Sunday, September 29, 2019

A week later the untrustworthy DStv Now streaming service crashes again during the 2019 Rugby World Cup; MultiChoice again says it couldn't cope with the number of DStv subscribers trying to log in.

A week after the last crash, MultiChoice's untrustworthy and temperamental DStv Now again collapsed on Saturday, again during the 2019 Rugby World Cup featuring a match including South Africa, with MultiChoice again giving the same reason of being unable to cope with the number of DStv subscribers trying to log in.

After the crash on Saturday 21 September of DStv Now when DStv Now buckled under the number of viewers who wanted to watch the match of South Africa against New Zealand of the 2019 Rugby World Cup on SuperSport, the video streaming service again collapsed on Saturday 28 September with angry and frustrated DStv subscribers complaining about being unable to watch the match of South Africa against Namibia, as well as a degraded streaming quality for those who could get a video stream.

Saturday's DStv Now blackout was the latest implosion of the service that keeps breaking with MultiChoice's Connected Video division, headed up by Niclas Ekdahl, struggling to provide adequate live concurrent streams capacity as MultiChoice works on launching a streaming-only version of its DStv pay-TV service before the end of 2019.

Upset DStv subscribers and DStv Premium subscribers on Saturday again said that they would be cancelling their subscription services because of the DStv Now problems, with many DStv subscribers who slammed MultiChoice for the DStv Now blackout and with many not getting any answers or help about what went wrong.

The DStv Now crash, bad customer service and lack of communication to subscribers asking for help led to further brand damage on Saturday for MultiChoice's video streaming service.

In response to a media enquiry on Saturday, MultiChoice on Saturday told TVwithThinus that the same problem again cropped up on Saturday with the pay-TV operator unable to handle the number of customers who tried to log in on DStv Now.

"We'd like to apologise to some of our DStv Now customers who were unable to access the platform for the Springbok Rugby World Cup match against Namibia," said MultiChoice.

"All DStv Now customers that were logged in ahead of the start of the match were able to view the game seamlessly, however there was a problem with the influx of fresh logins on the platform, which have to be individually verified, causing a delay in accessing the platform."

"We encourage our customers to try and logon to the platform during the match build ups, so that their access is not delayed by the login verification process, which is critical to ensure that our customers are able to have access to the platform that is specific to their entertainment requirements."

"This process verifies a users’ login details, password, devices connected, package, etc.

We continue to strive to ensure our customers’ user experience is not only personalized, but that access to their platform is also protected," MultiChoice said.
With the exact same problem again occuring, it means that MultiChoice did nothing - or too little - in the past week since the previous DStv Now implosion to fix the problem and to up the capacity of its video streaming service.
MultiChoice seems unable to handle large volumes of viewers on its rickety DStv Now app with MultiChoice technicians who have been unable for months to properly ensure adequate capacity, backups and functionality on the service.

In April with the debut of the final season of HBO's Game of Thrones on M-Net (DStv 101) DStv Now spectacularly crashed in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, angering viewers who stayed up until 3:00 to watch the episode. It happened again in later weeks.

In mid-May MultiChoice once again saw DStv Now implode, with the breakdown once again happening during a big weekend viewing schedule. 

On 12 May 2019 DStv subscribers missed the English Premier League final, The Voice South Africa on M-Net and other shows, three days after a botched "systems upgrade" on the preceding Thursday took down the entire service for hours, causing DStv Premium subscribers to miss the finale of The Bachelor SA on M-Net.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Big Brother Naija housemate Tacha expelled after physical fight.

M-Net’s Big Brother reality-TV franchise in Africa continues to be mired in unsafe house conditions with another housemate who got expelled abruptly on Friday after she got involved in a physical fight with another contestant named Mercy in Big Brother Naija.

Despite multiple statements by MultiChoice and M-Net during previous seasons of Big Brother Africa and Big Brother Naija to do more to safeguard the safety of contestants in the camera house, in the latest incident of the 4th season of Big Brother Naija, Anita Natacha Akide, known as Tacha, was disqualified and booted from the Lagos-based camera-house in Nigeria.

It happened after she started arguing with Mercy – an incident that turned physical with Tacha going as far as pulling Mercy by the hair.

The ugly altercation – the latest in a string of shocking behaviour that has plagued previous seasons of the M-Net version of the show done across Africa – started when a scroll sent into the house was taken by Mercy who took her time to read it, which lead to Tascha calling her “a stupid girl”. 

The verbal fighting kept escalating and turned physical, while other housemates pretended not to see Tacha’s physical assault on Mercy.

A producer announced to the contestants in the Diary Room that “The Big Brother Naija rulebook clearly states in Article 18 sub-section 1 that, other types of violence, including provocation, goading, bullying, and victimisation may be punished by Big Brother in any way Big Brother chooses” after which Tacha was expelled. 

It leaves 8 housemates in the show done according to the Endemol Shine sold format, and Mercy with two warnings for provocation.

In a statement MultiChoice once again said that “MultiChoice and the show producers are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all housemates in the Big Brother house at all times. We view incidents such as occurred with Tacha and Mercy in a very serious light and will continue to take necessary action against housemates who break the strict rules of Big Brother.”

The Big Brother Naija finale will take place on 9 October and is shown on MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV service in Nigeria as well as across sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.

It’s the first time in 13 years since 2006 that a season of Big Brother Naija is produced from inside Nigeria, having used South African production facilities previously.

Friday, September 27, 2019

M-Net reveals how - and why - it chose Marc Buckner as the bachelor for the second season of The Bachelor SA ... and the channel execs' first 'date' with him to suss him out that they had to fit in at the Cape Town airport.

M-Net is revealing how - and why - it chose Marc Buckner as the bachelor for the second season of The Bachelor SA that will start filming in October - including how the channel executives' first "date" to suss him out took place at the Cape Town International Airport of all places.

"Finding a bachelor for a show like The Bachelor SA is probably one of the hardest processes that we have been through as a team," explains Kaye-Ann, M-Net's head of local content and independent films.

In October, production company Rapid Blue will start filming the second season of The Bachelor SA, set for broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101) from sometime in February 2020.

Following Lee Thompson as the bachelor of the first season, M-Net and Rapid Blue found Marc Buckner, also from Cape Town, as the bachelor for the new local season of the dating reality show that is done according to the Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) format.

"It is so difficult to do because there's a lot of guidance we get from the format and from the format holders but for our M-Net audience and from what we know will work for this format there's a lot of boxes to tick."

