Thursday, April 25, 2024

South African creators abandon Comic Con Cape Town over talent exploitation.

by Thinus Ferreira

Local South African creators who say they have been exploited by Comic Con Africa have decided to pull out of appearing at Comic Con Cape Town starting this weekend, angered by what they say is the organisers' dismissive attitude, having promised access passes revoked, as well as being required to appear for free with "payment" coming in the form of exposure.

Over the past two weeks, South African creatives who initially agreed to appear at Comic Con Cape Town, starting this weekend at the Cape Town Convention Centre in the Mother City, told the organisers they're pulling out from panel discussions at the Pop Culture stage.

According to Comic Con Cape Town's press releases, the Pop Culture stage is one of its top main attractions luring many people to attend.

The Comic Con conflict comes after South Africa creators were asked to appear for free with no payment, while overseas talent are getting paid. Local creators also balked after they were promised to get free access passes for the multi-day duration of Comic Con Cape Town, only to discover they would have to buy tickets and would only get a one-day pass.

Comic Con Cape Town organisers also told creatives they won't get paid for their appearance, time and expertise, with email stating "Obviously you know how these things go, there is no payment".

International actors Sean Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy and Veronica Taylor who voiced Pokemon are set to appear at Comic Con Cape Town and are paid appearance fees.

Local creatives had similar complaints about Comic Con Cape Town last year.

TVwithThinus reached out to Comic Con Cape Town organisers to ask about the angered South African creatives who decided they no longer wanted to be involved with the event, why creatives were originally told they would get multi-day access passes which then got rescinded, why South African panellist are not being paid appearance fees for an event where tickets are sold, and what international stars like Sean Gunn are paid to appear.

Comic Con Cape Town was also asked for comment about creators who say the communication from the festival was unprofessional, and whether the Pop Culture stage is run at a loss. 

Comic Con Cape Town organisers didn't respond with answers to any of the specific questions with Calvin van den Berg, marketing manager saying "Thanks for reaching out. Comic Con Cape Town has no further comment available on this situation as we are communicating with the parties directly".

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

2024's 18th Metro FM Awards announces ceremony and black carpet presenters.

by Thinus Ferreira

The 18th Metro FM Awards taking place on 27 April at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga for a second consecutive year will have Luthando "Lootlove" Shosha and Tebogo Thekisho, known as ProVerb, as the hosts.

The SABC radio station says the music awards ceremony's black carpet coverage will be done this year by SABC1 presenter Nomalanga Shozi and DJ Sabby. 

TV personality Lamiez Holworthy and the 5FM presenter Zanele Potelwa will co-host the Green Room where they will interview category winners.

The theme of 2024's Metro FM Awards is "Back to the Future" with the Mpumalanga provincial government once again pouring millions of rand into the awards show to promote tourism to the province. The Motsepe Foundation is also a sponsor.

The 18th Metro FM Awards will be broadcast live on SABC1 and the public broadcaster's streaming service SABC+ on Saturday 27 April from 20:00. 

It is preceded on 26 April by a pre-party on the Friday evening at The Prestige Lifestyle Grand, and followed the day after on Sunday 28 April by the Metro FM Love Movement taking place at the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens.

"I'm thrilled and deeply honoured to be hosting the 2024 edition of the Metro FM Music Awards," says Luthando Shosha in a Metro FM statement.

"It's also a monumental career moment, as I step into the role of hosting my first awards ceremony. I'm eager to bring joy, laughter, and unforgettable moments to the awards show, alongside Proverb. Here is to creating magic together on screen."

Kina Nhlengethwa, Metro FM business manager, says "South African music is thriving, attracting new audiences globally and inspiring black excellence. It was only fitting that this year's theme be carried by some of the industry's best presenters, who bring a wealth of knowledge about diverse facets of the South African arts and entertainment scene."

Struggling Ster-Kinekor to axe third of staff, close 9 cinemas as attendance plummets.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's struggling cinema chain Ster-Kinekor is set to axe 236 workers - a third of its entire workforce - and close up to nine of its cinema complexes across South Africa as it blames a "significant" decrease in attendance of cinemagoers.

In response to a media query Ster-Kinekor confirmed that it had started section 189 proceedings - known in South Africa as a retrenchment process - telling staff on 13 February that up to a third of the 728 workers it employs will likely lose their jobs.

South Africa's two biggest cinema chains Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro, along with a sprinkling of independent theatres have struggled to regain their foothold after the Covid-19 pandemic, worsened by the proliferation and adoption of various video streaming services in the country like Netflix, MultiChoice's Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and a few others.

Ster-Kinekor which is owned by the British-based Blantyre Capital and Greenpoint Capital after exiting business rescue in November 2022, is looking at closing up to nine cinema complexes across the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

As part of Ster-Kinekor's restructuring deal, the Competition Commission ordered the companies not to retrench any employees for a period of up to 36 months from the start of the deal.

Ster-Kinekor in a statement, said that "In recent months the business has suffered a significant decline in attendances".

