SABC WANTS R3 BILLION BAILOUT

Sunday, September 24, 2017

DStv SHOWCASE SEPTEMBER 2017: DStv Now service, seeing 'fantastic growth', keeps adding TV channels; will be rolled out to all DStv subscribers before the end of 2017.


MultiChoice's DStv Now service that is seeing "fantastic growth" according to the pay-TV operator's digital boss, keeps adding DStv TV channels as it edges ever closer to a true over-the-top (OTT) mirror of the traditional direct-to-home (DTH) DStv satellite service, with DStv Now that will be made available to all DStv subscribers before the end of the year.

By bringing Naspers' subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service Showmax into the fold under DStv Digital Media, MultiChoice also wants to bring the best of what Showmax has done to the past two years, to the DStv Now service.

"We've seen fantastic growth of our DStv Now product," said Graeme Cummings, DStv Digital Media general manager at Thursday's DStv Media Showcase for the press held at MultiChoice City in Randburg, Johannesburg.

"The last 8 months we've seen massive uptake in play events. We now sit at 8 million 'play events' per month - that's an increase of about 100% in the last 6 months."

Graeme Cummings said it represents 140% growth, year-on-year, in monthly active users.

"This tells us that these behaviours of consumers are real, they're starting to translate into the second-screen viewing and this on-demand viewing which bodes well for a product like DStv Now."

"There's been a 361% growth in year-on-year web video plays. The web is still our biggest platform for usage. We put that down to the fact that your browser screen is a bigger screen than your mobile phone, and people want to watch their content on bigger screens."

"So it's our biggest platform but we see impressive growth in the app space of the DStv Now product as well - 264% year-on-year growth in DStv Now app video plays."


"From a content perspective the story is still about local content and sports content," said Graeme Cummings.

"Our local dramas and soaps feature really well on DStv Now, they're our most popular DStv On Demand titles and then sport from a live streaming perspective - everybody tunes in on a Saturday or a Friday morning if there's SuperRugby to watch on a SuperSport channel."

"So really its about sport and local. We've got Game of Thrones in there. Game of Thrones is a phenomena."

"There's been good uptake by our DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus users. They're loving the product."

"We also launched an additional 26 TV channels into the service. I'm happy to announce today that Comedy Central (DStv 122) is the latest addition to that channel line-up," said Graeme Cummings.

Other channels that were recently added include the SABC's SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3, e.tv, SundanceTV, SuperSport 10, SuperSport 11, SuperSport 12, Ginx, and eMedia Investment's eNCA (DStv 403) TV news channel.

"The free-to-air channels are proving very popular, the remaining sports channels that we didn't have on DStv Now we've now added, as well as the e.tv and eNCA channels, SundanceTV and Ginx."

"Really the goal is to get as much coverage, and get all of our channels onto the platform, and we're going through that. It's a journey that we're on, there's rights clearances that we go through. But we've made good progress in the last couple of months."

"We also announced that we would open up casting and enable Airplay and Chromecast and I'm happy to say that that is now done. We've had some good feedback from some of our early adopters. And again, this speaks to that need from the audience to want to be able to play their content on bigger screens," said Graeme Cummings.

"We've also made some improvements to connecting your DStv Explora. The bigger part of our base still receives their content through their DStv Explora decoder and we're on a journey to get as many of those Exploras connected to the internet as possible."

"One of the things that we've introduced is a new WiFi Connector, and we've also made massive improvements to the on-screen set-up, so if you plug this WiFi Connector into your DStv Explora, you basically walk through a set of steps on your Explora interface and we will scan the network and allow you to put your password in, and connect that device."

"Those users who have connected their Explora, the most active amongst them, we seen them downloading more than 20 shows a month, which we think is good progress," said Graeme Cummings.

"We've also made some improvements to the download duration, so previously, anyone who was downloading their content to mobile devices, had 7 days to press play on that content. We've extended that to 30 days now."

"This is a big win for those users going on holiday. They may be downloading a bunch of kids shows; they're not going to expire after a week. You're going to have 30 days to press play."

"The restriction once you've pressed play is still in place - and that a studio restriction. It's a 48 hour window [you get to watch]."

"We've also made some improvements to the interfaces and content discovery on the Explora and DStv Now," said Graeme Cummings.

"Chief amongst these is users saying 'We don't know which channel this particular show is on', 'I don't know what time the show is on', 'I've caught up with the last couple of episodes but I don't know does it air on a Monday? Does it air on a Tuesday?"


"So we've added some meta-data onto the screens, things like channel numbers and logos that will tell you this is an M-Net show or a kykNET show. We've added the TX date into the meta-data so we'll tell you now that Suits airs on this particular day and this time."

"We've also got the NEW indicator. So previously if you were interested in Suits, you would have to go into that stack to see how many episodes were unwatched. I think that was annoying and some of the feedback we got from users was 'How do we make navigation a little bit easier?"

"So we've got that little indicator that we've introduced that will tell you how many episodes in that stack are unwatched which we think is going to make life a little bit easier."

