Saturday, April 30, 2022

Getroud met Rugby actor Runaldo Leighton Hendricks (27) dies in car accident.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Getroud met Rugby actor Runaldo Leighton Hendricks died in a car accident on Saturday. He was 27.

Netwerk24 first reported that the actor, who has appeared in the role of Stryders rugby player Zappa Hendricks on the weekday soap on kykNET (DStv 144) since the start of 2016, was killed in a car accident on Saturday morning.

On social media, the Getroud met Rugby show on Twitter said it "confirms the sad news that Runaldo Hendricks, the character Zappa in GMR, passed away this morning. We're thinking of his family. Rest in peace, Runaldo".

Runaldo Hendricks was apparently driving a friend's bakkie when he was killed in a car accident.

Michelle Nortje, Overberg Productions publicist, told TVwithThinus on Saturday that "Getroud met Rugby can confirm that Runaldo Hendricks passed away in a car accident this morning".

"Further details have not yet been confirmed. For us as Getroud met Rugby it's very sad to hear about his passing and our thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones."

Adriaan Marais who plays Buks Marais in the Overberg Productions show, on his Facebook page posted a message in Afrikaans and said "Ai Runaldo Leighton Hendricks, rest softly my dear friend. It was an absolute honour to have known you and to have worked with you and to have called you a friend".

"You'll be sorely missed. To you and your families, my prayers go out to you all, We are broken together with all of you. A lot of light and love to you all. Rest softly with our Heavenly Father, my friend".

In February kykNET announced that it has cancelled Getroud met Rugby with filming of the final season that will start in July and with the last episode which will be shown on 30 September.   

Thursday, April 28, 2022

MultiChoice and M-Net West Africa to launch lower-tiered Akwaaba Magic Abusua TV channel on 2 May on DStv and GOtv in Ghana, shows will include South Africa's Gomora dubbed with Ghanaian voices.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and M-Net West Africa will launch their new Akwaaba Magic Abusua (DStv 149) TV channel on 2 May at 16:00 for DStv subscribers and GOtv subscribers in Ghana to try and broaden the local content offering for lower-tiered subscribers, including shows like a dubbed version of South Africa's Gomora in Ghanaian voices.

Akwaaba Magic Abusua will rerun the first season of the telenovela Dede that was shown on Akwaaba Magic on weekdays, as well as series like To Have To Hold (Tuesdays, Wednesdays) and Inside Out (Thursdays) which is an adaptation of the South African series The Housekeepers.

Akwaaba Magic Abusua will also show Ghanaian-produced films.

Sanfoka on Fridays is billed as a "classic reality show that rekindles broken relationships, with Gomora from Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) in South Africa which is getting dubbed with Ghana voice actors.

Akwaaba Magic launched in March 2021 and created 500 jobs over the past year, with some of the original content on that channel now being repositioned for lower DStv subscribers and GOtv subscribers on lower packages as it's windowed down.

Kennedy Dankyi-Appah, Akwaaba Magic channel head, says "We are proud of the role that we are currently playing in the TV and entertainment sector in Ghana and will continuously study sociographic and economic factors that influence consumption in a competitive market and adjust ourselves accordingly to ensure that we are providing relevant and topical content at a great value".

Akwaaba Magic Abusua will be available to DStv Access, DStv Family, DStv Compact, DStv Compact Plus, and DStv Premium customers, as well as subscribers of GOtv Lite, GOtv Value, GOtv Plus, GOtv Max, and GOtv Supa.

MultiChoice slams eMedia in channels carriage fight, says it should use its own Openview to distribute its TV channels.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice has hit back at eMedia Investments that took the pay-TV operator to the Competition Tribunal for dumping its packaged TV channels from DStv, with MultiChoice slamming eMedia and saying that it should use its own free-to-air satellite service Openview to distribute its own TV channels.

eMedia and MultiChoice's presentations started this week before South Africa's Competition Tribunal in the TV channels carriage war between MultiChoice and eMedia Investments over eMedia's channels that the pay-TV operator decided to dump from DStv.

eMedia is seeking a 6-months interim relief order from the Competition Tribunal, pending the final determination of its complaint before the body.

While MultiChoice decided not to renew its contract with eMedia for the eMovies, eMovies Extra, eExtra and eToonz channels, MultiChoice has kept those channels on DStv for the time being while the case is being heard before the Competition Tribunal.

eMedia also carries these TV channels on its own, free-to-air satellite platform and service Openview.

MultiChoice has decided to keep eMedia's TV news channel eNCA (DStv 403) as well as in a new channels carriage contract, while the Afrikaans TV news bulletin supplied by eNCA to M-Net's kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) TV channels on DStv continues as well.

The commercial relationship between MultiChoice and eMedia has however been more than frigid for several years running.

After eMedia's presentation before the Competition Tribunal, MultiChoice in its turn slammed eMedia and said it should use its own Openview to show its TV channels.

While MultiChoice initially said that its decision not to continue to carry eMedia's other TV channels was due to "commercial reasons", MultiChoice now told the Competition Tribunal in this week's hearings that eMedia can use Openview to distribute its own content.

"Openview is a highly successful service. The papers show that this is not disputed by eMedia. It's grown and has continued to grow at a very rapid pace," the pay-TV operator told the hearing. 