Ster-Kinekor blames the falling cinema attendance on the "result of a challenging economic environment, prolonged and more intense loadshedding as well as the impact of the Hollywood actors' and writers' strikes, where content scheduled for release in 2023 and 2024 has been moved out to 2025".

"As these are forces largely out of the business's control and the financial impact is likely to endure for some time, Ster-Kinekor Theatres has had to review its cost structure to ensure the continued survival and sustainability of its business."

"Ster-Kinekor is committed to complying with all the legal requirements, and will also ensure that employees are kept abreast of all developments throughout the Section 189 process as it progresses."

The cinema chain didn't respond to questions asking why up to a third of employees are to be retrenched, which specific cinema complexes are earmarked to be shuttered and whether the period of 36 months has lapsed as part of the agreement not to retrench any workers.

Responding to Ster-Kinekor's statement, workers reportedly noted that Ster-Kinekor CEO Mark Sardi in mid-2023 noted that cinemas were equipped with backup electricity at 31 of its cinema complexes to be loadshedding free.

Staff are also asking why there are no retrenchments within upper management levels, whether directors are getting fees for their board positions and whether those will be decreased.

Ster-Kinekor plans to shut down Bayside in the Western Cape and Cedar Square, Maponya, Matlosana, Southgate and Sterland in Gauteng over the next 6 months. In KwaZulu-Natal Ster-Kinekor will shutter its Boardwalk, Shelly Beach and Mimosa complexes.

Ster-Kinekor is considering the shutdown of a further 8 of its cinema complexes at N1 City, Secunda, Wonderpark, Bedfordview, Cradelstone, Mooi Rivier, Rustenburg as well Rosebank Nouveau in Johannesburg. 

A Not TV story: Is Temu's insidious Farmland game even winnable? Here are 29 tips to get your free stuff.

by Thinus Ferreira

Remember the teen who played Tetris until it broke? I've played Temu's Farmland - its in-app game promising free items and money-off coupons - and have 29 tips to get you more droplets to water your wheat like a wizard. 

If you haven't been sucked in as a South African consumer by the Chinese online shopping platform Temu yet, good for you. 

And if you haven't yet been sucked in by its insidious, addictive game to get free items of your choice as well as some discount coupons, even better good for you. 

But what is Farmland? Can you even win this gamification of Temu (which, is of course designed to get you to spend time within the app and to buy products), and what tips and tricks exist to maximise your water droplets as you water, water, water your way drip-drip ever closer to those promised free items you chose?

That orange block called Temu launched in South Africa in January, complete with free shipping and a promise to have your order with unbelievably cheap items delivered to your door by Buffalo couriers within two weeks. 

Just like how Amazon made it possible for South African consumers to suddenly get stuff like books, DVD box sets, night creams and a paraphernalia of other consumer goods from brands we never could buy locally, the arrival of Temu is like Amazon on steroids - a colourful shopping app as addictive as crack-cocaine with items and clothing so cheap that you never knew you needed but want to have.

For everyone thinking Temu's is going to be a massive threat to online retailers like Takealot, Amazon South Africa and Bash, the big truth is that every single clothing retailer - from Edgars and Pep to Markham and Miladys - should be on alert.

Why would consumers buy something in a store if they can get exactly what they want - from fast fashion to a wine decanter - and maybe even cheaper - and have it delivered for free at their door?

Part of what makes Temu so sticky is how it gamified the shopping experience, through flashy counters, lurid discount alerts and a game like Farmland (it has another one, Fishland, but that's another story).

Once you've downloaded the Temu app to your mobile device and registered an account for free, or went to the website, you can type in the word "Farmland" which will take you to the game. 

If ever you can't find the Farmland game screen within Temu, or you have logged out, or want to get back to it, you can just type in "farmland" in the search bar with Temu and the game will pop back up and you can continue from where you've left off.

Once you start playing a new round of Temu's farmland it allows you to choose two free items from a preselected (but big) list of products that Temu sells. It will also give you at least two money-off discount vouchers to use for future orders.

You need to reach 100%  of the points needed (basically fake in-game cash you earn for "harvesting" bundles of wheat on the farm) to get your free items and coupons. The green line of how far you are to completion, and the days left to achieve it, always remain visible in the scoreboard at the top of your Farmland game screen.

1. The trick to win Farmland lies in dedication, consistency and being persistent. It's going to take you at least four weeks or over a month at the fastest to "win" if you don't spend any money. 

Temu wants you to buy and be on the app, and you're rewarded for spending real money, with water droplets that get you to completion of the game faster. 

You can resist the urge to spend money (like you resisted paying to buy a new skin in Fortnite) but Temu and Farmland will try their absolute utmost to get you to pay to not have to wait to get water.

2. Every day (every 24 hours) Farmland will give you new water droplets for free, and several chances to earn further water, usually given in standard 10g droplets (although you're also rewarded in 2g, 3gand 5g drops for various actions. 

A water wheel in the top left corner keeps spinning constantly (although very slowly) where you can claim water as soon as it reaches a threshold of 1g (up to 10g). More about this water wheel later.

3. You have to pour water or water droplets from your watering can onto one of six brown patches of land with green wheat. 

