Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Alien chicken TV commercial from Chicken Licken doesn't cause harm to children Advertising Regulatory Board rules, says advertisers can't be prevented from 'creating light-hearted commercials'.

by Thinus Ferreira

Following complaints from parents that Zezorg is scaring their children, South Africa's Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has ruled that Chicken Licken's alien advertising on television isn't harmful to children and that advertisers can't be banned "from creating light-hearted commercials for fear that some children might misinterpret the message".

The ARB received complaints from the public over Chicken Licken's "Hotwings Party" meal from Joe Public, in which a family meets up with an alien known as Zezorg who looks like Stitch from Disney's Lilo & Stitch animation film, who teleports the family members out of their home so he can feed on the chicken in a first commercial.

In a follow-up commercial the family finds themselves on a deserted road with Zezorg who appears, grunts "sorry", after which everyone is teleported home.

One complainant objected to the "horrific animal" in the Chicken Licken' TV commercial that was shown across various TV channels like SABC1, SABC2 and, noting that it scares the entire family, and in particular their little girl, who has started having nightmares as a result of seeing these commercials.

Another complainant referred to the "scary, sensitive and rather disturbing creature which doesn't even exist on this planet".

She noted that the Chicken Licken' TV commercials pop up without warning, triggering her anger and leaving her disturbed for hours, while causing her son to have nightmares.

Joe Public told the ARB that the TV adverts centre around "a fictional alien-like character, taken in by a family as somewhat of a pet or new addition to the family after his unannounced arrival into the family’s home in the middle of the night. Though nervously curious at first, the alien’s arrival is met with smiles and laughter by the family, and he soon becomes part of their daily lives".

Zezorg is "overcome by his cravings and teleports the entire family away so that he can enjoy the meal alone. He does, however, end up apologising and teleporting the family back home."

Joe Public said that the Chicken Licken' adverts contain "no inappropriate scenes, and it is clear that the human family was never in any real danger even during the creature’s momentary lapse in judgement, which was caused by his overwhelming urge to enjoy the meal".

"The commercial contains no violence or dangerous situations, and no distasteful images are used. While young children would, admittedly, have a higher level of credulity, there is nothing in the commercial that would likely cause children emotional harm, and parents would be able to explain the premise and overall message with ease."

The ARB in its ruling noted that "that there is a possibility that the complainants may have only seen the first commercial (which does not feature the family reunion), and possibly changed the channel or switched off the television once they felt afraid or triggered".

"As such, there is a possibility that one or both complainants are oblivious of the conclusion of this story. Both complainants took issue with the fact that the commercials scare their children, and that the alien creature is perceived as disturbing and scary by them as adults."

"The Directorate is not convinced that adults are likely to perceive the alien character as threatening, offensive or harmful. Even if one were unaware of the reunion portion of this story, the plotline and execution of the first commercial is of such a nature that reasonable viewers are likely to understand the sequence of events."

"The creature arrives unexpectedly, and the family is clearly unsure of its origins and purpose. However, after first contact is established, it is accepted as part of the family."

"From this, it is obvious that the creature is an alien of some sort (who coincidentally looks like Stitch from the popular Walt Disney movie Lilo & Stitch) that has found his new home with this family. Objectively viewed, the alien is cute rather than frightening, and clearly friendly."

The ARB ruled said that "The allegation here is that the commercials would likely scare young children and in so doing cause emotional harm. Both complainants submit that their young children developed nightmares after seeing this alien creature".

"Again, the Directorate acknowledges the possibility that children might not have been exposed to the second and third commercial, and may possibly not be aware that the alien apologises for his actions and is forgiven by the family which arguably mitigates any concerns that young children may have."

The ARB said that "the question remains whether this creature and his behaviour is, in the opinion of the Directorate, likely to cause harm to children in a manner that the Code seeks to prevent."

"During the first commercial, the mood shifts from initial trepidation to harmony. The family is shown laughing at his antics and being pleasantly surprised by his supernatural abilities."

"It is true that some children have particular sensitivities to different things, which may not bother another child. These fears are wide-ranging. However, to prohibit advertisers from creating light-hearted commercials for fear that some children might misinterpret the message would be unreasonable."

"The alien creature is not depicted as an intimidating, scary monster, but rather as a kind-hearted creature. He has round teeth (as opposed to sharp fangs) and shows no claws or other features that would reasonably be expected to scare young children."

