the 7de Laan omnibus repeat block on SABC2 on Sundays from 2 July after avalanche of complaints and lower Sunday viewership.

The SABC will announce that it's returning the 7de Laan omnibus to Sunday afternoons on SABC2 from July following an avalanche of complaints from viewers and falling Sunday midday viewership hurting the channel's ratings.

While SABC2 channel head Gerhard Pretorius in February publicly said SABC2 always listens to viewers and want to hear from them, he stayed silent amidst the massive furore that followed after SABC2 abruptly decided to move the 7de Laan timeslot earlier to 18:00 and to dump the Sunday afternoon omnibus since mid-February.

On Sunday afternoons 7de Laan lured around 1.1 million viewers - and its axing from Sundays in terms of ratings was basically the same as if the SABC cancelled the soap Isidingo on SABC3 that gets 1.3 million viewers.

SABC2 viewership on Sundays without the 7de Laan omnibus has been lower the past three months and is now returning it to Sunday afternoons "where it belongs".

While SABC1 has managed to marginally increased its ratings and audience share in 2017, SABC2 is slowly starting to follow south the extremely troubled SABC3 that has flatlined after a massive loss of viewers.

Further viewership erosion is something that SABC2 can ill afford as the struggling public broadcaster, engulfed in a financial crisis, needs to try and hold onto every viewer it possibly can while it tries to grow audience ratings and share.

With little wriggle room and no cash to fully pay producers that it owes more than R150 million, the SABC's new TV boss Nomsa Philiso is now tasked with trying to undo the damage inflicted by the SABC's controversial former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng who decimated the public broadcaster's TV schedules, production kitty and ratings with his unilateral local content quotas and erratic commissioning decrees.

SABC2 has now placed the 7de Laan omnibus back on its July schedule from Sunday 2 July.

This will be welcome news for 7de Laan viewers who watch it during the week but watch it again on Sundays as "comfort television.

It's also good news for thousands of working class viewers who have been unable to catch any repeat of the Danie Odendaal Productions produced soap following its earlier timeslot move since they're not yet home on weekdays.

Bessie Tugwana, acting chief operating officer (COO) told parliament in late-February that the SABC is "constantly vigilant in terms of how its performing," when she was asked about 7de Laan's timeslot change and said the soap "was declining audiences" over the past year.

In April 2017 the highest rated 7de Laan episode on SABC2 lured 2.31 million viewers (6.8 AR, 25.2 share).

On Sunday in a longer, 90 minute episode, Carte Blanche on M-Net get to grips with advanced sex dolls.

This coming Sunday in a longer episode of Carte Blanche at 19:00 on M-Net (DStv 101) the weekly investigative magazine show will get to grips with advanced sex dolls.

Sunday's episode of Carte Blanche is again longer at 90 minutes instead of the usual 60 minutes due to the higher age restriction of the Sunday night movie.

In one of the planned inserts, Carte Blanche presenter Bongani Bingwa will look at advances in sex dolls and how virtual reality is being added to simulated sex experiences.

Besides the sex doll insert, Carte Blanche is also investigating the controversial Brian Molefe's return to Eskom, and how Facebook is targeting users with personalised advertising.

Here's the run-down of this Sunday's Carte Blanche:

Brian Molefe: The Return
Six months ago Brian Molefe announced he was leaving Eskom. Since then, no investigation has been conducted into his friendship with the Guptas. Now he is back at the helm. Can the Eskom board justify this decision under South African law? Carte Blanche investigates his track record at Eskom, the reasons behind his departure and how he managed to return. 
Producer: Anna-Maria van Niekerk and Marzanne van den Berg                                               
Presenter: Bongani Bingwa
Researcher: Laura Bryne

Facebook: Cracking the Code
Facebook is still one of the most popular social media networking sites in the world  By using sophisticated algorithms, it has mastered the ability to track a lot of user browsing history, even when you’re not logged on or a registered member of the platform.
This ensures that Facebook can target you with personalised advertising and news to keep you glued for longer. But this feedback loop is fuelling the rise and power of 'fake news'. So how has this social media site cracked the code of human interaction over the internet?
Producer: ABC Catalyst

Advanced Sex Dolls – The New Evolution [PG 16]
State-of-the-art adult dolls and toys are coming onto the market, using advanced technology and virtual reality to give buyers a more pleasurable and realistic experience. But can human interaction ever be replaced by sex toys and love dolls? Carte Blanche explores these innovative developments.
Producer: Sasha Schwendenwein
Presenter: Bongani Bingwa

Is MultiChoice Africa getting sold off to MTN? MultiChoice won't comment on it but confirms that it is in discussions with MTN regarding content.

