Sunday, March 31, 2024

SABC signs partnership with BBC Studios for 2-hour primetime content block on SABC3 from May.

by Thinus Ferreira

In a groundbreaking deal, South Africa's public broadcaster has acquired a raft of premium BBC content from BBC Studios that will play out as a 2-hour primetime block on weeknights on SABC3 from May in the SABC's attempt to try and revive the ratings and fortunes of the ailing TV channel.

From May the South African public broadcaster is joining with Britain's public broadcaster in unlocking an archive avalanche of high-quality content that until now was only accessible to MultiChoice's DStv subscribers who had access to the collection of traditional pay-TV channels run globally by BBC Studios.

The curated BBC Studios content as part of a multi-million rand licensing and partnership deal with the SABC will run on weeknights between 21:00 and 23:00 on SABC3 and will also be made available on the SABC+ video streaming service.

Dubbed "BBC Primetime" it will include award-winning British drama series, documentaries, lifestyle programming and factual entertainment ranging from Top Gear (seasons 14 to 17) and Luther to Death in Paradise.

Initial titles in the 2-hour block will include Cheaters, We Hunt Together, Top Gear, Billion Dollar Downfall, Sex Actually with Alice Levine, Louis Theroux Forbidden America, Undercover, Secrets of Sugar Baby Dating, Death in Paradise, Our Girl, Luther, MotherFatherSon, Critical, Louis Theroux Dark States, Trafficking Sex, Press, as well as Nigeria's Female Suicide Bombers.

The SABC hopes to lift viewership and lure advertisers to SABC3 as the public broadcaster's only commercial TV channel but also its most troubled and the most ratings-challenged of its three legacy TV channels.

"I am so excited to launch our first BBC branded block in Africa with SABC," says Pierre Cloete, BBC Studios Africa commercial director.

"BBC Primetime will be hand-picked for S3 audiences, packed with a selection of incredible programming from our award-winning catalogue. From intense thrillers, crime dramas and inspiring documentaries, this marks our first block for free-to-air audiences in South Africa, giving 13 million homes access to BBC Studios shows. I can't wait for the 2024 launch."

Asked how the deal came about, Cloete said "the DNA between the BBC and the SABC is almost the same - the BBC's got the same mandate as the SABC. That connection is very important".

"We understand public broadcasting, we understand audiences. When we spoke with the SABC it was a no-brainer to work together and to bring something special and unique to audiences."

Binge-watch BBC dramas
Pierre Cloete said "drama we know is super important - but not in the old, traditional way of scheduling drama one episode, once a week.

"BBC dramas will be scheduled Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays as a strip on SABC3, so you can basically binge-watch these, plus get it on SABC+ as a 14-day catch-up so you can watch a whole series in one go, which I think is amazing".

"We're also pushing documentaries - I think there's a huge demand for that on SABC3. Thirdly, we're also putting entertainment into the mix. We're taking proven content, we're taking premium strategies and implementing it into this block."

David Makubyane, the SABC's head of TV channels, says "One of the important things that we had to look at is the commercial sustainability of the SABC".

"You can go with the old way of doing business. That's why we started looking at different models. There are a variety of models that we look at. This one in particular looks at a BBC block of content on SABC3 from 21:00 until 23:00. This will now be a BBC-branded block. This is a new model for the SABC. We're not talking about library content. We're talking crème de la crème BBC."

"It's the latest BBC crème de la crème content that's going to sit there, with us partnering and making sure that the brand of SABC3 brings in audiences. At the same time the partnership ensures that we remain commercially viable."

"The content works because we are both public broadcasters. We know this is content that will resonate with the South African audience."

Asked about whether there could be any original BBC-SABC co-production for SABC3, Makubyane said "this is only the beginning".

"At the moment, it's obviously finished product but the relationship with the BBC is one where we are seeing how do we collaborate - how do we do co-productions? So yes, hopefully in the future we will start seeing that the SABC and the BBC co-produce content together."

Sane Zondi, SABC programming manager, says "This partnership with BBC Studios is born out of the need for us to fulfil our commitment in delivering high-quality international content to our viewers".

"We are excited to have access to a vast catalogue from the BBC and the unlimited world-class entertainment our viewers will be able to enjoy through BBC Primetime on SABC3. The deal allows us to bring back some of the iconic BBC titles to our viewers which formed weekly habitual viewing, with Top Gear being the most notable one."

"We look forward to seeing some of the sentiments and reactions across our social media platforms on this great new era on our channel."

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Wheel of Fortune: SABC picks up raft of game show format titles, BBC and Netflix content.

by Thinus Ferreira

The SABC has picked up a further raft of game show format titles through Primedia Studios like Raid the Cage, and Wheel of Fortune, while it's partnering with Netflix on a Winnie Madikizela-Mandela documentary series and is adding a 2-hour block of premium BBC content for SABC3 primetime in a deal with BBC Studios.

The SABC said viewers will see its three TV channels going through a mutation over the next three years. 

The South African public broadcaster on Tuesday evening made several show announcements at an event for media, advertisers and other partners dubbed "SABC Video Entertainment Content Festival 2024" in Fourways, Johannesburg - the first of what the SABC said would be a new type of content showcasing event.