"There were so many people that we had to go through, so many "dates" we had to go on - we actually met Marc Buckner at the Cape Town International Airport, we met up with him at the airport and had a discussion with him, but there are a plethora of boxes that need to be ticked in order for us to satisfy a lot of different things."

"The most important thing is that the guy must actually really want to be in a relationship - really wants to settle down and find someone and is ready for a relationship," says Kaye-Ann Williams.

"Then on another level they need to work on television. They need to be able to communicate their feelings. They need to have some kind of self-actualisation, in a sense that they know what they want, they know who they are, they know what they're looking for."

"But then also, when you chat to him, there needs to be some kind of engagement - he needs to have personality, he needs to have a sense of humour, he needs to have an opinion on things; he needs to narrate his own journey as well."

"So when we speak to him, we listen to him and how he narrates his own journey. We ask: 'Tell us about yourself? Tell us about your life? Where you've been, what you've been through?' And we listen to how he tells us his own story but also how he's observed his own life."

"That needs to translate through to the M-Net audience watching. So there are so many different levels that you need to hit that it's such an almost impossible thing to find. We really, really went through a lot of guys."

"The Bachelor SA process to find a bachelor is normally a closed process. The only thing we did differently this time around for the second season is that we opened it up to radio stations who went to see is there anyone out there that we don't know of."

"It's mainly a closed-off process and we approach people, we work through agencies and websites and we have tentacles and people who help us, but this time around we decided to open it up a bit to see what can people bring us," says Kaye-Ann Williams.

"Marc Buckner was actually a lead that came through from two different directions. One was Instagram and one was something else - I'm not going to say who it was but it was someone really amazing. But it was a great process."

Jan du Plessis, director of M-Net channels, says "Kaye-Ann and I went together when the lead came out way and Marc Buckner happened to be in Cape Town. And we immediately investigated it and he's the result as the next bachelor."

ALSO READ: From a new mansion to simplified dates M-Net and Rapid Blue are implementing some behind-the-scenes production changes to improve the second season of The Bachelor SA.
ALSO READ: INTERVIEW. Marc Buckner, The Bachelor SA's new bachelor, on why he's doing it, the love he's looking for - and maybe even shaving for television.
ALSO READ: M-Net reveals Marc Buckner as the bachelor for the second season of The Bachelor SA who is 'husband material' and this time looking for love and a lady.

After yet another SABC fire broke out staffers of the South African public broadcaster in Mbombela are left without a building to work in.

After yet another SABC fire broke out staffers of the embattled South African public broadcaster in Mbombela, Mpumalanga have been left without a building to work in while the SABC radio station Ligwalagwala FM didn't go off the air but has been affected.

SABC interim board members, current board members and top executives have warned parliament and the minister of communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, for over a year that the lives of SABC personnel are being endangered since the struggling broadcasters hovering on the verge of financial collapse, can't afford to do and stopped doing routine maintenance at its buildings.

The latest fire impacting on the SABC's operation happened at the City Centre offices of the SABC in Mbombela where SABC staffers were evacuated and told to work from home and elsewhere using their laptops and not to return to the building.

The cause of the fire isn't yet known. Nobody was injured.

Ligwalagwala FM has remained on-air with the SABC implementing unspecified "temporary measures".

Vuyo Mthembu, SABC spokesperson, says  "The SABC can confirm that a fire broke out at its leased Mpumalanga offices and the fire emergency services from the Mbombela City Council were able to contain the fire".

"The health and safety of our employees is always a key priority and the SABC is happy to report that employees were evacuated in time and no injuries were reported. Investigations are being carried out to confirm the cause of the fire."

"Employees will re-occupy the offices once the offices have been declared safe. Our radio station Ligwalagwala FM is still able to broadcast as temporary measures have been put in place, however, operations have been affected pending the completion of the investigations".

In June 2019 a fire in the cafeteria in the SABC's Radio Park building prompted the evacuation of staff with 15 people who were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

The same Radio Park building was evacuated in May 2019 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.

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."

Bloomberg in ugly disciplinary fight with its own journalist Sam Mkokeli as case is at CCMA; journalist slams Bloomberg for its 'lily-white leadership structure and culture in Africa'.

Bloomberg (DStv 411 / StarSat 264) is involved in an ugly fight with its own journalist Sam Mkokeli who is embroiled in a disciplinary case that has turned nasty and is currently being heard at the CCMA, with Sam Mkokeli who has slammed Bloomberg for its "lily-white leadership structure and culture in Africa".

Besides working for Bloomberg, Sam Mkokeli is also the chairperson of the media freedom sub-committee at the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF).

The nasty relationship breakdown between Bloomberg and Sam Mkokeli began in 2018 when Bloomberg started a disciplinary case against the journalist, claiming that he had allegedly breached Bloomberg's policy for social media posts.

Sam Mkokeli is represented by Clifford Levin, who attended a CCMA arbitration on Thursday in Johannesburg with Gabrielle Phillips as Bloomberg's human resources partner repping the business news outlet.

On 13 December 2018 Sam Mkokeli allegedly breached Bloomberg's social media post policy when he tweeted the words "Here's the walk" with a photo of Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams who was eventually announced as South Africa's 11th minister of communications in 11 years.

Bloomberg gave Sam Mkokeli a disciplinary warning because Bloomberg alleges that the journalist broke the news about Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams' appointment on Twitter where consumers get it for free and before Bloomberg clients who pay for such news.

"The fact is that our Bloomberg clients didn't have access to this information as quickly as it could have been," according to Gabrielle Phillips.

Sam Mkokeli got another Bloomberg disciplinary note a day after the first after he posted a comment on 10 December 2018 with an article from Eyewitness News (EWN) on Facebook with the headline "ANC's Pule Mabe accused of sexual harassment by his PA".

Sam Mkokeli added the comment "Thixo ka Fransman!" which in English is ""God of Fransman" and refers to the ANC member Marius Fransman who was embroiled in sexual assault charges from the National Prosecuting Authority that were later withdrawn.

Bloomberg accused SamMkokeli of expressing a "subjective opinion", something that isn't allowed under Bloomberg's social media post policy.

Sam Mkokeli on social media slammed Bloomberg this week asking Bloomberg publicly "How come you have a lily-white leadership structure and culture in Africa?"

On Wednesday Sam Mkokeli also alleges that Bloomberg decided to "created all manner of charges against me, disciplinary hearing after disciplinary hearing. I am surprised they never charged me for the shape of my nose or the length of my hair. That's Bloomberg for you.".