MultiChoice says it won't comment as speculation swirls regarding the pay-TV service's African division that could possibly be sold to MTN.

Rumours abound that Naspers is possibly looking at offloading MultiChoice Africa - the division of its pay-TV service arm outside of South Africa - to the cellular operator MTN.

In response to a media enquiry asking MultiChoice if MultiChoice Africa is possibly being spun-off and if it could potentially be sold off, MultiChoice says it won't confirm or deny that.

MultiChoice says it is currently in discussions with MTN regarding a content supply agreement.

MultiChoice further says "it is our company policy to neither acknowledge nor deny our involvement in any merger, acquisition or divestiture activity, nor to comment on market rumours".

With several African countries's economies under severe pressure, MultiChoice Africa has come under similar pressure the past two years in several African nations - most notably Nigeria - where depreciating currencies have had a debilitating impact on content and operational costs, and has had a sharp negative impact on the pay-TV operator's revenue.

First trailer for troubled Star Trek Discovery has Vulcans, new-look Klingons and an alien bred to sense death 'and I sense it coming now'.

The first official trailer has been released for the production troubled Star Trek Discovery with the repeatedly delayed rebooted TV series coming later this year, that has seen its episode order bumped up from 13 to 15 episodes.

The science fiction drama series, filmed in Toronto, Canada and that has been besieged by delays and numerous production setbacks will start later this year - as yet with an undetermined starting date - and roll out with one episode per week on the streaming service CBS All Access in America, and on Netflix in the rest of the world.

On Wednesday during its annual upfront for advertisers, CBS screened the first official trailer for Star Trek Discovery, and announced that the show is adding a companion aftershow, Talking Trek, that will be broadcast concurrently to the latest iteration that will take place in the timeline a decade before the original Star Trek with Captain Kirk and Spock.

In the new Star Trek Discovery produced by CBS Television Studios, Commander Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is the main character.

She is the first officer aboard the starship USS Discovery with Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs).

Included in the new trailer are new blue uniforms, Vulcans, Klingons who have undergone yet another appearance change in their look, Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou of the starship Shenzhou, and an alien shipmate whose race has been "bred to sense death" and that senses death "coming now".

Star Trek Discovery will be the first new TV series since Star Trek Enterprise was cancelled in 2005.

SABC, 'limping from day to day', owes artists millions of rand in unpaid royalties; blames its financial crisis for its failure to pay.

The SABC owes singers and musicians millions of rand in unpaid royalties and more millions in residuals to actors, with the struggling public broadcaster on the brink of financial collapse, blaming its severe money woes for its failure to pay.

The SABC on Wednesday told parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that the SABC "is behind with royalty payments" and owes artists at least R75.4 million.

The SABC owes the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) R14.5 million, the SA Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra) R52.7 million, the Association of Independent Record Companies (ARIC) R2.8 million, the Composers Authors and Publishers Association (Capasso) R3 million and the Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa) R2.4 million.

The SABC didn't provide any numbers for the outstanding millions it owes actors and writers for residuals for the rebroadcasts and repeats of TV shows like Sgudi 'Snaysi on SABC1 and the library shows broadcast on its SABC Encore channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

The SABC told parliament that the last time it paid any royalties to artists was in December 2016 but didn't specify an amount, and blames the public broadcaster's cash-strapped status.

The SABC also failed to pay all artists, winners and contributors for the 2017 Metro FM Awards held months ago.

Bessie Tugwana, acting COO, blamed the SABC's non-payment of artists on a "struggle to get verified documentation so we could pay" and the SABC's "cash-flow problem". She told parliament that everyone will be paid at the end of May.

A year ago, in May 2016, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago announced that the SABC will immediately increase the royalty tariff paid to artists for music content played on the SABC's 18 radio stations and TV channels from 3.2% to 4% - but nothing came of that, with the SABC unable to even pay the 3.2%.

The SABC referring to its situation as "dire" and saying it's "limping from day to day", told parliament on Wednesday that the "90% local content" decree for local music airplay on radio and "80% local content" on SABC TV ordered by the former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng has destroyed the public broadcaster and is threatening the very existence of the SABC that doesn't have the money to pay for it.

New SABC interim deputy chairperson Mathatha Tshedu revealed that the SABC blew an additional R72 million on new local content to replace other local content no longer deemed suitable, for the 90% local content policy.

"We are looking at taking back detrimental consequences of some decisions. We are looking at the 90% which saw both the television and radio losing millions. It's implementation has to take cognisance of the fact that it mustn't threaten the existence of the SABC itself, which is what it is doing."