The broadcaster used to have quarterly content screenings for SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 which fell by the wayside years ago but on Tuesday said it planned to communicate about its content, schedules and programmes more again.

Lala Tuku, the acting head of SABC video entertainment, said the SABC is "on a mission to reimagine how we entertain our audiences".

To celebrate 30 years of South Africa's democracy the SABC will curate library content from its archives which will be played out across SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and on a pop-up channel as part of "Shifters and Shakers: 1994 - 2024", showcasing iconic moment in programming on the public broadcaster.

"Viewers will get an opportunity to see some of the greatest moments again and we will showcase some hits," Tuku said. "We understand that we're in a competitive landscape but we stand proud of the archives we have as the public broadcaster. We've got a rich history of content in sports, arts, culture and religion and education."

"We're not blind to the plethora of competitors and content providers that have come into the space, but we stand firm and believe that the new content offering that we are going to showcase and give to our viewers will really put us into a competitive edge."

David Makubyane, head of SABC channels, said changes like Skeem Saam moving to a later timeslot on SABC1 and Afrikaans content shunted from SABC2 to SABC3 is because of changing content consumption patterns and the entrance of multiple video streaming services like Showmax, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

"Twelve years ago we commanded as the SABC about 54% of market share with our three TV channels. Now we fast forward, we've got new entrants into the market. The media landscape has changed completely. Why we launched SABC+ is to also respond to this. The changes that you see on our channels is a response to this change that we are talking about."

"You're going to see this mutation of our brands as we go through into the next three years."

"SABC1 is really going to be about the youth - focused on young people, their dilemmas and issues. SABC2 is a family proposition channel. We're looking at the entire family and the diverse representation of family that we have in this country. SABC3 is focused on the millennials, the millennial lifestyle, the progressive audiences of this country who are also global thinkers."

In factual content the SABC is partnering with Netflix South Africa on The Trials of Winnie Mandela, while SABC will broadcast Just call me Arch about the life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Following pickups of The Masked Singer SA and Deal or No Deal SA for second seasons, as well as Ready Steady Cook SA that just started on SABC3 and taking over MasterChef SA from M-Net for SABC3, Primedia Studios also acquired new game show formats like Raid the Cage, as well as Wheel of Fortune SA from Paramount Global for the SABC.

The Voice South Africa that was on MultiChoice's M-Net channel on DStv for three seasons is also being revived by Primedia Studios for SABC1 which will bring the singing competition to a public audience for the first time for a 4th season from 28 September at 18:00.

SABC1: Revamped Seli
SABC1 also has Sjava's 1-Man Show starting on 15 June at 20:00, with the travelogue show Breaking Down Borders airing from 3 July at 18:00.

The lifestyle show Selimathunzi is getting revamped as Hotspot Selimathunzi or abbreviated as Hotspot Seli, from 4 July at 18:00. The 2024 MetroFM Music Awards will broadcast on SABC1 on 27 April at 20:30.

Roxic, starting 8 October at 18:00 on SABC1 is a new talk show "confronting the toxicity in relationships as we counsel them through therapy on the journey to healing".

SABC2: Raiding in the cage
A new season of Taste Master will start on SABC2 on 23 April at 19:00 while Primedia Studios and Rose and Oaks Media are producing the new game show Raid the Cage that will start on 27 May.

In Raid the Cage, two teams battle it out to win prizes. One contestant has to answer questions in order to win time for the teammate who has to run and grab prizes and move it out of a cage - perhaps even pushing a car out - before the doors slam shut.

Big Day for 25K starting in June follows couples who plan their big wedding day with a R25 000 budget.

SA's Got Talent is also getting revived by Primedia Studios, which is also returning to SABC2. After the show that started on SABC2 switched to for several seasons, SA's Got Talent will now see a 9th season on SABC2 from 5 June at 19:00, with two episodes a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

SABC3: BBC primetime and Wheel of Fortune
In a partnership with BBC Studios, the SABC is adding a 2-hour block of premium BBC content - dramas, talkshow, documentaries and lifestyle programming.

Previously only seen on pay-TV on MultiChoice's set of BBC channels on DStv, a raft of BBC shows which will now be seen on SABC3 on weekdays from 21:00 to 23:00.

The second season of The Masked Singer SA, a Primedia Studios and Rose and Oaks Media production, starts on SABC3 on 13 April at 20:30. The 5th season of MasterChef SA, a Primedia Studios and Homebrew Films production, will start on SABC3 on Saturday 22 June at 19:30.

Wife Swap SA is also coming to SABC3 from Monday 1 July at 18:00. 

Crown Chasers, a reality show built around the Miss SA pageant competition will start for a second season on SABC3 from Saturday 22 June at 20:30, with the finale of Miss SA 2024 - hosted by Bonang Matheba - on Saturday 11 August at 19:30.

The 11th season of Tropika: Island of Treasure starts on SABC3 on Saturday 21 September at 18:30.

Primedia Studios also acquired the Paramount format game show Wheel of Fortune for South Africa. 