"Openview has a market share of over 35%. This is not an insignificant means which eMedia itself has of broadcasting the channels."

MultiChoice said that "“Over and above that, eMedia has a range of other options to distribute the channels and the programmes on those channels. The content doesn't necessarily need to be distributed in the form of a TV channel. There are other ways that they can distribute and derive advertising revenue."

MultiChoice was referring to eMedia's video streaming service eVOD, with the e Extra TV channel which is also carried on China's StarTimes, under the StarSat brand in South Africa.

New 8-episode Desert Rose drama series from Quizzical Pictures with ensemble cast led by Neil Sandilands to debut on M-Net on 2 June with a new South African small-town story.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net's latest local drama series, Desert Rose, produced by Quizzical Pictures, will premiere on Thursday 2 June at 20:30 with another small-town story, similar to its current Recipes for Love and Murder.

MultiChoice's video streaming service Showmax initially announced Desert Rose as a Showmax Original but hasn't said anything about its development or production since. 

There's been no explanation for the switch of Desert Rose from Showmax to M-Net, and neither Showmax nor M-Net made any announcement when the series pickup changed platforms.
M-Net describes the 8-episode Desert Rose, set on a remote farm in the Northern Cape province, as "an evocative, emotional, quirky and cinematic new family-centred drama" that "mixes black comedy, suspense, crime, romance, sexiness and music while focusing on the unlikely reconnecting of a father and his children".

Desert Rose is directed by Cindy Lee and was written by screenwriter and showrunner Rohan Dickson.

Desert Rose stars Neil Sandilands as an erstwhile musician, who also wrote and performed much of the music in the drama series, accompanied by Theo Crous and Georgio Frazer Barry.

The rest of the Desert Rose ensemble cast includes Amalia Uys, Kai Luke Brümmer, Christia Visser, Tinarie van Wyk (also seen in Recipes for Love and Murder), Daniah de Villiers, Brandon Daniels, comedian Ben Voss, Tracy Lee Oliver, Danny Ross, Roeline Daneel, Craig Urbani, Melt Sieberhagen and David Viviers.

Desert Rose tells the story of the disenfranchised and the forgotten in a desert town through the Greyling family.

According to M-Net (DStv 101), Desert Rose "emotional and rooted in character, is a love letter to the misfit; to loss, loneliness and eccentricity; to broken relationships – and to South Africa itself".

"Inspired by Americana – highways, diners and gas stations – and thorny family drama with a quirky heart, prepare to explore the crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary."

In Desert RoseEben Greyling, the young son of an absent father refuses a request from the family's benefactor Van As to go fishing. This breaks the shackles of a long-time agreement – but the debt will not disappear and someone has to pay. 

The consequences of the broken agreement set off a series of escalating events as the family is forced to confront the mayhem that is sent their way.

Besides linear broadcast on M-Net, Desert Rose will also be available on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up.

KZN flooding: LG Electronics SA says it's working hard to prevent delivery disruption of LG products to retail and South African consumers.

by Thinus Ferreira

LG Electronics South Africa says it's been working hard to prevent distribution disruption of its goods and services following the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal that impacted the Durban harbour. 

LG Electronics SA, one of the biggest suppliers of home appliances including smartphones, OLED TV sets and other TV, audio and video equipment within the South African market, had a factory and warehouse in Durban but it was looted and burnt in July 2021 after which LG Electronics SA moved operations to Johannesburg.

Earlier this month South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province experienced extremely heavy rainfall that led to disastrous flooding and the loss of hundreds of lives. With a growing humanitarian disaster, billions of rand of damage were caused to infrastructure and property, including the Durban port and cargo containers.

In response to a media query, LG Electronics SA tells TVwithThinus that after July 2021 and the looting of its Durban-based factory in Cornubia Industrial Park in Sundew Road in north-Durban, LG moved operations to its South African headquarters in Johannesburg.

"Our team, like many other businesses, have been affected by the impact on product transported via the Durban port," says Jonkook Kang, president of LG Electronics South Africa.

"We are working hard to ensure continued delivery and service of LG products to our retail partners and South African consumers".

TVwithThinus also reached out to Samsung South Africa last week on how it has been affected but didn't get a response yet.

MultiChoice's Showmax adds a 50MB 'Max Data Saving' mode for video streaming.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice's video streaming service has added what it calls a 50MB "Max Data Saving" mode - something it says will only use 50 megabytes (MB) per hour.

"This is currently available within the iOS mobile version of the Showmax app and will be rolled out to Android app users soon," Showmax says.

Until now Showmax content consumed roughly around 300MB per hour, with up to 1.4GB for the highest possible video quality stream. its data saving mode has roughly been using 100MB.

"Showmax is designed for Africa: a mobile-first continent where the cost of data remains a barrier to streaming," says Barry Dubovsky, MultiChoice connected video chief operating officer (COO).

"Showmax was the first streaming service in Africa to make mobile downloads possible for offline viewing and the first to launch a mobile-only plan, so we want to keep tailor-making Showmax for African realities."

Algoa FM added to MultiChoice's DStv audio bouquet.

by Thinus Ferreira

Algoa FM in South Africa's Eastern Cape province has been added to MultiChoice's DStv audio bouquet on channel 837 and is available on all DStv packages.

"This has been a work in progress as well as a business objective for many years and I am delighted that we can finally tick this box," says Alfie Jay, Algoa FM managing director.