"He is constantly making strange sounds and even helps the son brush his teeth and records a dancing video with the daughter. These are not menacing or frightening actions that could potentially scare children."

"While true that he loses composure and teleports the family away so that he can eat all the chicken, this would, at worst, position him as somewhat of a villain who stole the family’s meal. The scene, especially if viewed with the “apology” scene, is not unreasonably frightening for a child."

"The Directorate is therefore not convinced that the commercials would likely cause children harm," the ARB ruled.

ViacomCBS ends BET on linear broadcasting in the United Kingdom, TV channel switching to on-demand digital streaming only from 8 April.

by Thinus Ferreira

ViacomCBS's BET channel is ending as a linear TV channel on pay-TV in the United Kingdom on 8 April and will switch to becoming an on-demand digital video streaming channel only.

Monde Twala, senior vice president and general manager for ViacomCBS Networks Africa and peer lead BET International, announced the end of BET as a linear pay-TV channel in the UK market in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter

While BET remains a linear TV channel in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, BET is transitioning to "a digital-first brand" in the UK. 

It's not clear what the "digital-first" move for the UK, means for BET's "digital-first" aspirations for South Africa and Africa.  

"We are committed to growing the BET brand in the United Kingdom and to continuing to elevate Black love, joy, power and pride worldwide."

"BET is an authentic destination for Black culture globally, and we are certain this move will strengthen the brand presence in the United Kingdom as we super-serve lovers of Black culture with rich and diverse content across our streaming services."

Monde Twala said that "By investing in local content and focusing our United Kingdom future on streaming, we can connect with a larger base of fans in a deeper, authentic and more meaningful way."

"Every market is different, but streaming is a key pillar in making sure that the BET brand resonates and is successful. It's about being where the audience is. What we want to make sure we do is become a significant destination for talent and serve audiences that follow Black culture and entertainment."

MultiChoice has added Kenya's HOPE TV as a DStv pop-up channel for the 2021 Easter period for all subscribers.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice has added the Kenyan HOPE TV as a pop-up TV channel to DStv for the 2021 Easter period.

On Tuesday afternoon 30 March, Atmosphere, MultiChoice's PR company for programming information, issued a press release to the media that HOPE TV (DStv 346) "will serve inspiring Easter-oriented content with extended worship sessions, messages from big names and quality kids’ programmes".

The press release doesn't state which DStv subscribers will get access to HOPE TV. 

An internet search indicates that MultiChoice added an article to the pay-TV service's blog on 25 March already, announcing that HOPE TV will be added as a pop-up channel. 

According to that information, HOPE TV already started on Monday 29 March on DStv and will run until Monday 5 April.

According to the information on the website, HOPE TV is available to all DStv subscribers across all DStv packages.

HOPE TV as a Christian TV channel apparently broadcast live ministry, sermons, talk shows, music, movies and children’s shows from the Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM), along with Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. 

HOPE TV carries content from the Christian ministries of Jon Courson, Ben Courson, Bill Gaither, Joyce Meyer, Mensa Otabil and Dr David Jeremiah with the 2021 Easter period that will include content from Reverend Kwame Rubadiri and Bishop Reverend Calisto Odede.

Programming on HOPE TV for the 2021 Easter period, according to the DStv website, include:

Good Friday Service
Reverend Kwame Rubadiri will lead the service, and narrate the story of the way of the cross, from Jesus’s condemnation to death, to his path as he took up his cross, while the CBS worship team enacts moments like the Last Supper. It includes music with scripture-based songs, recorded in a garden.
Friday, 2 April, 09:00

Easter Sunday Service
Bishop Reverend Calisto Odede brings viewers into the heart of Jesus’s death and resurrection, describing what life might have been like for his followers immediately after his death.
Sunday, 4 April, 09:00

YT Nation
This weekly live service talk show caters to teens and youth aged 13 to 30 years with live discussions and live worship.
Saturday, 3 April, 12:50

Life Chat
This 45-minute pre-recorded youth show gives youth a platform to have candid conversations on life-related issues that affect them.
Wednesday, 31 March, 17:15

Spotlight Live
This live talk show focuses on social issues affecting communities and families with a Christian perspective.
Wednesday, 31 March, 19:00, with a special Easter-themed episode on Sunday, 4 April 20:00

