Friday, June 28, 2019

Man dead, 4 injured after TV presenter crashes into taxi’s trailer.

A man is dead and four others seriously injured after the VIA (DStv 147) TV presenter, Louw Breytenbach, ploughed into the trailer of a still-standing taxi on the N3 in Johannesburg.

Netwerk24 reports that Louw Breytenbach (30), presenter of the Drama-mammas talent reality show on VIA, slammed into a taxi's trailer on Wednesday night at 22:30 between the London and Modderfontein offramps on the N3, killing a man and injuring four others.

With his Mini Cooper, on his way from Melroch Arch after hanging out with friends, rammed into the trailer while four men were busy changing a flat tyre of the trailer while the rest of the taxi's passengers were waiting on the side of the road.

Louw Breytenbach told Netwerk24 that he changed lanes to the second one from the right shortly before crashing into the still-standing trailer without lights.

His cellphone was flung through the windscreen but he wasn't injured. A dead man was lying under the wreck of the trailer. He said "I haven't had a drop of alcohol over my lips. In retrospect I couldn't have done anything to prevent the accident."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

National Geographic's new drama series, The Hot Zone, starts on 3 July with a double episode and tells the Ebola origin story featuring several South Africans in the cast.

The 6-episode Ebola drama series, The Hot Zone partly filmed in South Africa is starting on National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220 / Cell C black 261) on Wednesday, 3 July at 21:00 and features several South African actors part of the cast.

National Geographic commissioned The Hot Zone in April 2018 that will debut with a double episode broadcast and is based on Richard Preston's bestseller book of the same name.

It tells the terrifying origin story of the deadly Ebola virus and how it went from a central-African rainforest to America.

The Hot Zone was partly filmed in Durban, South Africa with several locations to double as places in Kenya and Zaire during the 1970s, with filming in Toronto, Canada that was used to stand in for the United States in 1989. 

Several South African actors appear including Neil McCarthy, Joe Vaz, Pumla Ndlazi, Gaosi Raditholo, Sive Mabuya, Richard Lukunku, Siyabonga Xaba, Camilla Wildman, Tessa Danielle, Vusi MdinisoSylvaine Strike, Bohang Moeko and Warren Masemola. 

Adamo Denewade is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The American cast includes Julianna Margulies, Topher Grace and Robert Sean Leonard among others.

In 1989, when the killer virus suddenly appeared in chimpanzees in a laboratory in Washington D.C., there was no known cure. An American army veterinarian, Lt. Col. Nancy Jaax (Julianna Margulies) works with a secret military SWAT team and risks her life as she tries to head off and contain the Ebola virus before it spreads to humans.

Topher Grace is a virologist for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases who butts heads with Nancy over the best way to contain the virus; while Dr Wade Carter (Liam Cunningham) is Nancy's vital ally in the race to prevent the virus from spreading. 

Noah Emmerich plays Lt. Col. Jerry Jaax.

The Hot Zone was produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Lynda Obst Productions and Scott Free Productions with Moonlighting Films providing production services and crew in South Africa.

Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson were the showrunners and executive producers, with Jeff Vintar as a co-executive producer.

The Hot Zone begins with a terrifying look back to 1980, when an unsuspecting Dr Musoke in Kenya examines a patient with symptoms unlike anything seen before. 

Flashing forward to 1989, a colony of primates has become sick at a research facility in Virginia, just over 30 kilometres from the United States Capitol, and sample tissues are sent to Nancy.

Her instincts and experience tell her she is seeing something far worse than a run-of-the-mill primate infection and she pushes forward to find the truth.

Through her perseverance, scientific testing reveals the dire truth of the situation, which forces the Army into action to contain an outbreak.

The Hot Zone also flashes back to the late 1970s to show how doctors first tracked, studied and attempted to contain Ebola in Africa.

Below is The Hot Zone episode synopsis and broadcasting dates:

3 July, 21:00
Lt. Col. Nancy Jaax arrives at work in 1989 and after testing a sample, fears it may be in the deadliest category of viruses, known as filoviruses.  Even more unnerving is the location it came from: A monkey research facility 30 kilometres from America's capital. When a breach in the lab causes the samples to be lost, it is Jaax' instincts against the world.

Cell H
3 July, 22:00
Nancy takes matters into her own hands and convinces an employee at the Hazleton research facility to hand over more samples from the infected monkeys. Back in the USAMRIID lab, she and her partner, Dr Peter Jahrling, test the new specimens and come face to face with the virus through their microscope. Jaax is determined to figure out the source of the virus. She brings in her mentor, the reclusive Ebola expert Dr Wade Carter.

Charlie Foxtrot
10 July, 21:00
When representatives from varying agencies disagree on how to handle Nancy Jaax’s discovery, she quickly realises there are few protocols in place for containing a deadly virus on American soil. An employee at the monkey research facility falls ill, causing Jaax to fear the virus has spread to the human population. 
Travis Rhodes, from the Center for Disease Control, arrives with a different way of handling matters. As Jaax battles the obstacles on the ground, viewers find out Carter and Rhodes were among the first responders to discover Ebola in Africa decades earlier.

17 July, 21:00
Nancy leads a team from USAMRIID to prepare for the most dangerous mission any of them have ever faced. With full access to the research facility, the life-threatening stakes cause great concern in the Jaax family home.
Meanwhile the team of animal care specialists at USAMRIID heads out to eradicate the virus at the facility, while more employees are tested for possible exposure.

24 July, 21:00
Inside the primate research facility, unforeseen dangers arise. Nancy works tirelessly in Biosafety Level 4 to find out why the virus is behaving differently in human victims than expected. Unforeseen dangers arise and Jaax is forced to make an impossible choice between her family and her duty to her country.

31 July, 21:00
An already volatile situation inside the infected research facility boils to a head. With Nancy stepping up while those around her fall, exhaustion threatens the precision needed to sterilise the threat. Their efforts to contain panic are threatened when the press arrives and neighbours become aware of the danger next door.
Jaax is forced to confront her mentor when a situation spills out of the monkey facility and puts people on the outside in danger. Jaax ultimately must face the ramifications of trying to balance her dangerous career and her loving family.

M-Net switches the broadcasting times of Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. for next Tuesday, 2 July, to make the 'One Chicago' 3-way crossover event play out perfectly.

M-Net (DStv 101) tells me it's switching the linear broadcasting order of the episodes of the brand-new seasons of Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med around next Tuesday, 2 July for one week, in order to have the "One Chicago" 3-way crossover between the various Chicago drama series play out chronologically in the correct order.

TVwithThinus reported yesterday that M-Net finally fixed the scheduling of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med by having the new seasons of all three American drama series start on the same night on the channel.

With a big 3-episode crossover involving all three seasons during the second episode of all three seasons, the Chicago series now perfectly align in order for viewers to see it happen correctly as characters from each of the series appear in both of the other series.

During next week's "One Chicago" crossover event, a highrise fire requires the help of the firefighters, paramedics and doctors, as well as the police.

While M-Net beautifully fixed the biggest problem by having all three Chicago series broadcast at the same time, a little problem remained: the "One Chicago" crossover should play out starting with the fire (Chicago Fire), people going to hospital (Chicago Med) and the police solving the case and finding the person who escapes from hospital (Chicago P.D).