The SABC says that the game show, hugely popular in America, will run as a weekday strip on SABC3 on weekdays from 8 April.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Another Big Brother Mzansi contestant disqualified from MultiChoice's Lottostar-sponsored reality-trash show after Yolanda wanted to 'molest' another contestant.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and M-Net's Lottostar-sponsored reality-trash show Big Brother Mzansi was forced to yet again disqualify and remove another contestant, with Eulanda "Yolanda" Monyai who producers had to remove from the Red Pepper Pictures show.

After multiple warnings and abrupt removals of other contestants, the 32-year old sales consultant and model from Limpopo said she was ready to sexually assault another contestant, saying "I want to molest her".

She also said "I am going to rape Ghost. I'm going to force myself into his bed," in reference to Sabelo "Papa Ghost Ncube, who is TV presenter Andle Ncube's brother.

On social media, M-Net's marketing team placed a card that reads: "MultiChoice has investigated the matter regarding remarks made by a housemate on Big Brother Mzansi, which is currently airing on DStv channel 198".

"We do not condone any acts that threaten the safety of the housemates on the show, and we take Gender Based Violence seriously. Therefore, the housemate who made the threatening remarks (Yolanda) has been disqualified from the game."

MultiChoice's PR agency Duma Collective put out a shockingly bad "MULTICHOICE PRESS STATEMEN" - badly spelt in the subject line already, and bizarrely in All Caps, from junior public relations specialist Petunia Maota - which then wasn't sent to, or received by, all media.

This awful "MULTICHOICE PRESS STATEMEN" that Duma Collective sent out to certain media contained the same wording as on the social media card.

On Friday evening on the Big Brother Mzansi pop-up channel, the producers told Yolanda that "you are disqualified from the Big Brother house" and telling the remaining Big Brother Mzansi contestants yet again that the words they use "should steer clear of minimising acts of sexual violence whether used by a man or woman".

Meanwhile, sponsor LottoStar continues to associate its gambling brand with the low-brow and liquor-soaked DStv content that has seen multiple controversies so far this season.

In January Red Pepper Pictures, MultiChoice and M-Net were forced to dump Lindokuhle Nsele known as Bravo B who was disqualified and evicted after just a week of the show, while Tshepo Tau known as Makhekhe got a first warning following a discussion in which they decided which women in the house they wanted to rape first, since the women were allegedly drunk.

Last month the nasty contestant Liema who spat in other contestants' faces had to be warned over spitting and physical violence.

Big Brother Mzansi is executive produced by Natalie Bleksley and is in its 4th season under the Big Brother Mzansi moniker and the 10th season overall of Big Brother done by M-Net in South Africa according to the Banijay format.

Friday, March 15, 2024

How just 3 SABC shows lost almost 3 million viewers last week.

by Thinus Ferreira

Drastic moves between TV channels and timeslot changes saw just three locally-produced SABC programmes lose close to a combined three million viewers on Monday last week with ad buyers saying the struggling public broadcaster will pay the price when it's forced to cut advertising rates.

Last week Monday was the day the SABC implemented a drastic change: Moving shows on SABC1 later and to SABC2, removing Afrikaans shows from SABC2 and shunting the Afrikaans TV news bulletin that was at 18:30 to the much later timeslot of 20:30 on SABC3 with the channel that has much more limited transmission reach.

The SABC decided to move the youth soap Skeem Saam to a later timeslot on SABC1 at 19:30 where the show itself lost viewers. 

The SABC filled its successful 18:30 timeslot on SABC1 where Skeem Saam used to air, with a rebroadcast in early primetime of old episodes of a series called The Executives

This caused SABC1's 18:30 timeslot to abruptly lose over 2.1 million viewers last week Monday, plummeting to just 1.87 million viewers in the timeslot.

The second season of the Primedia Studios produced Deal or No Deal SA that was on SABC1 got shunted to SABC2 at 18:30 where the show itself lost over 1.5 million viewers last Monday.

The Afrikaans TV news bulletin was moved to SABC3 where this bulletin lost almost 75% of its viewers on Monday. The move also meant the end of the longtime Afrikaans block on SABC2 following the cancellation of the long-running 7de Laan which wasn't replaced with a new show despite promises from the SABC to do so.

On Monday evening, Skeem Saam produced by Peu Communications, which reached a high of 4.04 million viewers on SABC1 in February in its 18:30 timeslot last month plunged to 3.2 million viewers in its 19:30 timeslot up against Scandal! on

While Skeem Saam with its 3.2 million viewers won the 19:30 timeslot over's Scandal!, Skeem Saam as a show itself lost around 840 000 viewers between 20 February and last Monday's timeslot change.

According to ratings data from the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRCSA), Deal or No Deal SA which had a high of 1.92 million viewers on SABC1 last month on 19 February, lost a whopping 1.5 million viewers last Monday when it only managed to get 414 556 viewers on SABC2 in the 18:30 timeslot. 

It means Primedia Studios and the SABC lost a whopping 78.4% of the specific show audience that used to watch Deal or No Deal SA on SABC1 and didn't tune in for it last Monday on SABC2. Primedia Studios and the SABC share revenue from the show and will now earn less money from it on SABC2 than what it made on SABC1.

