Thursday, September 29, 2022

eMedia's Openview adds BBC Studios' BBC UKTV as a British free-to-air TV channel in South Africa.

by Thinus Ferreira

BBC Studios and eMedia's Openview free-to-air satellite service in South Africa will be adding BBC UKTV from 18 October 2022 as Openview and BBC Studio's first free-to-view channel in South Africa.

Openview used to carry BBC World News but Openview dumped that very well-liked TV news channel after a while.

BBC UKTV will be added to Openview on channel 114 from 18 October which will be the BBC's 100th birthday. Neither Openview nor BBC Studios are saying for how long the initial channel carriage agreement is.

BBC UKTV's programming will include a variety of entertainment, soaps, documentaries and children's shows. 

BBC Studios Africa already has a well-established set of TV channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, including BBC World News, BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Earth and CBeebies.

BBC Kids has been added for MTN customers in South Africa recently. In Australia and New Zealand the version of BBC UKTV is a pay-TV channel.

BBC Studios says that the BBC UKTV's schedule for South Africa is compiled to "match the viewing habits of families in South Africa".

On BBC UKTV there will be a lot of shows DStv subscribers have seen, ranging from factual entertainment like The Great British Bake Off (season 8) and cooking shows Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook and Mary Berry Cooks to motoring shows such as Million Dollar Car Hunters on Thursdays at 20:55 and classic Top Gear (season 19) which will air weekdays at 20:00.

The British hospital based soap Casualty (season 36) will debut in South Africa every Thursday at 18:20 and Doctors (season 22) will premiere weekdays at 19:00.

The long-running sitcom My Family (season 1) joins the channel launch line-up which follows the trials and tribulations of a British family, starring American-British actress Zoë Wanamake and British actor Kris Marshall airing at 06:00 and 19:30 every day.

Viewers will be able to experience the BBC's incredible natural history collection every day at 09:00 and weekdays from 15:35. These will include the BBC Studios Natural History Unit's nature documentary Wild Africa weekdays at 15:35 to unique local travelogue exploring Africa, Africa with Ade Adepitan, Tuesdays at 21:00. 

There will also be a selection of Sir David Attenborough's fascinating docuseries; Big Bird, Giant Dinosaur, Giant Egg, Fabulous Frogs and Natural Curiosities on BBC UKTV later in 2022.

For children up to 12 there will be kids entertainment between 06:00 and 09:00, including the first seasons of the action-packed geographical adventure, Go Jetters, children's cookery show, My World Kitchen, wildlife show, Andy’s Safari Adventures and My Pet & Me which helps children appreciate what it really means to have a pet.

"We are proud to partner with Openview to launch our first ever free-to-view channel in South Africa," says Arran Tindall, senior vice president, for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) key market region at BBC Studios.

"The launch will enable us to reach wider audiences utilising the richness of the BBC's catalogue across multiple genres. I can't wait for new families in South Africa to experience the very best of British content and discover their new favourite shows."

Pierre Cloete, BBC Studios Africa commercial director, says "I am so excited for even more families in South Africa to access BBC Studios' incredible catalogue of bold, British shows".

"From British soaps, fascinating documentaries and children's shows, BBC UKTV has been carefully crafted to match the viewing habits of the whole family, providing all age groups entertainment at every moment of the day."

Marlon Davids, group executive for programming, says "Openview is a growing platform and constantly adding new channels and genres to appeal to a broad audience".

"Earlier this year we added eXposed, ePlesier and The Home Channel+. We are pleased and excited to give our audiences even more choice, and more of the best in world-class entertainment with the addition of BBC UKTV."

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Ultimate Braai Master back for season 8 and new host on in 2023.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African competition reality show Ultimate Braai Master will be back for an 8th season in 2023 on and will be switching to the Western Cape, with creator Justin Bonello stepping away as host but retaining judges Peter Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng.

With a new host still to be announced, season 8 of Ultimate Braai Master will be on from 5 February 2023 at 17:00, with the show telling TVwithThinus it will be filmed between 26 October and 2 December and in the Western Cape this year for 13 episodes after two seasons shot in the Eastern Cape.

With over 8 million viewers who watched season 7 on as well as on the eXtra and eReality channels on eMedia's Openview satellite service, the show was also picked up by Netflix for a global audience since February this year.

"Another very exciting chapter in the Ultimate Braai Master journey lies ahead of us," says Sivan Pillay, Trace Studios CEO. 

"Trace Studios looks forward to producing another series and is very excited about the sponsor partnerships that G2Connection has brought to the Ultimate Braai Master brand. In addition, there will be a new host presenting the show this round."

The 8th season of Ultimate Braai Master will feature 10 teams having to braai all kinds of food in various locations in all kinds of manner, and will be filmed in the Western Cape. 

The season plans to "showcase the wealth of produce celebrated in the region, from free range dairy and grain fed cattle, to fresh grown organic vegetables from farm to braai to table".

HFPA's scandal-riddled 80th Golden Globes to return to television with awards show on 10 January 2023.

by Thinus Ferreira

America's scandal-riddled Golden Globe Awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the precursor of the annual Oscars, will return to television in 2023 for the 80th Golden Globe Awards on 10 January, meaning that M-Net (DStv 101) will broadcast it for DStv subscribers in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa early that morning, and again as a recorded awards show during primetime.

The HFPA and America's NBC TV network announced in a statement that the 80th Golden Globe Awards will be taking place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on 10 January 2023 as a once-off deal.