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Sky News to change its schedule for a second time in 2019 from 14 October with Kay Burley now anchoring the breakfast show and switching places with Sarah-Jane Mee moving to afternoons.

Sky News (DStv 402) is once again changing the British TV news channel's schedule, this time from Monday 14 October 2019, once again moving Kay Burley earlier in its second big schedule change of 2019 after its last one in January.

Sky News doesn't seem as if it knows what to do with veteran anchor Kay Burley who first got her own self-titled show The Kay Burley Show, that then changed late-afternoon timeslots and with Kay Burley who will now be moved to early mornings from 14 October to do Kay Burley @ Breakfast between 8:00 and 10:00 (South African time) from Mondays to Thursdays.

Kay Burley @ Breakfast will be done from Sky News' Westminster studios that according to Sky News "will be a hard-hitting, news making breakfast news programme that will set the agenda for the day".

Sarah-Jane Mee who has anchored Sky News Sunrise for the past 3 years between 08:00 and 11:00 is essentially switching places with Kay Burley, and will now be doing The Sarah-Jane Mee Show during the afternoons between 15:00 and 18:00.

Sarah-Jane’s show will feature longer form interviews on topical issues and a "daily debate".

Sky News' morning programming will start with The Early Rundown with anchor Niall Paterson between 07:00 and 08:00 on weekdays, followed by Kay Burley @ Breakfast.

Stephen Dixon and Gillian Joseph will continue to anchor Sky News's morning slot from Friday to Sunday from Sky Studios in Osterley in a slightly more relaxed style.

All Out Politics, anchored by Adam Boulton, will continue from Westminster at 10:00, along with the News Hour in Sky News studio at Osterley from 18:00 anchored by Mark Austin.

Sky News's late night schedule, Sky News at Ten at 23:00 and the Press Preview at 23:30 will remain unchanged.

"We are always looking to stay fresh and never stand still while the world changes around us so quickly," says Cristina Nicolotti Squires, Sky News director of content.

"We're living in exciting times and Kay, Sarah-Jane and Niall will all bring their own personal style and strengths to their new shows and I’m excited for them to get started at such a tumultuous time."

Latest CNN International schedule change sees South African weekday anchor Robyn Curnow moved to weekends; International Desk and CNN Today replaced by two other programmes.

CNN International (DStv 401) has again changed the TV news channel's schedule, with the latest changes coming into effect on Monday 23 September that saw the cancellation of International Desk with  Robyn Curnow as well as CNN Today with Amara Walker and Michael Holmes, replaced with two other programmes.

South Africa's Robyn Curnow is bumped to weekends where she will now be anchoring CNN Newsroom with Robyn Curnow at some undisclosed time not provided by CNN International and not listed on MultiChoice's bad DStv electronic programme guide (EPG) that is once again not updated and stillold, and CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes, also at some undisclosed time.

CNN International has now added The Brief with Bianca Nobilo on weeknights at 23:00 that will follow after The Lead with Jake Tapper, with the live show done from its London bureau. CNN says this half-hour show will cover the United Kingdom and beyond.

Replacing CNN Today is the 2-hour Your World Today with Isa Soares and Cyril Vanier at midnight, also done from London, that is "break down the day’s most important and talked-about stories around the world, giving context around the news that dominated the day for viewers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while informing viewers in Asia about the stories that will help shape theirs".

CNN International is also giving more time to Connect the World with Becky Anderson with the show show done live from CNN Abu Dhabi that is adding another hour to become a 2-hour show at 16:00.

Mike McCarthy, the senior vice president of programming and general manager at CNN International, says "We are delighted to be launching these new shows – which will form a key part of our industry-leading European evening and Asia morning programming lineup – and renewing our commitment to the Middle East with the expansion of Connect the World."

The new CNN International afternoon and prime time schedule is now:

14:00 CNN Newsroom with Max Foster (CNN London)
14:30 World Sport (CNN Atlanta)
15:00 First Move with Julia Chatterley (NYSE)
16:00 Connect the World with Becky Anderson (CNN Abu Dhabi)
18:00 The Express (NYSE)
19:00 Amanpour (CNN London)
20:00 Hala Gorani Tonight (CNN London)
21:00 Quest Means Business (CNN New York)
22:00 The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN Washington)
23:00 The Brief with Bianca Nobilo (CNN London)
23:30 World Sport (CNN Atlanta)
00:00 Your World Today with Isa Soares and Cyril Vanier (CNN London, 2 hours)

Tsogo Sun makes its loyalty programme worse; Tsogo Sun Hotels Rewards devalued during its 50th anniversary from October 2019 when it gets 50% harder to reach any tier-level.

Tsogo Sun is devaluing its customer loyalty programme from October with a whopping 50%, making it much harder for customers to reach either of its two tiered levels through points and therefore much more difficult to enjoy any of the promised benefits.

The Tsogo Sun Hotels Rewards programme is the latest South African loyalty programme and latest hotel group to make it much more difficult for guests to actually earn enough points through spend to get access to any of the benefits.

The loyalty devaluation ironically comes during the 50th anniversary celebration of Tsogo Sun. People who stay at any of its hotels who will now have to spend 50% more in any calendar year to reach or remain on either the "platinum" or the top "black" tier after they sign up and automatically is placed on the "gold" level.

For a member of the programme to reach the mid-tiered platinum level, Tsogo Sun is making it 50% harder to reach or to maintain, increasing the threshold from 2 000 to 3 000 points needed per year. The same happens to the black-level that is jumping from 6 000 to 9 000 points needed - another 50% increase.

Tsogo Sun Hotels Rewards members get different percentage discounts on meals and stays depending on their tier-level and earn a different percentage of points based on their status levels.

"While there have been a few changes made to the programme, not all of them have been removals," said Camilla Zuccarelli, Tsogo Sun's marketing manager for the leisure division, in response to a media enquiry.

"For example, our rewards members all get uncapped WiFi for 5 devices as opposed to 2GB, which was the case before the amendments were launched."

Neo Mboniswa, Tsogo Sun communications manager, in response to a media enquiry said that "the hotel and gaming divisions of the business were split this year, which required us to review some of our offerings".

"This was in addition to the programme having remained the same for the past 5 years, which meant that it required an update. The amendments included a review of the tier thresholds as well as the revision of our benefits."

Neo Mboniswa said that "In order to ensure that we didn’t regrade members without offering them an opportunity to meet the new tier levels, we ensured that there was a 3 month grace period for guests – especially those who were concerned about the timing of the new tier-changes and the possibility of the tier-structure affecting their status.