The Afrikaans TV news bulletin that reached a high of 621 215 viewers on SABC2 in February on SABC2 as one of the channel's most-watched shows, plunged to just 163 663 viewers on SABC3 last Monday night according to BRCSA viewership data.

It means that this TV news bulletin shed a massive 457 552 viewers and almost three-quarters (73.6%) of its dedicated audience which evaporated in the channel switch from SABC2 to the much smaller SABC3.

Combined, just these three TV programmes - Skeem Saam, Deal or no Deal SA and the Afrikaans TV news - lost 2.8 million SABC viewers that used to watch these three specific shows in February and on last Monday no longer did so.

Timeslot-wise the SABC gained 1.3 million viewers on SABC1 at 19:30 last Monday but lost 2.1 million viewers on SABC1 at 18:30.

Advertisers follow audiences and audiences follow - or unfollow - shows.

Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson, in response to a media query, says "The SABC would like to reiterate that the video entertainment division continuously engages on various strategies to improve the content offering and which may result in programming shifts, involving moving shows to other channels".

"The shifts are informed by detailed insights including consideration of the SABC financial sustainability. In line with our mandate, the delivery of the Afrikaans content remains a key deliverable for the SABC and will not be compromised."

"In terms of the performance of the network, the SABC's goal is to have optimal performance and experience audience growth. The change has only been in effect for a week, and we need to review at least a month to see how the changes affect the schedule."

The SABC said that at 18:30 where The Executives is running in early primetime as a rebroadcast instead of original content "the drama is currently performing at 1.4 million viewers on average".

"Skeem Saam at 19:30 has increased the slot and has achieved an average of 3.2 million viewers with the launch. SABC1 has maintained its viewership. Deal or No Deal SA on SABC2 replaced die Nuus at 18:30 and is currently performing at 400 000 on average, which means that the slot has maintained as die Nuus on SABC2 performed around the same average."

"On SABC3 at 20:30, previously occupied by a variety of content (Unfiltered, Conflict Zone, Global 3000, Focus on Europe and AFCON – SA vs Nigeria) performed at an average of 200 000 viewers is currently performing at an average of 140 000 viewers."

'SABC will lose ad money'
The SABC which is already in a financial struggle will definitely start to lose millions of rand in potential ad revenue from advertisers due to the latest show, channel and timeslot changes, a highly-experienced ad placement executive told TVwithThinus.  

The person who doesn't want to be named since they place TV commercials and buy ads across broadcasters including SABC inventory and doesn't want to damage relationships with the broadcaster, says if the SABC loses audience and ratings, it undoubtedly loses ad income.

"Ads are bought on a cost-per-point (CPP) basis. For example, let's say you pay R100 for a show with a 20 rating. That's R5 per ratings and your CPP is R5."

"The moment you start losing viewers - instead of 20, you suddenly have a 10 rating - half of the viewers. Instead of paying R5, you're effectively asked to now pay R10 per rating," the person explains.

"When the SABC loses viewers, they don't change the ad rates - they keep it the same, meaning the SABC becomes less competitive and starts to lose money since the advertiser decides to rather place the ad or buy the ad space elsewhere."

"What they then have to do the next month is to adjust the ad rate. We as advertisers still just want to pay R5 per rating. In order to try and remain competitive, the SABC is then forced to also cut the ad rate in half if they want me to keep advertising with them."

"The result is that now I'm only paying R50 for fewer viewers, instead of R100 like before, which means that the SABC gets less ad  revenue from the advertiser."

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

MultiChoice and M-Net shutter DStv's 1Magic and ME channels.

by Thinus Ferreira  
As part of M-Net's linear pay-TV channels portfolio consolidation, MultiChoice is shutting down both the 1Magic and ME channels at the end of this month, with DStv subscribers losing another two TV channels at the same time as DStv's price hike for 2024 kicks in from April.

The axing of M-Net's linear 1Magic and ME channels was originally planned to take place just before the relaunch of MultiChoice's video streaming service Showmax last month but was pushed out by two months.

The loss of the 1Magic and ME channels is the latest in a string of eight TV channels that will have gone dark on MultiChoice's DStv over just the first three months of this year while South African pay-TV subscribers are expected to pay more for the traditional satellite pay-TV service.

Gone for Dstv subscribers since the beginning of 2024 are the Deutsche Welle, Emmanuel TV, B4U Movies, 1Free State TV, NWTV and People's Weather TV channels.

MultiChoice in response to a media query from TVwithThinus confirmed that the two TV channels are getting axed and says the "M-Net universe is streamlining towards a better and simpler viewing experience".

"From 31 March 2024, M-Net will streamline its channel offering to provide a more seamless entertainment experience for DStv customers. While we will be bidding farewell to 1Magic and ME Channels, we're confident that these changes will pave the way for an array of fresh, engaging content across our other channels, making for a more robust and streamlined offering."

"M-Net is committed to giving customers only the best in entertainment and endeavours to continuously improve our customers' viewing experience."

1Magic (DStv 103) which launched in January 2018 is shutting down after five years and was available to DStv Premium and DStv Compact subscribers.

