Monday, April 30, 2018

ANN7 changes to Afro Worldview on MultiChoice's DStv with Richard Nta and Flo Letoaba as new morning co-anchors, will no longer report that anyone 'died' since people only 'pass on', says owner Mzwanele Manyi.

On Monday morning the brand-damaged ANN7 (DStv 405) rolled out its new look as Afro Worldview on the same channel number and with the same set, but a new logo on DStv - with owner Mzwanele Manyi who said he won't interfere with the "new" channel's editorial decisions but then said it was decided that henceforth Afro Worldview in its news reporting won't say someone died but always use passed on.

Although name-changed to try and distance itself from its disastrous, often-mocked and blooper-filled on-air image, as well as its history of bias and links with the now-notorious Gupta family, MultiChoice will still dump Afro Worldview on 20 August from its DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

With a set design that's now incongruent to its new logo and colours, the gold-and-black themed Afro Worldview launched with new morning co-anchors Richard Nta and Flo Letoaba who both previously worked for the competing TV-news channel eNCA (DStv 403).

Afro Worldview that according to its contract with MultiChoice is supposed to supply publicity material and talent photos, schedule information and programming updates to both the pay-TV operator and the press, didn't issue any press releases about anchor, line-up or programming block changes to the media ahead of today's rebranding exercise.

Mzwanele Manyi, the Afrotone Media Holdings chairperson, on Monday morning in an appearance on Afro Worldview, said that the channel will have a new editorial policy "and it's going to be a major shift from all the criticism that we've been receiving from a whole range of people".

He said Afro Worldview wants to be "the trusted voice of Africa".

Mzwanele Manyi said the rebrand from ANN7 to Afro Worldview is part of a plan to steer the TV news channel in a new direction with around 500 people working in the news group "whose jobs are going to go if this channel shuts down."

"So all of this fanfare and everything is an effort to say to South Africa, this channel cannot shut down. We have done everything that needs to be done to make sure that this channel does not shut down. We have cut a clean break with the Guptas. We don't owe any Guptas anything."

Following eNCA's lead where Mapi Mhlangu is the managing director and editor-in-chief, Mzwanele Manyi announced that the channel will have "a black, an African, and a woman who is going to be the new editor of the channel".

About Afro Worldview Mzwanele Manyi said "I'm just the owner. So I don't want to get involved in editorial policies. That's one of the major decisions. We're going to draw a strong line between owners and editors."

Mzwanele Manyi later in the same interview then announced as owner an editorial policy change, saying that "one of the things that you will never hear again, ever, in this channel, is when a person has passed on, you hear 'a person died'. With us as Africans, a person does not die, a person passes on."

"So let it be clear to everyone, even if you say I'm interfering with the editorial policy, but here, because we are Africans, we must never say a person died. A person passes on; an animal died. That kind of a thing."

The SABC's Hectic Nine-9 youth strand changes, expands: SABC2 show will now target teenagers as new Hectic on 3 block on SABC3 will be aimed at tweens.

The SABC is changing the focus of its afternoon youth strand Hectic Nine-9 by targeting an older skewing demo on SABC2 from today, and also expanding the brand to SABC3 with the introduction of a new afternoon block on that channel entitled Hectic on 3 aimed at a tween audience.

From today the SABC2 youth show Hectic Nine-9, as part of a revamp ordered by the channel and the SABC Children division, is targeting older youth viewers, specifically those between the ages of 14 and 16, although younger viewers can still watch the 30-minute programme between 16:30 and 17:00 on weekdays.

Hectic Nine-9 on SABC2 that launched in 2007, retains the established presenters of Chanelle Davids, Anomsa Vantyi and Esona Sogayise and have added Zintle Tunce, Clint Sawyer and Charnte Hartzenberg.

The show says its skewing older to adapt to kids who are more tech-savvy and socially conscious in the age bracket now dropping the tween audience on SABC2 and focusing on teens.

Tweens can tune in to SABC3 from today with the new Hectic on 3 strand that will play out on weekdays between 15:00 and 15:30 aimed at viewers between 8 and 12.

Hectic Nine-9 and Hectic on 3 are both produced by Okuhle Media.

Okuhle Media says Hectic on 3 will "address issues that affect our sophisticated tween audiences, as they navigate the changes from childhood to teenage years and discover who they want to be as their independence grows".

The Hectic on 3 presenter will be Boitumelo "Melo" Moloto.

"With over a decade worth of experience in children's television, we're extremely proud about the new shift for the Hectic brand," says Wilna van Schalkwyk, series producer.

"We can now focus specifically on our teen audience with Hectic Nine-9, and can now branch out and focus on a brand-new tween audience with Hectic on 3".

Sunday, April 29, 2018

M-NET UPFRONT 2018: M-Net's 'local content safari' to showcase its upcoming new TV shows at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort in Limpopo in 28 photos.