The return to television of the scandal-damaged Golden Globes comes after massive negative exposure and a backlash from America's TV and film industry following shocking exposes about HFPA practises, a lack of diversity in its closed membership ranks with no black members, and the HFPA promising to reform but continuing to fail to adequately change.

The HFPA will announce the nominations for the 80th Golden Globes on 12 December 2022. 

"We recognise the HFPA's commitment to ongoing change and look forward to welcoming back the Golden Globes to NBC for its landmark 80th anniversary in January 2023." says Frances Berwick, chairman of entertainment networks at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, in a statement.

Helen Hoehne, HFPA president, in the statement, says "We are thrilled to announce the return of the Golden Globe Awards on NBC and to hosting the party of the year for audiences around the world who have been waiting for its return".

"It's great to be back at the Beverly Hilton for the must-see celebration recognising the best in film and television. The HFPA remains committed to important changes and supporting programmes which prioritise diversity, inclusion, and transparency."

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The fifth Joburg Film Festival 2023 launches workshop sessions for young filmmakers and Young Voices short film competition to showcase Gauteng townships.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Joburg Film Festival will be taking place again in Johannesburg for a fifth time, from 31 January to 5 February 2023. In the run-up to that, the festival is doing a youth and audience development programme during October and November to help upskill young upcoming filmmakers, as well as Young Voices Short Film competition.

The Joburg Film Festival's development programme is taking place in Gauteng during October in the form of various workshop sessions, where those attending will also be able to network and make new contacts besides learning new skills through mentorships and internship opportunities which might follow from that.

Young people between 18 and 35 who are students or young and aspiring filmmakers from previously disadvantaged communities can enter to take part in the film festival's development programme which covers topics ranging from directing, performance and story conceptualisation to production, editing and animation.

The programme spans across 2 days of filmmaking workshops, as well as a 2-day acting workshop.

The first one is taking place on 8 and 9 October in Sedibeng (Chris Hani Sports Complex, Orange Farm, 10:00 - 17:00), followed by the West Rand on 22 and 23 October (Gauteng Archive Centre Kagiso, Krugersdorp, 10:00 - 17:00), Ekurhuleni on 5 and 6 November (venue to be confirmed, 10:00 - 17:00), and Tshwane on 26 and 27 November (venue to be confirmed). 

The Johannesburg regional session will be taking place in January 2023.

Registration is free and can be done by anyone with a valid matric certificate on the film festival's website at

The 2023 Joburg Film Festival is also doing a Young Voices Short Film competition under the banner of "What inspires you about your township?"

For this short film competition three winners will be selected from across five regions who will receive a range of prizes and with one filmmaker chosen to get a scholarship. Details to enter the short film competition is also on the festival's website.

MultiChoice to add the Moonbug Kids TV channel to DStv in October.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice will be adding the Moonbug Kids TV channel to DStv in October, bringing content from several well-known YouTube shows to subscribers in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa like Blippi, CoComelon, Gecko's Garage, Arpo, Morphle as well as Little Angel and Oddbods.

The Moonbug Kids channel, run by the British company Moonbug Entertainment, already launched elsewhere in the world, for instance on Sky in the United Kingdom in mid-2020 with many of the Moonbug shows available to stream for free on YouTube.

Georginah Machiridza, MultiChoice head of content strategy and third party channels, in a statement says MultiChoice "constantly reviews its channel offering to ensure we continue to bring our customers the best quality local and international content, and we believe that Moonbug Kids is exactly what our customers have been asking for".

Moonbug Kids will broadcast in English in 45 African countries.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Quizzical Pictures COO Odirile Mekwa upped as new managing director after acquiring a stake in the production company, Harriet Gavshon shifting to creative director role.

by Thinus Ferreira

The chartered accountant Odirile Mekwa who has been chief operating officer (COO) of Quizzical Pictures is becoming its new managing director after acquiring a stake in the South African production company, replacing producer Harriet Gavshon who is becoming creative director.

Quizzical Pictures is now 71% black-owned. Andile Khumalo is the majority shareholder in Quizzical Pictures, with the balance owned by founders Harriet Gavshon and David Jimmy. Harriet Gavshon who has been running Quizzical Pictures for the past 28 years is moving to the creative director role.

The rest of the Quizzical Pictures management team consists of JP Potgieter as senior producer and Nimrod Geva as head of development, with Kwena Ngoasheng as financial manager.

Quizzical Pictures has produced numerous TV series for various South African TV channels over the past almost three decades, including a number of international co-productions. 

Established in 1993 as Weekly Mail Television, then Mail and Guardian Television, the production company was spun out in 1999 as Curious Pictures and rebranded as Quizzical Pictures in 2012.

The production company produced shows like the first Showmax Original drama series, The Girl from St. Agnes for MultiChoice's video streaming service Showmax, and the last few years the drama series Reyka and Desert Rose for M-Net (DStv 101), Swartwater for SABC2, the long-running Rhythm City weekday soap for, and Savage Beauty for Netflix Africa as one of the first original series for Netflix South Africa.

Other series include Lithapo for SABC2, MTV Shuga Down South for Viacom Africa now Paramount Africa, MasterChef SA for M-Net, Hard Copy for SABC3, Umlilo for, Intersexions for SABC1, and several others.