Yesu Ndiye Njia Live
Viewers' questions are answered about the Christian faith and biblical teaching.
Saturday, 3 April, 19:00

Watchand Pray Live
Viewers send in their prayer requests and call in to ask the show’s host to address their issues and pray with them.
Sunday, 4 April, 18:30

This children's show is a computer-animated series, teaching children moral truths and life lessons through the Bible-based adventures of 2 time-traveling children and their robot friend.
Saturday, 3 April, 07:30

Hope Junction
Contemporary music and African gospel music, along with talk. The show includes music videos,gospel music and artists, as well as choir performances.
Saturday, 3 April, 09:00

Testify brings you real stories and real people. Special guests who have faced extraordinary circumstances and have lived to tell the story come to the studio to talk about how they made it through, and how their unwavering faith and trust in God transformed situations.
Sunday, 4 April, 16:30

The Life of Jesus (film)
The story of Jesus (played by Henry Ian Cusick) as told in the book of John, narrated by Christopher Plummer. The movie is set during the Roman Empire’s control of Jerusalem, and contains four segments – an introduction to the nature of Jesus Christ, the tales of the disciples and miracles, the Last Supper and crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus.
Friday, 2 April, 11:30 (Part 1) & 18:00 (Part 2)

Walking With Jesus (miniseries)
This mini-series-turned-movie focuses on showing newcomers to Christianity how common events in African life can be experienced in a way that honours their commitment to following the words of Christ and walking in His footsteps. It addresses topics like the assurance of salvation, the fellowship of believers, the nature of the Holy Spirit, how to walk with the Spirit, and how to grow in Christ.
Wednesday, 31 March, 12:30

The Jesus Film
This story of Jesus for children combines 40 minutes of the original 1979 Jesus film with 22 minutes of new footage showing the stories of six children, living as they might have during the time of Christ. It’s an overview of Christ's life and ministry from a child’s point of view.
Saturday, 3 April, 06:30

Apostle Peter And The Last Supper (film)
Two jailers at the Mamertine Prison in Rome take custody of Simon Peter of Galilee, an apostle and disciple of Jesus. The elderly Peter recounts his life as a fisherman and his work as a leader in the Christian faith, and tells the story of the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion – a fate that awaited Peter, too.
Saturday, 3 April, 21:00

Magdalena: The Story of Jesus By Mary Magdalena (film)
This film portrays Jesus' compassion for women and his interactions with them, as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. Female-focussed scenes based on the gospels have been added to the 1979 Jesus film to tell of His encounters with Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman at the well, the woman who touched Jesus' garment, and the woman caught in adultery.
Monday, 5 April, 10:00

He Is Risen (film)
The animated, family-friendly movie focuses on the disciples’ eyewitness account of the last events in Jesus' life and His resurrection. 
Sunday, 4 April, 13:00

SABC3 adds the telenovelas Orphans of a Nation from Brazil and The Red Room from Turkey from April to join its locally-produced The Estate.

by Thinus Ferreira

SABC3 is adding two foreign telenovelas in April to complement its new locally-produced telenovela, The Estate, with both Orphans of a Nation from Brazil and The Red Room from Turkey joining the channel's schedule.

Orphans of a Nation (Órfãos da Terra) created by the Emmy Award winners Thelma Guedes and Duca Rachid tells the harrowing love story set within the modern-day context of refugees and immigrants from around the world who leave their countries for various reasons.

Orphans of a Nation that won an Emmy for best telenovela in 2020 starts in war-torn Syria and follows characters as they flee as refugees to Brazil. The telenovela will be broadcast from Mondays to Wednesdays from Monday 5 April at 18:30.

In the telenovela, Laila (Julia Dalavia) and Jamil (Renato Góes) arrive in Brazil to try to live the love that united them while they were still in the Middle East but she is a Syrian refugee and he is an employee of the powerful Sheik Aziz Abdallah, who forcibly took Laila as one of his wives.

"Orphans of a Nation has a great big love story at the centre of it but it also manages to place the drama in the real world of our time," says Pat van Heerden, SABC3 channel head.

"It awakens in us a sense of our connections as a country to the plight of our own refugees in South Africa that too have their love stories and pain from fleeing their native lands."