A patch needs a lot of water for the wheat to turn yellow and be harvested for money which will slowly increase your score until you reach 100%. Clicking on a patch of wheat will show how far that green wheat is from turning yellow.

At the beginning, it goes quickly. But the further you progress in the game, the longer and harder it gets since getting drops become more difficult and takes longer, and the increment by which the percentage of a patch of green wheat is growing, rises slower. 

In other words, you need more water later in the game to grow by a smaller percentage. But don't be discouraged.

4. The water you have available to pour is shown in your watering can in the bottom right corner. You can pour out any water over 10g. You can gain water in any amount of grams for your watering can - 1g, 2g, 3g, 5g, 10g or 15g - but you will only be able to pour it out in individual 10g turns.

5. There is a doggie you can feed. Click on the dog when you see water drops above its head. It happens randomly and will yield something like 2g or 3g. The big thing with the dog is that you can also feed it three times a day - once between 08:00 - 10:00, 12:00 - 14:00, and again 17:00 - 19:00. 

Miss the feeding times to feed the dog once and it goes hungry and no water reward for you.

Every time time you feed it, you will get 10g. If you feed it once a day, all three times, you get more water. If you miss one of these times - you will miss out on the day's water reward. Like a Tamagotchi, perhaps set an alarm and quickly go click on feeding the dog and you can exit the app again.

6. As you progress the dog's bowl will disappear, so be prepared. The game isn't broken. Yes, Temu will make it harder to score points as you progress, as some point-generating options disappear like feeding the dog goes missing. The drops above the dog's head will remain and appear from time to time, meaning you can get 2g or 3g of water.

7. Bottom left is a "Get Water+" icon. If you click on it, several options will open to get more water.

Several tasks can be completed without having to spend money. You can "Browse for 60s" which will give you 15g water. Simply click on the blue arrow at the top left of the game, to go to the actual Temu store (because Temu wants you to buy stuff). 

Just scroll down once and the 60 seconds ticker will start. Once you've waited or scrolled for 60 seconds, you can click back or type "farmland" and you will get your 15g water automatically. You can do this several times a day until the challenge shows "done".

8. You can also type in and search "farmland" daily. It will also yield between 5g to 10g water once per day automatically.

9. Several times a day - quite nauseatingly so - the game will want you to invite friends to Temu or to get a "sharing Bonus" - something that will yield you more water. 

Maybe you really want to invite friends (and you can do so through Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Whatsapp, X that was previously Twitter, or Instagram DM) but you don't have to. 

Here's the trick: You will Still get some water, several times, for clicking on "invite" when it pops up, and then the app or way you want to invite someone, without having really invited someone. You don't really have to send the invite. Let's take Whatsapp for instance. 

You can click to "invite" and then click "Whatsapp", but after Whatsapp has opened, you can just click back. Temu and Farmland will log it as if you have invited someone, although you didn't. And you get your additional water.

10. Go through "Get water+"  daily and complete all of the free things you can possibly do.

If you did actually order and buy something from Temu, you will be rewarded in loyalty points with a water reward. 

This water reward will show up under "Get water+" as well, as a separate "My order Reward" line item. The sneaky Temu however won't give you all your earned water reward immediately. The allotment you get from having bought stuff is broken up over three days. 

You will have to go and click once per day, for three days in a row, to get your day's water, until by day three you get your total reward.

12. On the bottom left is also a "Referral water" icon. Clicking this and inviting friends will gain you more water. I've ignored this one since it really only works if you really invited friends or family and they've actually registered on Temu using your invitation. 

13. A "Treasure Hunt" icon is also in the bottom left corner. It will offer you a water amount like 300g, but you need, for instance, 100g water to access it. Definitely do it since this is worthwhile! 

Save up (basically 10 waters) and then click on the Treasure Hunt icon. It will take 100g away from your watering can.

You will now be able to open one chest per day, which will give you different amounts of water, for instance over 8 days, until you get to 300g. It will take a week, but you've upsized 100g to 300g water. Also remember to go do this once a day or you will lose the day's water allotment.

14. In the bottom left there is also a "6 Days Reward". Make sure you click on it once every day to claim your water here, since the amount of water grows daily. And if you miss it, you miss out.

15. Some day you might get a "Water vs" competition. It will pop up suddenly and then it's you against the machine. The "other player" (read AI) and you can now compete to see who can water the most in a set amount of time - usually half an hour. Don't rush to beat it. The trick here is to trick the computer. 

The more you water, the faster the other player or computer will water (I guess). Wait for it to rush up its own tally of how much it watered while you do nothing. Wait for the last 10 minutes. 

You can see how much time is left by clicking on the icon. The game will also warn you when the time is close to running out. 

Now you can water fast in the remaining time because it doesn't look as if the game is able to then suddenly respond to your gamification of the gamification. After the time is up, the game will show who won, and if you won, you can score something like an extra 30g water.

The other tip: Keep an eye on your own water. Don't waste water playing this if the computer is already at 29 or 60. If you waste 10 water (100g) trying to catch the game's 29 or 40 water it's a losing battle from the get-go. But definitely try to win if the number to beat is lower and a realistic challenge. 