Recently Quizzical Pictures has strategically been eyeing more and more international co-productions and international sales for series filmed in South Africa,

Odirile Mekwa says "These are most exciting times for African content producers. There is a growing appetite for our stories. The last few years have seen Quizzical Pictures, and our peers integrate into an increasingly global television and film marketplace. This development is transforming our industry and business practices at a fast pace".

"This growth makes us very excited for the future as it affords us the opportunity to share our ever-improving expertise and storytelling with our traditional customer base, and now also with business partners from across borders and continents."

Harriet Gavshon says "I am excited about our upcoming slate of co-productions and projects and delighted to have the space to give them the attention they deserve".

StarTimes Media SA continues to create new jobs with dubbing of global telenovelas into South African languages on StarSat, says diverse slate of Zulu-dubbed series from several countries planned.

by Thinus Ferreira

StarTimes Media SA says it continues to create new jobs in South Africa's film and TV industry through the use of its Midrand-based dubbing studios to create new voiceover soundtracks in Zulu and other South African languages for global telenovelas on its StarSat satellite pay-TV service - and that several more Zulu-dubbed series are in the works.

eMedia was first to start dubbing international telenovelas for its set of TV channels in South Africa into Afrikaans, along with ZEE Africa also doing dubbing work into English and other languages.

This was followed by StarTimes Media SA which started to dub international telenovelas into Zulu. Lately MultiChoice is also using its Dolby Atmos equipped studio in Randburg to now dub Turkish telenovelas into Afrikaans for M-Net's Afrikaans-run kykNET channels on DStv.

"In 2021 StarSat launched its state-of-the-art dubbing studios in Midrand, South Africa. The main objective of its new initiative is to adapt its best-performing telenovelas to Zulu and other indigenous South African languages," says Debbie Wu, On Digital Media (ODM) CEO.

"We are very excited about the possibility of ensuring the widest accessibility of South African audiences to award-winning telenovelas dubbed into main indigenous languages."

"Our dubbing initiative continues to create many new jobs along the value chain. Since the launch of our dubbing studios, we have recruited and trained numerous South African youth as voice actors, directors, translators, editors, and sound engineers."

StarSat says that based on the recent success of the Zulu-dubbed version of the Philippine novella The Blood Sisters, StarSat has since launched a Zulu version of the popular Zee TV novella Waaris: Indlalifa.

StarSat says a diverse slate of more Zulu-dubbed telenovelas from Mexico, South Korea, Spain and India are in the works to be broadcast on StarSat's StarTimes RISE (StarSat 120) channel.

"Running parallel to our novella content adaption strategy is our focus on delivering the best English novellas to more South Africans," says Debbie Wu.

"We are proud to announce the broadcast of the Philippine novella La Vida Lena on the StarTimes Novella E Plus channel. Another novella 'must-see' is Zee Novella's My Left Side – the story of a powerful woman whose riches-to-rags experience puts her in direct conflict and interest with a man who has lived in the lap of luxury his whole life."

La Vida Lena is shown daily on ST Novella E Plus (StarTimes 128) at 20:40. My Left Side is shown daily on ST Novella E (StarSat 127) at 19:00. Love by Chance is shown daily on StarLife (StarSat 550) at 18:00.

Mzansi Magic adds Marriage Boot Camp rip-off reality series Forever Maybe while Phumeza and Mnqobi 'Shota' Mdabe sell TV wedding rights for 4-episode special.

by Thinus Ferreira

Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) is adding a new marriage conflict reality show which is a rip-off of the American Marriage Boot Camp series which will have Lerato Kganyago as presenter, as well as a 4-episode wedding special after actress Phumeza Mdabe and music producer Mnqobi "Shota" Mdabe sold the TV rights to the M-Net packaged channel.

Forever Maybe, a rip-off of the American series Marriage Boot Camp, will start on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) on Sunday 6 October at 19:00 with presenter Lerato Kganyago who is known for her own tumultuous personal relationships, and psychologist Lindelani Magubane showing "how couples navigate through marital crisis" according to the channel.

Mzansi Magic in a press release says "Four couples will move into a house to either try and find a healthier path in their union or call it quits forever".

Shirley Adonisi, M-Net director of local entertainment channels, says "Mzansi Magic's reality shows are loved by our audiences – it's a genre that resonates strongly with them because they are authentic and relatable".

"With the addition of Forever Maybe to our Sunday slate, we know that we are providing infotainment that could also help the viewers at home take the first step towards navigating their own interpersonal relationships in a healthier manner."

Meanwhile, Phumeza Mdabe, an actress, and her husband and music producer Mnqobi "Shota" Mdabe is the next South African couple who have sold their TV wedding rights to M-Net like Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Motaung, Dineo Moeketsi and Solo Langa, as well as Minnie Dlamini and Quinton Jones.

Mzansi Magic will broadcast it as a 4-episode special from 24 September at 18:00 titled PS: I Love You, Phumeza and Shota's Wedding Special.

The couple will show DStv subscribers their rites of umembeso and umbondo, followed by wedding.

Shirley Adonisi says "reality is one of the genres our viewers love the most, and while they enjoy the stories of everyday people being told on screen, our specials and shows that take us into the lives of public figures also fan favourites".

"September marks the start of the South African wedding season, so it's appropriate that we introduce a wedding special at this time. Phumeza and Shota are among the most private couples in South Africa, so it will be a treat for viewers to see them open up."

"We explore the couple's relationship with one another, as well as their relationships with their respective families. While love is at the centre of this special, it's also a story of cultural identity, overcoming challenges, family bonds, and friendship."