"Then we've made a couple of improvements to our live TV experience."

"As we've added all of these extra channels over the last two years - I think we're streaming 90 channels to DStv Premium customers now - it's become more difficult to navigate all these channels."

"So if you interested in news channels,you pretty much have to scroll three or four pages down to get to the news channels or the sports channels. So we've introduced some genre navigation into the app and the website. We've also changed the layout on that page [from 2 column to 4 column layout]," said Graeme Cummings.


DStv Now will also be opened up to all DStv subscribers said Graeme Cummings to include "DStv Family, DStv Access and DStv EasyView customers."

"Once we've done that, pretty much every DStv customer will have access to their content on the go."

MultiChoice will do this before the end of 2017.


"We're also making improvements to live TV recommendations. One of the things we've realised is, this DStv Now application is an on-demand, on-the-go type experience, but a lot of that consumption is actually linear consumption."

"It's people tuning in for sporting events, or the Idols event on a Sunday night and what we need to start doing is surfacing some of those linear recommendations in an on-demand way," said Graeme Cummings.

"Previously we had all of these recommendation strips in the application that could surface the most popular content in an on-demand world. We want to do the same thing from a linear perspective."

"So if you open up the application on a Friday night for example, yes, we're going to have all your on-demand recommendations, but we also want to be able to tell you that this particular episode is going to air in 5 minutes, do you want to watch it? Do you want to stream it live?"

DStv Now is also working on a "watchlist" recommendation feature that will be implemented, and helping viewers to find recently watched shows.

Speaking about Showmax that is being folded into MultiChoice's DStv Digital Media unit, Graeme Cummings said DStv Digital Media wants to bring the best of what Showmax has done to DStv Now.

"We're looking at the best of what Showmax has been able to bring to their customer base, we're looking at some of the  features and innovations that we've created in the DStv Now space, and what we're trying to do is really to bring the best of both worlds to our customers going forward."

"It's really a conscious effort on our part to make sure that what Showmax has invested in and built over the last two years, and what DStv Now has been able to do, we want to bring those two worlds together for the sake of our customers and give them the best of everything," said Graeme Cummings.

DStv SHOWCASE SEPTEMBER 2017: South Africa 'one of the trickiest territories' in which to produce Married At First Sight SA, says executive producer; addresses lobola and gay marriage questions.


Married at First Sight South Africa is "one of the trickiest territories" in the world in which to produce the format show from Red Arrow International, says the executive producer of the South African version, Rebecca Fuller-Campbell, who touched on issues ranging from lobola to gay marriage at the DStv Media Showcase on Thursday.

"Married at First Sight is a social experiment. It's an experiment that's taken place in 25 territories, there have been multiple versions of it, and at least a 50% success rate, so actually it's more successful than normal marriages," said Oxyg3n Media's Rebecca Fuller-Campbell at the DStv Media Showcase panel discussion session.

Married at First Sight SA is A+E Networks UK's second local commissioned show for South Africa, following Four Weddings SA also on Lifetime (DStv 131).

"We've got one of the trickiest territories to produce it in with 11 national languages; multiple - absolutely diverse, and we really have to consider that," Rebecca Fuller-Campbell told the press.

"We're genuinely looking for people that want to find love, that had difficulty finding love but have tried everything."

Rebecca Fuller-Campbell said Married At First Sight South Africa has "to represent South Africa and its diversity. We're not looking to match three Afrikaans couples. We're looking to find different people so we can represent our own diversity here."

"There are many challenges that we came up against. One of those is the obvious question of lobola. How do we tackle that?" she said.

"If lobola is important to a family - is part of a tradition in a culture - we have to look at it. What we do in Married At First Sight that is one of the things that we are looking for when we are assessing, is, 'Is this something that is important in your tradition?"

"And if it is, we have a lobola negotiator, we work with the families. We don't pay the lobola, it's still on you - just so you know that," Rebecca Fuller-Campbell said.

"Don't enter if you want your lobola paid, it's not going to happen."


Rebecca Fuller-Campbell was asked by panel moderator Neil Andrews if Married At First Sight South Africa will include gay marriage.

"I think it's very much something that we're looking at going forward in the future. In principle we are very, very open to it. We'd love it, it's happened in another territory."

"There's sensitivities around it, bearing in mind that we flight all the way through Africa, and so we have to be respectful of different cultures and different opinions."

According to Rebecca Fuller-Campbell no gay people have applied to be on Married At First Sight South Africa.

If there were to be more seasons of Married At First Sight South Africa, it will be interesting to see if gay marriage will be included, given the important issue of the growing censorship-creep of content seen across a growing number of DStv channels as other African countries clamp down on freedom of expression as far as TV shows are concerned.

It is something that is becoming an even bigger issue and problem, and that in turn directly affects what South Africans can or can't see.

The second season of Married At First Sight SA will start on Lifetime (DStv 131) on Friday 6 October at 20:50 and the first episode will be a reunion show.