Tsogo Sun was repeatedly asked if it can please respond to specific questions but didn't provide answers.

These questions included who decided to devalue the Tsogo Sun Rewards programme and why this was done in Tsogo Sun's 50th anniversary year.

Tsogo Sun was also asked what factored into the drastic decisions to make it 50% harder to reach either the platinum or black level in the programme, and if there were too many members who had reached tiers and made use of some of the discounts and benefits offered.

Cell C is gutting its video streaming service Cell C black by reducing investment by R120 million as Cell C posts R8 billion loss.

With massive ongoing losses, cuts to several of its services have been unavoidable as the embattled Cell C released its latest annual financial results showing a massive loss of R8.03 billion, revealing that it has cut back spending on its struggling Cell C black video streaming service by at least R120 million.

Cell C's R8.03 billion net loss for the financial year ending 31 May 2019 is a massive increase from its R656 million loss in the previous financial year and in which Blue Label Telecoms owns a 45% stake.

Douglas Craigie Stevenson, Cell C CEO, says management is trying to stabilise the beleaguered operator with a turnaround strategy which has included cutting back on its struggling Cell C black subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service.

R120 million in spending is being cut from Cell C black which means less content for users than what there used to be as Cell C black competes with services like MultiChoice's Showmax, Netflix South Africa, Amazon Prime Video and other players in a very small but overheated South African OTT market.

In its financial report Cell C says that it is "reviewing the channel options for the Black video streaming service – which will ensure a saving of R120 million annually with additional savings expected as Cell C continues to right-size this business unit".

Douglas Craigie Stevenson says its investment in the creation of its struggling Cell C black that it is now cutting back on was a big mistake.

"Cell C black was not the right play for Cell C. We didn't have the resources to compete in that environment."

In late-August 2019 Cell C black suffered a shocking and abrupt linear channels blackout that then turned out to be deliberate.

While Cell C black told its customers and subscribers that it was "experiencing difficulties which are affecting our live TV channels" and that the IT-division is trying to solve, Cell C had in fact deliberately cut this costly service, keeping some of its own staffers and PR people in the dark and making as if it's a technical issue.

Days later Cell C black suddenly admitted that it deliberately culled the Cell C black service and that "our decision to reconfigure our product is part of putting the business on the right track".

Cell C black subscribers who have abandoned the bad service say they are being kept in the dark as to how to get refunds from the streaming service that suddenly changed its offering without any prior notification.

From a new mansion to simplified dates M-Net and Rapid Blue are implementing some behind-the-scenes production changes to improve the second season of The Bachelor SA.

Besides a new "hot guy" in the shape of Marc Buckner, some significant changes are coming production-wise behind-the-scenes that have been ordered by M-Net to improve the second season of The Bachelor South Africa.

TVwithThinus has learnt that the Rapid Blue produced dating reality show is making some fundamental production changes to try and make Cupid's arrows hopefully find their targets better and coming after the first season on M-Net (DStv 101) ended on a disappointing note when Lee Thompson's relationship was revealed to have fizzled out during the first season finale.

The Bachelor SA, a local version of the dating show format of Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP), is implementing various production changes to try and make love blossom better the second time around.

Marc Buckner will get more actual off-camera time for "dating" on the show to get to know the various women he will meet better. The casting process has also been made even more stringent to weed out fame-seeking women more interested in being on television than finding love.

In addition, one-on-one dates will be simplified and toned down production and filming wise to allow more time spent on the actual date and less time on camera and scene set-up, and there will also be a new mansion used when filming starts in October.

"For us it is really important to make sure that we create that environment where the bachelor and the woman that he is dating are in a 'bubble' - that they get enough time to spend together without any influences; and secondly that there's enough time to really get to know each other," says Jan du Plessis, director of M-Net channels.

" So that's the first thing that we're most definitely doing. And then the other thing is that I had a list of probably 80 or so activities and dates that we were choosing from."

"The moment that Marc signed on the dotted line, we are busy adapting all of those dates and events to suit Marc's personality and interests, so that they can actually go hiking and jogging and do all sorts of outdoors activities with the ladies to see that natural sort of chemistry develop."

"The most important change was the time."

Kaye-Ann, M-Net's head of local content and independent films, says "if you remember Lee Thompson's date with Edith that started off at the top of a hill, and then the next thing was a strawberry farm and then they had a picnic after they picked the strawberries".

"Those three things that happened cost us three different movements and set-ups and location shifts and camera set-ups. It was just too much. There was too little time for them to get to know each other and too much time spent logistically."

"So what we've decided to do is to simplify - whatever it is. There needs to be one set-up, there needs to be one simple movement, unit movement, so that Marc Buckner and the date he is with can actually get to know each other and actually spend time together because all those set-ups cost a lot of time. So those are some of the lessons we've learnt from the first season."

TVwithThinus asked whether the same Sandhurst-set mansion, located in an ultra-affluent residential area in Sandton, Johannesburg, and the wealthiest suburb in the country, will be used again. "No, it won't be the same mansion," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

"We never told anybody last year where the mansion was, for very good reasons. It's going to be a new mansion this year and again, you won't know where exactly the mansion is. Because you can just imagine, that if people were to know where the mansion is, how they will hang around in the streets."

"We remember from the very first season of Big Brother SA and the Big Brother house, people were in the streets, neighbours complained, and people came to try and see what's going on and what the housemates were doing. If they're to know where the mansion is, it would be madness. So we're keeping the mansion a secret and for the second season it's a different one."

The second season of The Bachelor SA won't start on Valentines Day on 14 February again but is likely to start on M-Net sometime in February 2020 and M-Net will make the season premiere episode once again available on YouTube for a limited time as free-to-view.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Disney+ content: Bad news for South African viewers as none of the avalanche of upcoming new shows like Star Wars' The Mandalorian will be available on other channels because Disney isn't selling.

South Africans are highly likely to pirate-view content from 13 November, the day after The Walt Disney Company launches its Disney+ video streaming in the United States, with Disney that won’t be selling its new Disney+ content to other pay-TV platforms and broadcasters like MultiChoice and M-Net in countries where it doesn’t have a presence yet.

Consumers across sub-Saharan Africa willing to pay but without any legal means will likely take to illegal torrents and pirate sites in droves from mid-November to watch buzzed-about new shows rolling out on Disney+ exclusively.