Also: Don't leave too little time in a Water VS duel to start. Once I could have won but I couldn't water enough in the five minutes left simply due to the number of times you have to push on the watering can and wait per turn.

16. Ignore the blue butterfly fluttering around, it's decorative and does and yields nothing.

17. Ignore the wooden "Farmland" sign above the dog, it's decorative and yields nothing.

18. There is also an "Active Bonus" icon on the bottom left row. Similar to "Get Water+" go through everything and do everything you can for free and without having to spend money to gain more water. You get the same set of challenges daily, like visiting Temu once, three times, or opening chests from once to multiple times, and watering multiple times.

Every time you've completed a daily task it will show "done". 

As long as a green "go" remains, you can continue to do that same task, or levelling up. On the top two rows you will see a "week" and a "day". As you score points here, you will see the orange lines grow. Tick on the water droplets above these strips to get them, as your tally reaches those droplets on both bars.

19. A water wheel spins (slowly) on the top left corner. As the grams tick up (slowly), you can click on it once it reaches 1g (or above, to a maximum of 10g) and claim that water. If the water wheel reaches 10g it won't continue to give more water until you click it. Claim the 10g and the counter will reset and run again.

Sometimes the water wheel spins faster. Some days it will have a pop-up saying "water more to make the wheel spin faster". If you do then water, you will see the counter speed up. It will quickly spin for 1g of water and then slow down again.

Water wheel tip 1: Don't continue to water when the wheel suddenly spins faster after watering. It won't spin even faster and you're just wasting water. Wait for the wheel to slow down, and then water so you get the full effect and duration of the faster spinning to generate water.

Water wheel tip 2: When the water wheel is spinning at medium speed, refrain from watering if you can. The "medium" speed is already fast enough to generate some water or a full 10g of water. Just rather wait for it to slow down. Why waste a "go faster" when you're already at medium? Wait for the wheel to slow to "slow" to water again for it to switch to fast again.

20. You can click on the brown block of land currently being watered. The percentage from being done until the wheat on it turns yellow will pop up, for instance 49.4%. It will also show progress markers like "Reach 50% to get 15g water".

21. Whenever you earn more water from having watered, a "claim water" button will pop up on the bottom left corner. Click on it to get the bonus water.

22. Another "Roll the Dice" icon will sometimes pop up and become available, making a whole other game-within-a-game available - one where you get a throw of a dice after watering a certain number of times. This is also free. 

Throwing the dice makes a marker move across a track of squares. Keep playing this game as well, until you score something like 700g or 800g of water on completion. 

Keep in mind that this additional game will take a few days to complete but it is worth it and you can just as well make your watering work double as hard to earn those valuable dice throws.

23. What might also pop up is "Water Competition". If you click and accept (this is also free) you're placed into a group of randomly selected other players, all watering for additional water. 

It works according to a ladder system, where after a certain number of hours - for instance 24 or 72 - the top three "waterers" get additional water. The person on the number one spot gets 100g, second place yields 70g and the player in third place gets 50g. The rest get ... nothing.

Tip: I would suggest not using up all your water immediately, since everyone in the group can immediately and constantly see everyone else's score. At the bottom of the screen in "Water Competition" it shows how much time is left with a counter. 

Return an hour or so before the competition ends and then water, if you can, since it's a bit like playing poker. You don't want to use up all of your water, have your "final" score visible and end up being unable to level up as the others see what your number and rank are to chase and beat.

If you clicked to partake in this competition that runs over a day or two, or three, a blue square icon will pop up and remain underneath the water wheel. It will constantly say something like "water 20 times" - meaning you need to water a further 20 times to move past the next competitor above you to level up one place on the rung.

24. If you have water left in your watering can on a day but you can't get more "Claim water" for watering a patch of land, can't get more "Get Water+" bonuses or can't get more "Active bonus" challenges - in other words you've completed it all - stop!

While your percentage of watering and getting to completion of a patch (i.e. turning it into yellow wheat) will grow and increase, you will basically be wasting water since you're not letting it work double or triple for you. Stop until tomorrow when you can get some additional things and complete tasks while watering, instead of just watering and not getting a throw of the dice, or bonuses.

25. When the water wheel resorts back to its slow level of almost immeasurable water gathering, keep in mind that this counter is still running. 

At the end of a day, or late at night (long after feeding the dog or having left Farmland, go check in and click and claim whatever 3g or 4g or 10g might have been collected during the rest of the day in the water wheel. Every bit helps.

26. Regarding your two free items - you can click on them in the scoreboard at the top. You will see an orange "change" below each of them. You can peruse again and choose another item in each block and lock in a new item. You can change your selection for each of the two items three times (if you want).

I would rather spend more time right at the beginning making 100% sure of my choices and leave them locked in that going back and wasting time to change them.

Also: By the time you've finished the game, a free item might no longer be available or sold out. Don't worry. Temu will give you the option to choose another item, or will give you "store credit" in the form of a discount coupon equal to the value of the item.

27. When you see a white glove finger-pointing to something it means it's clickable, like for instance on the watering can, or over droplets in one of the bonus sections.