The first episode of the new season will revisit everyone who participated in the first season and show where they are now. The next 8 episodes will then follow the new participants.



PERSONAL TAKE:
■ The Married At First Sight SA panel session was the only awkward session of the DStv Media Showcase.


■ It carried on for way too long, moderator Neil Andrews wasn't properly briefed and didn't know it was the second season already that is starting. He kept speaking, asking questions and commenting as if it's a new show, until he was corrected.


■ Presenter Sam Cowen wasn't present and part of the panel with no explanation about her absence - unless it was said and I missed it. It wasn't "wrong" but just struck me as odd. The other panelists working on the show, besides Rebecca Fuller-Campbell, were not that interesting - I doubt that there will be stories about what they said.


■ No trailer or sizzle reel was shown that was about the upcoming second season - again very weird when you've assembled a room full of media and TV critics to showcase your show.

Visuals (that was actually from the first season) confused Neil Andrews who said "that blond chick worries me. I've only seen a little snippet but she looks like hard work and I haven't even met her."

Rebecca Fuller-Campbell had to explain that "what we've showed you was clips from the last series, so from the first series, because we don't want to give away to much about the coming series. So that was last year."

Compare that to the effort and utter wow-factor when BBC Worldwide and MultiChoice later in the day showed a beautiful sizzle reel of the upcoming Blue Planet II on BBC Earth (DStv 184) and did trust the media enough to show something new to stimulate excitement with the press.


Married at First Sight SA didn't work that well as a drawn-out panel discussion and I thought it could/would have been much more effective and impactful if A+E Networks Africa and the show just did a type of "activation" like Lifetime maybe "sponsoring" or redressing one of the DStv Media Showcase tea breaks.

The 10:30 tea break could have looked like M-Net's brilliant recent media launch of The Wedding Bashers.

Imagine one of the tea breaks with flowers, little "wedding cakes" and pop-up banners from Lifetime and the show.

Imagine 3 or 4 "couples" just silently standing around, two-by-two, in wildly differing wedding regalia - lets say a black Xhosa man next to an Indian woman - and so on, making for jarring contrasts and driving home the must-watch gawk-factor that compelling TV thrives on.


■ A brouhaha erupted on the sidelines of this panel that involves me, and that I was blissfully unaware of until the end when there was a tea break.
Live-tweeting the panel discussion on social media, in one of the tweets I said "Married at First Sight SA exec prod says wont include gays on Lifetime (DStv 131) since channel's seen in rest of Africa."

There was no thanks about the ongoing reporting and attention given to the show (and lets be clear: none is ever wanted nor expected) but instead just criticism, and over one tweet.

It's obviously a sensitive issue and I fully get that. However, when you approach a journalist or editor to complain or criticise, perhaps pull the person aside, introduce yourself first, say something like "Hi, I'm so and so, thank you for [think of any compliment like covering our show]," and then criticise and bring up your issue or complaint.

Also: The gay marriage Married at First Sight SA issue wasn't a question originated by one of the invited journalists and wasn't brought up by the attending press - it was brought up by the DStv media showcase and the show - something they decided to highlight.
I covered what was presented, as well as other newsworthy aspects of it. If it wasn't brought up, it wouldn't have been a "thing".

DStv SHOWCASE SEPTEMBER 2017: MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner: DStv remains hard at work at driving down repeats and helping viewers with content discovery; DStv Now has 'surpassed expectations'.


MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner says DStv remains hard at work at driving down repeats and rebroadcasts across the various DStv channels - one of the biggest complaints from subscribers - while viewing and use of the DStv Now service has "surpassed expectations".

On Thursday Mark Rayner addressed the media at MultiChoice's DStv media showcase held in the cinema auditorium at MultiChoice City in Randburg, Johannesburg.

As part of his presentation, Mark Rayner told the press that MultiChoice remains committed to not just reducing old content across DStv TV channels as part of an increased focus to reduce repeats, but has also been putting a lot of focus on improving scheduling to make it easier for viewers to watch shows.

MultiChoice is also pro-actively working to create new ways for DStv subscribers to find the content that's available that they might want to watch, through creating and implementing better content discovery mechanisms.


"We're making pro-active moves to limit DStv repeats; complaints have been coming down nicely," said Mark Rayner.

There's been a strong focus at MultiChoice the past few months to reduce the number of repeats and rebroadcasts of content across various TV channels on DStv's platform and to help viewers find new programming.

With a lot of work that's been done to reduce repeats on the various M-Net packaged channels for DStv, Mark Rayner said that the focus on reducing repeats resulted in an increase in the viewership and ratings of the M-Net (DStv 101) channel for instance.

And it's not just M-Net.

MultiChoice has also been having ongoing discussions with the distributors of third-party supplied TV channels for DStv's platform who have been urged to reduce repeats where they're not working - even in instances where they still got good ratings.