The SABC revealed that it wasted another R74 million in TV content it bought but never showed, marked as fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The SABC, now struggling to pay staff and producers, further spent hundreds of millions of rand on irregular content buying, for instance R63 million in 2016/17 and R240 million in 2015/16.

Already owing them millions of rand in outstanding payments, last week the SABC told South African producers going forward that it only wants to pay them 25% monthly of the money they're due although they're expected to keep delivering 100% of the content the SABC requires to keep its TV channels on the air.

Communications minister Ayanda Dlodlo told parliament that "the dire state of the SABC wasn't brought to us voluntarily by executives. We had to dig".

Ayanda Dlodlo said the SABC's initial bailout request to treasury was inadequate. "It was like putting an Elastoplast on a wound instead of treating the wound".

After getting a bailout in the form of a R1.47 billion government-guaranteed Nedbank loan in 2009 during its previous bailout when the SABC teetered on the brink of collapse eight years ago, it's not yet known what amount in another government-guaranteed loan the SABC is seeking this time in its next bailout.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As expected, adds its 4 TV channels from OpenView HD to MultiChoice's DStv from 17 May: eExtra, eMovies+, eMovies Extra, eToonz+.

As expected, is adding its 4 packaged TV channels of OpenView HD, to DStv, with eMedia Investments saying the channels will become available on DStv from 17 May.

At the beginning of the month let the cat out of the bag by adding DStv channel numbers to its channels list on its website while MultiChoice added channels information to its DStv i-plate.

After TV with Thinus asked about it, MultiChoice didn't want to give a specific answer about it and said it was a mistake and quickly scrubbed the channel descriptor information from its website.

So far the channels have only been available on Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) and eXtra available on On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat in a separate channel carriage agreement.

Now eMovies+ (DStv 138) and eMovies Extra (DStv 140) will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Extra, DStv Compact, DStv Family and DStv Access subscribers from 17 May.

Both eMovies+ and eMovies Extra will be high definition (HD) channels on DStv.

eExtra (DStv 195) and eToonz+ (DStv 311) will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Extra, DStv Compact, DStv Family, DStv Access and DStv EasyView subscribers from 17 May.

eExtra will be a HD channel on DStv.

The multi-channel carriage agreement bring a big and much-needed revenue infusion for and eMedia Investments, the numbers of which neither or MultiChoice is disclosing.

The addition of the free-to-air channels -'s proposed channels for its multiplex it wants to make available under South Africa's stalled digital terrestrial television (DTT) dispensation - provides much-needed viewership exposure, and enables the channels to properly commercialise its rating cards.

With too small viewership to be adequately measured and properly monetised, the addition of's money-gobbling channels can finally pull in bigger numbers, and in return TV commercial advertising income.

"'s multichannel strategy has been amplified with the partnership with MultiChoice," says Marlon Davids, managing director of "We are excited to reach new viewers with quality content that will add more pleasure to their viewing experience on this service".

"This partnership between and the continent's largest pay-TV and video entertainment provider gives us an opportunity to deliver top-class entertainment to South African viewers," says Mark Rosin, eMedia Investments chief operating officer (COO) in a prepared statement.

"With a focus on quality content and expansion of the brand into more homes across the country, this partnership represents an important part of our plans for the growth of the brand."

In a separate statement from MultiChoice, Mark Rayner, MultiChoice South Africa CEO says "we're always on the lookout for ways to add more value to each of our DStv packages – it's about offering our customers the best entertainment in one place."

"These channels, of which three are in HD, will bring hours of viewing delight to the whole family."

eExtra (DStv 195): Premium entertainment in high definition (HD) with international series like House and Burn Notice, reality shows and telenovelas. The channel has a focus on young, urban, modern and cosmopolitan content.

eMovies+ (DStv 138): A general movie channel spanning all genres from romance and comedy to drama, action and family films.

eMovies Extra (DStv 140): a blockbuster movie channel carrying Hollywood favourites and big screen legends with blockbuster action and suspense movies during prime time and family friendly films during the daytime.

eToonz+ (DStv 311): A children's channel aimed at toddlers and tweens with animation and live-action series.

SABC: Only wants to pay TV producers 25% of what they're owed monthly; says it can't provide production companies 'any guarantees on a payment schedule'.

The broke South African public broadcaster is now only willing to pay the country's independent TV producers 25% of what they're owed monthly, while still expecting them to deliver 100% of the content that the cash-strapped SABC needs to keep its TV channels on the air - while unwilling to commit to and unable to give current and overdue payment guarantees.