M-Net has however scheduled the series to be broadcast weekly in the order of the 7th season of Chicago Fire (19:00), Chicago P.D. (20:00), Chicago Med (21:00).

Just for next week, 2 July, Chicago Med will start at 20:00, followed by Chicago P.D. (21:00).

Another Chicago crossover will happen with the 15th episode of Chicago Fire later in this season, continuing in the 15th episode of Chicago Med where no episode switching on M-Net is necessary since Chicago Fire is airing before Chicago Med anyway.

M-Net says that for 2 July it is switching Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. in order to accommodate the crossover broadcast and that the change is already reflecting on MultiChoice's DStv electronic programme guide (EPG) as well.

kykNET adds new bodycam dating reality show, Hoor My Sien My Soen My, produced by Afrokaans.

kykNET (DStv 144) is adding a new bodycam dating reality show, Hoor My, Sien My, Soen My, that will be produced by Afrokaans.

The Afrikaans dating series is based on the international reality format, Hear Me, See Me, Love Me.

In every episode a woman spends a day with three guys - but not physically: They take her on dates that she only sees and experiences through the video coming on from the cameras on their bodies.

At the end of every episode, she has to choose someone to go on a real date with, based solely on the video footage she's seen - and then gets to meet all three in person.

The show has a presenter - not announced yet - that helps the woman navigate her emotions while asking her about what she thinks and her experiences during the various bodycam dates.

Versions of the show have been done in the United States on TLC, in Indian on Amazon Video Prime as Hear Me. Love Me.

The show is based on a format from the FremantleMedia-owned Israeli production company Abot Hameiri.

M-Net acquires the fascinating documentary, Divide & Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, and new miniseries, The Loudest Voice, both about Fox News and its controversial boss Roger Ailes.

M-Net has snagged two extremely insightful and must-watch properties - a documentary film and a new TV miniseries, both dealing with America's controversial Fox News channel and the man who created it, Roger Ailes.

M-Net (DStv 101) acquired the documentary film, Divide & Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, broadcast tonight (Wednesday 26 June) on the channel for the first time, but TVwithThinus also asked and confirmed that M-Net snagged the upcoming Showtime drama series, The Loudest Voice, set behind-the-scenes at Fox News as well.

Media buffs, journalists, politicians, people interested in broadcast media and television, and viewers with an interest in how the media machine works, will definitely find both the documentary and the TV series fascinating about the man once called "the most powerful man in America media".

The Fox News documentary film
Divide & Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, produced by Magnolia Pictures with director Alexis Bloom, is broadcast tonight at 22:10 on M-Net, with the 2018-documentary that was described by American critics as "one of the best documentaries of the year".

It's a riveting, revealing, surreal and utterly fascinating story that follows the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, the controversial former boss of Fox News (StarSat 261 / Cell C black 502) and a "kingmaker" of candidates in America's Republican party. It's shown again on Sunday 30 June at 02:50 on M-Net.

After starting the divisive and conservative Fox News channel and building it into a channel that got more viewers than CNN, Ailes ended up going down in flames amid scandal, paranoia, and multiple sexual harassment allegations.

The Fox News drama series
Then there is the upcoming drama series, The Loudest Voice, a miniseries that is based on Gabriel Sherman's book, The Loudest Voice in the Room.

Again, if you work in media, love media, watch TV news or are a journalist, or are interested in how the media and TV news works, you will definitely want to watch this.

M-Net told me this week that it did just acquire the 7-episode series that starts in the United States on 30 June.

In South Africa, The Loudest Voice - with Russell Crowe unrecognisably "disguised" in the role as Roger Ailes - has been scheduled to start on Wednesday, 3 July at 22:00 on M-Net (DStv 101).

The miniseries focuses primarily on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the Republican party in America's de facto leader, as well as the defining events in his life - including his experiences with world leaders that gave birth to his political career, and the sexual harassment accusations and settlements that brought his Fox News reign to an end.

eNCA is done with Tonight with Jane Dutton, while long-running Maggs on Media is cancelled, as the TV news channel retools its schedule and current affairs offering again after a year.

After 11 months eNCA (DStv 403) is done with Tonight with Jane Dutton, with several other new and long-running programmes - including Maggs on Media - scrapped.

It comes as eNCA is once again working on another scheduling revamp following a lacklustre line-up rejig it unveiled in mid-July 2018 that less than a year later had come apart at the seams.

After luring the former eNews anchor Jane Dutton from Doha where she anchored for the Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257 / Cell C black 503) TV news channel and given her own weeknight prime time show from mid-July 2018, eNCA quietly and abruptly dumped Tonight with Jane Dutton that was last broadcast almost two weeks ago on 13 June.

Since its debut the talk show centred Tonight with Jane Dutton that got the plum and valuable 20:00 prime time slot, received criticism media experts, politicians and most importantly, viewers.

An interview Jane Dutton did with the EFF political party's deputy president Floyd Shivambu during her show's launch month in July 2018 left DStv subscribers wide-eyed.

Since then the show has had to apologise for on-air mistakes, while critics said that Jane often looked aloof, disconnected and uninformed about topics.

Insiders meanwhile noted that it came across as if eNCA producers were out to deliberately sabotage Jane Dutton while viewers looking for news didn't understand why eNCA switched to a talk and interview format at 20:00

An interview on 18 March on eNCA with Lesego Tlhabi during prime time - while South Africa was experiencing Stage 4 load shedding - saw Jane Dutton do a satire interview with the comedian who appeared on-air in character as Coconut Kelz, and that was conducted in a similar vein to what Trevor Noah does on The Daily Show on Comedy Central DStv (122).

Viewers were left confused and angry and under the mistaken impression that Jane Dutton was doing a real interview, not expecting news satire during eNCA's most important prime time hour as Jane asked rehearsed, play-along questions like "I believe you've got a direct line to Eskom. How does that work?"

Jane Dutton last appeared on eNCA on 12 June, with a fellow eNCA anchor suddenly sitting in for her the next night on 13 June and making a bewildering and unexplained appearance, saying "this is Tonight with Jane Dutton, I'm Thembekile Mrototo" after which the programme disappeared from the schedule.

The eMedia Investments channel made no announcement as to what has happened to Jane Dutton and issued no programming advisory, as is customary, to viewers. The timeslot quietly switched to a 2-hour "eNCA Now" branded timeslot.

eNCA was asked in an emailed media enquiry why the decision was taken to dump Tonight with Jane Dutton, whether Dutton will remain with eNCA, and if so in what role and capacity. The channel didn't answer the question.

Current affairs shows ended
eNCA's newly announced schedule and anchors line-up in July 2018 quickly started to unravel after eNCA unveiled its latest on-air shuffle as part of what it then called "reinventing ourselves for the next 10 years".

Little is now left of the schedule as eNCA announced it in July 2018 with the channel that saw a major and ongoing exodus of talent over the past year.

Several stars like the former NewsNight co-anchor Cathy Mohlahlana decided to quit who is now the prime time anchor at new rival news channel Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405).