When M-Net launched 1Magic out of the shuttered VUZU AMP channel in early 2018, M-Net claimed that 1Magic would be "introducing a bigger, exclusive content slate that what we currently have on VUZU AMP". That promise however went unfulfilled over the past half a decade that the channel was in existence.

At the time M-Net said that it had "identified a need to invest in more local entertainment for our viewers, in the premium segment". 

The plan was for 1Magic to be a localised version of the M-Net channel to attract and retain DStv Premium subscribers through premium local productions but most of the content, including The River, only really found an audience when it got screened on Mzansi Magic.

ME that is shutting down two years and three months after it launched in November 2021 was available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers and was created out of the shuttered and fused together M-Net City and VUZU TV channels. 

ME offered lower-tiered DStv subscribers a way to see first-run M-Net content, especially American series, later, as part of the windowing-down approach followed by the traditional pay-TV model.

SABC3 set for 260 episodes of cooking competition show Ready Steady Cook SA with Moshe Ndiki through Primedia Studios and produced by Rose and Oaks Media.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster has picked up yet another international format competition show through Primedia Studios with SABC3 that will air 260 episodes of Ready Steady Cook South Africa on SABC3 with presenter Moshe Ndiki.

Ready Steady Cook, a format held by Banijay that's been running for years on the BBC, will be produced by Rose and Oaks Media, also responsible for The Masked Singer SA which has already been renewed for a second season on SABC3.

Besides The Masked Singer SA, Primedia Studios already does a regular and celebrity version of Deal or No Deal SA for SABC1 and SABC2, with the upcoming 5th season of MasterChef SA which will be on SACB3 from September.

There is an ad and sponsorship revenue-sharing deal between Primedia Studios and the SABC for the acquisition and schedule placement of these shows that Primedia Studios does the legwork for and production companies then film for the public broadcaster

In Ready Steady Cook, two teams - a Red Tomato and a Green Pepper - compete in a Red Kitchen and a Green Kitchen, together with a South African chef on each side and paired with enthusiastic home cooks, as they are challenged creatively with a mystery bag of ingredients in a 20-minute cook-off.

Ready Steady Cook will start on SABC3 on 18 March at 19:00 and feature well-known chefs like Wandile Mabaso, Neo Nontso, Fehmida Osman-Latib, Kamini Pather, Kelly Njokweni, Liziwe Matloha, Lorna Maseko, Lufuno Sinthumule, Mmule Setati and Nthi Ramaboa.

Like Deal or No Deal SA and The Masked Singer SA, Ready Steady Cook will saturate the schedule of the other two SABC channels with weekday repeats on SABC1 at 15:30 and weekday repeats on SABC2 at 17:30, with a Saturday omnibus at 08:00.

"Our new local version of Ready Steady Cook is like a paella or a 'potjie' of everything that makes for good television," says Anele Mdoda, co-owner of Rose and Oaks Media.

"While the dramatic battle between Team Red Tomato and Team Green Pepper is packed with suspense, it's also sprinkled with star power and non-stop fun. Simultaneously, the show addresses a nagging question many viewers grapple with every day: What's for dinner tonight?"

She says the production is "thrilled to have Moshe as the on-screen coordinator of all the magic and madness cooked up by the two competing teams on Ready Steady Cook South Africa".

"From his call centre days creating content that made the entire country laugh from their bellies to his food trucks that spoke directly to our bellies, Moshe is the perfect balance of sugar, salt, flavour and heat - funny enough, everything you need to make a stellar dish."

In the show the chefs will be tasked to create three dishes with the food items brought along by their Team Red Tomato or Team Green Pepper partner within 20 minutes. Once the time has run out, the studio audience votes to determine the episode's winning team.
What makes 
Ready Steady Cook South Africa more entertaining is that the two home cooks are somehow related.

They're either family members, friends, or business partners from the same profession or even share a hobby. During the cook-off, the audience learns more about their lives through their interaction with Moshe and the chefs.

Ready Steady Cook South Africa is now looking for contestants who can send a WhatsApp to the producers on 068 675 2542.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Randburg water woes: MultiChoice City building operational with water but non-essential staff working from home with car wash and gym closed.

by Thinus Ferreira

With Johannesburg's water supply woes stretching into a second week and hitting the Randburg area especially hard where pay-TV operator MultiChoice as well as M-Net and SuperSport are headquartered, I'm told the buildings remain operational although non-essential staff are working remotely with some in-building staff perks like the car wash and gum shuttered.

Johannesburg's crippled and imploding water supply system broke down completely this past weekend a week ago, leaving reservoirs across the city empty and with homes and businesses without water in taps for days and counting.

By Sunday at least seven reservoirs across Johannesburg remain empty after a week - with more than 300 000 people in homes and businesses without running water - including large parts of Randburg and surrounding areas.

MultiChoice City, the pan-African pay-TV operator's main building in Bram Fischer Drive, is located inside the water-depleted area in Randburg, with the original MultiChoice building and annexed M-Net and SuperSport complex across the road, also affected. 

TVwithThinus has been told that MultiChoice told non-essential staff to work from home - which they are since last week and will continue to this week - for both the MultiChoice City as well as adjacent buildings.