DStv subscribers in South Africa are fuming after MultiChoice added Disney+ to their bills without any customer consent.

by Thinus Ferreira

DStv subscribers in South Africa are angry after MultiChoice added Disney+ subscriptions to DStv accounts without customers' consent and without them specifically asking for it, with subscribers saying they've been struggling to get it removed.

The DStv billing trouble is the latest in a string of ongoing technical issues with Disney+ in South Africa since The Walt Disney Company launched its video streaming service in the country in May this year.

MultiChoice and The Walt Disney Company signed a partnership contract for Disney+ to be carried as one of the over-the-top (OTT) streaming service on its DStv Explora Ultra decoders. Shortly before launch MultiChoice gave some DStv subscribers a 3-month free subscription to Disney+.

DStv customers can opt-in to get Disney+ through MultiChoice, with the Disney+ subscription fee added to their DStv account and monthly bill, which then comes with an R49 discount on the Disney+ monthly fee.

DStv subscribers are however furious after discovering that MultiChoice has added Disney+ to their DStv accounts without them ever requesting it, wanting the service or giving their content or supplying a cellphone number which is required to sign up for the streaming service in South Africa.

"Thanks for adding Disney+ to your DStv bill. Look out for communication from Disney+ with info on how to start streaming," MultiChoice said in emails and SMS messages sent to DStv account holders who haven't signed up for Disney+ and who don't want to, or haven't given any consent for Disney+ to be added.

On social media DStv subscribers have been complaining, asking MultiChoice"why did you add Disney+ to my subscription, without my permission?", "When did I subscribe? Put your things in wonder and stop being industrial bullies", 

DStv subscriber Zanele Nkosi said "DStv are acting like crooks. Some of us took the annual subscription of Disney+ so now it means we will be expected to pay for a service we already paid for. I think the best is to cancel DStv", with Stefan Buys who said "DStv who gave you the right to activate Disney+ on my account? I did not give any consent for this at all! Buddy thieves stealing my money."

DStv subscriber Charl Solomons said "DStv please be so kind and advise me who gave permission for the Disney+ service to be added to my DStv bill? I did not give any permission for this to happen."

David Bradley noted that "DStv just had Disney+ added to my account with no authority to do so. Email actually says I added it! What a nerve!".

"Why are you adding products to my billing without my permission?" asked Barbara Loots. "I did not activate this but woke up to email and SMS notifications that I added Disney+ to my billing. What the hell is this?"

The Walt Disney Company Africa headquartered in Johannesburg which has remained silent over the myriad of ongoing technical issues that are plaguing Disney+ since its South African launch didn't respond to a media query from TVwithThinus made on Monday about the issue. If there is comment it will be added here.

Litlhare Moteetee, MultiChoice spokesperson, told TVwithThinus in response to a media query that "MultiChoice is aware that Disney+ subscriptions were opened for selected customers who opted in for DStv Rewards".

"This is a 3-month free subscription and customers who have do not opt in following this period will have the service automatically discontinued and they will not be billed for it. Customers who wish to continue viewing Disney+ will need to either opt in or reactivate the product on self-service. This has now been communicated to all affected."

Monday, September 19, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II funeral: How to watch today's TV and live-stream coverage.

by Thinus Ferreira

While millions of people will line the roads today in London, billions of people are expected to watch the live televised state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey today streamed online and broadcast in over 200 countries, in what is sure to set a new record for the world's most-watched TV event ever. 

The BBC is producing the bulk of today's live feed of the funeral ceremony and will be making use of a whopping 213 HD cameras placed inside Westminster Abbey, as well as St. George's Chapel and Westminster Hall, with 14 outside broadcast (OB) trucks transmitting from 10 different locations.

Here is how viewers in South Africa and across Africa can tune in:

ABC News
America's ABC News on YouTube will live stream the event starting from 11:15 with anchors David Muir and Amy Robach, along with correspondents Ian Pannell, Deborah Robert, James Longman, Maggie Rulli, Lama Hasan and Will Reeve.

Royal contributors are Omid Scobie, Robert Jobson, Imogen Lloyd Webber, Victoria Murphy and Ailsa Anderson.

Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257 / TelkomONE)
Al Jazeera will cover the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II live from 10:00 this morning as part of special Newshour coverage, themed "Queen Elizabeth II: A Final Farewell".

BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256)
On BBC World News coverage starts at 11:00 led by Huw Edwards, Kirsty Young, Fergal Keane, David Dimbleby and Sophie Raworth.

Allan Little will be inside Westminster Abbey with analysis from royal correspondent Jonny Dymond. From five different points along the procession route Ken Bruce, Mishal Husain, Emma Barnett, Clive Myrie, Adele Roberts, John Murray, Mike Costello, Rachel Burden, Nuala McGovern, Chris Mason, Jamie Coomarasamy, Andrea Catherwood and James Naughtie will do reporting and commentary.

Britbox SA
Britbox will stream live coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, starting today at 10:30. Coverage will also be available to stream on-demand on Tuesday.

CBS News
Live-streamed on and YouTube, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell will anchor a CBS News Special Report live from London, with royal contributors Tina Brown, Julian Payne, Roya Nikkhah, Amanda Foreman and the former BBC royal correspondent Wesley Kerr.

CNN International (DStv 401)
Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will be anchoring live from London with special coverage kicking off at 11:00 today, with Christiane Amanpour, Max Foster and Richard Quest in London.