This past week M-Net (DStv 101) held a press-wow "local content safari" where the pay-TV broadcaster pulled out all the stops to dazzle selected press and South African TV critics with a jam-packed content upfront for its upcoming new TV shows.

Over the 3-day event that took place at the sprawling Legend Golf & Safari Resort in Limpopo, M-Net unveiled the second season of The Wedding Bashers that returns first with 4 special episodes, the new season of Survivor South Africa set in the Philippines, a new natural history series, The Wild Ones, and the second season of My Kitchen Rules South Africa.

M-Net not only flew in stars, on-air talent, journalists and advertising executives from across South Africa, but also screened episodes of its new shows to the press in advance before broadcast, and did comprehensive and wide-ranging Q&A talent sessions with the stars and producers of the various shows - besides a game drive, a visit to an rhino orphan rehabilitation sanctuary, as well as breakfast, lunches and dinners.

M-Net lux-de-lux local content upfront was the biggest ever held by a TV channel in the history of South Africa's 40-year television industry.

The upfront was more encompassing and immersive than any others held by other TV channels in the past, in the way that it allowed journalists covering TV, access to producers and talent, and screened full episodes followed by Q&A panels.

With its "local content safari" M-Net raised and set a new benchmark for top notch content upfronts in South Africa.

M-Net surpassed the level of content upfront information and press session media engagements that have been done by premium TV content and channel providers like Discovery Networks International EMEA, BBC Africa's BBC Studios (formerly BBC Worldwide Africa), Viacom International Media Networks Africa, FOX Networks Group Africa and some others in South Africa until now, and who all run channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service.

M-Net wanted to emphasise that the pay-TV broadcaster places a high value on its premium content and that it also places a high priority on showcasing it to TV critics and the press. 

Here's 28 photos that capture just some of M-Net's terrific 3-day local content upfront that it held for the media:

M-Net on Dancing with the Stars SA: No confirmation of a 2nd season yet, says 1st season was 'crazy, chaotic, fun, scary, but so rewarding' - and brought the magic back for us.

M-Net (DStv 101) says it can't as yet confirm that there will be a second season of Dancing with the Stars South Africa but the pay-TV broadcaster's head of local content described the just-concluded first season of the BBC's glitter floor dance format's revival on M-Net, produced by Rapid Blue, as "a mixed bag" that was "crazy, chaotic, fun and scary but most of all rewarding" - and a show that "brought the magic back for us".

This past Sunday night, Kaye-Ann Williams, the head of local content and independent films for M-Net channels; Kee-Leen Irvine, managing director and executive producer at Rapid Blue; and winning dance pair Connell Cruise and Marcella Solimeo did a Q&A with the media at a press conference immediately after the conclusion of the live broadcast of the Dancing with the Stars SA first season finale on M-Net.

TVwithThinus asked Kaye-Ann Williams whether M-Net will be doing a second season and if so, when it will be scheduled.

"I can't confirm a second season just yet, we will go through a process and then make a decision after that," said Kaye-Ann Williams, the head of local content and independent films for M-Net channels at the press conference.

"With regard to the first season of Dancing with the Stars SA I think we started discussing this mid last year, and Jan du Plessis, M-Net channels director is such a fan of Strictly Come Dancing UK and so is Yolisa Phahle, CEO for general entertainment at MultiChoice, and so am I, that just, you know, the dream of being able to do this seemed quite big."

"So when we started our discussions we knew that doing this would be dependent on various 'ingredients' - the right judges, the right celebs, the right professional dancers, producers and all hands on deck."

"So this past season has been a mixed bag for us. It has been crazy, it has been chaotic, it has been fun and it has been scary. But most of all it has been so rewarding. Because in its entirety - from the cast and crew to the dancers and the pro dancers - everyone had been 100% committed."

"We are extremely proud of what has been accomplished by this entire group. From episode to episode you watch it, you analyse it, you ask 'what can we do better?', 'how can we raise it?', 'how can we raise the bar?' We constantly asked ourselves that and challenged each other to do that."

"So it was very robust as well in terms of raising the bar, so I feel, just as a brand exercise for M-Net, it brought the magic back for us," said Kaye-Ann Williams.

"For me it was one of our wildest dreams come true and we are extremely, extremely proud of what this entire production and this entire team has accomplished."

"Also the type of leadership that Kee-Leen Irvine has provided to this production - she is an executive producer of note. Uncomparable. And I'm so proud to work with Kee-Leen - you have been so committed and absolutely collaborative, and such a joy to work with and I am so proud of what you have accomplished and it's because you've steered the ship this way."

Kee-Leen Irvine said "there's certainly an appetite - South African viewers love local versions of international formats and their shiny floor shows so we do them well, I think, especially when we have the support of a client like M-Net".

"So we will always continue to do those, alongside the original local programming that Rapid Blue also does."

"This really, really has been the highlight of my producing life and I think all of the cast as well. We've learnt so much. And a lot of that learning has come from Jason Gilkison - he stretched us."