"Over the course of many years, holidaymakers returning home after a stint in 'Algoa Country', as we like to call it, have written to us asking why we're not on DStv's audio bouquet – finally we can answer in the affirmative," he says.

"Now that Radio Audience Measurement (RAMs) by the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRCSA) specifically recognises DStv radio channel listening, the timing couldn't have been better."

Amazon Prime Video now looking to hire a head of PR for Africa based in Cape Town, and a creative director to run its local marketing strategies for Amazon Originals.

by Thinus Ferreira

As Amazon Prime Video is working on staffing up its South African TV executive ranks with aspirations to dramatically expand its local South African content slate for Amazon Studios, the company is now also on the prowl to headhunt experienced South African marketing, ad industry and publicity execs for positions like creative director and a head of public relations for Africa.

Amazon will very likely offer extremely enticing salary packages to South African executives who decide to jump to Amazon Studios from MultiChoice or its DStv Media Sales, eMedia and, the SABC or any number of ad agencies if they can prove they have an in-depth knowledge of the local marketing and publicity landscape.

Amazon wants to headhunt marketing and publicity talent with a vast network of contacts, experience and creative ideas, who come not just with a good media contact list but also with excellent working relationships with the members of the press covering television and ad industry execs.

Amazon doesn't want to learn and slowly scale up as it ramps up efforts to expand the Amazon Prime Video brand and Amazon Studios local content commissioning in South Africa and Nigeria but is looking to poach top-tier execs from existing pay-TV operators and broadcasters like MultiChoice and, as well as agencies, who can step in and already know not just the people but the local lay of the land.  

Amazon is expected to also advertise and hire for a raft of publicity positions, and is now starting with looking to appoint a head of public relations for Africa, for Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

Amazon is looking for an experienced public relations professional to join the Amazon EMEA PR team to manage and lead their PR activity in Africa, with a focus on South Africa and Nigeria. 

Based in Cape Town, Amazon's head of PR will develop and execute the PR strategy for the region and lead local PR campaigns for Amazon Originals, exclusive content, the Amazon Prime Video service, Amazon Studios and the brand.

Amazon is also looking for a creative director to develop, propose and execute local creative marketing strategies, and to infuse global Amazon Prime Video strategies "with local nuances to grow brand love in Africa for Prime Video and our most strategic Amazon Originals content".

Amazon says the ideal candidate "will have a genuine passion for movies & TV, deep knowledge of the South African and Nigerian marketplaces, and a track record of delivering successful large-scale and innovative marketing campaigns".

Amazon Prime Video is battling MultiChoice's Showmax, Netflix SA, and Disney which will launch its new Disney+ video streaming service on 18 May in South Africa.

While Netflix's marketing and publicity execs sit in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Netflix is currently making use of Eclipse Communications and DNA Brand Architects for publicity.

While The Walt Disney Company Africa in South Africa has its own permanent marketing and PR execs, the company has outsourced some communications work to external publicists and is also using Atmosphere Communications as the launch agency to do Disney+ publicity.

MultiChoice which has permanent corporate and content publicists but fewer and on a lower scale than in years before, is currently using Duma Collective and JR Communications for DStv, some M-Net channels work, and its streamer Showmax; with Showmax itself also having its own in-house publicity staffers.

TV RATINGS March 2022: Big Brother Mzansi damages DStv's Mzansi Magic as SABC3 gets a BBC-boost with The Perfect Planet.

by Thinus Ferreira

The result of a badly-produced season of Big Brother Mzansi inflicted further TV ratings damage for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) on Sunday nights during March with the show that lost an eye-popping 25% of its viewership since its debut in February - which was already lower than Idols.

Elsewhere in the TV ratings race during March 2022, the ratings deflation of SABC2 continued, SABC3 brought in a slightly improved performance helped by the BBC's The Perfect Planet on Sunday evenings, while had a wedding glow.

March 2022's TV ratings had SABC1's Uzalo (7 million) and Generations (5.69 million), as well as's Scandal (4.89 million) and House of Zwide (4.36 million) retain their top four positions as South Africa's most-watched TV shows during the month.

On SABC1 Skeem Saam (up from 3.82 to 4.04 million) had slightly more viewers in March, with both the Xhosa TV news (2.64 million) and the Zulu TV news (2.59 million) remaining very strong as the two most-watched TV news bulletins in the country. 

The Siswati/Ndebele TV news also picked up viewers from 1.45 in February to 1.56 million.

The latest season of Nyan' Nyan' surged from 1.72 to 2.2 million viewers on SABC1, while Selimathunzi climbed from 1.62 million to 1.87 million viewers in March. 

The reality show, 13 Weeks to Find Mr Right is on a roll and will quite likely see another season: it picked up viewers from 1.55 in February to 1.78 million viewers in March.

SABC2 deflation
SABC2's ratings deflation problem continues. 

While Muvhango on SABC2 remained ever so slightly up at 3 309 806 viewers at most during March from February's 3 300 031 as the channel's most-watched show, the ratings of the rest of SABC2's schedule continue to weaken month by month.

In March, the pieces of programming on SABC2 that managed to lure more than 1 million viewers fell from five to just three. Besides Muvhango, only the Setswana/Sepedi TV news at 1 300 906 and Giyani at 1 026 424 lured more than a million eyeballs. 