28. Regarding the "Bonus Mission" icon in the bottom left corner - it's another shameless Temu attempt to get you to share and invite others to Temu. You get to collect coins for sharing. 

Here, clicking on "share for more coins, and then clicking another app like Whatsapp without really sending or sharing, won't yield results. So you can ignore this "Bonus Mission" icon completely since you're not going to get anything here for free.

29. Every time you've managed to turn green wheat yellow and it is automatically harvested at 100% and turned into cash or points, your overall score bar at the top will grow. It will show how much you still need to collect to get your free items. 

Keep in mind that as you progress, you will need more water for a patch to reach completion, and that you will also earn less and less for each patch of yellow wheat. You will have to put in a lot more work and watering to close the gap of the last R20, becoming a gap of R10 and so on to get to the end.

The road to success is to be consistent and return to Temu like an athlete training and practising for the Olympics in order to complete the game and get your free items. You're not going to win Farmland by visiting once a week and doing just one or two things.

You need to maximise the opportunities within Farmland every day - not the time, not the "referrals" of friends and family and not spending money. Literally, squeeze every piece of worth out of every drop.

1max: What MultiChoice's new Showmax channel on DStv is.

by Thinus Ferreira

At the beginning of April, MultiChoice and Showmax launched a new 1max linear TV channel on DStv without any fanfare as a TV channel to showcase content that is available on MultiChoice's video streaming service - but shown to DStv subscribers.

Here is what 1max is, and entails.

First things first - Oddly, MultiChoice, M-Net and Showmax made absolutely no effort to bring 1max as a new TV channel under the attention of the media. There was not even a press release or a channel logo issued.

To put this into context: A press release is always sent out as an email blast to media by MultiChoice that a new TV channel would be starting or has been acquired, even before the actual TV channel makes its debut on DStv. In this case nothing happened for 1max.

Secondly, the 1max channel borrows its design and brand colours from MultiChoice and Comcast NBCUniversal's relaunched Showmax video streamer.

The channel replaced M-Net's discontinued 1Magic TV channel on DStv channel 103 from the beginning of this month. The "1" is a legacy hold-over from 1Magic; the "max" is a suffix from the word Showmax to indicate it's a derivative linear TV channel from the streamer.  

Thirdly: Who is responsible for 1max - MultiChoice, M-Net or Showmax? The answer is: All three.

Now let's get into 1max and what it is, for who it is, why it exists and what DStv viewers can see. 

This information has been gleaned from MultiChoice, M-Net and Showmax, after a media query had to be made with specific questions since the information wasn't volunteered unsolicited as had been the case with TV channels added to DStv in the past.

1max on these DStv bouquets
Which DStv packages can get 1max and which DStv subscribers have access to 1max? DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus subscribers have access to 1max according to MultiChoice. 

1max is also just for DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus subscribers in South Africa.

This tiering decision of MultiChoice and Showmax for this linear windowing channel is odd and here's why: DStv Premium subscribers already get Showmax as a video streaming service for free. Anything that is on 1max (on a schedule!) is already accessible on Showmax as a streamer (accessible at any time). 

If MultiChoice and Showmax want to showcase what Showmax is, and what DStv subscribers could potentially get access to, it makes sense that 1max should really not be for DStv Premium subscribers but be accessible to lower-tiered DStv subscribers (which it is not).

What DStv Premium subscriber will wait to watch an episode of Yellowstone on 1max late at night, when it has already aired on M-Net (DStv 101), and is also accessible on Showmax itself, for free, at any time? 

Similar to M-Net which had a daily unencoded "Open Time" when it launched to entice potential TV viewers to become subscribers, "Open Time" didn't do anything for people who were already M-Net subscribers. The function was to showcase and window what people could get access to who were not subscribers.

1max replaced 1Magic but what about ME?
MultiChoice and M-Net yanked both the struggling 1Magic and lower-tiered repeat ME channels at the end of March. With 1max replacing 1Magic, what is MultiChoice's replacement for lower-tiered DStv subscribers who got access to ME?

The answer is: Nothing.

MultiChoice and M-Net were asked what the replacement is for ME. 

The answer is: "1max features award-winning content from Showmax, reality shows and a host of acclaimed local and international titles. 1max will be available to DStv Premium and Compact Plus subscribers in South Africa. The channel is available to subscribers that had access to 1Magic. 

How long will 1max last?
What do MultiChoice and M-Net say about 1max? We asked for a quotable from an executive - the type of prepared quote which usually features in a press release about a TV channel launch.

We got this quote ascribed to from Shirley Adonisi, M-Net channel director for local entertainment:

"Launched on 1 April 2024 on DStv channel 103, 1max gives DStv Premium and Compact Plus subscribers who haven’t yet signed up to the streaming service a taste of the Showmax universe. 1max is an opportunity to introduce customers that prefer a linear experience to Showmax content, international titles and content from our other territories across Africa."

MultiChoice and M-Net were also asked whether 1max is a temporary pop-up channel or a permanent DStv channel, and if it is a permanent addition to DStv - meaning more permanent than pop-up, how long foreseeable 1max will run with Showmax content on DStv. The question wasn't answered.