Mapi Mahlangu who used to be the eNCA editor-in-chief was let go with Jeremy Maggs continuing in the position as acting editor-in-chief.

While eNCA remains the most-watched TV news channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, it is feeling the growing competition from SABC News (DStv 404) and Newzroom Afrika.

Now eNCA is busy cobbling together yet another new news and current affairs programming line-up.

Insiders have whispered that Maggs on Media - the longest running continuous show to have remained on the eNCA schedule - is relocating to be done from's Zonnebloem studios in Cape Town.

The truth however is that the media and marketing Sunday morning magazine show has also been cancelled.

"Following in-depth audience research, eNCA has decided to end the productions of three current affairs shows namely Maggs on Media presented by Jeremy Maggs; CrimeWatch with Yusuf Abramjee and Madam Speaker with Iman Rappetti," eNCA told TVwithThinus in a statement in response to the media enquiry asking about the channel's changes.

"These programmes will be replaced in time with new current affairs shows which are currently in development," eNCA said.

The channel said that "eNCA can also confirm that it is revaluating its weekday and weekend line-up. This is carried out on a regular basis with the intention of improving programming and growing the audience of the country’s most watched news channel".

Jeremy Maggs said "Audience needs constantly change and it is our job to recognise these changes and make necessary adjustments".

"My thanks to both Yusuf and Iman for the hard work they both put into compelling programming." 

Jeremy Maggs said that "when changes are made, eNCA will communicate those changes".

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The SABC foreign editor Sophie Mokoena apologises to the SABC economics editor Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki and 'SABC8' colleague for having retweeted a fake news article claiming the SABC8 were paid by Bosasa.

The SABC's foreign editor, Sophie Mokoena, on Friday had to apologise to the South African public broadcaster's economics editor, Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki, for having had retweeted a fake news article that claimed that some of the so-called "SABC8"-journalists were paid by Bosasa.

The fake news article first appeared in January 2019 on Times Live.

Karima Brown, anchor of The Fix on eNCA (Dstv 403) revealed that the apology happened this past on Sunday during her weekly show.

"I understood that Sophie Mokoena from the SABC apologised to her colleague of the 'SABC8'
Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki" said Karima Brown. 

The apology apparently happened during a council meeting of the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef).

Sam Mkokeli, chairperson of Sanef's media freedom subcommittee, explained that "Sophie Mokoena came out to apologise for retweeting a news report that said people in the SABC8 were paid by Bosassa - something that was an outright lie."

Bosasa is a controversial South African company involvement in numerous corruption allegations that were exposed during the ongoing Zondo Commission of Inquiry.

The SABC8 - eight SABC journalists who stood up against censorship at the SABC and who got fired for it were Vuyo Mvoko, Thandeka Gqubule, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay, Lukhanyo Calata, Foeta Krige, Jacques Steenkamp and Busisiwe Ntuli.

The labour court later ordered the SABC to reinstate them.

The fake Times Live article claimed that Bosasa paid them R100 000 but the truth is that they never received any money and that Bosasa never made any payment to them whatsoever.

Within the SABC Sophie Mokoena is seen as an erstwhile and alleged so-called "Hlaudi-enforcer".

She is allegedly one of the high-ranking staffers who allegedly sided with the now-fired former famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who during his reign of terror, clamped down on press freedom within the SABC News division with censorship decrees and got rid of journalists and staff who didn't follow his draconian commands.

The SABC announced a commission of inquiry into alleged editorial interference at the SABC and SABC News at the end of May 2018. 

More than a year later the SABC has not released the findings of the commission. The inquiry has been completed according to the SABC although the broadcaster has not given any reason as to why the inquiry report has not been released.

SARIE magazine turns 70 with Rolene Strauss doing a first-issue throwback cover, as the South African TV icon Doreen Morris reveals some of the television struggles – including death threats – she's had to face.

The Afrikaans women's magazine SARIE is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a special gold-and-black first-issue throwback cover with Rolene Strauss, while the South African TV icon, Doreen Morris opens up about her 35-year career in the TV biz, revealing some of the big challenges and resistance she faced when she first appeared on television - including death threats.

On the cover of the latest SARIE that will quickly become a must-have collector's issue, Rolene Strauss, the former Miss South Africa and Miss World, appears in a reimagined cover inspired by the very first one that appeared back on 6 July 1949.

Inside SARIE's July 2019 edition that is now on sale, the legendary Doreen Morris - who broke down barriers in broadcasting in South African television at the SABC and M-Net for almost four decades now and counting - reveals how she got death threats from the public when she first appeared on the SABC during apartheid.

Doreen Morris of course also owned the rights to the Miss SA beauty pageant from 1994 to 2000.

In an interview with SARIE's Marguerite van Wyk, Doreen Morris (60) who owns the Blue Zome Media production company and recently filmed the show Kuier-mense for VIA (DStv 147), explains how it was for her being a black woman - the first on South African mainstream television - working in the mid-eighties as a continuity presenter on the then-TV1.

"I wanted to do continuity presenting in Afrikaans because I would have been able to think faster in my home language. Some viewers were upset and sent death threats - newspaper clippings with a rope around my neck or a knife through my face."

"The SABC organised police protection for me with the Brixton murder and robbery division. Some black people accused me of being a sell-out with a little flag of the country on the desk."

"I rather wanted to fight for the use of toilets than the removal of a little flag," she said.

From the SABC Doreen Morris jumped to M-Net in 1986 and was part of Naspers' pay-TV start-up from the beginning where she started as the head of PR, was an executive in programme acquisition and also on-screen talent. 

"I feel extremely proud because nobody was certain whether it would be successful or not," Doreen Morris explains later in the SARIE interview.

When the former primary school teacher who grew up in Elsie's River in Cape Town is asked how she wants to be remembered one day, she says "as someone who made a positive contribution to people's lives. That is true legacy."

Read the full interview in the July 2019 issue of SARIE that is on magazine shelves now.

Tuesday's episode of SABC2's Xitsonga drama series, Giyani, will be longer to add the missing part not broadcast on Monday due to technical problems.

Following unexplained technical playout problems on Monday night with the episode of its Xitsonga drama series, Giyani - Land of Blood, SABC tells TVwithThinus it will add the part that not shown to Tuesday night's episode.

On Monday night SABC2 viewers noticed that the last part of the Giyani episode wasn't shown. The episode was also not made available on YouTube. SABC2 didn't explain what went wrong beyond generically citing technical problems.

SABC2 told TVwithThinus on Tuesday in response to a media enquiry that the missing part of Monday's Giyani episode will be included in Tuesday's episode.

"The segment that didn't play, will play out tonight, therefore Tuesday's episode will be longer," said Caroline Phalakatshela, SABC2 publicist.

SABC fire prompts evacuation of Radio Park building after cafeteria blaze, 15 people taken to hospital after smoke inhalation.

A fire at the SABC that broke out on Tuesday morning prompted the evacuation of its Radio Park building with 9 (now 15) people who were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation - the second mass evacuation at the cash-strapped South African public broadcaster within two months.

The fire broke out inside the cafeteria located close to the studios of the 5FM and Metro FM radio stations, prompting the evacuation of the building.