On Thursdays and Fridays at 18:30, SABC3 is scheduling the Turkish telenovela The Red Room (Kirmizi Oda) that premieres on Thursday 8 April and that is set inside a therapy clinic.

The Red Room - so-called for the colour of the practice's therapist Doctor Hanim (Binnur Kaya) - is based on the real-life experiences of an Istanbul doctor and writer Gülseren Budayicioglu.

"Thematically the show deals with the idea of confronting past trauma to be able to come into one’s full potential life - it depicts woman dramatically dealing with past abuse to want to live again," says Pat van Heerden.

"All of the fictional characters dramatized stories are based on real-life characters. This show will go out twice a week and it is meant to connect with the present South Africa we live in, where so many women live with abuse in their daily lives – here in The Red Room we see dramatic stories of hope and recovery."

The episodes are built around harrowing stories of the patients, while at the centre of the drama is the team of therapists in the clinic, and their own personal issues. These stories will be familiar to women, men and even children around the world and will open the eyes of many more.

"The Red Room is about reaching out as a real public service broadcaster to show a programme about overcoming violence and trauma in a community through therapy," says Pat van Heerden.

Orphans of a Nation and The Red Room lead into The Estate at 19:00 as SABC3's new locally-produced telenovela that replaces Isidingo.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

SHOCKER. Nigeria to fine brands and advertisers N100 000 per TV commercial if it's shown on CNN or international channels or was made in South Africa or America and not in Nigeria in propaganda minister Lai Mohammed's latest outrageous money-grab scheme.

by Thinus Ferreira

Nigeria's delusional-sounding national propaganda tzar says international brands broadcasting TV commercials on international TV channels like CNN International (DStv 401) inside Nigeria, as well as brands appearing in TV commercials aired on Nigerian television but filmed in other countries like South Africa, will now be fined R3 930 (N100 000) every time such a TV advert is shown on television.

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's often-criticised and deemed out-of-touch minister of information and culture, explained his latest outrageous-sounding scheme during an interview on the NTA channel's Good Morning Nigeria programme on Monday morning.

Lai Mohammed now wants to force all international brands and companies who advertise and run TV commercials during international soccer content on for instance MultiChoice's SuperSport TV channels on DStv, to also spend money and advertise during lesser watched Nigerian Premier Football League games.

The latest crazy-sounding plan hatched by the caustic Lai Mohammed is to fine all advertisers - for instance Guinness - who dare to advertise on CNN International and other internationally distributed TV channels carried on MultiChoice'sDStv, TStv or China's StarTimes, 100 000 naira for every single time such a TV commercial is shown on any of these pay-TV services.

Lai Mohammed has in the past been highly critical of international TV news channels like CNN International, as well as content like M-Net West Africa and MultiChoice Nigeria's Big Brother Naija.

"Let’s assume you have brought in La Liga, and during the matches, Guinness is advertised. We will compel you, we will compel Guinness to also advertise when we are playing a local league. That is the only way we can grow this industry but as can be expected, we have had very few supporters."

Lai Mohammed said that "If you do an advert in South Africa, you put it on CNN International and we look at that advert and we see that the advert was not made in Nigeria but actually made in South Africa, or you see that 5 times a day, it is on CNN, you pay half a million to us."

"The half a million will go to the Content Development Fund."

How Lai Mohammed wants to enforce his latest crazy scheme and how any advertiser can realistically be forced where they are to advertise, or how much, and what platforms, is not clear.

Besides TV commercials, a large number of Naija music videos have been and continue to be produced and filmed in South Africa.

Lai Mohammed appears to be cluelessly uninformed about how the global advertising industry works and doesn't understand that he will damage Nigeria's struggling economy even further.

If forced to pay fines, even more brands will simply leave and reject Nigeria as a territory and will remove their earmarked advertising spend instead of being forced to spend it on platforms with not enough or not the right target market of viewers, and in places where they don't see a return and where they don't want their product messages to be seen.

Lai Mohammed said that "What is common today is to see products made in Nigeria but the advert for those products are actually probably done in South Africa or in the United States".

"So, we amended the code to say that if a product you want to advertise in Nigeria territory is made in Nigeria, grown in Nigeria or processed in Nigeria, then you must make sure that the advert is also produced in Nigeria."