In February the 20th most-watched show on SABC2 (the film Despicable Me) still had 440 663 viewers. In March it was further down to 379 094 viewers (for a Generations repeat). Quite worrying is that the bulk of SABC2's ratings is starting to look like SABC3 a few years ago.

On the good side is the morning show Morning Live holding steady and over-performing at 528 564 viewers on SABC2 on weekday mornings. Hlala Kwabafileyo was up from 822 831 to 873 471 viewers. The Afrikaans soap 7de Laan was slightly up in March from 824 566 to 897 861 viewers.

A Perfect Planet helps S3
SABC3's ratings performance looked slightly better with both its top and bottom end of 20 highest-rated shows on the channel showing an improvement.

The film The Hate U Give lured the most viewers during March to S3 with 576 562 viewers, compared to February's top of a repeat episode of The Estate at 490 709.

While The Insider SA was February's 20th most-watched show on the channel at 229 714 viewers, SABC3 improved that ratings position with March's 20th place holder on SABC3 which was an episode of the BBC's The Perfect Planet attracting 317 634 viewers.

The Perfect Planet in fact came to SABC3 rescue during the month with four episodes from the series on Sunday nights that helped to boost the channel's ratings and all making its list of most-watched shows for the month: "Oceans" with 475 695 viewers, "Weather" with 407 721, "Volcano" with 336 823, and "The Sun" on 13 March with 317 634 viewers. 

Variety-reality show The Masked Singer is doing okay-ish with 468 033 viewers given the channel's challenges. An original episode of the second season of local telenovela The Estate lured 352 741 viewers at most  - up from February's highest of 296 682.

Interesting to note: More viewers watch The Estate episodes as an omnibus on Saturdays than during the tough 19:00 weekday timeslot. In March The Estate omnibus pulled 464 564 viewers on Saturday. mixing and wedding matching
Free-to-air commercial channel continues to have the best mix in local and international both rating well with March that was no exception. 

Besides Scandal! and House of Zwide atop its ratings leaderboard, Imbewu turned in a slightly down but still fine third place with 3.44 million (down from February's 3.88 million), with Durban Gen surging from 2.16 to 2.51 million viewers during March.

Droves of viewers again watched Leon Schuster's Mr Bones (3.26 million) as the 4th most-watched content of the month on, with the channel's etv News bulletin at 20:00 at 1.96 million viewers that remains a strong ratings draw.

Pay-TV content chosen wisely, scheduled correctly and getting a public television window can still draw sizeable audiences with M-Net's Our Perfect Wedding that was on Mzansi Magic getting a great ratings reception on with 1.5 million viewers.

It's proof that pay-TV content windowed on free TV can work for all - leading to ancillary revenue for pay-TV operators through additional programme sales, and new ratings for free-to-air channels in turn making hay through ad income from pulling in new viewers who didn't watch the content before on pay-TV.'s new adult telenovela The Black Door got great sampling during March as well: An astounding 2.77 million viewers watched the preview filler on 28 March.

Big Brother Mzansi drags
In March, MultiChoice and Mzansi Magic continued to pay the price for the problems with a lacklustre Big Brother Mzansi that was marred with shoddy production values with more and more viewers who tuned out from the Sunday night live shows.  

Where Big Brother Mzansi started with 529 041 viewers in January (already lower than Idols SA), its drop in February to 487 770 continued in March to 396 192 viewers at most. That's a loss of 25% from the start of the revived show to March. It will be interesting to see if Big Brother Mzansi could muster a rating turn-around for its finale on 3 April.

It's striking that Mzansi Magic has now lost over 600 000 DStv subscribers on Sunday evenings compared to a year ago before the last season of Idols experienced a sudden and unprecedented ratings implosion.

Elsewhere on MultiChoice's platform during March, Gomora at 1 063 440 was the top-rated show on DStv for the month, followed by an episode of The Queen at 814 637 viewers. The River was third with 707 169, and then Diep City with 655 496 subscribers watching.

Umndeni on Moja Love (DStv 157) climbed from 482 880 to 514 116 viewers in March.

M-Net adds Ses'fikile as a bizarre late-night talk show spin-off to Mzansi Wethu for Big Brother Mzansi housemates to talk about their lives with Sol Phenduka as host.

by Thinus Ferreira

In a bizarre programming move, M-Net's Mzansi Wethu channel is doing a late-night talk show, Ses'fikile as a "spin-off" from Big Brother Mzansi, with some of the Big Brother Mzansi has-been contestants of the revived and concluded reality show season who will be talking about their lives.

Ses'fikile, starting Friday 29 April on Mzansi Wethu (DStv 163) at 21:30, will have a DJ Sol Phenduka as the presenter who is known as MacG.

Only seven of the housemates will appear on Ses'fikile.

The person will talk to the former housemates who haven't done much since they've exited Big Brother Mzansi, but Mzansi Magic says in a press release that they will talk to Sol Phenduka "about everything from their journey on the show to the opportunities that have presented themselves since, and what they believe the future holds for them".

Shirley Adonisi, M-Net director for local entertainment channels, says "We're excited to have our first original spin-off show that resonates with our audiences and that will no doubt keep our viewers entertained".