A repeat problem that has been addressed for instance has been old Top Gear episodes from BBC Worldwide shown on a channel like BBC Brit (DStv 120), with DStv subscribers who complained that they had been forced to watch the same old episodes over and over.

"Sometimes I pity the TV channels that get a call from Aletta Alberts [MultiChoice's head of content] and her content team. Aletta has argued vehemently with the BBC for instance over repeats of old Top Gear episodes in particular," said Mark Rayner.

He said that DStv subscribers' use of MultiChoice's over-the-top (OTT) service DStv Now "has surpassed expectations".

Saturday, September 23, 2017

DStv SHOWCASE SEPTEMBER 2017: M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle: 'We aspire to be the leading storyteller of African stories for the world.'


M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle says M-Net's big vision is to be the leading storyteller of African stories for the world.

On Thursday Yolisa Phahle addressed the media at MultiChoice's DStv media showcase held in the cinema auditorium at MultiChoice City in Randburg, Johannesburg, explaining what she's proud of as the CEO of Africa's leading pay-TV broadcaster on the continent.

"We aspire to be the leading storyteller of African stories for the world," said Yolisa Phahle.

"I think that our stories have the potential to find audiences beyond our borders, and if we can do that, we will build our industry, we will build our talent, and that's what it's all about."

"I'm very proud that we won the Gold Promax Award for the M-Net 30th Birthday campaign. For us this is a small step in the right direction, because we were competing with big global brands."

"We were competing with Eurovision as an event, we were competing with something from the BBC, something from Disney. So really, really big massive brands who have events of great proportions, and actually this year in New York we took home that award, and I'm really, really proud of that," said Yolisa Phahle.


"I'm also proud of something new which we launched this year with MultiChoice," said Yolisa Phahle.

"This year we decided to stage the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards. Now for us, it is really, really important that we bring our industry together. We recognise our industry, we acknowledge our industry, and that we also give our audiences a chance to have their voices heard."

"So these awards were awards for our industry but not the Saftas type awards where it's about directing and editing and all sorts of other important production capabilities. The DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards is about the best actor, the best presenter, the best DJ, the best comedian."

"The DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards was a fantastic event. The red carpet was literally something that can compete with the Oscars and the Emmys; our stars looked amazing, the audience loved the show, the ratings of the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) was through the roof."

"I think this is something that we need to have. Our industry needs to have one night a year when they come together and they celebrate and I'm very proud of that as well."

"If I talk about the channels, I have to say that our local content is really going from strength to strength," said Yolisa Phahle.

"We're at season 13 of Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) - the ratings are amazing, the audiences are still there, the talent is amazing, we're getting ready to launch season 10 on kykNET (DStv 144) of Boer Soek 'n Vrou - again, a hugely successful show."

"On M-Net (DStv 101) I'm really proud of Trevor Noah who had his first-ever local talk show on M-Net, was back in the country, he came to see us, he did an amazing show for us at the Johannesburg Theatre, and we're also now getting ready to produce a comedy series with Trevor Noah."

"This show [working title: Trevor Noah Presents...] is going to profile and highlight other fantastic South African comedians. I'm proud of our local content and the investment that we with MultiChoice continue to make."

"Finally, very close to my heart, is our M-Net Magic in Motion Academy. This is our corporate social responsibility initiative. It's run by Gaylyn Wingate-Pearse who many of you now, and this is really about ensuring the sustainability of our industry."

"This is about finding and supporting and nurturing and mentoring and giving the next generation of local content makers the chance to excel and hopefully help us realise this massive vision that we have about African storytelling in the world," said Yolisa Phahle.

"These guys come to us for a year, they have a paid internship, they work on all of our big productions - they're not making tea, they're not filing papers, they are on the studio floor, they're in the editing suites and they actually end up producing shows which rate."

"So the Magic in Motion Academy, the future of our industry, is something that is very close to my heart," said Yolisa Phahle.



PERSONAL TAKE:
■ As I sat there, I thought why is the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster not doing this, not talking like this, not communicating a vision and success stories like this, not being like this.

■ Covering South African television, it was hugely inspiring to just sit and listen to Yolisa Phahle doing her presentation. She didn't hype up anything, or needed to. The very plain facts, all true, spoke volumes about what M-Net is really doing as a pay-TV broadcaster and its gargantuan contribution to South Africa and Africa's TV industry.

■ Respect to Yolisa Phahle who literally was on a flight back to South Africa on Thursday morning from Lagos, Nigeria and landed very early, and still took a lot of time out of her day to attend the DStv Media Showcase and to talk to the media.

DStv SHOWCASE SEPTEMBER 2017: MultiChoice, M-Net and SuperSport's top bosses reveal their personal TV viewing choices with remarkable candour, humour and insight.


Some of South Africa's top TV executives - the TV bosses of MultiChoice, M-Net and SuperSport - have revealed a bit of what they're personally watching on DStv and Showmax, sharing their viewing preferences with the press with remarkable candour, humour and insight.