The fire - apparently electrical - was extinguished, although the cause has not yet been determined or confirmed.

Similar to last month, the evacuation prompted immediate changes to the production of the SABC's radio stations and their programming, including the Afrikaans station RSG that switched to producing from its Cape Town studio in Sea Point.

There's not been a statement from the SABC yet.

The same Radio Park building was evacuated last month during a diesel spill that saw thousands of litres of diesel flood the building and down the elevator shaft when a power outage caused the building to switch to its back-up power generator located on the 15th floor. "A failure of the equipment led to the diesel tank overflowing," the SABC said last month.

SABC executives, as well as former and current SABC board members have been warning for months that the SABC has stopped and failed to do maintenance due to the broadcaster's precarious financial position with the SABC hovering on the edge of collapse and warning that the SABC's "Day Zero" and a black-on-air situation could happen any day.

In November 2018, the former SABC board member Mathatha Tsedu told and warned parliament and the minister of communications that the SABC is turning into a potential death trap.

"We haven't maintained our buildings for a very long time. Last week a huge chunk fell from the reception of the Radio Park building. The people responsible for the maintenance of our buildings have been warning that there are cracks there - something is going to happen. But we don't have the money. We're only dealing with what is broadcast critical," he said.

"If there is a crack up there and it doesn't stop us from going on air, we will not fix it until that rock falls down. And one day, it is going to fall on someone."

On Tuesday afternoon, Jonathan Thekiso, the SABC's head of human resources, came to address SABC staffers who were milling about outside the entrance of the Radio Park building, to tell them that the building has been declared to be safe again and that they should go back to work.

ER24 staffers, along with other private services, rushed to the SABC where they alongside the City of Johannesburg Fire Services that was already on the scene, started helping patients. SABC staffers were treated on site in a triage area, and were also moved to various hospitals for treatment.

UPDATE Tuesday 25 June 2019  15:05 - The SABC in a statement on Tuesday afternoon says that its "Radio Park building has been declared safe for occupation, following the fire which broke out earlier today". 

"An initial assessment indicates that the fire started in a secluded area of the canteen, where an electrical distribution board is located. The fire was contained almost immediately," says Vuto Mthembu, SABC spokesperson. 

"All employees occupying the building were successfully evacuated; however a few employees have since been taken to hospital for observation as a result of inhalation of smoke. The canteen is currently closed for further assessment and operations continue as normal."

UPDATE Tuesday 25 June 2019  17:27ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring says "15 people have been hospitalised following the SABC fire at Auckland Park.

M-Net finally fixes the Chicago craziness with all 3 Chicago drama series starting on Tuesday from now on - and here's why: perfect alignment for a 'One Chicago' 3-way crossover event!

It's not a Christmas but a Chicago miracle: Somehow M-Net (DStv 101) has managed to fix and align the three different Chicago drama series that will now all start their new seasons on the same day - Tuesday - on the channel.

This will bring to an end DStv subscribers' confusion about storylines in instances where characters from Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. make guest appearances in stories that would bleed over into other episodes of one of the other series.

Until now this created confusion with viewers since by necessity, these episodes have been shown in the wrong chronological order in the South African broadcasts since not all three series were broadcast during the same period in the past.

Watching the Chicago series on video streaming instead of as a linear broadcast has presented the same problem since the viewers miss out on the interconnected effect between the three shows.

Now, showing all three Chicago drama series going forward on M-Net on the same night, also makes a spectacular and extremely intense "One Chicago" 3-episode crossover possible that will be broadcast next week Tuesday (2 July) - something that otherwise would have been utter Chicago chaos for DStv subscribers ... and a story in which one of the characters dies.

There is just one little "mistake" but TVwithThinus will tell you how to fix even that for perfect viewing.

Another crossover will happen with the 15th episode of Chicago Fire later in this season, continuing in the 15th episode of Chicago Med.

But first back to this Tuesday night: As part of the better coordination, Chicago Fire will kick off its 7th season on Tuesday evening at 19:00; followed by Chicago P.D. that will start its 6th season at 20:00; followed by Chicago Med that will begin its 4th season at 21:00 on M-Net.

It is the latest existing season of all three series.

Chicago continues
The first episode of all three drama series starts with quick back flashes about what happened during and at the end of the previous seasons, quickly bringing existing viewers up to date and making it possible for brand-new M-Net viewers to join the Chicago fold.

In the 7th season premiere of Chicago Fire the courageous crew has to deal with a lift that fell and got stuck. Meanwhile, Firehouse 51 welcomes a new paramedic, Emily Foster (Annie Ilonzeh) to the team, replacing Dawson on Ambulance 61.

In the 6th season premiere of Chicago P.D. Voight is put on suspension, while the team investigates drug overdose cases and everyone is still dealing with the loss of Alvin Olinsky.

In the 4th season premiere of Chicago Med Sharon immediately starts to clash with the hospital's new chief operating officer, while Dr Manning says yes to Dr Halstead's proposal (and they immediately start to argue about wedding plans).

Awesome crossover
Next Tuesday, the three episodes of the various Chicago series will all be interlinked, creating an amazing Chicago trifecta story that is basically a movie.

The story starts in Chicago Fire, then continues in Chicago Med, and concludes in Chicago P.D. as the right order to watch it in.

Since M-Net is broadcasting Chicago P.D. second and then Chicago Med last, if you have a DStv Explora, record all three and then just switch the order in which you watch them by switching around the last two.

The exciting and nailbiting 3-way cross-over will see all three "teams" rushing to a Chicago residential highrise building that is on fire and that creates chaos. Detective Jay Halstead’s father is one of the victims trapped inside.

So massive is the fire that many of the firefighters - either because of injuries or other connections - then end up on Chicago Med. A firefighter could lose a career and others could lose their lives.

Then the police officers and detectives get to work in Chicago P.D. trying to find the cause while one of the patients goes missing following the fire.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Another knock coming for MultiChoice Zimbabwe as DStv subscribers in the country are forced to pay their accounts with the 'new' Zimbabwean dollar.

Another knock is coming for MultiChoice Zimbabwe as the remaining DStv and GOtv subscribers in the Southern African country are now forced to pay for their monthly subscription fees in the new Zimbabwean dollar as the only allowed currency.

MultiChoice that just released its first set of financial year results last week as The MultiChoice Group after the pan-African pay-TV operator was spun off from the bigger Naspers group, last week singled out Zimbabwe, together with Angola as the two countries with the biggest currency problems impacting negatively on the broader MultiChoice Africa division's revenue on the continent.

On Monday the economically-destroyed Zimbabwe that is facing a worsening economic crisis as it struggles with rampant inflation and other macro-economic problems, suddenly announced that it's switching to the "new" Zimbabwean dollar, more than a decade after it became worthless.

Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe's minister of finance, announced on Monday that the American dollar, South Africa's rand, the British pound and Botswana's pula will no longer be accepted as legal tender in Zimbabwe with only the Zimbabwe dollar that can be used as payment for local transactions.

Currencies like the rand and the dollar have been used as payment in Zimbabwe since 2009.

"The Zimbabwe dollar shall, with effect from 24 June 2019 be the sole legal tender in Zimbabwe in all transactions," the Zimbabwe government gazetted.