"Our objective is always to find new talent and nurture them as they take a leap into achieving their dreams. As a channel we are committed to the growth of our talent and this is one of the many ways we aim to facilitate this."

The SABC appoints Moshoeshoe Monare as the public broadcaster's new SABC News boss.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster has appointed Moshoeshoe Monare as the new SABC News boss, replacing Phathiswa Magopeni who was fired after an acrimonious breakdown between her, the SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe and SABC chairman Bongumusa Makhathini, who she accused of editorial interference in the newsroom.

After an internal review, which the SABC refused to make public, the broadcaster said that Phathsiwa Magopeni's accusations against Madoda Mxakwe and Bongumusa Makhathini over editorial interference were baseless.

Moshoeshoe Monare, currently the managing director of operations and corporate services at Arena Holdings is now taking over as the SABC's group executive for news and current affairs from June 2022.

Moshoeshoe Monare holds a national diploma in journalism from Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), a BA Honours degree and a post-graduate diploma in journalism from the University of Witwatersrand, an LLB from UNISA and completed a management advancement programme from Wits Business School.

With 25 years experience in the media industry Moshoeshoe Monare also served on the boards of organisations including Tiso Blackstar, the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and Publishers Support Services.

He worked as a reporter for the Pretoria News, The Star and the Sunday Times newspapers, as well as the SABC before occupying senior editorial positions as editor of The Sunday Independent, deputy editor of the Mail & Guardian, group political editor of Independent Newspapers, executive editor of The Star and managing editor of The Sunday Times and The Times. 

He also served as a member of the adjudication panel of the Press Council and is a former deputy chairperson of the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF). 

Boomerang catches Lucas the Spider in its TV web.

by Thinus Ferreira

The world's most adorable teensy-weensy is coming to television: The YouTube animation short clip about the cutest spider ever that has now been turned into a full animation series, Lucas the Spider, is coming to Boomerang (Dstv 302) on weekdays from Monday 2 May at 07:15.

Retaining the authenticity of the original shorts, the producers of the new 3D computer-generated animated show, Fresh TV, in association with WexWorks Media, created a full animation series around Lucas and his friends, bringing the arachnid's endearing perspective of the world to kids and their parents, with longer stories and new characters on the Boomerang Africa channel.

Lucas the spider is a happy, inquisitive, impossibly cute little jumping spider  - four years old and living in a big, bright Victorian house in the city across from a park. 

With the help of his group of friends – a dog, chameleon, fly, bumblebee, owl, and more – Lucas usually leaps head-first into adventure and discovery, making the most out of every moment while learning about what it means to be a loving friend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

eMedia and MultiChoice's TV channels carriage war heats up before Competition Tribunal as pay-TV operator is accused of bullying and undermining rivals.

by Thinus Ferreira

The presentations before South Africa's Competition Tribunal started on Monday in the TV channels carriage war between MultiChoice and eMedia Investments over eMedia's channels that the pay-TV operator decided to dump from DStv.

eMedia is seeking a 6-months interim relief order from the Competition Tribunal, pending the final determination of its complaint before the body.

While MultiChoice decided not to renew its contract with eMedia for the eMovies, eMovies Extra, eExtra and eToonz channels, MultiChoice has kept those channels on DStv for the time being while the case is being heard before the Competition Tribunal.

eMedia also carries these TV channels on its own, free-to-air satellite platform and service Openview.

eMedia has taken MultiChoice to the Competition Tribunal and is arguing that MultiChoice's behaviour is uncompetitive and damaging its own revenue potential through its so-called "exclusionary conduct", with allegations that MultiChoice is abusing its market dominance position.

eMedia wants the Competition Tribunal to prevent MultiChoice from dropping the eMovies, eMovies Extra, eExtra and eToonz channels from its DStv bouquet. The contract has however lapsed since MultiChoice first signed a channels carriage contract with eMedia in 2017.

eMedia told the Competition Tribunal that in its view MultiChoice has "no rational justification" for dumping its TV channels from DStv and that the move will damage its advertising revenue potential, channel and content growth, as well as broader market access and penetration.

eMedia in its submission alleges that "MultiChoice's foreclosure decision is motivated by anti-competitive objectives" and that it is nothing else than "a desire to exclude some of the most popular immediate entertainment channels from the DStv platform and thereby undermining eMedia's ability to broadcast and produce rival content in competition with DStv's own content channels".

MultiChoice on the other hand alleges that the pay-TV operator has decided not to renew the channels carriage agreement with eMedia because of legitimate commercial reasons and that it had to cut eMedia's channels to make space for at least 3 new TV channels from the SABC that MultiChoice will be compelled to carry on DStv as part of changing legislation.

MultiChoice also alleges that eMedia's TV channels don't meet MultiChoice's strategic objectives for DStv around things like local content, black economic empowerment, value propositions, and a drive to cut down on repeat and rebroadcast content for DStv subscribers.

eMedia says MultiChoice has enough transponder capacity to carry both the set of existing channels as well as the SABC's channels on the Intelsat IS-20 and Intelsat IS-36 satellites. MultiChoice disagrees.

eMedia says that eMedia gets substantial advertising revenue because its channels were carried on DStv. Since these TV channels have broader carriage on DStv and therefore have more viewers, can make more in TV commercials.

eMedia told the Competition Tribunal it believes that it could lose as much as 19% of its existing advertising revenue if MultiChoice removes its TV channels.

eMedia says that MultiChoice which wants to dump its set of channels is preventing eMedia from "competing effectively as a channel provider" in South Africa. 