The MultiChoice City building has some sustainable building features, like using grey water collection from the gym reused for toilet and urinal flushing.

The remaining MultiChoice, M-Net and SuperSport staff working within the buildings are fine, with water reserves continuously being delivered to the offices - both drinking water and grey water. 

I'm told the building is quieter than usual but that there have been no issues with using either the restroom or kitchen facilities within the building.

Some staff perks like the car wash at the MultiChoice City premises and the use of the gym within the building have been suspended.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

New telenovela Isiphetho set in catering industry will start in April.

by Thinus Ferreira

In April will start a new local telenovela Isiphetho in the channel's 18:30 timeslot.

The red letter channel didn't make any announcement when Isiphetho was commissioned from Black Brain Pictures a few months ago but on Monday night on television in a late-night announcement said Isiphetho will start sometime during April.

Isiphetho The Destiny is set within South Africa's catering industry and will star Gugu Gumede, Mbalenhle Mavimbela, Thulani Mtshweni, Christpen Nyathi, Peter Mashigo, Thabiso Rammusi, Tsolofelo Maseko, Linda Sokhulu, Treasure Tshabalala and others.

Thapelo Ramatsui, publicist, on Monday told media to watch at 21:28 for the Isiphetho announcement. 

Nothing was shared afterwards and days later by Wednesday afternoon hadn't issued any press release or sent the media any information about Isiphetho.

E! News promotes Keltie Knight to co-host.

by Thinus Ferreira

E! News on E! (DStv 124) has promoted Keltie Knight to co-presenter of the programme two years after joining as chief correspondent.

Keltie Knight will now be co-host of E! News alongside Justin Sylvester, with the show that has John Pascarella and John Redmann as executive producers.

"Keltie is a seasoned entertainment journalist and a pop culture expert with strong relationships within the community," says Tracie Wilson, executive vice president of syndication studios, E! News and NBCUniversal, in a statement.

"As this storied franchise continues to evolve, Justin and Keltie are a dynamic duo who will bring passion and enthusiasm as they deliver the latest breaking entertainment news to our audience."

Keltie Knight says "After over a decade of covering the entertainment beat and interviewing actors, musicians and artists I admire, I'm deeply honoured to take on this new role and host the show alongside my dear friend and best in the business talent, Justin Sylvester".

"I've always considered E! News to be the most trusted source for pop-culture news, and it's truly a dream come true to be a part of this legacy."

Keltie Knight previously served as E! News chief correspondent covering Hollywood events and red carpets for the nightly entertainment news show.

No Star Trek, no Elsbeth: The underwhelming and stale titles list of the Paramount+ tile on MultiChoice's Showmax in South Africa.

by Thinus Ferreira

There's little that's new or even noteworthy to watch on the Paramount+ tile that Paramount Global and MultiChoice added to its Showmax video streaming service, with a list of titles that MultiChoice provided that also differs significantly from what's actually available.

Paramount Global stalled for several years with launching Paramount+ as a video streaming app in South Africa and was slow out of the blocks to get its streamer up and running to compete on the African continent with the likes of Showmax, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, as well as smaller players like SABC+, VIU, eMedia's eVOD and BritBox.

Comcast and NBCUniversal's Peacock that also didn't launch in South Africa, went into partnership with MultiChoice to redevelop and relaunch its Showmax as essentially a new streaming service unveiled last month, which is powered by Peacock technology, with NBC and Peacock content now funnelled through Showmax.

That has now left both Paramount+ and Warner Bros. Discovery's Max as the two remaining streamers not available as stand-alones in South Africa, left out in the cold in the country's overheated video streaming race.

As studios and streamers are aggressively reigning in content spending in their attempts to become profitable with Paramount also looking for a buyer and retrenching staff globally, it no longer looks like either Paramount+ or Max will launch as stand-alone streamers in South Africa.

Last month MultiChoice and Paramount suddenly announced that Paramount+ will now be a "destination hub" on Showmax, instead of a stand-alone streaming service. 

It means that Paramount+ appears as a tile on the studios carousel right at the bottom of the relaunched Showmax where subscribers can choose content according to studio.

In November 2022 Paramount Global and Paramount Global Africa launched a website where it told South African viewers that Paramount+ would be "coming soon" and asked people to register their interest with an email address and a promise that they would be kept up to date and informed when Paramount+ will launch. It never happened and Paramount never sent out any updates or notifications.

Also in November 2022 Paramount Global Africa told media it would keep them informed about news regarding Paramount+ launching in South Africa. That also never happened.

Last week TVwithThinus asked MultiChoice for a list of what the content under the Paramount+ tile on Showmax would be, similar to the list that Disney+ issued when it launched in South Africa. 

MultiChoice provided a list that it said it received from Paramount. 

The majority of the list was so-called "library titles" - meaning old shows, like NCIS: Hawaii, FBI, Moesha and Survivor

Besides Halo that is included, no Star Trek or other sought-after Paramount+ content are included under the Paramount+ tile for South Africa. The list also included the new Elsbeth drama series as a spinoff from The Good Fight.