Producers who in 2009 during the SABC's previous collapse lost production companies, livelihoods and were forced to sell homes and cars, are adamant that they won't be "subsidising" the crumbling broadcaster a second time.

They want their money and plans are forming to collectively withhold delivery of content to force the SABC to make payments.

The reeling SABC on the brink of financial collapse similar to the financial implosion it faced in 2009, owes the struggling South African TV production sector millions of rand in outstanding payments since February and has been unable to make full payment,with several production houses facing massive uncertainty and risking going under.

According to high-level TV production industry sources, the SABC isn't willing to give struggling production companies any industry guarantees on current scheduled payments or on when and how the millions of rand on outstanding and overdue payments will be made.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to a media enquiry made Monday afternoon seeking comment on the 25% the SABC said it wants to pay producers, as well as guarantees around the public broadcaster's basic payment schedule and terms of trade with TV producers.

Distraught and stressed South Africa's TV producers who are struggling to pay on-air talent and production crews and saying they're not willing to continue to produce episodes of the multitude of shows broadcast on the SABC's TV channels, have so far been unable to get any clear answers and commitments from the SABC as to how the broadcaster plans on resolving the issue of non-payment.

TV producers are also shocked at the SABC's offer of only being willing to pay a quarter of what producers are owed monthly.

25% is 'a trap'
According to high-level production sources, the SABC can't "give any guarantees as they themselves are working without any". Yet the broadcaster is telling TV producers that they are the "first priority" and is trying to ensure that they get payment or at least part-payment.

According to sources, "what was put on the table was a suggestion by the SABC of a 25% as a minimum guarantee payment", who are saying that only getting 25% payment is going to leave most, if not all producers, in a far worse-off and untenable position.

"The 25% feels like a trap and is in fact too little for us to work with," say producers. They say they need full payment for their work produced and delivered to the SABC and for the broadcaster to fulfill its contractual obligation to content suppliers.

"We cannot agree to subsidising the public broadcaster," notes a source.

The SABC told South Africa's producers that it has been meeting with producers who have been commissioned and who have existing production agreements with the SABC, about the broadcaster's precarious financial position.

The SABC that wants full content delivery to maintain its TV schedule stability, however told producers that it "can't provide any guarantees on a payment schedule" since the cash-strapped broadcaster "is making those decisions on a month to month basis".

The SABC through the new minister of communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, last week officially asked the national Treasury for another bailout that will again be in the form of a government-guaranteed bank loan, similar to the Nedbank loan of R1.47 billion in 2009.

Ayanda Dlodlo told parliament that she doesn't want to disclose the amount of the possible new SABC bailout yet.

eNCA announces Cathy Mohlahlana and Vuyo Mvoko as its new prime time NewsNight anchors; Jeremy Maggs moves to NewsDay.

eNCA (DStv 403) has chosen workhorse Cathy Mohlahlana and Vuyo Mvoko fired a few months ago by the SABC as the 24-hour TV news channel's new prime time co-anchors and is launching a new youth-centric talk show entitled Backchat.

From 22 May the longtime eNCA reporter and anchor Cathy Mohlahlana will take over in prime time - any news channel's showcase timeslot - together with Vuyo Mvoko as the new co-anchor team on NewsNight.

The mid-morning Cathy Mohlahlana and newcomer Vuyo Mvoko are replacing Iman Rappetti who left eNCA last month and Jeremy Maggs who asked for an earlier daytime timeslot.

The experienced Cathy Mohlahlana has anchored across several timeslots on the news channel from eMedia Investments supplied to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in the past.

Vuyo Mvoko was recently roped in for a reporting test drive after he was abruptly fired by the South African public broadcaster as one of the vocal so-called "SABC8" journalists who opposed former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng's TV news censorship order.

While Cathy Mohlahlana's promotion to its flagship eNCA show was expected, Vuyo Mvoko's quick elevation is surprising since news channels usually reward internal anchors and reporters who've paid their dues and done anchoring and field reporting over years and who are familiar, trusted faces to viewers.

Vuyo Mvoko's show On the Record on SABC News (DStv 404) was abruptly cancelled by the SABC in March 2016 following behind-the-scenes censorship conflict, after which he penned a scathing "My hell at the SABC" front page editorial newspaper piece in July 2016 about the failing internal workings of the SABC newsroom.

"Vuyo brings political knowledge and years of experience and Cathy has excelled as an anchor since she moved from field reporting," says Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA news director.

Vuyo Mvoko says "with everything going on in the country today, Cathy and I hope to rise to the challenge of telling the story as it unfolds."