Disney+’s original content slate range from the first live-action Star Wars drama series, The Mandalorian; a Glee-type High School Musical musical series; a Monsters Inc. animation series and an avalanche of other live-action and animation series, films and reality programming specially commissioned for the new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service.

Besides America, Disney+ is officially launching on 12 November 2019 in Canada and the Netherlands as well, and a week later in New Zealand and Australia with further international roll-outs planned.

For now, the initial Disney+ launch schedule excludes South Africa where streamers – ranging from MultiChoice’s Showmax, Netflix South Africa, Amazon Prime Video, Cell C black and a growing number of other smaller entrants – are battling it out in an over-heated video streaming war.

At Walt Disney Africa’s recent, annual content showcase for the media, advertisers and retailers that was held on 20 August, the Mouse House was tight-lipped about Disney+ and Christine Service, Walt Disney Africa boss, only went as far as acknowledging its global launch during the presentation. 

While the most-asked question from journalists to Disney reps at the upfront was when Disney+ will launch in South Africa, Disney officially had no comment and nothing to share.

According to several high-ranking sources within South Africa’s TV broadcasting industry – all specifically asked about and speaking about Disney+ over the past month and a half but not authorised to speak officially about the topic – Disney+ content is not being made available to broadcasters and other TV channels in territories where Disney+ won’t have a presence, like Africa.

In the dark
Sources mentioned that even Disney Africa’s execs have been kept and are still mostly in the dark themselves about developments around Disney+ as it pertains to South Africa as a region.

According to insiders, M-Net’s content acquisition team has for instance been able to, continues to acquire, and will continue to buy content from the Hulu streaming service that is now majority-owned by Disney – for instance shows like Catch-22, The Handmaid’s Tale, Runaways and Future Man that has been on M-Net and Showmax, but none of the upcoming Disney+ content has been made available.

With Disney+ content not for sale to M-Net or other third-party channels, the result is that MultiChoice won’t be able to offer any Disney+ shows to DStv subscribers who also won’t be able to access and watch it anywhere else through legal means even if they’re willing to pay the $12.99 (R191.02) monthly subscription fee.

Asked whether Disney isn’t concerned that viewers will pirate and watch Disney+ content which will dilute the perceived consumer value of the new SVOD service before a possible “if or when” launch date, and why Disney isn’t monetising its Disney+ content through territory licensing in international regions where it doesn’t have a presence the way Netflix did, the blunt response from one veteran South African TV exec not working for Disney was simply: “They just don’t care”.

Meanwhile there’s an explosion of additional new American video streaming services launching soon in the United States and some doing global launches, ranging from WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Apple’s Apple TV+ to NBCUniversal’s just-named Peacock.

With all of them adding to the existing glut of content with their individual original content slates, MultiChoice was asked how much of this international content it will have access to and it is able to acquire for its DStv and Showmax subscribers.

MultiChoice in response to the media enquiry, said “these services and platforms are not launching or available in our part of the world at this time. This means we expect programming we require to be available for acquisition from studios where we have deals in place”.

"We do indeed live in a fast-moving industry and things may change, but our commitment to providing the best international content and our increasing investment in local programming for viewers across the continent remains".

Without a cent spent in marketing it in South Africa, Disney+ interestingly already enjoys a very high consumer awareness under TV viewers and especially local pay-TV subscribers who continue to be vocal about wanting to pay for access to Disney+, upset about missing out on the 12 November launch date and that they’ll be forced to make use of other means of watching its content.

South Africans have been vocal about wanting Disney+ - and being willing to pay for it or otherwise pirating the content. 

"I won't be able to watch The Mandalorian because it seems Disney+ isn't rolling out in South Africa," remarked StarWarsStories, with Joe Mabija that asked on Twitter without any answer from Disney: "Disney+ when will you be launching in South Africa?"

Yusuf Moosa said "Hey Disney+, a lot of us here in South Africa would love to give you our money" and Rish Rialto said that "if the global rollout isn't quick and extensive (Africa & Asia) expect a ton of lost revenue to piracy. Be smart please!"

More South Africans than ever before feel they don't have to pay a TV Licence as the SABC plans to increase fees.

South Africans who think they should still pay for a SABC TV Licence keeps plunging, down another whopping 9% to just 40% compared to a year ago, coming at a time when the embattled public broadcaster, struggling to broadcast new content, wants to increase licence fees.

While the SABC asked the minister of communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, for a price hike of 5% in SABC TV Licence fees from R265 to R278 per year, less South African TV households are bothering to pay it, with a continuing downward trend in people who feel that they should have to pay it, or that there's anything wrong in not paying it.

According to Citizen Surveys, a South African research company, the percentage of South Africans who believe that not paying for their SABC TV Licence fee is wrong, keeps falling - down to just 40% in 2019 after another 9% plunge from 49% in 2018.

The South African public broadcaster that is in severe financial distress continues to be plagued by internal turmoil, board and top management in-fighting, corruption investigations, a stale content offering and struggling to broadcast content like soccer, rugby and other sport tournaments as it did in the past.

"At the beginning of last year, 13% of South Africans did not see any issues with those who do not pay their SABC TV licences. This rose significantly, where, in the second quarter of 2019, 21% of South Africans believed there is nothing wrong with not paying," said Reza Omar, Citizen Surveys director.

2016: Spike in people no longer paying
Sylvia Tladi, SABC acting COO, told parliament last week that the collection costs to get SABC TV Licence fees paid has kept increasing, saying the SABC found itself in a situation where "for you to be able to collect R265 you need to spend at least R25 of that".

"A portion of that R265 also goes to allocations of VAT, so you're not able to walk away with any profit from that R265, taken into account the VAT portion as well as the internal collection costs that we incur as the SABC."

"These come in many forms. We send people SMS'es, we send emails, we phone people, we pay our external agencies as well. So all those costs - when they mount on that R265, ideally the SABC does not walk away with much."

Sylvia Tladi told parliament that a lot of people stopped paying their SABC TV Licence fees in 2015.

"We've had instances of reduced compliance in 2015 and I think from a historical point of view we can all understand at that time when people really started to stop paying SABC TV Licence fees and withdrew their commitment from the SABC."

"It's unfortunate for the SABC that it started gradually in 2015 and then in 2016 it took a spike. The non-compliance numbers started to increase. In trying to bring back our TV Licence holders we need to not only focus on collecting licence fees but also need to complement that with compelling content on our platforms to gain back to confidence that our viewers used to have."