At MultiChoice's DStv media showcase held on Thursday at MultiChoice City in Randburg, South Africa, the clever stage-setting opening act revolved around Mark Rayner (MultiChoice CEO), Yolisa Phahle (M-Net CEO) and Gideon Khobane (SuperSport CEO) sitting down and sharing their personal TV watch lists.

The extremely busy top-level TV executives took a big chunk of time out of their busy schedules to talk to the media on Thursday at the DStv media showcase, making a great impression on journalists through creating an immediate, and personal connection with the press.

The TV executive trio told TV critics and journalists covering television and broadcasting what shows and programming they're watching across the various channels available on DStv and Naspers' subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service Showmax that is now being folded into MultiChoice's DStv Digital Media division.


"I'm finishing off House of Cards on my playlist, and I also have a series recording for This Is Us," said the always-affable Mark Rayner, MultiChoice CEO.

"I'm behind the Boks in these dark days, so tuning in to the Rugby Championship. And then, I'm keen to try Taboo on Showmax - I've heard it's a great one."

"Taboo is really edgy stuff, the Showmax team is super-excited about it and it's a cool series. The next time I get some time to binge-watch, the next rainy Sunday, maybe I can tuck in for a few episodes of that."

Mark Rayner said the amount of great TV content coming out of Hollywood and other areas of the world "is staggering". "What the big challenge is now, is try trying to help people to get to the content that they need to watch."

"It's not a case of us saying at 8pm you're going to be happy with what we give you."

"There's so much available content now, we have to help and direct people. And people's TV tastes are becoming more fragmented and niche - and not decided upon by a broadcaster's schedule."


Other mere mortals would have gone and collapsed at home, but up next was a jet-lagged but sprightly Yolisa Phahle who flew back to South Africa from a business trip in Nigeria and literally landed early on Thursday morning in Johannesburg.

Yet she still made time to race over to the cinema auditorium inside MultiChoice City to talk to the media and to answer questions.

"I do love reality shows, so I'm tuned in to My Kitchen Rules SA, House Hunters International, Location, Location, Location and Married at First Sight. And, of course, I've got to keep it local as well, so I'm keeping up with The Queen."

"You know you have parents who say 'we don't let our children watch TV; only weekends," said Yolisa Phahle.

"Liars! They're liars!" the funny Mark Rayner hilariously chipped in, followed by laughter from the press corps.

"My children are brought up in front of the TV, so we'll see how that turns out," said the self-deprecating Yolisa Phahle also to big laughter, who interestingly revealed there's 6 TV sets all through her house - something that seems totally fitting for the person who is in charge of M-Net.

"We've got 4 small bedrooms in the house, so there's one TV set in each bedroom - which people say is also not good for your marriage. We have a TV in the kitchen; we have a TV in the lounge."

"So we literally watch TV all the time," said Yolisa Phahle.

"In fact when I was a child, we didn't watch TV at all. Because my father made me read. And then we had an older cousin who came from Ladysmith in 1975 and they did not have a TV. And they watched television the whole time."

"And my sister and I who were very small then, became addicted to TV and then when my cousin went, my father actually got rid of the TV because he said 'this is not going anywhere, you're never going to become a doctor if you keep watching TV".

"He was right!" said Mark Rayner.

"So, he was absolutely right," said Yolisa Phahle. "So I love TV, and I tend to watch what I need to for work. So if we're doing a new drama, I'll research loads of drama. If we're doing telenovelas I'll research telenovelas. But at heart, I'm a lifestyle person."

"Anything to do with houses, buying houses, changing houses - My Kitchen Rules South Africa I have to mention just because it's on M-Net. I don't know if you've seen it but it literally takes a local version of an international format to another level."

"The production values, the story-telling, the characters. Every Sunday I set my clock and I watch it live, I don't watch it on DStv Catch Up, I've got to watch it live."

"I love house programmes, I love travel. I say Travel Channel but it's really House Hunters International that I watch."

Yolisa Phahle said The Queen on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) is "South Africa's Queen".

"It's exciting not just because it's such a great show but it competes incredibly well with another long-running soap - and it's always tough to do that but we've actually done it, so well done to Reneilwe Sema (M-Net director of local entertainment channels)."

"The Queen is also a production company that is run by the main actors [Shona and Connie Ferguson] so we've literally taken these iconic South African actors that everybody grew up watching, and they now employ people and they have one of the top shows on Mzansi Magic and DStv and it's a great success story."


Up next was Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO who said "right now I'm tuned in to Insecure and Ray Donovan for a bit of comedy and drama".

"Sport is a must for me, so definitely Homeground and a bit of wrestling on WWE Raw and Smackdown. And I'm also watching Rome on Showmax."

"Ray Donovan is very dark. I like it because it takes you away. Everybody's meant to be moral and he's immoral. So for me it's perfect. It takes you away."

Gideon Khobane who went to New York recently with certain select media to watch wrestling for just over a week in the Barclay Center in Brooklyn after SuperSport signed a contract to broadcast WWE wrestling on DStv since September, said it's "the pinnacle of sports entertainment".