This will now make it even more difficult for DStv and GOtv subscribers in Zimbabwe to pay MultiChoice Zimbabwe for a pay-TV service.

Zimbabwe's bad currency and foreign currency crisis steadily worsened during the past two years, with it becoming almost impossible for DStv subscribers in the country to make payments.

In January MultiChoice Zimbabwe told DStv subscribers to pay their accounts in rand from South Africa.

In February 2017 the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank dramatically ramped up its clamping down on citizens using foreign currency and the American dollar, specifically slamming Zimbabwean DStv subscribers for their "illogical behaviour" of wanting to subscribe and pay for DStv.

Since late-2016 several payment options for DStv subscribers in Zimbabwe simply disappeared with payment processing providers announcing that they simply can't continue to process DStv payments.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Fears mounting that the SABC that is on the edge of imminent collapse, will be forced into a national broadcasting blackout over not getting its long-delayed bailout.

Fears are growing that the SABC on the edge of imminent collapse will be forced into a national broadcasting blackout with the South African public broadcasting still unsure of whether it will be able to pay salaries at the end of June or when the money of a billion rand government bailout will bring relief.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the minister of communications met with the SABC board on Friday but there is still no certainty at all as to when the SABC will get the first tranche - around R3.2 billion of around R6.8 billion that is needed and has been asked for - of a bailout from the South African government.

Meanwhile the SABC is inching ever close to having its broadcasting operations completely seize up with no guarantee that its over 5 000 staffers will be paid by the end of the month.

The SABC is no longer able to pay for basic services like electricity from the City of Johannesburg and has mounting debts of over R1.8 billion that is payable to service and content providers.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on Thursday evening made a promise that the "SABC is not going to get any blackout" but insiders are extremely worried and concerned about how she will prevent this since there's been no money forthcoming with the SABC that needs to run its payroll from the end of the coming week.

According to Yolande van Biljon, chief financial officer (CFO), the SABC's "Day Zero" - when it will be forced into a shutdown and be unable to broadcast - can happen any day if the slightest thing go wrong operations wise at the beleaguered public broadcaster, or if service or content providers who are owed hundreds of millions of rand decided they want their money and will no longer provide services, access and content to the struggling corporation.

The SABC owes hundreds of millions of rand to production companies and independent producers in South Africa who are massively struggling themselves to keep their companies afloat, pay their staffers, and keep active productions making episodes for the SABC running.

The Bemawu trade union at the SABC met with Madoda Mxakwe on Thursday this past week and told trade union members in an email that the ongoing problem with the SABC getting its bailout is because "the SABC is part of a collective of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) asking for a government bailout".

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's minister of communications, says the SABC is 'not going to get any blackout. That we promise'.

"You're not going to get any blackout. That we promise."

That is the promise Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's current minister of finance, made on the red carpet during an interview with SABC News (DStv 404) before Thursday evening's State of the Nation 2019 address by South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The South African public broadcaster is hovering on the edge of financial collapse with Bongumusa Makhathini, SABC chairperson, who warned on Sunday that the a SABC blackout could happen at any moment.

The cash-strapped broadcaster has stopped paying its electricity bill and doesn't know how it will be paying its over 5 000 staffers at the end of June.

"I’m not sure how we are going to pay for salaries come end of June," Bongumusa Makhathini said in a report in The Sunday Times.

On Monday, Yolande van Biljon, the SABC's CFO, warned in an interview with SABC News (DStv 404) that the beleaguered South African public broadcaster's "Day Zero can happen tomorrow" and refused to confirm that SABC staffers will be paid at the end of June.

Yolande van Biljon said that the SABC owes R1.8 billion to hundreds of companies.

Months after the SABC asked for another bailout in the form of a government-guaranteed loan, no money has been forthcoming, with the process dragging on month after month. In February this year after his budget speech, Tito Mboweni, the minister of finance, revealed that the SABC now actually needs R6.8 billion as a bailout if it's to survive.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has called the government's inaction to help the SABC "despicable" and said that it looks like "a direct attempt to crash the SABC".

The Right2Know Campaign in a statement is calling for urgent intervention to prevent an SABC blackout, saying R2K is "deeply concerned by the imminent possibility of an SABC blackout as a result of low cash flow and indebtedness".

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told SABC News that "We're now waiting for the team that is advising the minister of finance to give the go-ahead" for the SABC to get a bailout.

"As soon as the Treasury finalises their processes, SABC will continue with what you are doing. You are not going to get any blackout. That we promise," she said.

Right2Know Campaign calls for urgent intervention to prevent an SABC blackout, says a black-on-air scenario will be a violation of South African citizens' rights.

The Right2Know Campaign is calling for urgent intervention to prevent a blackout at the beleaguered South African public broadcaster, saying that a possible impending black-on-air scenario when the SABC finally seizes up and is unable to broadcast any further will be a violation of South African citizens' rights.

On Sunday, Bongumusa Makhathini, SABC chairperson, warned that the SABC is finally on the verge of collapse with a blackout that could happen any moment.

"I’m not sure how we are going to pay for salaries come end of June," Bongumusa Makhathini said in a report in The Sunday Times.

The SABC that is perilously close to no longer broadcasting hasn't paid for municipal services like electricity at the end of May, choosing to rather pay SABC staff salaries. The SABC now owes the City of Johannesburg more than R13.5 million.

The SABC that is drowning in debt owes the parastatal signal distributor Sentech R317 million and MultiChoice's sports content division SuperSport over R208 million. Beyond that the SABC also owes millions to other content providers like independent South African production companies.

Nothing has so far come of the SABC's plea for a massive R6.8 billion in another government bailout.

On Monday, Yolande van Biljon, the SABC's CFO, warned in an interview with SABC News (DStv 404) that the beleaguered South African public broadcaster's "Day Zero can happen tomorrow" and refused to confirm that SABC staffers will be paid at the end of June.

Yolande van Biljon said that the SABC owes R1.8 billion to hundreds of companies.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has called the government's inaction to help the SABC "despicable" and said that it looks like "a direct attempt to crash the SABC".

R2K in a statement is calling for urgent intervention to prevent an SABC blackout, saying R2K is "deeply concerned by the imminent possibility of an SABC blackout as a result of low cash flow and indebtedness".

"This is especially so, given that the SABC finds itself in this unacceptable financial position after decades of underfunding and recent years of mismanagement and corruption as a result of maladministration and state capture under the combined leadership of dismissed SABC COO,  Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the former SABC board and Faith Muthambi, the former minister of communications".

"The current SABC is charged with a mandate to draw up and implement a sound turnaround strategy to resolve this long-standing problem. This cannot be done with a commitment from the Treasury to commit increased public funding."

"We call for a turnaround strategy that addresses the systemic and long-standing problems including bloated top management and duplication of roles."

"If the screens go dark at the SABC it will be a violation of the ordinary citizens' fundamental right to communicate since this will lead to the inevitable deprivation of the people's right to access information."

"R2K is encouraged by the commitment shown by Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister of communications, to find an urgent solution to the immediate problem, including sourcing a bailout from Treasury."