SABC TV Licence too expensive?
Bongumusa Makhathini, SABC chairperson, told parliament last week "how much do you pay a guy looking after your car at the mall parking? Surely you pay them more than 72c."

He said that "72c a day can not really justify us saying TV Licence are too expensive. Actually there are a lot of South Africans who can afford to pay R1 a day towards the SABC. If you pay a guy looking after your car more than 72c, how about SABC who gives you 19 radio stations, 5 TV channels".

Members of parliament took him to task for saying that R265 per year for a SABC TV Licence isn't expensive.

An EFF MP said "Our members in the EFF pay R10 a year. In the Eastern Cape it is extremely difficult to get our members to pay R10 for a year. That R10 for them buys bread."

"For the majority of the population it is not that easy - especially now that we've got 10 million people who are unemployed. The SABC rakes in about 6 or 7 million viewers and most of them are poor people who can't afford DStv. I think it's incorrect to say it's cheap."

M-Net on why Survivor South Africa wasn’t renewed for an 8th season.

Despite apparently good ratings M-Net says that it didn’t renew Survivor South Africa for an 8th season because the pay-TV channel works far in advance regarding budgets and schedules and will relook the possibility of doing another Survivor SA season later.

Survivor SA fans and DStv subscribers were left perplexed and without any explanation when host Nico Panagio said nothing on 13 September during the closing moments of the live finale of the 7th season of the South African version of the Afrokaans produced show.

Viewers once again expected an announcement that there would be another season and a call for entries – similar to what happened during the end of the 6th season in 2018 – but nothing happened.

M-Net revived the Banijay Group's Survivor format after a 4-year gap since 2014, with production of the just-concluded 7th season that immediately followed after the 6th season.

The filming of another season back-to-back helped spur entries and kept viewer interest in the show alive,with M-Net that called the 7th season “top-rated” and the “highest-rated Survivor SA season yet” although it didn’t provide any viewership information to back up that claim.

TVwithThinus asked M-Net why an 8th season for Survivor SA wasn’t announced when the 7th season ended.

“What we do as a team, is work out our schedule line-ups three years in advance,” said Kaye-Ann Williams, M-Net’s head of local productions and independent films.

“So we have to look at how our budgets are working out, what content is coming in, what do we have the licenses for; do we have the money for it. Obviously ratings and performance help us to make those decisions – but we’re not there yet for Survivor South Africa.”

“It’s not that we don’t love it, we absolutely love it. And we’re all dying to do it but the stars have to align”.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Accused of 'corporate thuggery and theft' Viacom Africa abruptly pulls new Amapiano docu-series from MTV Base just before broadcast after producer alleges MTV stole his concept and cut him out of the production.

Viacom Africa, after being accused of "corporate thuggery and theft" of a young producer's show concept, has abruptly pulled its new Amapiano documentary series that was supposed to start on Tuesday night from MTV Base (DStv 322) just before broadcast.

It follows after a lawyer's letter alleging that Viacom and MTV stole the producer's idea, concept and creation, and then proceeded to cut him out of the production, demanding that MTV Networks Africa not go ahead with broadcasting the documentary series.

Behind the Amapiano Movement was supposed to start on Tuesday night, 24 September at 21:00 but Viacom yanked it from the schedule without notification or providing a new planned broadcasting date.

The alleged content theft bombshell comes just a day after Viacom Africa did a screening party of the first episode of the documentary for some Johannesburg media on Monday, and just hours before it was set to air on the MTV Base channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service.

The Behind the Amapiano Movement documentary series takes a look at this new and fast-growing music genre, following the popular KwaZulu-Natal originated Gqom of a few years ago.

The new documentary series about the music genre that has jazzy keys and a strong kwaito influence, features commentary and insights from artists like De Mthuda and Njelic, the Amapiano DJ and producer Kabza De Small, the DJ duo Major League, singer Lady Zamar, DJ Zinhle and DJ Viny Da Vinci.

Galananzhele Sebela Attorneys, representing the New Slate Media production company that is a small, upcoming black-youth owned production company and funded by the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), has sent a letter demanding that Viacom Africa don't go ahead with the broadcast of Behind the Amapiano Movement.

It cites the alleged "unlawful and grossly unethical acts of MTV and Don't Look Down (DLD)" which is another production company responsible for the docu-series.

New Slate Media alleges that "through its funder, the Gauteng Film Commission, it approached MTV Networks Africa for the production of a documentary on the township music culture "amapiano" and made a presentation and pitch in August 2018, followed by several other meetings "during the course of 2019" where the little production company "provided MTV with the concept and full details for the production and execution of the documentary".

"MTV was very excited about our client's concept for the production of the amapiano documentary and agreed that the production of the documentary based on our client's concept was to commence."

"Furthermore MTV suggested that our client partner with another production company, called Don't Look Down (DLD) which was a production company that MTV has previously worked with, to co-produce the documentary."

Galananzhele Sebela Attorneys in the letter to VIMN Africa alleges that "since the introduction of Don't Look Down, our client has been sidelined from the production of the documentary and that MTV and DLD have proceeded to produce the documentary without our client, even though our client was the creator and brain behind the documentary".

"These unlawful and grossly unethical acts of MTV and DLD amounts to corporate thuggery and theft of our client's concept and creation."

"Our client tried in vain many times through emails and telephone calls to Monde Twala, Solly Moeng of MTV and Desmond Mthembu of the Gauteng Film Commission to register his concerns relating to the production of the documentary but no feedback has been forthcoming whilst MTV and DLD were busy producing our client's concept behind his back."

Viacom, in response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus on Tuesday asking about the abrupt removal of the scheduled Behind the Amapiano Movement documentary from MTV Base, confirmed on Tuesday night that the show was pulled because of the producer's alleged intellectual property theft complaint.

"We confirm that MTV Base has received a complaint in relation to its upcoming Amapiano docu-series format," said Monde Twala, vice president for youth, music and BET at VIMN Africa.

"Our legal team are currently responding to the parties concerned. The broadcasting date of the docu-series will be communicated in due course."

ALSO READ: TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. With a screening event of MTV Base's new docu-series Behind the Amapiano Movement for only certain people, Viacom Africa and MTV that can't bother to tell or include the press, but ironically wants to 'stimulate conversation'.

TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. 2019's muted 2nd Comic Con Africa: How the Reed Exhibitions Africa organisers and South Africa's TV biz again failed to do any real local sci-fi-fantasy show-and-tell showcase.