"When you watch their live events, it's incredible - the production values, the staging, the pyrotechnics, the entertainment value, it's just out of this world. I'm always in awe when I see how much effort they put into production, and just staging."

"We do a lot of live events here at M-Net. But when I see the scale that they go to - they don't spare any bucks to put an event together. Their stars are actors. They brief them that they're not athletes - you're an actors. They're some of the best actors in the world in my view."

"When I watch series I want to be taken away from my everyday life. The drama series Rome is just one of those things as well. And there's a lot of immorality. I don't know - maybe something's wrong with me. I'm attracted to like, the dark side somewhat, you know," said Gideon Khobane to laughter.

"I also want to touch on Homeground - it's SuperSport's first co-production with Mzansi Magic."

"The audience of Mzansi Magic is phenomenal. So we've taken the sports genre and lifestyle genre and put them together, and the show is proving to be a phenomenal success."

'My only gripe with Nkateko Mabaso [general manager for M-Net South Africa] is that the show should be at 21:00, but he insists on putting The Queen at 21:00," Gideon Khobane quipped.



PERSONAL TAKE:
■ The idea for this panel session was smart, inspiring, and creative, and was executed in a practical way just as cleverly as it was conceived.

■ It's certainly the first time I can remember that the MultiChoice, SuperSport and M-Net execs ever talked about their personal TV viewing choices, let alone doing so together. Again, a very clever concept; novel and new.

■ Coming right at the beginning, it cleverly set just the right tone and mood for MultiChoice's DStv media showcase since the executives were all open, personal, funny and revealing.

■ These well-regarded, experienced and formidable TV executives gave their insight, but more importantly they gave their time. Together the top-most executives - appearing personally and being personal, warm, and sincere - signaled that the press and the day's media engagement matters.

■ Upon reflection it's again odd having to hear how SuperSport took some media somewhere, who did basically nothing about it.
Having hyped up its WWE rights acquisition, you have to wonder what on earth is SuperSport's return on investment (ROI) on this.
Where's the articles? Where's the stories and reporting? Where are the interviews, impression pieces and the interviews with all the wrestlers?

It felt a bit weird sitting in a DStv media showcase as media, having to hear second-hand about WWE wrestling and how presumably great it is, when SuperSport chose media who actually a month earlier experienced it but failed so far to do much about it, and very likely won't.

If the WWE wrestling truly was this big thing, why didn't SuperSport do more, earlier, from a media engagement perspective? Either SuperSport chose lame duck media, or the press failed to find the wrestling interesting enough to bother afterwards.


■ The brain of the SuperSport presenter Neil Andrews should be donated to science to help in the search for the cure of degenerative brain disease.

In action, as a social interaction whirlwind, just like on TV, he is absolutely brilliant at absorbing, responding, reflecting and guiding.

The veteran sports anchor as a perpetual in-the-moment presenter and who was the MC for the 3rd time at a DStv media showcase, is simply brilliant at not just picking up and remembering names, but for a vast general knowledge, and for keeping every fact and what is being said uncannily in quick-access memory.

Who knows how big Neil Andrews' random access memory (RAM) is? He can literally remember tens of journalists' names after hearing someone's name just once, and brings up random facts and what people said in surprisingly insightful (and funny!) ways.

Platco Digital dumps Islamic TV channel, Deen TV, from OpenView HD with yet another of its original launch channels going dark at the end of September.

Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) is dumping yet another one of the original TV channels that the free-to-air satellite TV service launched with in October 2013, with Deen TV that is abruptly being removed at the end of September 2017.

Deen TV will remain available on the Chinese StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat on channel 365 has worked very hard the past three years in creating new content and shows but eMedia Investments is now done with the local South African Islamic TV channel.

Deen TV is a privately owned lifestyle TV channel with an Islamic ethos, owned by Deen Media Holdings (Pty). Ltd that was started in 2011.

eMedia Investments and OpenView HD didn't give specific reasons for the axing of Deen TV from the satellite service - the latest OpenView HD channel to be terminated - because it didn't want to, except to say its happened after "commercial discussions".

Since contract renewal talks didn't work out, Platco Digital is axing Deen TV.

These "commercial discussions" for a contract renewal didn't work out - either because Platco Digital didn't want to pay Deen TV what the channel wanted or needed, or because the channel wanted more money, or because OpenView HD wanted to pay Deen TV less money.

The South African public and South Africa's TV industry won't know the precise reasons because OpenView HD doesn't want to say besides the vague "commercial discussions" reference.

Neither did Deen TV, run by CEO Faizal Sayed, issue any statement, with Deen TV that is clearly miffed and upset about losing access to the OpenView HD platform..

OpenView HD says it's dumping Deen TV and that "the decision to discontinue our relationship with Deen TV was made on the back of scheduled commercial discussions between the two parties," according to Patrick Conroy, head of Platco Digital.

"It's the nature of businesses such as ours that channels are constantly reviewed, meaning that, from time to time, channels will be shuffled depending on market and commercial criteria".