Surprising content allocation on 1max
A surprise is that some of the content on 1max is brand-new content commissioned for the relaunch of Showmax as a video streaming service. Instead of watching the Thabo Bester doccie on Showmax, DStv subscribers can watch Tracking Thabo Bester on 1max.

That begs the question: Why are MultiChoice, M-Net and Showmax allowing 1max as a linear TV channel to blatantly cannibalise Showmax as a video streaming service? 

Putting brand-new content on a linear TV channel as a "second window" while it's still on a "first window" means that the brand value and content value of the original destination - in this case Showmax - is devalued by the adjacent TV destination - in this case 1max.

Logically it would make more sense if just older Showmax content runs on 1max.

We asked why brand new Showmax content is on the linear channel and how this factors into the motivation to push people to sign up for, and sample Showmax as a streamer.

The answer: "The content on 1max gives viewers a sample of what’s available on the Showmax streaming service and encourages viewers who enjoy the shows to go to and get streaming. The full Showmax content library comprises tens of thousands of hours of content from Showmax and our partners which customers can enjoy at their leisure".

"DStv Premium subscribers get Showmax at no additional cost and other DStv subscribers get Showmax at a discounted price."

How the 1max schedule works
How does the 1max schedule grid work?    

The response from MultiChoice and M-Net is that 1max kicked off its content offering with a variety of Showmax titles such as Red Ink, Youngins, Sports Wives and content such as the Nigerian telenovela Wura and The Real Housewives of Lagos, as well as international series like Ted, Yellowstone and season 6 of The Good Doctor. 

"One episode of new content per show will be available each week as the channel follows a linear format," the pay-TV operator explains.

"The first month also includes the much anticipated and talked about series Tracking Thabo Bester which recently broke the record for the highest first-day viewership when it launched on Showmax and is must-watch viewing for South Africans."  

1max's name
We asked what the name 1max means.

The response: "1max is the linear home to diverse local and international content as well as samples of content from the Showmax service."

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

LG launches the LG 77 OLED M3 as the world's first wireless OLED television.

by Thinus Ferreira

LG Electronics has launched the world's the world's first completely wireless OLED television with its LG 77 OLED M3 that only requires a power cable connection to the TV screen to work, as well as a Zero Connect Box.

LG says the LG 77 OLEM M3 "will revolutionise the way consumers experience audiovisual technology, offering an unparalleled home entertainment experience".

LG's 77 OLED M3 comes with an entirely wireless design and eliminates the need for cumbersome cables that clutter the space and limit placement options. 

"This is made possible by including the Zero Connect Box, an innovative appliance that serves as the central hub for all input and component devices," LG explains.

"The rear of a TV panel is typically a maze of cables and connections, often leading to an unsightly and inconvenient setup, especially when the TV is wall-mounted. However, the LG 77 OLED evo M3, with the Zero Connect Box, eliminates these issues by wirelessly transmitting content to and from the screen, offering a clutter-free, seamless experience," LG says.

"This approach not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the TV but also streamlines the installation process, making it a hassle-free, future-facing solution," says Lance Berger, head of sales in home entertainment at LG Electronics South Africa.

"It is important to note that consumers do not need to purchase the M3 and a separate Zero Connect Box; the M3 comes bundled with this premium accessory. This underscores the M3's status as the most premium TV in LG's lineup, offering a truly cutting-edge, non-clutter, high-tech innovation that is unparalleled in the industry."

"The LG completely wireless OLED evo M3 television represents the pinnacle of home entertainment technology, offering unmatched visual and audio experiences. It showcases LG's commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and our dedication to delivering innovative solutions that enhance the lives of consumers."

The LG 77 OLED M3 Specifications:

EcoFlow launches the RIVER 2 Pro and DELTA 2 Max in South Africa.

by Thinus Ferreira

EcoFlow has launched its new RIVER 2 Pro and DELTA 2 Max in South Africa.

The RIVER 2 Pro features an upgraded capacity and faster charging that the company says is the best portable power station to withstand Eskom's Stage 6 loadshedding level of electricity blackouts in South Africa.

EcoFlow's DELTA 2 Max has a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) transfer time of 20ms and a capacity of 2048Wh.

"As loadshedding continues to grow, the EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro and DELTA 2 Max ensure our consumers have access to a simple, flexible and reliable energy source wherever and whenever they should need it," says Bradley Chetty, B2C sales director at EcoFlow South Africa, in a statement.

"We are proud to bring more lifestyle solutions to the market. EcoFlow is committed to making life better through meaningful innovation."

The EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro boasts a capacity of 768Wh. It has X-Stream technology, meaning that it can be fully recharged through AC charging in 70 minutes.

With a maximum AC output of 800W and EcoFlow's X-Boost technology, the RIVER 2 Pro can run devices of up to 1600W. It is sufficient for 80% of heavy-duty appliances such as hair dryers, microwaves and electric kettles, covering almost all daily essentials in a household.