It will also make it more difficult for advertisers to reach the market segments of viewers reached by eMedia's TV channels currently.

MultiChoice is allegedly "leveraging its dominance in the pay-TV market to prevent effective competition with rival channel providers such as eMedia, with the intention of increasing its share of television advertising spend on its own channels, with the ultimate objective of undermining eMedia as a competitor".

MultiChoice is arguing that even if it no longer carries the channels from eMedia, it doesn't mean that MultiChoice will be taking over and absorbing the available advertising revenue that used to go to eMedia.

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Estate: The latest on SABC3's ongoing rigmarole with 7pm - what you'll now see from tonight after The Estate: Rewind got dropped after just a week.

by Thinus Ferreira

Set to inflict both confusion and viewer whiplash, SABC3 is once again removing The Estate from its schedule from this evening after just a week's episodes of The Estate: Rewind was shown, suddenly replacing it with a rebroadcast of SABC1's drama series Family Secrets.

The third season of The Estate, produced by Clive Morris Productions, was supposed to continue seamlessly on S3 after the end of the second season but issues around the recommissioning process meant there will now be a gap of two months before viewers will see new episodes of the ratings-challenged show.

Earlier this month SABC3 announced that the third season of The Estate would start on 1 July. Then S3 announced that it has been brought forward to 20 June.

SABC3 initially planned to fill The Estate's timeslot with a rebroadcast of the SABC1 series Family Secrets with Khanyi Mbau, Katlego Danke, Vusi Kunene and Robert Whitehead and said that it would start on 18 April.

Then S3 suddenly announced that Family Secrets would no longer be on but that the channel would instead be showing a repackaged version of the first two seasons of The Estate, entitled The Estate: Rewind. The channel said that Family Secrets would now start on S3 on 16 May.  

The Estate: Rewind started Monday a week ago in the 19:00-timeslot with five episodes shown but has now suddenly been pulled from the schedule.

SABC3 abruptly removed The Estate: Rewind after just a week and will now start showing Family Secrets from today, Monday 25 April. There is no indication of when The Estate: Rewind will now start, or resume.

Pat van Heerden, SABC3 channel head, in response to a media query about the constant chopping and changing of the S3's 19:00-timeslot after this week's latest change to the timeslot, told TVwithThinus that "The Estate season 3 was supposed to be delivered for the channel in April".

"The recommission process started in July last year but delays occurred in the processes at SABC resulting in a gap on-air."

"The gap on-air increased as more delays occurred, meaning that the channel had to find solutions. Each time the date got pushed out the channel has to identify solutions and part of the problem is that we have no new stock in local drama to replace The Estate with."

"We are very keen for The Estate to be back on-air as it is a tentpole for the channel's schedule and as soon as this occurs the channel will stabilise."

MultiChoice adds Disney+ to its DStv Explora Ultra.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice will add the Disney+ to DStv Explora Ultra decoders as a bundled service when The Walt Disney Company launches its video streaming service on 18 May in South Africa.

Disney+ will join Netflix SA and Amazon Prime Video which are already available on the DStv Explora Ultra as subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) apps. 

The Disney+ fold-in is similar to the American and British launch of the streamer that comes included on the traditional pay-TV offerings of US and UK pay-TV services like Comcast and Sky, with linear TV channels carried on the traditional pay-TV packages and Disney+ made available as an extra.

"DStv customers can enjoy the benefits of exclusive contract packages and bundle deals, bringing all their entertainment needs to one central place. The partnership with Disney+ leads with an expanded choice of content, ease and convenience of subscription and payment, with the DStv Explora Ultra as an enabler," Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice CEO, says in a statement.

"Our customers can enjoy their favourite shows and movies anywhere, anytime, on our world-class platforms. The digital world has brought with it fundamental shifts and our customers are looking for convenient access to a portfolio of entertainment options."

Christine Service, Walt Disney Company Africa senior vice president and general manager, says "This is yet another proud milestone in our partnership with the MultiChoice Group".

"We are delighted to be collaborating to bring South African DStv subscribers access to Disney+'s incredible catalogue of films, series and exclusive content."

Lifetime TV channel on MultiChoice's DStv shuttered in Africa.

by Thinus Ferreira

After almost 8 years the version of the Lifetime (DStv 131) TV channel from A+E Networks shown in Africa is being shuttered at the end of May on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service following A+E Networks' termination of its channel in Europe.

A+E Networks UK launched Lifetime in July 2014 in South Africa and across other countries in sub-Saharan Africa as a female-centric brand in its stable of TV channels that once included a set of TV channels including History (DStv 186) and Crime+Investigation (CI).

At the time, A+E Networks UK executives said that they believed that there was a real gap in the market for Lifetime in South Africa as a female-centric entertainment TV channel.

Lifetime provided a mix of drama series, made-for-TV movies, scripted reality shows and factual entertainment programming, and produced some localised series like two seasons of Married at First Sight SA, Love at Second Swipe and Four Weddings South Africa.

"A+E Networks Africa is closing its Lifetime Africa channel, on both linear and non-linear platforms on
31 May 2022," says Nazarene Khan, A+E Networks Africa regional manager, in a statement.