"Gulder is made, processed in Nigeria. If you go to South Africa to produce an advert which you are going to air to Nigerians because Nigerians consume Gulder, what we have amended the code to say is that for every time that advert is aired in Nigeria either on radio or television, you pay a fine of N100 000."

"We are not stopping you from making your production in America or South Africa but if you are going to advertise in Nigerian territory, you will pay a fine of N100 000. In other words, if Gulder makes an advert in South Africa and it is shown on NTA, if it shows it 10 times a day, it will pay a N100 000 fine 10 times," said Lai Mohammed.

"We went further to say that if a company should invest $1 million in bringing English Premier League to Nigeria, that company must also be ready to spend 30% of that $1 million in producing a local content along the same line."

"In other words, if Maltina or Guinness decides to bring in EPL, which is English football, we have no problem with that. But they must also invest in covering our local league to the tune of 30% of what he has paid."

'Ndinithanda nonke emakhaya': The end of an era as the SABC's isiXhosa news anchor Noxolo Grootboom signs off tonight after 37 years in the industry.

by Thinus Ferreira

The end of an era takes place this evening when the veteran SABC News anchor Noxolo Grootboom (60) will read her last TV news bulletin on SABC1 at 19:00 in isiXhosa on SABC Iindaba after bowing out after 37 in the industry.

The beloved SABC News news reader who also worked as a SABC News editor rose to fame with her SABC TV news isiXhosa bulletin sign-off closer, "Ndinithanda nonke emakhaya" that can loosely be translated as "I love you all at home".

In an on-air message that the SABC rarely, if ever before, do to salute departing SABC News TV anchors, SABC1 says "Catch her final news bulletin Tuesday at 19:00 on SABC1".

Noxolo Grootboom who grew up in Fort Beaufort in the rural Eastern Cape and got her name (mother of peace) from her grandparents, started her career at the SABC as a typist.

She climbed the career ladder inside the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters where she eventually made her way on-air as the widely-respected and beloved isiXhosa TV news anchor for over two decades.

In 2013 she anchored the funeral broadcast of South Africa's late president Nelson Mandela and returned in 2018 after she was asked to anchor the SABC's funeral proceedings for former first lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

"When I disappeared from the screens, many people thought that I had left the SABC when they didn't see me but I was still within the SABC News department as an editor in the output section," Noxolo Grootboom told the SABC's Radio 2000 in an interview on Monday.

Noxolo Grootboom who became one of the iconic South African TV news faces, skillfully used metaphors in her news reading and commentary to convey information to viewers and got kudos for proudly wearing traditional Xhosa and other African attire.

"When I made my move to Johannesburg it wasn't to pursue any career in media," she said. Noxolo was forced to move to Johannesburg just after she finished matric and stayed with her mom and her two brothers in Dube, Soweto.

"Coming from home with my own bedroom to stay in a room much smaller than my own bedroom, I made up my mind that I would look for a job to make sure that I take my family out of that misery."

"I wasn't eyeing any particular job at that moment. I just told myself that anything that I find I will do. I even said to my mom that even if I get a job as a street sweeper in Johannesburg I will sweep those streets until I become chief street sweeper or maybe a manager of street sweepers".

"In 1983 I got this job at the SABC as a typist and that's when all things started to happen," Noxolo Grootboom said. 

One day during lunchtime she bumped into a colleague working at a current affairs show who told her they're in desperate need of a secretary, and that is how she switched to SABC News' current affairs division.

"My days of TV news didn't start which is what many people know me. It started when I was that secretary at current affairs. We had only one presenter for our isiXhosa programme and for some reason he did not show up."

"He was not feeling well, and they realised that the programme has to go on-air and they don't have a presenter. And the manager said: 'Why the stress? I have a Xhosa in my office.' And there goes Noxolo - not even formally trained, with a doek. I went in and presented that programme."

"Moving forward one of the main isiXhosa news anchors then was not well, and they needed someone to hold the fort in her absence and so I was asked to hold the fort and I did that." From there the rest became history when Noxolo Grootboom became the face of the isiXhosa TV news.

About her signature sign-off, she says "one day I was writing my close in the office for the news bulletin and I thought to myself: 'What is it that I can say to show how much I appreciate the way they have welcomed me in their homes?' And I just thought that I will say 'dinithanda nonke emakhaya' ".