Like the BBC, CNN has reporters stationed throughout London, including at Westminster Abbey and along the procession route and at Windsor Castle.

Nada Bashir, Matthew Chance, Bianca Nobilo, Nic Robertson, Isa Soares, Anna Stewart and Clarissa Ward will provide commentary and reports, with Zain Asher and Julia Chatterley covering from New York.

CNN royal historian Kate Williams, CNN royal commentator Sally Bedell Smith and CNN contributor Trisha Goddard provide expert analysis and insights.

euronews (DStv 414)
euronews will cover the funeral proceedings of Queen Elizabeth live on the channel as well as live-streamed on its website from 11:00.

FOX News (StarSat 261)
FOX News will start live coverage at 10:00 today, with Martha MacCallum anchoring from The Canada Gate at Buckingham Palace. She will be joined by Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt and the British commentator Piers Morgan.

France24 (StarSat 259 / Openview 121 / TelkomONE)
France24 will broadcast the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II live on its TV news channel, with "special edition" live coverage also streamed from 10:00 this morning on France24's YouTube feed.

MSNBC (StarSat 263)
MSNBC's live coverage will start at 09:00 today with Chris Jansing anchoring. From 11:00 Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist and Katty Kay will anchor from London. From 16:00 Andrea Mitchell, Katy Tur and Chris Jansing will anchor MSNBC's special coverage.

NBC News Now
NBC News Now on YouTube and on will live-stream the funeral ceremony as well, with Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Lester Holt anchor special live coverage of the funeral services starting at 11:00 today.

Subscribers of MultiChoice's video streaming service across sub-Saharan Africa will be able to live-stream Queen Elizabeth II's on the BBC World News TV channel made available for free until 23 September. The live news channel is available to all Showmax subscribers regardless of their plan.

Sky News (DStv 402)
Sky News starts its special coverage today at 8:00 with anchor Kay Burley live at Westminster Abbey outlining how the day will unfold, with the channel's live feed also available on YouTube.

Anchors Anna Botting and Dermot Murnaghan start at 10:00 and will anchor for the day, with Anna Botting live from Westminster and Dermot Murnaghan reporting live from Windsor Castle as the procession begins to make its way from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, before concluding at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Sky News royal events commentator Alastair Bruce will provide analyses throughout the day. Kay Burley, Sarah Jane Mee and Gillian Joseph will be in the crowds in London and at Windsor Castle throughout the day.

Jayne Secker will be live from Windsor Caste at 18:00. Mark Austin will be anchoring from 20:00 as Sky News reflects on the day from Buckingham Palace with a look back at the events and key moments. 

Sky News will broadcast a round-up show of the day's proceedings and highlights at 22:00 tonight with Johnathan Samuels. Anna Botting will conclude coverage with the News at Ten at 23:00 South African time, live from Buckingham Palace.

Friday, September 16, 2022

StarSat axes Afrikaans channels MYtv and OnseTV after 13 years, says it failed to penetrate Afrikaans pay-TV market with enough scale.

by Thinus Ferreira

StarTimes Media has decided to axe its set of Afrikaans TV channels on its StarSat satellite pay-TV service after 13 years, with MYtv - previously branded as ASTV - and OnseTV which has been running for the past five years, both getting terminated at the end of the month and with the Christian channel InPasTV already off air.

StarSat told TVwithThinus in response to a media query that its "Afrikaans-speaking subscriber base is minuscule - less than 2% - the vast majority of our customers (95% or more) use indigenous African language, primarily Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Pedi, Shangaan) as preferred medium of communication".

StarSat says MYtv and OnseTV were on a fixed-term basis contract, expiring at the end of September

"From a strategic perspective in order for StarSat to develop competitive edge in an increasingly crowded media and entertainment space, we are compelled to re-position the business as preferred destination for TV entertainment options in South Africa in indigenous languages not adequately catered for by mainstream competitors."

"Local content production for linear TV is costly and this cost is rising each year. In order to manage cost in a hyper-competitive, unregulated pay-TV environment, we have had to steadily shift our procurement focus away from 3rd party content provision, to a more internally focused content production capability."

"In this regard, we focus are developing strategic capability in areas of; content adaption, dubbing, sub-titling supported by innovative low-cost commissioning of unique programme formats that appeal to the vast majority of indigenous African language StarSat viewers."

StarSat says "In recent time, we have witnessed the launch of several new Afrikaans channels by linear operators and new streaming initiatives. The Afrikaans market has become a highly contested one, supported by cost-intensive investment by the more 'resourced' media players in South Africa".

"Starsat has attempted to pre-emptively challenge such competitor actions with launch of MyTV and OnseTV, and despite best effort our challenge to penetrate the Afrikaans market at scale has not proven very successful."

"We have thus opted to re-align our focus to niche African language groups as first priority. This does not preclude the future possibility of re-entry into Afrikaans community, but for now we have to prioritize deployment of scarce resources to cater for the culturally specific entertainment need of majority of our customer base." 

MYtv, run from Rustenburg, launched as ASTV 13 years ago and was heralded as a competitor for M-Net's set of kykNET channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform. ASTV was added to StarSat, then known as TopTV, in October 2009. 

Due to TopTV and StarSat's much smaller subscriber base and limited programming schedule comprising mostly advertiser-funded shows, ASTV and MYtv never gained the cultural prominence or audience scale that kykNET achieved.