The RIVER 2 Pro is able to provide emergency power supply (EPS) and in case of a sudden blackout, it can automatically switch to the battery-powered supply mode within 30ms. When unexpected power outages happen it instantly becomes a reliable energy source, preventing disruptions in consumers' daily activities or work.

Equipped with advanced LiFePO4 (LFP) batteries that can operate under extreme temperatures, the RIVER 2 Pro possesses a lifespan of 3 000 cycles. The RIVER 2 Pro comes with a 5-year warranty.

The EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max supports 20ms auto-switch to Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) mode when unexpected power cuts hit.

With a base capacity of 2,048Wh, which can be expanded up to 6,144Wh with two extra batteries, users can customise their energy solutions based on their specific energy needs.

It also has EcoFlow's X-Stream technology, meaning the DELTA 2 Max can recharge really fast. 

With an AC input of 2300W and a maximum solar input of 1000W, the DELTA 2 Max can be charged by AC from 0 to 100% in 81 minutes or by solar from 0 to 100% in 2.3 hours. 

Meanwhile, the DELTA 2 Max can be charged from 0 to 80% in 43 minutes with AC and solar dual charging.

The DELTA 2 Max is equipped with a 2400W AC output that can power almost all essential home appliances. Even while charging, it can still power up to 13 devices simultaneously. 

With the X-Boost technology, the DELTA 2 Max can even power some appliances up to 3100W. In the face of potential severe power outages such as Stage 13 loadshedding, the DELTA 2 Max can serve as a powerful and reliable energy backup device.

Both the RIVER 2 Pro and DELTA 2 Max are available in South Africa from 15 April. The EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro is priced at R 11,999 and the EcoFlow DELTA 2 Max is priced at R 25,999.

BET Africa's Queendom crew and cast paid late by Clive Morris Productions.

by Thinus Ferreira

The crew and cast of Paramount Africa's upcoming Queendom series were forced to stay home due to non-payment even before the first episode of the upcoming new telenovela starts airing next week, once again due to non-payment by Clive Morris Productions.

Queendom is set to start on BET Africa (DStv 129) on 22 April.

Natalie Mdladla, Paramount senior director of communications, told IOL that the Queendom cast and crew were eventually paid but confirmed that the payments were late. 

According to the Zimoja online publication, work on Queendom recently came to a standstill over non-payment of the show's cast and crew.

The publication quotes insiders who said that executive producers Khayelihle Dominique and Clive Morris visited the Queendom set and that "Clive was crying there. But we don't understand the story. We last got paid before Easter and we are relying on the weekly salaries for our families".

The cast and crew on another show, Empini for MultiChoice and M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel, reportedly similarly went unpaid by Clive Morris Productions. 

It's also Clive Morris that in the past failed to pay the cast and crew of shows like SABC3's The Estate and Paramount Africa and BET Africa's Isono on time.

Khayelihle Dominique told Zimoja that payment delays were being sorted out and that "MultiChoice is in very good standing, they paid us. Empini specifically had nothing to do with the broadcaster".

The Queendom cast includes Linda Mtoba, Sindi Dlathu, Hamilton Dlamini, Mduduzi Mabaso, Pallance Dladla, Dawn Thandeka King, as well as Jabulani Hadebe known as Sjava.

Queendom revolves around the character of Nthandokayise Mthombeni, portrayed by Linda Mtoba, who is a community leader in Tsakane who discovers that she is the rightful heir to the throne of the Khahlamba kingdom.

Paramount Africa and BET Africa have an in-person media launch event on Tuesday for Queendom for Johannesburg media. No virtual roundtable interviews with the cast and crew have been organised for media by Paramount Africa and its PR company with no digital screeners issued.'s cancelled Nikiwe cast and crew still unpaid after months.

by Thinus Ferreira

The cast and crew of's cancelled Nikiwe are still struggling to get paid months after the show got canned and stopped production by Parental Advisory Productions which has since gone to ground.

In January TVwithThinus reported how Parental Advisory Productions co-owned by Thomas Gumede and Lungelo Radu imploded with huge amounts of debt with that cancelled the low-rated Nikiwe amidst serious financial problems inside the production and production company.

Hundreds of staffers who worked on the cancelled Nikiwe are still owed hundreds of thousands of rand in payment from Parental Advisory Productions months after the final scene was filmed.

Last year Thapelo Ramatsui, publicist, told the online publication ZiMoja that cancelled Nikiwe and the contract with Parental Advisory Productions due to the show's bad viewership and that PAP was paid what it was owed. 

The final episode of Nikiwe was broadcast on on 5 January 2024.

Cast and crew told City Press they haven't heard from either Tomas Gumede or Lungelo Radu since December 2023, with the final communication which was three days before Christmas Day in the form of an email on 22 December.

One Nikiwe actor told the newspaper "These people are failing us in that they spent the money instead of paying us. They are basically making fools out of us".

The corporate communications manager of, Bennum van Jaarsveld told City Press that Nikiwe was old news and that didn't want to comment but noted that had paid Parental Advisory Productions what the show was owed.