"I've had the most supportive client in M-Net that I've had in my entire life, and I'm going to get tearful, but from Yolisa Phahle to Jan du Plessis, and Kaye-Ann Williams and Terja Beney (commissioning editor), what you can do as a producer with the right client behind you, and the right team alongside you, it's just been phenomenal," said Kee-Leen Irvine.

"As a production company, every single person has walked away enriched on a number of levels through being involved with this show".

Choreographer and judge on the Jason Gilkison who also served as Dancing with the Stars SA's creative director, at the press conference said "it was an absolute joy to be here".

"The team that was assembled by M-Net and Rapid Blue were just so incredible to work with. And no matter what I said as creative director, there was never a question of 'there's no way we can do that".

"Everybody just threw all 100% of themselves into this. And it was a beautiful situation to be in as a creative director because suddenly every week we were all doing stuff we were so proud of. And it was just a lovely experience for me," said Jason Gilkison.

Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity, said M-Net won't be releasing any voting results for Dancing with the Stars South Africa and that the new voting system that was introduced whereby viewers first had to register before they could vote was a highly secure and massive TV voting improvement.

"We had no glitches whatsoever throughout the season of Dancing with the Stars SA for live voting. This is incredible, if you look at the history of live voting, and in this country the problems that you had in the past with delayed voting, or volumes or technical failures. This is really a secure, controlled voting mechanism. We knew exactly how many people were registered and it made the process easier."

"And because of this we can move forward and do more live shows with live voting. Live voting just makes a TV show so much more exciting because anything can happen. We are completely convinced by the new voting system. It was just so errorless and so easy to compute," said Lani Lombard.

Duck! Sushi! Pasta! French Macarons! The food at M-Net's Dancing with the Stars SA afterparty in 12 photos - and why the chef didn't want me to snap the hamburgers.

Following the live broadcast finale of Dancing with the Stars South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) this past Sunday evening where Connell Cruise won, it was followed by a press conference and then a VIP afterparty on the mezzanine lounge and pool deck at the Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel in Johannesburg.

It's here where M-Net treated the media, sponsors and ad execs, TV executives and producers, the contestants, their family members and the professional dancers to an utterly unbelievable party that stretched late into the night with an open bar where wine and drinks flowed, together with a profusion of food stations all through the lounge area - all with different, dazzling premium food offerings staffed by chefs.

All of it was too much to take in - literally and figuratively.

While guests mingled, clinked glasses and grazed on the vast buffet organised by M-Net, guests in their finest evening wear would glide from food station to food station, where chefs would on-demand literally serve up their' every food whim and desire: from Peking duck and sushi, to every sort of pasta permutation.

On offer were the very best sea food on the one side, juxtaposed with ready-to-serve sliders - or you could "custom-make" your very own hamburger or chicken burger with straw chips. Or how about dipping into the hanging trays dessert "table" or other dessert stations whenever you want.

How about a brandy cocktail/nightcap with a dash of lemon? Or a smorgasbord of decadent cheeses?

A vast array of sauces and condiments, salads and breads were literally everywhere as part of a delectable, premium spread - a veritable ready-to-eat "food market" everywhere you turned to at the Dancing with the Stars SA afterparty.

It was unbelievable.

Afterwards some journalists, when everyone talked about who ate what, several mentioned that they totally missed some food stations and didn't see it all - completely overwhelmed by the daunting number of food choices.

At the hamburger station next to the pool, the one chef got a bit angry-annoyed ("testy" would probably be a better word) with this journalist who seemingly didn't eat or do anything other than snapping away and taking photos.

"No, wait. Why are you taking so many photos?" he asked. I explained I'm a journalist covering the event.

"But I see you taking photos of empty serving plates. Can't I just fill it up? If I put more here [hamburger station photo below] then the photo looks better?"

I nicely said, "no it's not necessary, thanks". But then the chef became forceful, not backing away into the background but basically almost insisting that I stop taking photos until more mini-hamburgers have been put on the trays.

Meanwhile right next to it, people could also make their very own burgers from all of the separate ingredients as well. I fully understood the chef - he wanted "perfect" photos. For him a full, beautifully full plate of food is perfection.

I said: "You know what, even better than a full plate of food, is an image showing that some of the food is already gone. It shows that people are actually liking it, enjoying it and that they're eating it. And they're taking it because they want it."

He suddenly nodded and asked if he could make me hamburgers but I said no, it's fine I can, and I specifically stayed here and ate several hamburgers I made, together with chips (and a glass of red wine) to show him how much guests are enjoying and munching on the food.

It's the only food at this event I actually ate (sorry ducks!) and it was perfectly lovely, while I talked to several TV producers and executives, stars and other journalists.

Before the afterparty, in an adjacent room, M-Net held its Dancing with the Stars SA press conference.

M-Net also had drinks and food here for the press as well - and it looked beauuutiful. I didn't eat here at all but had a cooldrink can of something, although some journalist tucked in. The food presentation was perfection.