2019's just-concluded second Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg once again displayed a disappointing lack by the organisers Reed Exhibitions Africa and ReedPOP to try and involve South Africa's TV and film industry - and locally available TV channels - in any real or meaningful way to give their science fiction and fantasy content a platform through panels or screenings.

While more parking and better spacing were improvements following the move from Kyalami in 2018 to Gallagher Estate in 2019, Comic Con Africa 2019 was mostly characterised by come-look-see cosplayers milling about while gamers stared at screens and some people played board games.

Oh, and don't forget the replica of an old sitcom celebrating its 25th anniversary. That was there too! That was there too!

While Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), M-Net through M-Net Movies, and Fox Networks Group Africa (FNG Africa) had a sliver of a presence at Comic Con Africa 2019 through some marketing activations like a Friends couch replica, zombies and who-really-knows-what else, only Fox managed to issue a media advisory that it would have a presence at the fan convention and what its involvement would entail.

No-one else bothered.

The lethargic and lukewarm "we're there but don't care" attitude from Viacom Africa, M-Net and Fox was matched by the Comic Con Africa organisers and this year's PR agency (switched from last year but without telling a lot of the relevant media) who didn't appear to either want media coverage or involvement, or appeared to want to put effort behind telling the press how or why it would matter to attend.

Missing in action at this year's second Comic Con Africa in South Africa were video streaming services Netflix South Africa, and MultiChoice's Showmax who at least had a semblance of a presence in 2018 at Kyalami with a Disenchantment jumping castle and a Doctor Who activation and pop-corn machine.

Once again several of the organiser-promised (yet faded) overseas talent on the already small list of fly-in stars who were billed to make an appearance at Comic Con 2019 cancelled - some at the last minute. Talk about amateurish and unprofessional.

Star Trek captain William Shatner was a good addition to Comic Con 2019 and did show up, and he was and will always be a proper A-lister draw and highlight.

However, D-lister drawcards from over-and-done series like The Vampire Diaries and others were once again foisted onto South African Comic Con-go-ers who had to pay for expensive tickets, expensive food and drinks, for the "privilege" to mostly get access to look at other visitors' costumes.

It's worrying that Reed Exhibitions Africa and ReedPOP, as well as TV channels and channel suppliers still don't care about doing actual screenings and panels about TV shows, especially ones filmed and produced in South Africa.

Is it too much to ask or too difficult for M-Net (DStv 101) to have organised a panel discussion and a screening of the first episode of its new drama series Trackers, filmed in Cape Town, and starting in October? Why couldn't some of the cast and crew be at Comic Con Africa 2019?

Attendees at Comic Con Africa 2019 would literally have shown up just for this if M-Net did a "panel session" where it just showed trailers and talked about its upcoming science fiction and fantasy-related programming on the M-Net and M-Net City (DStv 115) channel for the next few months that it acquired like HBO's His Dark Materials British fantasy series.

But again - a complete lack of vision or wanting to on M-Net side.

Is there literally nothing remotely done in terms of a snippet, rough trailer or 2-minutes of footage that Netflix South Africa and Pearl Thusi could or wanted to show off at a Comic Con Africa 2019 panel to tease the in-production Queen Sono spy drama series? Ridiculous.

And what about NBCUniversal's Vagrant Queen science fiction show made for SYFY and adapted from The Vault Comics book that is still filming in Cape Town and which will be shown on NBCUniversal International Networks' Universal TV (DStv 117)?

Is one day off over a weekend too much for some cast members, some crew, and someone to press play on a teaser trailer for Vagrant Queen to give to Comic Con Africa?

It's utterly mindboggling that Disney Africa and FNG Africa couldn't bother to do at the very least a screening of the first episode of the upcoming War of the Worlds live-action science fiction drama series (and then maybe even a panel session) of its second-ever commissioned series by Fox Networks Group Europe & Africa for the region.

Why did WarnerMedia do absolutely nothing at Comic Con Africa 2019 around its Batman 80th anniversary and Batman film festival on TNT (DStv 137), instead choosing to do a light show on The Leonardo building in Sandton? Doing something like this at Comic Con Africa would have been much more in-theme.

Google South Africa and YouTube South Africa couldn't bother to do a panel about Origin and maybe showing the first episode of its YouTube Original spaceship-set series that was filmed in Cape Town) to make some noise for it, and Showmax - that literally just added the Spanish dramedy Los Espookys - was hauntingly absent.

Why not show the first episode as people are strapped into beds?

Huge, unrealised and once-again wasted potential existed and exists for both Reed Exhibitions Africa and ReedPOP, as well as TV channels in South Africa, to build an event like Comic Con Africa into something special with panels and screenings for the press and fans around current and upcoming shows.

Sadly, no-one bothers and nobody cares. There doesn't seem to be any willingness, initiative, cooperation, vision or the drive that you find from true fans of genre content.

The result is that Comic Con Africa 2019 in its second year was once again filled with people forced to pay astronomical prices to basically come see cosplayers wandering the hallways like its an end-of-the-month Teletubbies-appearing-in-the-food-court promotion, taking place at a 90s mall that's seen better days and is desperate to try and appear relevant to passer-by shoppers.

How difficult (apparently very!) is it for Comic Con Africa 2019 organisers to keep tabs on what's going on and coming soon to South Africa, to liaise with a pay-TV operator like MultiChoice or individual local and internationally supplied TV channels, and to create a few choice panels and screening around that?

For now, Africa Comic Con 2019 remains a very watered-down and disappointing version of what's done and provided in the United States.

When an orange replica of a couch from a 25-year old American sitcom as a nostalgia activation is one of the biggest TV "draws" to your 4-day event, then you're not relevant, you're not in-touch and you're lame and old.

Best to just sit down - or start putting in actual work to collaborate and to make something passé like Comic Con Africa what it can and should be.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The restaurant staff of First Dates South Africa coming soon to BBC Lifestyle includes a former Generations actor, three waiters and the Cape Town bartender who's the best in South Africa.

The front-of-house restaurant staff who will hover within earshot as potential lovey-doveys whisper words of romance in the new dating reality show First Dates South Africa on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) includes a Cape Town bartender, a former Generations actor as Maître D', and a trio of hilarious waiters.

BBC Studios Africa has revealed the pop-up restaurant "cast" of First Dates SA, who will welcome, makes the shakes, take the orders and bring the plates to the tables of potential lovers in the new dating reality show starting on Wednesday 16 October at 20:00.