"It's just an old thing and we've moved on. There are so many other things happening; Nikiwe is an old story for us to comment on. Also, a lot of the stuff there was between the production and the cast, we were not involved in that."

"We had our contract and agreement with the production house and the production house had an agreement with the talent. We did what we needed to do, we met our obligations and the rest was on the production and that's where I think things sort of went wrong."

Monday, April 15, 2024

Competition Tribunal grants eMedia's Openview interim relief in MultiChoice sports sublicensing fight: SuperSport ordered to allow content to be seen on SABC channels on Openview.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's Competition Tribunal has granted interim relief to eMedia's Openview satellite service in its sports rights sublicensing fight with MultiChoice, ordering MultiChoice and SuperSport to allow SuperSport content to be carried and seen on the SABC's TV channels on Openview in cases where the SABC acquired and unlicensed sports content from SuperSport.

MultiChoice and SuperSport ordered the SABC in 2023 to either black out or replace SuperSport sports content that the SABC acquired through sublicensing, for the version of the SABC's TV channels carried on eMedia's Openview.

In an acrimonious legal case, eMedia took MultiChoice to the Competition Commission in 2023, after MultiChoice and SuperSport blocked the SABC from making Rugby World Cup and Cricket World Cup content that the SABC sublicensed from SuperSport, available on the SABC's TV channels carried on Openview.

Instead of live international sports tournaments, the SABC had to programme old filler content for its SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 channels carried on Openview, while SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 carried on MultiChoice's DStv and as free-to-air terrestrial channels, showed SuperSport content.

In an ongoing case before the Competition Tribunal, eMedia claims that MultiChoice has been abusing its alleged dominant position "by concluding anticompetitive and restrictive sublicensing agreements with the SABC".

Besides the overall case, eMedia also sought interim relief over the issue. MultiChoice opposed eMedia's application for interim relief, noting that "none of eMedia's complaints had any basis in competition law or fact".

On Monday, South Africa's Competition Tribunal in a media statement said "The tribunal has granted eMedia interim relief pending the final determination of its complaint to the commission, or for a period of 6 months, whichever occurs first".

"MultiChoice, including its subsidiary SuperSport, and the SABC are interdicted from implementing and enforcing any restriction in the (existing) sub-licensing agreements entered into between them."

"MultiChoice, including its subsidiary SuperSport, and the SABC are further interdicted from including restrictions which prohibit the SABC from transmitting or making available sub-licensed broadcasts on platforms owned or operated by eMedia (through Openview) in future sub-licensing agreements concluded between them relating to the broadcasting of sporting events."

"The tribunal's reasons for its decision will be issued in due course."

The interim relief means that in cases where the SABC, for the remainder of 2024, acquires content from SuperSport through sublicensing agreements, that content will be seen on the SABC's channels on Openview as well - in other words, there will no longer be one version of SABC channels for DStv and another blacked-out version of SABC channels for Openview when the SABC shows SuperSport sports content.

Late on Monday afternoon eMedia in a statement said "Today, Multichoice was dealt a blow when the Competition Tribunal granted interim relief to eMedia to lift all restrictions to broadcast sporting events of national interest (soccer, rugby and cricket) on its Openview channels, effective immediately".

"We are satisfied that our perseverance to stop MultiChoice'ss anti-competitive behaviour has paid off."

"More so, we are delighted that the interest of the hundreds of thousands of viewers that rely on Openview for purposes of accessing the SABC's channels and who were precluded from viewing the World Cup Rugby and Cricket matches because of the restriction imposed by SuperSport has been heard."

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Mzansi Magic adds father-son drama series Ha Molefi from June.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net has commissioned a new drama series Ha Molefi for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) as a father-and-son story which will debut on the channel on Monday 17 June at 20:00 as the two grapple with grief after the loss of a wife and mother.

Ha Molefe is produced by Clive Morris Productions and will have 13 episodes.

Ha Molefi is headlined by TJ Mokhuane, portraying the gay teenager Thabang Molefi from Pimville, Soweto who has lost his mother Mam' Linda.

He lives with his father Ntate Molefi, portrayed by Dingaan Khumalo/DSK who is grieving the loss of his wife. According to Mzansi Magic "Together they set off on a journey of discovery that lays bare their fears and hopes while honoring Mam'Linda's memory".

Within the series, Thabang dreams of winning the all-round category at the annual Ballroom/Vogue Nights and he draws inspiration from his late mother, who was a musical sensation in the 90s and who always encouraged Thabang to live his truth and follow his dreams. 

Ntate Molefi, on the other hand, loves his son and has accepted him as he is. "However, the recently widowed father has to learn that he must go beyond just loving his son but also make the effort to open up to him," Mzansi Magic says.

Shirley Adonisi, M-Net director of local entertainment channels, says "Ha Molefi is an emotional story about a relationship between a grieving father and son, focusing on the raw and honest emotional turmoil that both face, especially concerning the son's identity".

"As the home of local, Mzansi Magic is proud to bring this inspirational story to our audiences and we hope that it will inspire. We hope viewers will recognise and appreciate how a parent's love can manifest in fear and how that can either grow or destroy a relationship."