After four years of helping Platco Digital to launch and grow OpenView HD and now getting shoved aside, Platco Digital says it "thanks Deen TV for being part of the OpenView HD journey since the platform's inception in 2013 and wishes the channel well".

Friday, September 22, 2017

Netflix pulls the penis episode of kids show Maya the Bee after inappropriate image; Studio 100 says its a 'very bad joke' by one of the artists.


Netflix has pulled the penis episode of the kids show Maya the Bee with the production company that on Friday apologised for the "very bad joke" that was inserted by one of the 150 artists who worked on the animation show and started legal action.

Parents are furious over the crudely drawn penis in the Netflix kids show that was produced by Studio 100 after a mom, Chey Robinson noticed it and shared a screengrab on social media.

The subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service pulled the penis episode, with legal action that has now been started by the production company responsible for its insertion into the show.

Chey Robinson drew attention when she said on Facebook - in a post since removed -  "Smh [shaking my head], please be mindful of what your kids are watching. I did not edit any images whatsoever, this is ‘Maya The Bee,’ season one, episode 35.”

She also shared this clip to show the penis drawing in the background for a few seconds:

"An absolutely inappropriate image has been discovered in a four-second fly-by scene in one episode of the total of 78 episodes of the series," said the production company Studio 100 in a statement on Friday.

"The origin of this image obviously results from a very bad joke from one of the 150 artists working on the production. This is indeed unacceptable to the Studio 100 Group as owner of the brand and all its partners and doesn’t reflect the quality of its work and its values."

"Legal action has already been started. Studio 100 very much regrets this incident and would like to offer its sincere apologies to all Maya the Bee fans. At the same time the company is taking all suitable technical measures to remedy the situation."

Maya the Bee that has seen its one anime version rebroadcast on South African television multiple times in the past, is based on the 1912 European children's book by the German writer Waldemar Bonsels.

DStv SHOWCASE SEPTEMBER 2017: MultiChoice upgrades BBC Brit and E! Entertainment to HD channels on DStv; adds pop-up channels.


MultiChoice is upgrading two more entertainment TV channels on DStv to high definition (HD) and is adding further pop-up channels.

BBC Brit (DStv 120) from BBC Worldwide and E! Entertainment (DStv 124) from NBCUniversal International Networks are both switching to HD channels from 5 October and December respectively.
BBC Brit that will unveil an updated look in October to co-incide with the channel’s broadcast quality improvement, will also change to become a “full spectrum” entertainment channel.

Originally launched as a male-skewed channel with British content when BBC Worldwide Africa relaunched its bouquet of BBC-branded channels on DStv in September 2015, BBC Brit is now expanding to further broaden its channel proposition into general entertainment.

BBC Brit will now cater to a wider audience and women along the lines of the former BBC Entertainment, with programming like Death in Paradise and EastEnders that already moved to BBC Brit.

Programming on BBC Brit will include Strictly Come Dancing UK (starting 10 October), The Graham Norton Show, the comedy series Carter’s Get Rich, the Brit-com classic Absolutely Fabulous getting a rebroadcast and documentaries like Killer Women wit Piers Morgan.

From 8 October the BBC sister channel, BBC First (DStv 119) that starts at 18:00 daily, will increase its daily running hours to 12 hours per day, now starting at 12:00 in the afternoon and running until midnight.

BBC First will continue to show award-winning, premium British series like Doctor Foster, Peaky Blinders and the soap Holby City.

“Our focus is to continue to enhance the entertainment experience for our customers,” says Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice’s head of content. “Offering BBC Brit in HD and extending the broadcast hours of BBC First, gives our customers a front-row seat to the best of British entertainment”.

More pop-up film channels from M-Net
MultiChoice announced further pop-up movie channels and film festivals for DStv, packaged by M-Net, that will unspool over the coming few months.

Aletta Alberts says the DStv pop-up channels are popular with viewers. “We’re really proud of them, when we play them they’re usually in the top 5 normally of most watched channels, and you’ll see us doing them on an ongoing basis.”

“We think it’s a much better way of curating content and really, really getting people into it.”


The “ShockTober Fest” movie festival will start on the M-Net Movies Action+ channel in October, unspooling a collection of horror and thrillers. “It’s all those movies that make your hair stand up – thrillers, horror” says Aletta Alberts, with films from Stephen King for instance.


Then there is the previously announced pop-up channel featuring the 100 films to see before you die and that MultiChoice at the start of 2017 said is coming this year. This channel will run as a special pop-up channel on DStv from November.

This pop-up channel will be called M-Net Movies Bucket List – “The 100 Movies to see Before you Die” and will run on DStv channel 109.

“This is our big event for the year in terms of pop-ups. Obviously this could create huge social media conversation because your 100 movies, my 100 movies … there’s going to be a lot of debate around that,” says Aletta Alberts.

M-Net plans to do a big reveal about which 100 movies made the list.