Cathy Mohlahlana says "Vuyo is someone I have the utmost respect for and I look forward to beginning this new chapter with him."

From 22 May Jeremy Maggs will move to front NewsDay between 13:00 and 16:00 on weekdays, that will see Michalle Craig and Shahan Ramkissoon pushed from this timeslot to mid-mornings where they will now anchor 9:00 to 13:00.

Uveka Rangappa and Dan Moyane will continue to anchor Morning News Today between 6:00 and 9:00, and Joanne Joseph will continue in the 4:00 to 18:00 timeslot on eNCA.

Monday, May 15, 2017

MultiChoice: No comment after SABC's acting CEO James Aguma says it wants DStv forced to collect TV licence fees on behalf of the SABC.

MultiChoice says it has no comment after acting SABC CEO James Aguma shocked last week when he told parliament that the SABC wants DStv to be forced to collect TV licence fees on behalf of the public broadcaster.

The financially underwater SABC keeps sinking and is awaiting yet another multi-mullion rand government bailout similar to the R1.47 billion government guaranteed Nedbank loan it got in 2009 when it came to the brink of financial collapse.

With only about a third of SABC TV licence holders actually paying their licence fees and the SABC projecting TV licence revenues to fall another 8% this year due to inept collecting operations, the embattled South African public broadcaster is looking at inventive ways to try and boost this income stream.

James Aguma told parliament's portfolio committee on communications last week that it wants South Africa's Broadcasting Act changed and wants commercial broadcasters "compelled" to "make sure that they can collect TV licences on behalf of the SABC".

It's not clear why the SABC as a public broadcaster wants private companies to collect its income.

SABC interim board member John Matisonn told parliament that the public broadcaster is looking at strategies to improve overall SABC TV licence fee collection.

"There are other strategies, and the one we mention is probably not the right time to go further, is the question of what to do with people who buy a TV set just for DStv or something else. There's a couple of strategies but I'm not sure this is the moment to explain them yet."

MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry says "MultiChoice has noted the remarks attributed to the acting group CEO of the SABC. We have no comment at this stage".

While MultiChoice doesn't have any comment at this stage, the SABC came up with the same plan in 2009 when the public broadcaster last came to the brink of collapse, saying it wanted to get MultiChoice's subscriber information to see who has a DStv subscription but not a valid SABC TV licence.

In July 2009 MultiChoice's then COO, Collins Khumalo told me the SABC should keep its hands off DStv subscribers' information and find other ways to fix its financial mess.

"We will never give our clients' information to anyone," MultiChoice said at the time.

"As a business we don't sell our database to anyone. We also don't give our database information to anyone. Our clients come to us and trust us with their information. We will resist attempts if we are expected to make that information available," MultiChoice said in 2009.

"Yes, the SABC is facing challenges to generate more income, but we don't believe we are the solution to their problems. I believe they can come up with other, more creative ways to solve their problems and improve their income," MultiChoice said at the time.

While the SABC has 146 staffers in its SABC TV licence fee division, the broadcaster outsourced the work to Lorna Vision that failed by more than 50% in the past year to meet its set target.

The SABC interim board told parliament it will be cancelling the contract as soon as possible.

The struggling SABC is deep in the red: After James Aguma in his previous parliamentary appearance in March said the SABC's finances are stable, he now admitted the broadcaster is in a financial crisis.

The SABC recorded a massive loss of R509 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and its losses in the three quarters of 2016/2017 now stands at over R1 billion - its biggest loss in a financial year.

Disney On Ice back in South Africa in 2017; expands beyond Cape Town and Johannesburg to include Durban this year as well.

The ice-capade Disney On Ice is returning to South Africa, that this year will expand beyond Cape Town and Johannesburg to include Durban as well.

"The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice" will start on Friday 30 June in Johannesburg at the Ticketpro Dome and run until 9 July, after which it moves to Durban’s International Convention Centre from 13 July to 16 July for four days.

After that Cape Town gets a chance to see the fantasy Disney characters on ice-skates from 19 July to 23 July at GrandWest. Tickets are on sale at Computicket.

Disney characters on the ice this year include Dory, Nemo and Marlin from Finding Dory, as well as Anna, Elsa and the other characters from Frozen.

Disney princesses like Rapunzel and Snow White will be seen, as well as Buzz and Woody, Simba, Timon and Pumbaa as well as classic Disney characters ranging from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to Goofy and Minnie Mouse.

This year's Disney ice show is suitable for anyone from tots and tweens to teenagers, parents and grandparents.