She said that what she will miss most will be "my children in the office - not just on the Xhosa desk. I'm such a rich person because I'm retiring with an army of children from the newsroom. I'm going to miss them dearly."

"And I'm going to miss doing what I love doing most."

621 SABC staffers out of jobs in the South African public broadcaster's 'extremely difficult' and 'emotionally charged' retrenchment process.

by Thinus Ferreira

A whopping 621 SABC staffers have lost their jobs at South Africa's public broadcaster in the "extremely difficult" and "emotionally charged" retrenchment process at the bloated, over-staffed and financially struggling SABC, with the broadcaster that said that it has concluded its Section 189 retrenchment process.

Labour costs are the SABC's single biggest expense on the balance sheet.

The SABC started issuing notices for a section 189 process in June 2020 that will conclude on 31 March 2021 that will see hundreds of SABC staffers without jobs - including married people leaving households with children without any parents having jobs.

The SABC's TV channels are also left without any publicity people who used to issue TV schedules, programming and publicity images, schedule updates, programming information and who handled media enquiries.

Out of the 621 SABC staffers, 346 opted for voluntary severance packages. Some were concerned about the impact of lower job scale codes resulting from the organisation-wide job evaluation process on their current salaries and their pension.

These SABC staffers took voluntary severance packages.

The SABC says the other 275 employees are those who occupied positions that have become redundant.

"The retrenchment process has been extremely difficult for all stakeholders and became emotionally charged at times," says Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO.

"The extended process unfortunately also created prolonged uncertainty and a sense of despondency for many. This was understandable and regrettable."

"However, despite these challenges, the section 189 process was a necessary component of the SABC's turnaround plan to ensure the public broadcaster's long term financial sustainability and capacity to fulfil its extensive public mandate."

Madoda Mxakwe says "The process was necessary to preserve and reposition the SABC as a resilient and viable public broadcaster and public media organisation.

"The SABC will continue to diligently serve the tens of millions of South Africans who rely on it for education, sport, news and entertainment, in all our languages."

"We remain committed to transforming the SABC and taking its content everywhere, across platforms, on all devices and in all our languages. We want to be part of preserving this national treasure which has the public interest at the very heart of its existence."

Monday, March 29, 2021

Production on Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series for Disney+ to start in April, more casting announced.

by Thinus Ferreira

Production on the Star Wars series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, for The Walt Disney Company's Disney+ streaming service will start in April with Disney that made several casting announcements for the limited series on Monday.

Several actors have been added to the Obi-Wan Kenobi series that will be headlined by Ewan McGregor reprising his role and with Hayden Christensen also returning; including Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.

It's very likely that Joel Edgerton will be reprising his role as the character of Owen Lars, the uncle of Luke Skywalker, which he played in the the Star Wars prequel trilogy films of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series will take place a decade after the events of Revenge of the Sith after which Anakin Skywalker who was Obi-Wan's Jedi apprentice has turned into the evil Sith lord Darth Vader.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow and Ewan McGregor. Joby Harold is the writer of the series which is one of several spin-offs that Disney has commissioned for Disney+ following the huge success of Star Wars: The Mandalorian.

IN IMAGES. 29 photos of eMedia Investments and the SABC's media event to announce their channels carriage agreement for Openview.

by Thinus Ferreira

On Thursday night eMedia Investments and the SABC in a joint media event, announced a groundbreaking channels carriage contract whereby several SABC TV channels and the SABC's 19 radio stations would now be carried on eMedia's Openview free-to-air satellite service.

eMedia and the SABC held the media event that was broadcast live on eNCA (Dstv 403) and SABC News (DStv 404) in one of the conference venues at the Tsogo Sun Hyde Park hotel.

The entire event was extremely well organised and look beautiful - a blend of corporate colours of eMedia and's red and black with the SABC touch of green, white and black.

With temperature checks, hand sanitiser and masks, it was the very first physical media launch that TVwithThinus attended in literally a year since everything shut down in March 2020 because of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

On the constructed stage in the venue, eNCA anchor Sally Burdett and SABC News reporter Aldrin Sampear interviewed Antonio Lee, eMedia Investments COO, as well as Ian Plaatjes, SABC COO, about the deal between eMedia and the South African public broadcaster.

Pabi Moloi who recently joined The Morning Show on as the latest presenter addition was the master of ceremonies.