TVwithThinus then looked at the Paramount+ tile and saw that very few of the titles on the supplied list from Paramount that MultiChoice provided, actually appears on Showmax - with no NCIS, no FBI and no Elsbeth

Here is the list of content at launch on the Paramount+ tile on Showmax when a subscriber clicks on the tile:

80 for Brady
A.P. Bio
Alieu the Dreamer
Anchorman The Legend Continues
Avatar the Last Airbender (animation)
Baby Sharks' Big Show
Baywatch (film)
Big Nate
Black Tax
Bubble Guppies
Butterbeans Cafe
Chocolate City
Daddy's Home
Daddy's Home 2
Fifi and the Flowertots
Fire County
The First Noelle
Forrest Gump
G.I. Joe
Henry Danger
The Infernal Machine
Jack Reacher (film)
Jerry & Marge Go Large
Knight Squad
Lawmen Bass Reeves
Locked In
Mean Girls
Mission: Impossible
Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning
Mission: Impossible Fallout
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
Mission: Impossible 2
Mission: Impossible 3
Paw Patrol
Paws of Fury
Perfectly Single
A Quiet Place
Secret Headquarters
Shutter Island
Significant Other
Sonic 2
Spongebob Squarepants
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Christmas Doctor
The Equalizer
The Lost City
The Loud House (animation)
The Patrick Star Show
The Spongebob Movie
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie
The Tiny Chef Show
The War with Grandpa
Top Gun
Top Gun: Maverick
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Transformers: The Last Knight
Tulsa King
Young Dylan
Umakoti Wethu
XXX: The Return of Xander Cage
Zoolander 2

Clover's Cardova produced AFP Tropika Island of Treasure back for 11th season on SABC3 to be filmed in Zanzibar.

by Thinus Ferreira

The advertiser-funded production (AFP) Tropika Island of Treasure will return for an 11th season to SABC3, again produced by Cardova productions, with the Clover-branded competition reality show that will film the upcoming season in Zanzibar.

The South African celebrities who will be paired with people who enter are Hungani Ndlovu (actor), Karl Kugelmann (model), Omuhle Gela (actor), Bobby van Jaarsveld (singer), Chad Jones (TikTok influencer), Nqobile Khwezi (model), and Ndavi Nokeri (model). 

Zanele Potelwa will be the host of this season of Tropika Island of Treasure which will air around September on SABC3 for 13 episodes.

Last month the Zebra Square PR company that communicates on behalf of Tropika Island of Treasure held a  pre-season announcement lunch at Gigi Restaurant in WaterFall Corner in Johannesburg to which only some media were invited to and the rest not told about.

Media who were included and attended the pre-season announcement lunch were told Zanele Potelwa will be the presenter for the new season, that the 11th season will be taking place in Zanzibar, as well as who the celebrity participants for this season will be.

Chef Katlego Mlambo completes new MasterChef SA judging trifecta.

by Thinus Ferreira

Chef Katlego Mlambo will also be a taste tester on the new 5th season of MasterChef South Africa coming to SABC3, completing the judging trifecta comprising Zola Nene and Justine Drake.

While the already-announced Zola Nene and Justine Drake as returning judges to the Homebrew Films cooking competition reality show based on the Banijay format, Katlego Mlambo is new.

He replaces Gregory Czarnecki in the show that will still be filmed in Cape Town but is switching from M-Net to SABC3 with a prize money of R1 million when it starts airing from mid-June.

Previously Katlego Mlambo was a guest judge on MasterChef SA and also fronted his own shows, Inside Job with Katlego Mlambo in 2021 and Everyday Wow! in 2022 both on the Food Network (DStv 175). 

Primedia Studios which is picking up global competition show formats for further South African versions and seasons, is producing the 5th season with the tried-and-trusted Homebrew Films which produced the third and fourth seasons. 

The Pick n Pay pantry will also be back from the previous season with the retailer which is once again the show's main sponsor.

Katlego Mlambo previously cooked for high-profile dinner guests ranging from Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey to Black Coffee, as well as Beyoncé and Jay-Z. 

"My first four culinary mentors were the home cooks who raised me – my granny, mother and two aunts," Katlego Mlambo says.

"My grandmother would whip up amazing dishes on Sundays and I was absolutely enthralled by how basic ingredients could turn into the tastiest banana bread and scones. So, I became this little sous chef in our home kitchen."

The Eldorado Park-born food fanatic then decided to travel internationally, creating opportunities to master his craft at top restaurants across the world, with stints in international restaurants in Great Britain and the United States.

In South Africa he studied at the highly regarded Silwood School of Cookery and later raked in several prestigious accolades, including the 2019 Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star Award.

That was also the year he jetted to Washington as appointed head chef for the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations, hosted at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington. The event was attended by 500 of the most prominent leaders and celebrities in the world.
Katlego Mlambo's flair behind the pots and pans and his unique food fusion earned the jazz eatery Marabi Club the African Restaurant of The Year gong at the Luxe Awards. 

"It's amazing to know that I will be part of a show that's a global phenomenon. It's proof that if you believe in something, see it and taste it, it can become a reality. Being a MasterChef SA judge was on my bucket list."