Produced by Rapid Blue that built an art deco inspired pop-up restaurant in Greenside, Johannesburg where episodes were filmed a few months ago, South Africans will see how people put their best - and sometimes worst and weird - selves forward as they go on blind dates, looking for love.

Multiple discreetly placed cameras capture the crazy, the flirty and what could be a proposal as nervous diners meet for first dates. Dates end with a pop-in at the First Dates booth, where each first dater reveals what he or she really thought - and whether true love has blossomed.

Batsile Ramasodi is the Maître D' who will be greeting daters at the door and escort them to their tables. As a father and husband, Batsile is a self-proclaimed romantic and will help daters along on their first dates.

"My wife and I love watching dating shows together so when the opportunity came to audition for the South African version of First Dates I leapt at the chance. It has been such a privilege to welcome and meet so many incredible people at the restaurant, to hear their life stories and what has brought them through our doors in the first place," he says.

Tamara Lesabe is a waitress in First Dates SA, but also a genetics and medical cell biologist, in addition to being a model, a blogger, an artist and a former real-life waitress. 

Currently single, Tamara says she's a romantic at heart and an "old soul" and that it was her romantic nature that made her audition for one of the restaurant staff supporting roles in the series.

Joey Mathe is another waiter in the series and has worked as a model, salesman and a waiter. He can also speak 13 African languages. Currently single, he also describes himself as a romantic. He says he wanted to join the First Dates South Africa team as he is a huge fan of the British version.

Ash Daniel is the show's third waitress and is an experienced real-life waitress. She's currently single and says she is "slightly cynical about romance and love" although she is "a total sucker for big romantic gestures.

Travis Kuhn is South South Africa's current Bartending Accolades and Recognition (BAR) Awards Bartender of the Year and in First Dates SA he will be behind the bar counter, serving the cocktails shaken and stirred.

Travis has been bartending for over 20 years, has been married for 12 years and has three children and says he's a romantic at heart.

After getting the call to be the bartender for the First Dates SA restaurant, Travis set himself the personal challenge of wanting to be able to make any cocktail ordered by a dater – and describes his drinks as "out of this world".

"It has been so much fun joining the team and making the show. I have been blown away by the amazing people who have put themselves out there and signed up to come for a first date and have it filmed – as they are nerve-racking enough," says Travis.

"We had such a variety of people, old and young, come and sit at the bar and I've loved chatting to them all and seeing how they approach a blind date – for many, a shot of tequila seems to do the trick!"

Before First Dates SA starts on 16 October, the UK version of First Dates will start on BBC Lifestyle from Monday 7 October on weeknights.

ALSO READ: Filming finished on first season of the BBC Studios dating reality show, First Dates South Africa, on BBC Lifestyle from 16 October 2019: See 42 photos of the wrap event media day.

TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. With a screening event of MTV Base's new docu-series Behind the Amapiano Movement for only certain people, Viacom Africa and MTV that can't bother to tell or include the press, ironically wants to 'stimulate conversation'.

On Monday a new documentary series, Behind the Amapiano Movement, that will start broadcasting in South Africa at some point was screened at an event - but only for some people in Johannesburg.

Neither MTV Base's publicist or PR agency (getting paid to communicate with the press) nor Viacom Africa and whoever handles the PR about it, bothered to reach out to tell the rest of the press in South Africa about or cared to screen it or get it in front of their eyes as well.

The Behind the Amapiano Movement documentary series takes a look at this new and fast-growing music genre following the popular KwaZulu-Natal originated Gqom of a few years ago.

The new documentary series about the genre that has jazzy keys and a strong kwaito influence, features commentary and insights from artists like De Mthuda and Njelic, the Amapiano DJ and producer Kabza De Small, the DJ duo Major League, singer Lady Zamar, DJ Zinhle and DJ Viny Da Vinci.

Sadly, Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) again commissioned and scheduled new and original local content that it doesn't bother to actually show to the local press beforehand properly.

On Monday afternoon MTV Base held a screening event of presumably the first episode of Behind the Amapiano Movement in Johannesburg - but for some people only, leaving stakeholders who would have been interested out of the loop.

Publicity people from neither Viacom Africa nor DNA Brand Architects that reps MTV and tasked to promote local content like this, bothered or managed to tell TV critics and media in the rest of South Africa that there'd be a screening.

For TV critics, journalists and publications not physically in Johannesburg or unable to attend, nothing was done to make a digital screener or equivalent available to those members of the press who were not told or invited to the screening event, and who are not in that city.

In a press release about Behind the Amapiano Movement, Monde Twala, the vice president for youth, music and BET at VIMN Africa, said that MTV is "all about culture, music and the streets. We offer content that is relevant, fun, bold and contributes to stimulating conversation".

Ironically, where VIMN Africa and MTV Base fails is that it makes content but actually neglects this "stimulating conversation" part - particularly in (public) relation with the press. The media who helps to communicate the message about Viacom Africa and its programming to viewers isn't being told what is going on and happening - nor included when it comes to showcasing the actual content.

It's fine to talk about "stimulating conversation" but if media are not kept in the loop or shown content like Behind the Amapiano Movement equally, how is this "conversation" stimulated exactly?

Viewers and DStv subscribers have to watch a show, and the media will help to alert, talk about and drive viewers to a show. However, when media isn't told or shown content when it is previewed, it's left to viewers to somehow discover and find content on their own.

It would have been good for the press covering television at large in South Africa to have known that VIMN Africa and MTV Base is doing a screening of Behind the Amapiano Movement before the docu-series starts to broadcast on MultiChoice's DStv, but whoever communicates or communicated this failed to communicate this.

Previewing Behind the Amapiano Movement beforehand at either the or a screening event, or getting an electronic screener either as an in-browser played link, a digital download or an unlisted YouTube video, would have resulted in hopefully a review or two of the new docu-series.

Usually one or two of the journalists watching TV content actually do something as opposed to the beer drinkers who basically show up for a party and essentially end up doing nothing.

Instead of reading here about how Viacom Africa couldn't bother to get Behind the Amapiano Movement to be seen by TV critics before its debut, of course it would have been more functional, informative, helpful and pleasurable to report about the actual programme.

Unfortunately, no reviewer, critic, journalist or publication can make something out of nothing.

"Will Amapiano fizzle out when the next hungry and pragmatic generation come up with a next creative sound?" asks MTV Base about the Behind the Amapiano Movement docu-series.

After Monday's selective access screening, it's a question and Behind the Amapiano Movement a new show that the press that would have cared - similar to MTV Base and Viacom Africa's disinterest to include them - probably no longer cares about.