In December the beloved Animania will return to the M-Net Movies Smile channel on DStv as a festival. “We again definitely have the best of the best animated movies,” says Aletta Alberts. Films include Trolls, Angry Birds, Zootopia, Minions, Norm of the North and Madagascar.

“These are just a few of the amazing titles DStv subscribers will be able to see, so make sure that you’re on DStv Premium in December.”


kykNET’s pop-up Afrikaans film channel fliekNET will again return in December and this time will run from 16 December until 12 January 2018. “It will have the best of the Afrikaans movies that you’ve seen over the last few years, plus all this year’s best movies,” says Aletta Alberts.

fliekNET will be followed by, and tie into, kykNET’s (DStv 144) new Afrikaans film competition show, fliekNET Foendi’s, with presenter Ivan Botha. “It’s a quiz show about movies, so watch in January and see if you can answer those film questions first from the couch.”

DStv SHOWCASE SEPTEMBER 2017: IN PICTURES. They came, they saw, they devoured the upcoming content MultiChoice showed.


They came they saw, they consumed.

The content that is.

On Thursday MultiChoice held a Media Showcase day at its MultiChoice City headquarters in Johannesburg with South Africa's widely diverse and eclectic national press corps covering television.

The satellite pay-TV provider rolled out sizzle reels and made content announcements, talked about how MultiChoice is improving content discovery, held panel sessions with shows and stars and did top-level executive presentations and Q&A sessions.

Included in the packed, but beautifully segmented, and perfectly flowing and structured day, were multiple educational background sessions on virtually every aspect of MultiChoice's TV business that matters, with receptive and responsive MultiChoice, M-Net and SuperSport executives who answered every single question the media had.

The DStv Media Showcase was the second one MultiChoice held this year, following the one in February.

And it was essentially perfect in every practical way.

MultiChoice brilliantly utilised the internal resources of the MultiChoice City complex - from the cinema auditorium with its comfortable wide-seats, big screen and sound, to the side venue, and even the building's rooftop where lunch was served.

In a business where appearance can often be everything, the DStv Media Showcase on Thursday was as close as possible to pitch perfect with not a single thing out of order or to complain about.

MultiChoice create a contained, perfect environment for journalists and TV critics to work and to listen, see, absorb, learn, understand and to ask questions with zero external interruption.

MultiChoice put up a virtually flawless content presentation with exactly the right, extremely knowledgeable executives who were all in attendance and who all answered every question - without knowing what the media would be asking next.

The DStv Media Showcase, packed with information, trailers, sizzle reels, previews, content announcements about programming and upcoming changes and improvements to MultiChoice's pay-TV service, was insightful, extremely comprehensive and inclusive, and very well organised. 

Power points, toilets, free WiFi, breaks, snacks and drinks were all in abundance and within quick and easy reach - as were multiple publicists, executives and on-air talent of new upcoming shows.

SuperSport's scary/brilliant/funny and ever-amazing presenter Neil Andrews as the day's compère was back for a 3rd time and remained as brilliant, humorous and quick-witted as ever.

Talking about Television doesn't get done better in South Africa than what MultiChoice managed with its DStv Media Showcase on Thursday - it was a veritable Tour de Television with just the right pace and an avalanche of information for the media.

Although they're extremely busy people, the friendly and super-informed Mark Rayner (MultiChoice CEO), Aletta Alberts (MultiChoice head of content), Yolisa Phahle (M-Net CEO) who just jetted in and landed the morning from Nigeria, Gideon Khobane (SuperSport CEO), Graeme Cummings (MultiChoice head of digital media) and Nkateko Mabaso (M-Net general manager for South Africa) all attended and did great presentations.

They all mingled with the media and, very bravely, answered every single question journalists threw at them.

There were surprises aplenty (Ooh! A secret and beautiful Blue Planet II sizzle reel of the show coming to BBC Worldwide's BBC Earth), a real-time MultiChoice employee makeover to showcase E! Entertainment's upcoming How Do I Look SA? with Roxy Burger, fascinating content reveals, and even a panel discussion for Lifetime's (DStv 131) upcoming second season of Married At First Sight SA.

The whole DStv Media Showcase was wonderfully book-ended at the beginning and right at the end by extremely creative voice-overs and funny one-liners over little bits of the just concluded 7th season of Game of Thrones.

It was very well done in the vein of scenes with mostly Jamie and Cersei observing the land and fleets of ships and talking about it as approaching content.

If television were a theme park, the DStv Media Showcase was like spending a day inside one.

The DStv Media Showcase ended off the evening with an utterly perfect cocktail evening under a large white tent on the one side of the "old" MultiChoice backlot next to the one entrance.

It was a genius idea - both in the space utilisation and flawless execution.

Once again it was within easy-to-reach walking distance of MultiChoice City with drinks and various food trucks waiting there, ranging from a pizza truck and hamburger truck to dessert where you could choose your made-to-order items.

It was simply beautiful to see, beautiful to eat; beautiful to experience.