The OnseTV channel was added to StarSat in September 2017, aimed at South Africa's Afrikaans-speaking coloured audience, with ASTV which was also available for a few years on eMedia's Openview free-to-air satellite TV service before that contract was terminated.

MYtv says it got no reason for the upcoming termination of its TV channels on StarSat from StarTimes Media SA.

"We say goodbye to StarSat with a heavy heart, but we are thankful for the 13 years we've had to broadcast there," says Jaco Ferreira, managing director. "We'll forever be thankful for the time we had to spend with the StarSat team."

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Amazon Prime Video signs 3-year production deal with Jáde Osiberu's Greoh Studios for Nigerian scripted series and films.

by Thinus Ferreira

Amazon Prime Video has signed another production output deal in Africa, this time with the Nigerian filmmaker Jáde Osiberu in a new three-year contract with her Greoh Studios to make original scripted TV series and feature films for the video streaming service. 

Jáde Osiberu is behind the new Amazon Original, Gang of Lagos, which will be released later this year as Amazon Prime Video's first Nigerial original.

"I am overjoyed with this collaboration and already feel like I'm part of the Prime Video and Amazon Studios family," says Jáde Osiberu in a statement.

"It will be an absolute pleasure to introduce Amazon Prime Video audiences to the most exciting talent and storylines Nigeria has to offer, and I'm looking forward to continuing to help elevate Nigerian stories on a global scale."

Ned Mitchell, head of African and Middle East Originals at Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime Video, says "Collaborating with visionary and respected talent is foundational to delivering a curated and elevated slate of Originals for our local audiences in Nigeria".

"It is a joy to announce our collaboration with Jáde Osiberu in a deal that is the first of its kind for us in Africa. We are constantly delighted by Jáde’s talent for weaving her visual magic and voice into heart-stopping storytelling and characters that sear into our memories, and together we will create authentically African hits for our Prime Video customers worldwide."

In January this year Amazon Prime Video signed an output deal with Nigeria's Anthill Studios as its second Nigerian content licensing agreement, following a contract with Nigeria's Inkblot Productions in December 2021 as Amazon's first with any Africa production company.

Amazon Prime Video and rival streamer Netflix Africa are scouring the African continent to sew up output deals with production companies and talent, with Netflix also continuing to commission localised series in primarily South Africa and Nigeria.

MultiChoice's streamer Showmax is also focused on ramping up local content for its service, primarily focusing on South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya as MultiChoice's three biggest market across the African continent, and now also starting to move into Ghana.

TV RATINGS August 2022: Idols on Mzansi Magic and Muvhango on SABC2 continue their shocking ratings nosedive.

by Thinus Ferreira

The long-in-the-tooth Venda-soap Muvhango on SABC2 and the latest season of Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) were the two biggest viewership losers in August for the second month in a row as Idols shed another 81 000 DStv subscribers since the previous month and close to a quarter of a million viewers compared to a year ago, while Muvhango lost another 140 000 viewers since July.

The 18th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic, produced by [SIC] Entertainment, remains in freefall since its ratings plummeted at the start of season 17 in 2021 following controversy around judge Somizi Mhlongo.

After the season 18 Idols debut on Mzansi Magic only racked up 743 516 viewers during July - already far lower than last year - it dropped to just 661 756 in August, shedding another 81 760 DStv subscribers no longer watching.

For the first live show of the Top 12 contestants on 28 August, Idols plunged even further in the ratings race, losing a whopping further 172 150 viewers to just 489 608. 

In 2021 Idols still grabbed 709 655 viewers for its first live performance episode, which was already much lower than in previous years, meaning that Idols has lost almost a quarter of a million viewers for the start of the live performance episodes compared to a year ago. 

The Idols audience share has meanwhile also plunged from 8.4 to 5.7. 

A more narrow-audience reality show that's also much cheaper to produce like The Real Housewives of Cape Town and which is not aimed at a broad DStv audience like Idols, now in fact outperforms Idols, with The Real Housewives of Cape Town clocking in at 618 994 DStv subscribers.

The other big August ratings loss-leader is SABC2's Venda soap Muvhango, produced by Word of Mouth Productions, again plunging to just 1.58 million viewers in the month, down again from July's 1.72 million viewers which was itself a massive ratings drop. making inroads on SABC1
On SABC1 Uzalo edged up to 6.56 million from 5.93 million viewers in July, making it the channel and South Africa's most-watched TV show.

Generations - The Legacy on SABC2 hauled 5.546 million viewers, up from 4.79 million in July as the channel and the country's second-most watched TV show.'s Scandal! is South Africa's third-most watched TV show for the month, slightly down from July's 5.93 million to 5.542 million viewers, followed by House of Zwide climbing from 4.91 million to 5.142 million viewers as fourth most-watched show.

SABC1's Skeem Saam is in fifth place, slightly down from 4.5 million to 4.3 million viewers in August. 

The Zulu TV news bulletin on SABC1 keeps rising and increased from 2.477 million to 2.64 million viewers while the Xhosa TV news bulletin increased from 2.472 million to 2.61 million viewers. The Siswati TV news bulletin also increased from 1.76 million to 1.81 million viewers.

Selimathunzi was slightly down from 2.21 million to 2.027 million viewers.

Jessica Fletcher and uBettina
SABC2's overall channel ratings profile continues to look disastrous and like how SABC3 started to look years ago. 