"However, we urge all parties to find a lasting solution out of the financial quagmire that does not include yet another call by an state-owned enterprise for bailouts from an already depleted public fiscus."

"We call on the ministry, the current SABC board and the other roleplayers to take the public into their confidence in constructing a turn-around strategy and a rescue package that ensures that all interests are taken into account. Civil society too stands ready to assist our SABC," says R2K.

MultiChoice moves the GINX esports channel on DStv from the sports number cluster to the lifestyle entertainment set at channel 127.

MultiChoice is moving the GINX esports channel on DStv from the sports number cluster to the entertainment set of channels from 25 June.

Two years after MultiChoice added GINX and live programming blocks of GINX content broadcast on the SuperSport channels, MultiChoice now sees GINX as esports less part of sports and more part of "lifestyle" content.

GINX is being removed from the sports channels section at channel 240 on MultiChoice's channels line-up on DStv and moved to its "lifestyle entertainment" section, similar to when Viacom's MTV was shunted from the music channels cluster to this section.

From 25 June 2019 the GINX esports TV channel will move from its current position to channel 127 alongside channels like BET and MTV.

MultiChoice says the GINX move away from the SuperSport channels "make it easier for new viewers to discover the channel".

Julia Robson, GINX esports TV's esport correspondent for Africa, in a drop-in quotable about the channel number move says "GINX Esports TV's community is growing every day, especially in South Africa. With this change we expect even more people to discover the channel".

GINX esports TV broadcasts programmes like The First Hour, This Week in Esports and Daily Download, a daily discussion show about what's happening in the world of esports and gaming.

Friday, June 21, 2019

BREAKING. Mass firing of staffers looming at MultiChoice as pay-TV operator plans to get rid of thousands of workers; 2 194 staffers affected.

Mass firings of staffers are coming to MultiChoice with the pay-TV operator running the DStv and GOtv satellite pay-TV service in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa planning to axe thousands of workers, planning to get rid of up to 2 194 workers.

MultiChoice's consultation process with staffers it wants to get rid of will take place over 60 days.

MultiChoice made the announcement of its retrenchment process to fire workers late on Friday afternoon, saying it will get rid of thousands of staffers in its call centre division and walk-in centres to restructure its "customer service delivery model".

MultiChoice says DStv subscribers have made use of the MultiChoice call centres less and less and emailed them less. MultiChoice's walk-in customer service centres have also seen a decrease in customers visiting.

"In contrast, self-service digital channels have continued to grow, now accounting for 70% of all our customer service contacts. The company is also in an environment where it will rely more on technology than people, as it faces increased competition from technologically advanced and unregulated OTT platforms."

MultiChoice says that the large retrenchment is because of the "changing behaviour of its customers, who are increasingly moving away from traditional voice calls and visits to walk-in centres and adopting new self-service and digital technologies to engage with the company".

"This has not been an easy decision to make but in a business driven by advancing technologies, we must continue to drive efficiencies yet be agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs to ensure that we remain relevant, competitive and sustainable," says Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice CEO, in a statement issued on Friday.

"We must act decisively to align to the change in customer behaviour and competition from (over-the-top (OTT) services [like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video] because if we don't reposition now, we run the risk of being completely misaligned and we put everyone’s jobs at risk."

"The video entertainment sector is seeing a rapid evolution with a growing number of players that have entered the industry. We have worked hard to minimise the impact of this business realignment on our people - those directly impacted by the process and their colleagues in the rest of the business."

"As part of a comprehensive support programme agreed with unions and other employee representative forums, the company will be offering voluntary severance packages, wellness support and financial planning, and will continue paying for current studies for MultiChoice bursary-funded employees and relevant skills development among a range of benefits for impacted employees."

Trade union to fight job losses
The Information Communication and Technology Union (ICTU) trade union says that the union will fight MultiChoice's plan to fire workers and that the union was not consulted.

The ICTU in a statement says staffers were notified on Friday afternoon but the union has not been officially informed "which makes the process unlawful".

"The employer has just notified employees, today 21 June 2019, at 15:00 that it has identified 1 790 employees who are to be retrenched. The union has not been officially informed, which makes the process unlawful," Thabang Mothelo, ICTU spokesperson said.

"The employer has timed Friday to make an announcement which shows some cowardice tendencies of not dealing with the consequences of their actions."

MultiChoice adds Mozambique's Portuguese-language TVM Internacional channel to DStv in South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.

MultiChoice has added Mozambique's Portuguese-language TVM Internacional channel to its DStv satellite pay-TV platform from Wednesday 19 June on channel 701 for DStv subscribers in South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.

TVM International, or TVM Internacional, is the international channel of Mozambique's national TV broadcaster, Televisão de Moçambique (TVM), broadcasting for 24 hours per day. The channel will showcase local programming featuring Mozambican culture, tourism and sports.

In South Africa TVMInternacional is available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus and DStv Compact subscribers, as well as on the DStv Portuguese stand-alone and Add on packages.

For DStv subscribers in Mozambique and Angola, TVM Internacional is available through the DStv Portuguese packages of DStv Bue, Grande Plus, Grande and Facil.

Marta Odallah, TVM Internacional director, says "The addition of TVM Internacional on DStv is in line with our objective to spread the social, political, cultural and sporting reality of Mozambique across our borders".

"This collaboration is a giant leap for both TVM and MultiChoice, and indeed a step in the right direction of broadcasting inclusivity for all Mozambicans".

Agnelo Laice, director-general of MultiChoice Mozambique, says "At MultiChoice we strive to find the right mix of content that resonates with our viewers.  The addition of TVM International onto the DStv platform is just one more way that we can play a role in supporting the growth of the local TV industry and creating lasting partnerships to uplift the local broadcasting industry to greater heights".

"Furthermore, we’re proud that we can provide a platform to showcase the Mozambican culture to other parts of Africa."

Annelisa Weiland leaves SABC2’s 7de Laan and her Hilda character for kykNET’s Suidooster after 19 years.

Annelisa Weiland has exited SABC2’s weekday Afrikaans soap 7de Laan after 19 years switching to the Suidooster weekday soap on kykNET (DStv 144) with her longrunning on-screen character Hilda van Zyl who will be making her last appearance at the end of September.

Annelisa Weiland will appear in Suidooster from November, and from July in the new kykNET Afrikaans comedy series, Lui Maar Op, Belinda which TV critics are already raving about.

Annelisa Weiland joined 7de Laan, produced by Danie Odendaal Productions, in 2000 and earlier this year celebrated her 70th birthday there but decided to quit. According to insiders it was quite a juggling act behind-the-scenes to get the actress to move from 7de Laan to Suidooster and Lui Maar Op, Belinda.  

In a statement 7de Laan confirms Annelisa Weiland’s departure, saying that she “has decided to exit the soapie after 19 years on the small screen, portraying the beloved character of Hilda van Zyl”.

“Hilda, a sweet, caring, albeit a bit naïve, middle aged woman, was first introduced to audiences as a receptionist and has since held many jobs including a cashier at T&T, and has been a waitress and chef at Oppiekoffie amongst others."

"Over the years her character has grown in leaps and bounds, and so has the public’s love and affection for her.”