"This follows the closure of Lifetime in Great Britain, Ireland and Malta and will coincide with the shutdown of the channel in Poland."

A+E Networks Africa says "We are proud to have brought audiences local shows such as Married At First Sight, Love At Second Swipe and Four Weddings South Africa. We have been delighted to have worked with local celebrities like AKA and Pabi Moloi."

"We thank our viewers and clients for their invaluable support over the years. A+E Networks Africa's History channel is still available on DStv and Crime + Investigation Play will remain active in the

Friday, April 22, 2022

BET Africa adds pop culture commentary show Culture Code to Saturdays exploring 'what we love and love to hate about South Africa'.

by Thinus Ferreira

BET Africa (DStv 129) is adding Culture Code, produced by Naledi Networks, as a new 12-episode pop culture commentary series from Saturday 23 April at 19:30 that will "explore the things we love and love to hate about South Africa and being South African".

Monde Twala, senior vice president and general manager for Paramount Africa, says "Culture Code reflects upon mainstream pop-culture and influence" and that the series "aims to share modern-day trends, lingo, expressions and behaviours. BET Africa is committed to ensure that culture is seen, heard and celebrated".

Various commentators, including so-called "social media influencers" will appear on Culture Code and give comments about various pop culture topics.

BET Africa says Culture Code is part of the BET Africa brand campaign, "Rooted in Culture" that "aims to celebrate black culture through the perspective of our beloved influencers and celebrities".

New SuperSport TV special, Life Lessons: Father to Son, shows 3 former soccer players talking to their sons about playing and pitfalls.

by Thinus Ferreira

SuprSport has produced a TV special, Life Lessons: Father to Son, that will be shown on SuperSport Variety 4 (DStv 209) on Friday 22 April at 18:30 in which three former professional players who now have sons playing in the DStv Diski Challenge talk about the lessons they're telling their sons.

Life Lessons: Father to Son could be turned into a series but for now is a once-off TV special. 

Life Lessons: Father to Son was filmed in the Kruger National Park with fathers Eugene Zwane, Fabian McCarthy and Manqoba Ngwenya discussing "the good, the bad and the ugly" of their sport with sons Samkelo, Aden and Thandolwethu.

"This is about adequately equipping Diski Challenge players with the know-how of avoiding the trappings that are part and parcel of a professional football career," says Collen Dlamini, MultiChoice group executive for corporate affairs, in a statement.

"It is important to shape the next generation of our footballers into responsible and socially conscious young men because football development is not only about what goes on in the field of play – off-field development is equally important."

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Production starts on 26-episode National Geographic Kids Africa as edutainment children series in East Africa set for The Disney Channel and Nat Geo WILD in late-2022.

by Thinus Ferreira

National Geographic says production has started on National Geographic Kids Africa as an edutainment series for children, filmed in Africa that will be broadcast later in 2022 on The Disney Channel (DStv 303) and Nat Geo WILD (DStv 182 / StarSat 221) channels.

The first group of presenters will be Mysha Hodson (13), Marita Lucas (12), Shanah Manjeru (14), Railey Mwai (10) and Adarsh Nagda (12) who will serve as studio and Nairobi-based hosts in Kenya for National Geographic Kids Africa.

The production, with Kenya's White Rhino Films as production partner, is currently casting for field presenters who will be doing segments for the show from other regions of Kenya; as well as from countries like Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania.

National Geographic Kids Africa will initially have 26 episodes and is filmed primarily in East Africa, with additional filming in West and Southern Africa.

National Geographic Kids Africa is a project of The Walt Disney Company, supported by Wildlife Direct, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Department of State.

"National Geographic Kids Africa is a collaborative effort to celebrate the environment and raise awareness of conservation and associated issues through a factual entertainment programme for children," says National Geographic in a statement.

"The project aims to inspire and promote positive behaviours among its audiences to protect the world in which they live, through engendering a deeper understanding of their environments."

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

South Africa's KZN flooding disaster: How flooded sets paused production and pushed out filming on Uzalo, Durban Gen, Imbewu and a movie.

by Thinus Ferreira

With flooded sets and casts and crew unable to get to work, the destructive rainfall and disastrous flooding in KwaZulu-Natal also damaged South Africa's TV and film industry as it disrupted production of Uzalo as the country's biggest TV show as well as other television series filmed in the province, with at least one locally-shot film that has to pause and push out its start of filming to next month.

South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province is dealing with a growing humanitarian disaster with more than 448 people who have lost their lives so far and billions of rand of damage to infrastructure and property.

The country's cabinet has declared a National State of Disaster in response to floods while KwaZulu-Natal based productions, making some of the biggest shows on South African television are also assessing the damage the floodwater wrought and picking up the pieces.

Uzalo on SABC1 and Durban Gen on that saw flooded sets and Imbewu on - all filmed in the province - had to halt production but have and are resuming production again.

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZFC) tells TVwithThinus "the floods affected every community in KwaZulu-Natal. Most of the work in TV and film had to be put on hold due to lack of electricity, water and the roads being closed".

"We have not received any updates regarding most productions that had to be paused, however as productions usually take place around the KwaZulu-Natal area, there is a high possibility that they were also affected."

"A feature film called The Score was due to film from 19 April but due to the devastation experience in the province, they had to delay production until 16 May. We are still in the process of determining whether there were other projected affected."