Besides the ongoing sagging of Muvhango, which meant that SABC2 never had more than 1.5 million viewers during August, the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan climbed slightly from 945 543 to 992 234 viewers in August as SABC2's second most-watched show.

The Afrikaans TV news bulletin was also slightly up from 629 895 to 704 272 viewers while the Setswana TV news bulletin slumped from 896 109 to 668 961 viewers. uBettina Wethu is a flop in primetime with 545 056 viewers, while Morning Live lured a brilliant 486 205 viewers to wake up and watch the early morning timeslot in August.

The umpteenth repeat of the Angela Lansbury-fronted Murder, She Wrote picked up viewers, increasing from 449 326 to 514 203 for the afternoon 14:00-timeslot. 

Marsupials to S3's rescue
SABC3 was again slightly off at the top luring 625 650 viewers at most during August, down from July's 682 739 with The Wonders of Marsupials in the Sunday evening natural history slot as the top viewership grabber on the channel that continues to struggle.

The English TV news bulletin edged up slightly from 563 514 to 566 757 as SABC3's second most-watched programme for the month. 

The channel's local telenovela, The Estate, remains a non-starter in its third season during primetime on SABC3 with almost nobody watching - 329 173 viewers watched the omnibus on Saturday afternoons rather than during original airings in the week. on the up and up
On Imbewu reached 3 million viewers for the first time in August again with 3 059 307 viewers and a 29.9 audience share, since it was moved to the 21:00-timeslot in April.

There will likely also be more Is'phindiselo with the eVOD Original that got scheduled on Sunday nights for a linear airing reaching its highest viewership of 1.981 million viewers since its April premiere.

The cancelled Durban Gen edged up from 2.55 million to 2.74 million viewers, while The Black Door grew slightly from 2.58 million to 2.7 million viewers as it toned down the sex and nudity scenes. The News bulletin at 20:00 rose from 1.77 million to 1.9 million viewers.

The Afrikaans-dubbed Turkish telenovela Droomverlore remained steady at 1.57 million viewers compared to 1.58 million in July.

Uyajola 9/9 grows, Miss SA pageant disappoints
Gomora on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) remained the most-watched show on DStv in August with 1.12 million DStv subscribers tuning in, slightly up from the 1.1 million viewers the month before.

The tabloid show Uyajola 9/9 on Moja Love (DStv 157) surged to the second position for the month with 985 124 DStv subscribers watching, followed by the cancelled The Queen in third place with 754 539 viewers, slightly up from 737 092 in July.

The cancelled DiepCity on Mzansi Magic pulled 616 646 viewers in August, up from 606 030 in July, with The River grabbing 639 015 DStv subscribers.

The Miss South Africa 2022 pageant lured a disappointing 478 540 viewers on 13 August, with X-Repo on Moja Love pulling 548 976 viewers during the month.

RINGS OF POWER MOVE. In a first-ever and signalling its expanding marketing efforts, Amazon Prime Video South Africa joins the 'watch party' publicity circuit with a cinema preview screening and exclusive watch party for The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power.

by Thinus Ferreira

For the first time ever Amazon Prime Video held a preview screening in South Africa ahead of the debut of one of the streaming service's new shows - The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The power move signals a dual intent about both the importance and big marketing push Amazon is putting behind the show, as well as the rising prominence of the country as a territory and a place where Amazon means serious business.

While Amazon previously bought some billboard space over the past two years in South Africa for general outdoor advertising and to promote specific content on Amazon Prime Video, the advertising billboards and lamppost billboards seen across Johannesburg for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is on a whole new level for the streamer in terms of ad spent as it tries to entice viewers to watch a show.

In addition to the cinema screening as an Amazon Prime Video SA first for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in Johannesburg, the streamer also held a champagne-filled watch party - also a first-ever from Amazon Prime Video in South Africa for a TV show.

On Wednesday 31 August, just before the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power made their debut on Amazon Prime Video, Amazon in South Africa held an exclusive screening at the Nu Metro cinema in Hyde Park, Johannesburg - a switch to a bigger venue from The Convention Lounge at The Saxon as the originally envisaged venue.

This cinema screening, similar to exclusive preview cinema screenings which were held in other countries, was followed up by an exclusive watch party in Johannesburg for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - complete with cobalt-coloured flute glasses.

It's the first time in South Africa that Amazon Prime Video did an in-person screening of a new series, similar to what Netflix South Africa has been doing for a while, MultiChoice's streamer Showmax has done a few times in the past, and what local and international TV channels like M-Net,, BBC Studios Africa and others have been doing for some of their local productions (and even international acquisitions) over the past two decades.

Gillian Gamsey International South Africa (GGISA), the public relations firm in Johannesburg repping Amazon Prime Video in South Africa, didn't respond to questions in a media query made three weeks ago on 25 August for the first time as to why Amazon decided to do a screening and media watch party for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in South Africa, but its evident that now having joined the "watch party" publicity track, Amazon will be doing more of it - and more regularly in future.

Although there's been no answer from Amazon as to why it matters to the company to have a growing presence in South Africa, it is clear that Amazon is notably upping its marketing spend in conjunction with a string of new job offers and appointments specifically for Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Prime Studios to produced localised content in South Africa and Nigeria.

MultiChoice Africa and M-Net West Africa lost Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu who jumped to Amazon to become head of Nigerian originals, Candice Fangueiro jumped from MultiChoice's Showmax where she was content boss to Amazon Studios for Africa, with the SABC's former TV channels PR Zandile Nkonyeni who has resurfaced as the head fo PR for Amazon Prime Video Africa based in Cape Town.