“Hilda became famous in the Laan for her adventurous cooking and especially her elaborate, over the top wedding cakes. She is also synonymous with the dance of the seven veils, which she performed for her former husband, Oubaas, on special occasions."

"Falling in love and marrying Oubaas van Zyl was one of the biggest defining moments of her life. Although the marriage sadly ended in divorce years later, it remains one of the highlights of Hilda’s life. She embraced her new role with gusto and enjoyed many years of happy companionship.”

Annelisa Weiland in a statement says “Hilda has been a part of my life since 2000 and what a privilege to have been part of the supportive environment that 7de Laan has provided."

"It has been a pleasure to have portrayed quirky little Hilda with her terrible dress sense, the unavoidable serpies and subjecting everyone to her terrible cooking. I have also enjoyed discovering the more serious and sophisticated side of Hilda and I have been fortunate to have interacted with so many interesting characters over the years.”

“Sadly, it is time to bid Hilda farewell and to discover new challenges, opportunities and horizons in my old stamping ground, the Cape where I was born,” says Annelisa Weiland who is also known as the Afrikaans TV voice of Heidi.

“Annelisa remains one of the most talented people I have ever worked with.  I have loved working with her and have always been impressed with her unique talent, commitment and consistency,” says Thandi Ramathesele, 7de Laan’s executive producer.

“Annelisa has without a doubt been a major contributor to 7de Laan’s success over the years and how South African audiences have received, loved and supported her is testament to that. I wish her continued success.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Location scouting underway, casting starting soon, for MultiChoice and M-Net's iconic new Shaka drama series.

Location scouting has started and casting will begin soon to find an "iconic" place and actors to film M-Net's South African "Game of Thrones" version as MultiChoice mounts a blue-chip production effort in its own retelling of the story of the Zulu king Shaka that will be broadcast as a new drama series on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

Besides broadcasting Shaka in South Africa and across Sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, M-Net has plans to sell what it wants to be a prestige series to the world, showcasing to global broadcasters the production quality, capacity and talent that exists in South Africa.

With Shaka M-Net wants to eventually lure more international co-productions made in South Africa and across the continent and make global content buyers aware of the raft of local content available for international broadcasters

Produced by Bomb Productions, M-Net in May 2018 announced that it has commissioned a 12-episode drama series order to tell the story of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. The black historical drama series will explore the precolonial South African kingdoms that influenced and gave rise to Shaka Zulu.

South Africans and viewers worldwide are familiar with the 10-episode, 1986-series Shaka Zulu from the SABC and Harmony Gold USA that was directed by William C. Faure, starring the iconic, late Henry Cele in the adult Shaka role and based on Joshua Sinclair's 1985-novel of the same name.

"To tell the story of Shaka in this moment is a huge responsibility and a great honour," says Jacob Ntshangase, one of the writers.

The new Shaka will also be filmed across South Africa, with Bomb Productions now scouring the country in search of iconic locations while pre-production has started before filming later this year to recreate the world in which Shaka lived and reigned.

M-Net and Bomb Productions will also cast several Shaka's seen as a baby, at 7, 12, 18, as well as the man, as well as several other characters who will "age" as well and be portrayed by different actors as life moves on.

The casting process looking for the perfect actors to inhabit Shaka and the other roles will be nationwide.

"We are excited about making an epic and exhilarating drama that is respectful of the real history," says Teboho Mahlatsi, executive producer and co-creator at Bomb Productions.

"Research is key. Telling a story of such complexity does not just happen overnight. We will depict the great kingdoms of the AmaThethwa, the AmaNdwandwe, AmaQwabe, AmaHlubi and AmaZulu amongst others, and on this epic canvas, we will see the heroic rise of Shaka. We are telling an African story about a great African empire."

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice CEO for general entertainment, says "Starting this journey is history in the making and whilst research and consultation with stakeholders will continue, we are looking forward to unearthing and showcasing the deep pool of talent that lies within South Africa."

"This is a proudly South African series which we intend to take to the world."

Bomb Productions is close to starting the first stage of casting for mostly background extras and will travel across South Africa doing auditions for abashaya indlamu (traditional dancers), izimbongi and izinyosi (praise singers), as well as amaqhawe enduku (stick fighters).

"We are looking for real deep skills - no pretenders," warns Teboho Mahlatsi.

For acting roles, Angus Gibson, Bomb producer says "Previous film experience is not necessary. We are looking to unearth new talent who will perform alongside our great, experienced actors".

However, the search for the actors playing Shaka will be at the heart of the extensive casting process.

"We will be looking for him as a baby, at 7, 12 and 18 years – as well as the man. Then there is Nandi, Mkabayi, Dingiswayo, Zwide, Ntombase and many other riveting characters whom we see at different stages of their lives," says Angus Gibson.

Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net CEO, says "At M-Net we've been telling local stories for over 30 years and this is a continuation of our commitmet to our industry. This is not a colonial telling, this story will be told from our perspective".

Gauteng Film Commission, WGSA and SAGE at the 3rd Ekurhuleni International Film Festival, with M-Net, SABC and doing commissioning and content licensing sessions.

The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), the Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA) and the South African Guild of Editors (SAGE) will be at the 3rd Ekurhuleni International Film Festival (EIFF) taking place from today, 20 June until 23 June at the Springs Theatre.

Broadcasters, including the SABC, and M-Net will all have a presence and do sessions regarding the licensing of TV content, and the commissioning of TV content.

The Ekurhuleni Film Festival is focused on empowering local filmmakers in South Africa by providing them with film-making skills and creating networking opportunities with local and international broadcasters.

"The film industry is part of the development of creative industries," says Themba Gabede, Ekurhuleni spokesperson.

Several screenings and workshop sessions will be taking place, with a selection of films that will also be screened. The award ceremony is on 23 June at 18:00.

The 3rd EIFF schedule is as follows:

20 June: Film screenings from 10:00 to 21:00.
21 June: Film and TV business workshop from 10:00 to 11:00.
21 June: Scriptwriting workshop (WGSA) from 13:00 to 14:00.
21 June: Licensing workshop ( from 14:00 to 15:00.
21 June: GFC (Gauteng Film Commission) funding seminar from 15:00 to 16:00.
21 June: Film screenings from 17:00 to 19:00.
22 June: Film and Publication Board (FPB) film and TV classification master class 10:00 to 11:00.
22 June: Editing workshop (SAGE) from 13:00 to 14:00.
22 June: Content licensing workshop (M-Net) from 14:00 to 15:00.
22 June: TV content commissioning seminar from 15:00 to 16:00. (SABC,
22 June: Film screenings from 17:00 to 19:00.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

SuperSport to broadcast all Africa Cup of Nations 2019 soccer matches on DStv, magazine shows Master Plan and Hello Africa: South Africa to provide additional coverage.

SuperSport will broadcast all Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (Afcon 2019) matches on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service while magazine shows like Master Plan and Hello Africa: South Africa will further discuss and cover the African soccer tournament taking place in Egypt.

The Afcon 2019 coverage starts this coming Friday, 21 June on SuperSport with commentators including Teko Modise, Jay-Jay Okocha and Shaun Bartlett who will be doing studio analysis.