Of judging he says "Even though I will be on the receiving end, tasting and judging the food whilst mentoring the contestants, I know I will also be inspired by their creations from ingredients in the Pick n Pay pantry. One can never stop learning, and I can't wait to experience the variety of cuisine created by contestants from different South African backgrounds".

SABC1’s Skeem Saam loses 1.3 million viewers in timeslot change that SABC calls 'a massive historical audience rating'.

by Thinus Ferreira

In a shocking but not unexpected move the SABC and Skeem Saam immediately lost over 1.3 million viewers on Monday night when the youth-centric series aired in its later timeslot of 19:30 on SABC1 for the first time, plunging to just 3.2 million viewers.

From Monday the SABC made drastic changes to the schedules of its three legacy terrestrial TV channels SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3.

Advertisers and insiders warned the SABC last month that big changes to its schedules will chase away viewers, lead to lower ratings and in turn force the SABC to lower ad rates for 30 second TV commercials spots, which would lead to lower ad revenue for the public broadcaster. 

While Skeem Saam still had over 4.5 million viewers in January in its 18:30 timeslot on SABC1, the show plunged in the ratings race on Monday night in the move to 19:30 where the Peu Communications production fell to just 3.2 million viewers. That's an instant loss of 1.3 million viewers.

In the 19:30 timeslot on SABC1 where Deal or No Deal SA pulled 1.92 million viewers in January, the move of Skeem Saam gained the timeslot 1.2 million viewers. 

Ratings data is not yet available for the 18:30 timeslot on SABC1 although the broadcaster very likely lost viewers since the SABC that had Skeem Saam as an original production now filled the timeslot with repeat programming, stripping a rebroadcast of The Executives which always yields lower viewership than first-run episodes.of a series.

March viewership data is also not yet available for SABC2's 18:30 timeslot on Monday night or SABC3's 20:30 timeslot although that is likely also down since SABC3's broadcast footprint and transmission reach is the smallest of the three TV channels, meaning viewers were left behind in the migration of programming to smaller TV channels.

In a statement on Tuesday evening about Skeem Saam's viewership numbers on Monday night, the SABC says that Skeem Saam "achieved a massive historical audience rating of over 3.2 million viewers last night, 4 March 2024 when the popular drama debuted in the new timeslot of 19:30".

Ofentse Thinana, SABC1 channel head, says "As the public broadcaster we wanted to make sure that we align with the audiences and to give them what they have asked for".

"We are proud of the performance of the first night and are looking forward to more highlights and wins with the Skeem Saam move. Thank you to the SABC1 audiences for walking the journey with us!"

The SABC was asked and said it would respond about the viewership of the 18:30 timeslot on SABC1, its reaction to Skeem Saam losing viewers in the timeslot move and whether it expected the show to lose or gain viewers in the scheduling move.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

SABC1 adds a South African Deal or No Deal Celebrity spin-off for charity on Saturdays.

by Thinus Ferreira

Primedia Studios with Homebrew Films and SABC2 are adding a Deal or No Deal Celebrity spin-off season on Saturdays with South African A-listers with the Saturday edition that will return to the format game show's original version featuring models holding and opening briefcases.

After the shift of Deal or No Deal South Africa from SABC1 to SABC2 from March for a second season on the public broadcaster and the fourth season overall after two seasons on M-Net, host Katlego Maboe will now do a Saturday celebrity version on SABC1 featuring actors, TV and radio presenters, socialites, comedians, sports stars, social media influencers and other movers and shakers.

The Saturday celebrity episodes will look like the special charity episodes of the first season of Deal or No Deal on SABC1, except that the format will switch to the original Deal or No Deal format where models are holding the silver briefcases and open them to reveal different amounts of money.

Deal or No Deal SA will now run on weekdays on SABC2 at 18:30 in the timeslot where the Afrikaans TV news bulletin used to be, with Deal or No Deal Celebrity airing on SABC12 on Saturdays at 18:00.

Deal or No Deal Celebrity will start on SABC1 on Saturday 9 March with the celebrity contestants who could win between R1 and R250 000. Winnings will be donated to various worthy causes.

After picking briefcases to open, models will open them to reveal the money that contestants won't get, hoping to keep the bigger amounts for last.

Besides the models' change for the Deal or No Deal Celebrity edition, the Saturday season will look different with a sleek new set design in a different colour palette from the weekday show on SABC2.

"The SABC's exciting new Deal or No Deal Celebrity spin-off highlights the public broadcaster's mission to provide world-class entertainment that is positive, aspirational and impactful," says Lala Tuku, the SABC's acting group executive for its video entertainment division.

"We are committed to using the power of television for the greater good of our society. The first season of Deal or No Deal South Africa transformed the lives of more than 250 individuals, with over R5 million won."

"Now, we're taking it one step further. Deal or No Deal Celebrity, spawned by a couple of top-rated special season 1 episodes featuring big-hearted celebs playing for charity, will make a substantial difference in many underprivileged communities."

Deal or No Deal Celebrity, like the latest season of Deal or No Deal, is also produced in Cape Town by Homebrew Films and filmed at Atlantic Studios in Milnerton.