Guests sipped on champagne, while waiters later took drinks orders and circulated with snacks and later an array of delectable desserts. 

Guests received an Openview set-top box (STB) and a black, SABC-branded mobile power bank in red goodie bags that were handed out at the end of the event.

Here are images from the event in 29 photos:

New 13-episode series Becoming on Mzansi Magic to follow the challenging lives of 4 transgender South Africans from 7 April.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net has filmed a new 13-episode gender transformation reality series, Becoming for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) that will be taking viewers inside the various first-person journeys that transgender South Africans go through in the process of changing to the gender that they identify with.

Becoming, produced by Connect TV, will debut on Mzansi Magic on 7 April at 20:00 with half-hour episodes.

Becoming will follow the lives of 4 trans people - Gina Sokoyi who died in late-2020 during the filming of the series, as well as Ramazan Ngobese, Yaya Mavundla and Gugu Kumalo as they face obstacles and various challenges, and will explore the psyche of transgender people as well as the barriers they need to overcome in order to live as their true selves.

Gina Sokoyi was a resident of Welkom in the Free State and worked as a junior lecturer at the Central University of Technology whilst studying towards a master’s degree in language practice.

Yaya Mavundla

Ramazan Ngobese

Gugu Kumalo

"The most compelling aspect about our content offering is that we give viewers content that is relevant to their lived experiences," says Nomsa Philiso, the director of local entertainment channels at M-Net.

"Our reality shows have grown in popularity over the past few years and this compelling series will not only entertain, it will inform and educate. It will hopefully help viewers understand how trans South Africans navigate through prejudice in their respective communities," she says.

Gina Sokoyi was a resident of Welkom in the Free State and worked as a junior lecturer at the Central University of Technology whilst studying towards a master’s degree in language practice.

"Viewers should expect an honest and heartfelt show that will reveal all aspects of gender transformation – from taking a closer look at psychological impact and gender dysmorphia, to hormonal changes and the emotional impact on each individual," Mzansi Magic says.

The 8-episode Genius: Aretha about the life and career of Aretha Franklin will start on National Geographic in Africa on 30 June.

by Thinus Ferreira

The next 8-episode season of the anthology series Genius on National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) entitled Genius: Aretha and which will elucidate the life of the singer Aretha Franklin, will start on Wednesday 30 June at 21:00 in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, with a special double-episode event, followed by a weekly single-episode broadcast thereafter.

Genius: Aretha as an authorised, scripted series, premiered and ended its run last week in the United States on National Geographic, meaning that South African viewers will see it three months later.

Cynthia Erivo portrays Aretha in the title role as the Queen of Soul, with Courtney B. Vance as CL Franklin.

Genius: Aretha explores Aretha Franklin’s life and career and the impact that the civil rights champion and singer has had on music and culture around the world.

Genius: Aretha features many of Franklin’s biggest recordings and hit songs from the comprehensive Warner Music catalogue.

The season also features a number of well-known personalities who crossed paths with Aretha Franklin, including Dinah Washington, King Curtis, Clara Ward, Art Tatum, Reverend James Cleveland, Sydney Pollack, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr, Curtis Mayfield and George Michael.

"Aretha Franklin’s voice was just one part of the incredible legacy she left behind, adding to her civil rights advocacy and her true musical genius, and so much more," says Evert van der Veer, vice president, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa, in a statement.

"National Geographic’s commitment to going deeper, pushing boundaries and going further is embodied in this definitive and awe-inspiring series, which we are thrilled to be bringing to viewers and fans across the continent this June."

Genius: Aretha is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment,with the season that is once again executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Suzan-Lori Parks is the showrunner, executive producer and lead writer, while Anthony Hemingway is also executive producer and serves as director.

The April 2021 edition of the National Geographic magazine that is available now has a beautiful 26-page section from page 112, with various article just about Aretha Franklin to coincide with the release of Genius: Aretha

Really fascinating long-read articles in the April issue of National Geographic range from "The Genius of Aretha" to "The Queen of Charts" and covers her entire biography, career and is filled with striking details like: "Aretha never had a music lesson", and even the making of the TV show.

"While everyone who listens to Western popular music knows the sound of her voice, very few people know her story - know the pain she suffered through, know the difficulties of her childhood, know that her mother died at a young age, know she didn't just burst onto the scene and find her sound," says Suzan-Lori Parks.