SuperSport says that each Afcon 2019 match will include a one-hour build-up, as well as a post-match wrap-up discussion.

SuperSport is providing several language options for commentary, including English, Zulu and Sotho in South Africa, as well as elsewhere in Africa, English and Pidgin in Nigeria and Ghana for instance.

In-field reporters include Thato Moeng (South Africa), Chizom Ezeoke (Nigeria), James Wokabi (Kenya) and Silvio Ivan Capuepe (Angola) while the frontline studio presenters will be Carol Tshabalala, Mozes Priaz, Julia Stuart, Neil Andrews and Lwazi Ziqubu.

SuperSport says it has assembled guest analysts from across Africa, including the soccer legend Okocha and the decorated coach Pitso Mosimane.

Others panelist include are Stanton Fredericks, Modise, Bartlett, Gavin Hunt, Musa Otieno (Kenya), David Obua (Uganda), Joseph Yobo (Nigeria), Tinashe Nengomashe (Zimbabwe) and Laryea Kingston (Ghana).

For Afcon 2019 the magazine show Master Plan will cover the tournament as well doing strategic and tactical analysis of matches, with Hello Africa: South Africa as a new Saturday morning show that will showcase the variety of nations participating in the tournament.

Hello Africa: South Africa will be presented by Minnie Dlamini and Lwazi Ziqubu and will include regional isnerts, breaking news and profile and lifestyle inserts from Egypt.

MultiChoice does little to stop the drop of DStv Premium subscribers other than have the call centre phone them after they had already cancelled; top-end segment still 'a long way off' from being 'unable to wash itself' and being unprofitable.

MultiChoice does little else specifically to try and prevent the subscriber count drop of its top-tiered DStv Premium customers other than to have the MultiChoice Call Centre operators phone former DStv Premium subscribers after they had cancelled or downgraded.

Yet the pay-TV operator says that despite falling numbers its DStv Premium segment is still "a long way off" from the point where it becomes unprofitable and the premium content cost required by DStv Premium making it "unable to wash itself".

MultiChoice seemingly does very little to keep DStv Premium subscribers happy and to actively retain them as customers while they're active subscribers.

It happens because MultiChoice revealed that it's still making a healthy profit from the existing number of DStv Premium subscribers and that MultiChoice is "a long way off" from its DStv Premium consumer segment - despite falling numbers - not being profitable anymore.

On Tuesday The MultiChoice Group released its annual financial results for the year to 31 March 2019 showing yet another drop of around 100 000 DStv Premium subscribers - an accelerated decline in MultiChoice's top-tier subscription package that has been ongoing for the past 4 years.

For the financial year, MultiChoice's percentage of DStv Premium subscribers in South Africa decreased by another 7%.

MultiChoice that mentioned that DStv Premium subscribers are falling due to competition from rivals like Netflix now also added that its "premium segment remained under pressure due to the tougher economic conditions", as well as "affordability" as reasons.

MultiChoice failed to mention how it diluted the DStv Premium value offering by taking things away from subscribers like the DStv magazine TV guide and DStv Premium subscribers' ongoing unhappiness and dissatisfaction over the repeats and rebroadcasts of old programmes and movies.

On its investors conference call on Wednesday afternoon, MultiChoice was specifically asked what it has done and is doing to stop the churn of DStv Premium subscribers and the drop in this segment, and when the content cost of what MultiChoice is spending on DStv Premium will make it unprofitable given the number of subscribers.

"There are a lot of initiatives that we have done including the DStv Price Lock, we have seen a gradual increase year-on-year of people picking up the Price Lock options and it resonates well with many of our subscribers," MultiChoice said.

"However in the current economic climate, of course people are feeling the pain and that why we're seeing the decline in DStv Premium despite us giving value-added services like Showmax, DStv Now and the JOOX music streaming service for Premium subscribers."

"It's work in progress that we continuously look at in the business and trying to improve and to arrest the decline and it's an ongoing initiative that we are doing."

MultiChoice said it has brought in content, specifically local content for the DStv Premium segment and that this content - for instance Afrikaans series on kykNET (DStv 144) and the drama series The River on 1Magic (DStv 103) - "continue to perform very well on the DStv Premium bouquet, so it's not an instance of really looking at it separately from the overall bouquet".

MultiChoice executives said that it's part of "the initiatives that we are making to make sure that we look at what resonates with the DStv Premium bouquet and trying to demonstrate value in terms of the introduction of content that we are bringing in. Local content is one area where we see that there is improvement in terms of viewership, even at Premium level."

Significant call centre activity 'trying to bring customers back' 
Tim Jacobs, MultiChoice chief financial officer (CFO), said "we have a significant amount of strategies on all of our bouquets to make sure that we grow and retain as many subscribers as we can".

"On DStv Premium we implemented a 0% price increase for this financial year, specifically not to push more subscribers out of the top-end bouquet."

"We are getting feedback that the primary reason for subscribers leaving the DStv Premium bouquet is affordability so we have addressed that specific feedback that we're getting from the market by putting in a 0% price increase."

"The DStv Price Lock strategy has definitely been one of our success stories, it's been incredibly robust and it's really performing a great job for us."

"Thirdly we do a lot of below-the-line retention campaigns. It may not be visible for your average subscriber but we have a significant amount of call centre activity on trying to bring customers back once they've dropped off the DStv Premium bouquet."

"So I think there's a significant amount of work that we do on all of the bouquets but particularly DStv Premium in order to try and retain."

"The content and at what point does it not wash itself, I mean, that's a really complicated question because effectively what happens is a lot of content starts life in our system as DStv Premium content," said Tim Jacobs.

"Depending on what our rights are, we then would window it down to lower tiers, so some of it goes straight down to some of the lower-tiered DStv bouquets immediately, and others will go down over time."

"Certainly in terms of any of the local content that we develop - and this tends to resonate better with our customers - that is content that we own, there is no time period on its licence, and we typically use those window periods to bring the content down."

"It's very difficult in this context that we don't share the profitability by DStv bouquet. It's a complicated model, especially if you look at the top-end of the market, it effectively picks up quite a big proportion of the content cost, especially if you consider that we're running at a 30% margin in South Africa," said Tim Jacobs.

MultiChoice said its DStv Premium bouquet segment "is a long way off from being anywhere near not being profitable".

ALSO READ: TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. MultiChoice CEO, Calvo Mawela, has started spouting some inane gibberish about millennials not wanting or able to watch 90 minutes of something. Get a child - and get a grip.
ALSO READ: TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. Higher prices are not killing DStv Premium - MultiChoice's lack of showing DStv subscribers why it's worth it, constantly diluting it, and failure to add value is what's damaging it. 
ALSO READ: TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. MultiChoice lies and says in its financial report presentation it 'enhanced content discovery' - in reality the pay-TV operator did the exact opposite during the year and made it more difficult and worse.
ALSO READ: TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. If you want to see some really hilarious sh*t, look no further than MultiChoice's surreal no-numbers presentation in its financial results comparing Showmax and DStv Now with rival Netflix.
ALSO READ: DStv subscribers keep increasing although MultiChoice continues to lose top-end DStv Premium customers who no longer see it as offering enough value for money.