Meanwhile, consumers and the media are noticing Amazon Prime Video billboards for The Terminal List and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, with executives from traditional pay-TV companies like MultiChoice who've said they've felt somewhat upset and disturbed to land back in South Africa after overseas trips and having the first thing they're seeing being billboards at O.R. Tambo airport for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video content.

Amazon Prime Video isn't just expanding its playbox space in the physical world in South Africa.

The streamer is also growing its presence on social media - something else Amazon has been advertising new positions for, based in South Africa.

Amazon Prime Video's Instagram account at @amazonprimevideoza is churning out new content for followers, and while the streamer didn't respond to questions about this, it once again underscores Amazon's ramped-up approach and serious intention to start to leverage social media to help drive potential viewers and subscribers to sample its content and to use Amazon Prime Video. 

What has South African consumers' response been to Prime Video so far since it became accessible in South Africa? Amazon was asked but remains tight-lipped.

With the litany of Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime Video positions being advertised for specifically South Africa and for Nigeria (based in South Africa), more new output deals with African filmmakers like Jade Osiberu, the increase in outdoor billboard ad space snapped up, regionalised social media expansion, and physical watch parties and events around content like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, it is however crystal clear that Amazon in South Africa and Africa is a sleeping giant that is just starting to flex its muscles.

SHOCKER. Gary Rathbone quits as SABC Sport boss.

by Thinus Ferreira

Gary Rathbone has quit as head of SABC Sport after two years, with the South African public broadcaster confirming that he is leaving at the end of the month.

"During his two-year tenure, Gary Rathbone made a significant contribution to SABC Sport's content offering," the SABC says in a statement. "He was particularly instrumental in the launch of its 24.7 SABC Sport channel."

"The SABC wishes Gary Rathbone well in his future endeavours," the broadcaster says.

As SABC Sport boss Gary Rathbone had vocal barbs at MultiChoice and SuperSport for their unwillingness to resell sports rights, with MultiChoice and SuperSport unwilling to let the sport content stream on the SABC Sport's digital channel version on eMedia's Openview and TelkomONE.

Gary Rathbone said it was his mission to bring more local boxing, tennis and other local South African sports to the channel, with SABC Sports that clinched deals to bring ESPN basketball to the channel over the past two years.

Since SABC Sport launched as a TV channel, viewers have constantly complained, and continue to, about not knowing what's showing and what's on, not having access to a proper, correct and updated SABC Sport programming schedule, late and irrelevant notifications, as well as vague promises of coverage which - comes broadcasting time - is then not available.

France's Groupe Canal+ gobbles up more than a quarter of MultiChoice as it increases its stake to 26.26%, pay-TV company notifies Takeover Regulation Panel.

by Thinus Ferreira

France's Groupe Canal+ has dramatically increased its shareholding of MultiChoice, gobbling up more than a quarter of the South African pay-TV company by increasing its stake yet again to now stand at 26.26%, and with MultiChoice notifying the Takeover Regulation Panel.

This is a further increase in shareholding from Canal+'s shareholding acquisition of MultiChoice which by July this year stood at 20.1%.

While speculation grows that Vivendi could be looking at taking over MultiChoice, MultiChoice keeps issuing the same repeat holding statement, again saying that "MultiChoice remains committed to acting in the best interests of all shareholders and to create sustainable, long-term shareholder value".

"While the group regularly engages investors and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community, its policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders nor on its interactions with them."

MultiChoice says it has "filed the required notice with the Takeover Regulation Panel".

Vivendi kicked the tyres on MultiChoice Africa in 2017 but Naspers which used to own MultiChoice turned down the deal of $1 billion at the time.

Canal+ started buying MultiChoice shares in 2020, acquiring 6.5% in October 2020, upping it to 15.4% in November 2021 and acquiring further MultiChoice shares in 2022.

Monday, September 12, 2022

IN IMAGES. The BBC Studios Africa Summer 2022 upfront in 37 photos and 9 videos and channel sizzle reels.

by Thinus Ferreira

BBC Studios Africa held its Summer 2022 upfront, branded "A BBC Studios Experience" at the Langhams conference centre in Fourways Johannesburg, unveiling the new programming line-up for the BBC's linear TV channels available on MultiChoice DStv pay-TV service for the next few months.

Pierre Cloete, commercial director for BBC Studios Africa, and Sarah-Jane Harling, BBC Studios Africa advertising accounts director, hosted ad buyers, ad planners and the media, as guests enjoyed a 5-course culinary feast prepared by chef Jacques Muller from Ginger Grape.

The absolutely incredible Show Works Creative Entertainment events company was responsible for the flawless TV upfront presentation showcasing the content that advertisers can be a part of through MultiChoice's DStv Media Sales division.

The Summer 2022 upfront experience had both an outdoor spring grass setting, as well as a sit-down inside setting where showstopper, experiential course meals all prepared as food art dazzled guests and were linked to various BBC TV channels and sizzle reels being shown.

This was perfection: A British TV upfront presentation, done in South Africa, in the style in which American television do their show-and-tell presentations about their content to the media and advertisers.

ALSO READ: BBC Studios Africa unveils its Summer 2022 slate: Come Dine with Me SA, Prince William conservation series and Frozen Planet II in early-2023.