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission says it is waiting to hear from producers to indicate what assistance they would need from the commission's side in order to get back in schedule with their filming processes.

"As the industry and an agency of the state, we are comforted by the fact that the government has made an estimation of the loss and are working on ensuring that people's livelihood are restored."

Stained Glass TV, the production company responsible for Uzalo - the most-watched show on South African television and most-watched show on the SABC that drew over 7 million viewers in March on SABC1 - told TVwithThinus that the prime time telenovela had to shut down production for 5 days but has resumed filming.  

The prime time soap Durban Gen, also produced by Stained Glass TV for eMedia's that lured 2.51 million viewers in March, also had to deal with flooded sets and shut down production for one day and for two days worked with cast and crew who could make it to work.

"Like most of KwaZulu-Natal our productions were also gravely impacted by the floods," Stained Glass TV spokesperson Nomfundo Zondi tells TVwithThinus.

"On both productions, we couldn't shoot for numerous days due to our sets being flooded and cast and crew being unable to make the journey to work. Lastly, all location and street scenes were temporarily halted simply because the weather wasn't conducive."

"Fortunately, we were able to quickly make the necessary reparations to the sets to resume production. Our hearts are with all those impacted, It is indeed a tough time for KwaZulu-Natal as many have not only lost jobs and homes but loved ones as well," she says.

Production will resume today on Imbewu, the prime time soap from Grapevine Productions on that lured 3.44 million viewers in March and which is also filmed in the flood-ravaged province.

"Due to weather conditions and flooding, some personnel were severely impacted and unable to travel to work," spokesperson Nilesh Singh says.

"As such, the production was halted on 12 and 13 April. A production break of one week for Easter, starting on 14 April was already scheduled and the production will resume as normal on Wednesday".

Netflix shocks with loss of 200 000 subscribers, to add advertising and tighten password-sharing.

by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix shocked and saw its share price fall when the world's leading video streaming service on Tuesday night revealed a growth-reversal with a loss of 200 000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, and saying that it plans to add advertising within a year or two and will further tighten password-sharing to try and boost subscriber growth.

Netflix released its first quarter results late on Tuesday, shocking the market when it announced that it missed its projected target of adding 2.5 million new subscribers by 31 March and instead lost 200 000 subscribers to now stand at 221.64 million global subscribers - its first loss in its subscriber tally since October 2011.

Netflix still added 8.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2021. Netflix now projects to lose subscribers again - and even more - announcing that it projects to lose 2 million subscribers during the second quarter of 2022.

Netflix also lost 700 000 subscribers in Russia after it suspended its service following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its war with the neighbouring country.

In its quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix blamed password-sharing, saying 100 million more homes access its content through password-sharing beyond the 221.6 million paying subscribers.

"Account sharing as a percentage of our paying membership hasn't changed much over the years, but, coupled with the first factor, means it's harder to grow membership in many markets - an issue that was obscured by our Covid growth," the streamer said.

Netflix is also indicating that it's facing bigger competition from rivals. In South Africa, Netflix and MultiChoice's Showmax together with Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ will for instance now also compete from 18 May with Disney's Disney+ streamer when it launches locally, giving video consumers even more choice.

"Competition for viewing with linear TV as well as YouTube, Amazon and Hulu has been robust for the last 15 years. However, over the last three years, as traditional entertainment companies realised streaming is the future, many new streaming services have also launched," Netflix says. 

"Our plan is to reaccelerate our viewing and revenue growth by continuing to improve all aspects of Netflix - in particular the quality of our programming and recommendations, which is what our members value most."

Adding ads
After Reed Hastings, Netflix founder and co-CEO said for years that he was adamant that Netflix won't be showing or carrying TV commercials, Netflix did a turnaround on Tuesday when Hastings in the company's pre-recorded quarterly earnings interview said that Netflix is going to start showing adds and will begin to experiment with cheaper, ad-support packages that will lower the subscription fee cost to consumers.

Netflix now plans to introduce AVOD in a cheaper subscriber option, similar to what eMedia has in South Africa with's eVOD video streaming service.

Disney also announced recently that Disney+ will be introducing a cheaper ad-supported Disney+ package later this year in the United States, that it plans to roll out internationally in 2023.

"Those that have followed Netflix know that I've been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription," Reed Hasting said.

"But as much as I'm a fan of that, I'm a bigger fan of consumer choice. And allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price and are advertising-tolerant to get what they want, makes a lot of sense."

"Allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price and are advertising-tolerant get what they want, makes a lot of sense. So, that's something we're looking at now; we're trying to figure out over the next year or two. Think of us as quite open to offering even lower prices with advertising as a consumer choice."

"It's working for Hulu, Disney's doing it, HBO did it. All these companies have figured it out. I'm sure we'll just get in and figure it out, as opposed to test it and maybe do it or not do it."

Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer and co-CEO, in the pre-recorded quarterly earnings presentation said "We've got to compete, and we've got to continue to improve on the core service which is making TV series and films and now games that people really love".

"That's what we're really focused on and that's a thing we can continue to grow the business in."

"We talked about being highly penetrated in some of those core markets with users, which means that it's harder to get them to join Netflix if they are already using Netflix. So we've got to figure out these different models that we're doing now to more effectively monetise that viewing."