SABC: THIRD OF OUTSIDE BROADCAST TRUCKS NOT USABLE

Friday, February 28, 2014

Five names shortlisted to again fill a hole on the SABC board after Noluthando Gosa resigned in November 2013.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications shortlisted five names for the empty position on the SABC board, left open after Noluthando Gosa resigned in in November 2013 for the third time as a SABC board member.

The skewed SABC board of the beleaguered SABC pummeled by ongoing crisis after crisis is not representative of South Africa.

This coming Tuesday the portfolio committee on communications will interview:
Leah Thabisile Khumalo
Vuyelwa Qinga-Vika
Chose Andrew Kenilworth Choe
Ntombenhle Khathwane
Rammutlana Boelie Sekgala

BREAKING. eNCA going with 'gavel-to-gavel' live Oscar Pistorius murder trial coverage on television; doing a special Sunday preview.


eNCA (DStv 403) plans to broadcast "gavel-to-gavel" live coverage of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial for viewers whenever its allowed in the courtroom, and will have comprehensive reporting with nightly TV specials of the day's events between 19:00 and 20:00, repeated at 22:00.

ANN7 (DStv 405) did not announce Oscar Pistorius court trial coverage plans on television, but besides eNCA, MultiChoice will run a dedicated, 24-hour Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on DStv on channel 199, and the Sabido-owned Platco Digital will also run its own dedicated, 24-hour Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on OpenView HD (OVHD) on channel 119.

eNCA says the South African TV news channel will have an hour long Oscar Pretorius murder trial preview show on Sunday night at 18:00 as it gears up for covering "one of the biggest news stories of the year".

From Monday 3 March eNCA will broadcast live courtroom coverage and ongoing expert analysis and interpretation from a special vantage point outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

eNCA will use its specialist court reporter Karyn Maughan who has covered the story right from that shocking day last year on Valentine's Day when Oscar Pretorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

eNCA's team of reporters who will also cover the unfolding court room and news proceedings include Annika Larson, Phakamile Hlubi, Uveka Rangappa, Cathy Mohlahlana, Jeremy Maggs, Iman Rappetti and Gareth Edwards who will field anchor from outside the Pretoria court room.

"Everyone will be covering the Oscar Pistorius trial," says Patrick Conroy, eNCA's group head of news.

"The difference will be the quality of reporting, accuracy and insights into what is going on. We have specialist reporters to do this. We will also provide consistent updates on Twitter and our website enca.com".

"While the Oscar Pistorius trial is undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of the year, we will make sure our viewers also get regular updates on all other important news stories," says Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA news director.

BREAKING. Broadcast of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on television is 'a seminal moment in broadcast history'.


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South African TV and broadcasting experts are calling the broadcast of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on dedicated television channels and radio in South Africa, and globally, "a seminal moment in broadcast history".

The double amputee, paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year. On Monday he will appear in the Pretoria High Court for the month, standing trial and accused of premeditated murder in a sensational case which dominated and continues to draw massive worldwide interest.

From Sunday MultiChoice will run its own 24-hour, dedicated Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on DStv on channel 199 with a live court feed as well as live discussion content and pre-packaged documentaries and inserts.

From Monday Sabido's Platco Digital will run it's own 24-hour, dedicated Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on OpenView HD (OVHD) on channel 119 that will beam court proceedings daily from 10:00 to 16:00 and then loop it in repeat blocks.

TV and radio news channels ranging from eNCA (DStv 403), ANN7 (DStv 405), Sky News (DStv 402) and Eyewitnessnews (EWN) plan dedicated, rolling court proceedings and news coverage on the Oscar Pistorius court case.

"You have to understand that this is a seminal moment in broadcast history," George Mazarakis, the executive producer of Carte Blanche and the executive producer of the Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on DStv tells TV with Thinus.

"We were preparing for this trial as if we're going to get nothing at all from the judge," George Mazarakis tells me. "To have achieved what we have is not only a significant moment in the history of South African jurisprudence but a testimony to the importance of open justice in the South African democracy".

"It is also for us a victory in terms of being able to present to our audiences a very complete picture - a more complete picture of how the judicial system works. Its a way of showing that everyone is capable of a free trial or can receive a free and fair trial," says George Mazarakis.

"People are critical and saying that broadcasters shouldn't be asking for these things. But actually it is the way to ensure a fair trial because the spotlight is on the courts".

The veteran South African broadcast expert and researcher Kate Skinner tells TV with Thinus that the judgement to allow broadcasting of the Oscar Pistorius court trial "is good news".

"It is practical, sensible and balances the rights of the public to know and to follow the case while at the same time ensuring that the court proceedings aren't unnecessarily disturbed. This sets a good precedent for the rights of the broadcast media to cover these high profile trials in future," she says.

"There has been a lot of interest around the Oscar Pistorius case among our viewers, therefore we would like to afford our viewers the opportunity to witness and follow the trial of Oscar Pistorius as it happens," says Monde Twala, e.tv's head of channels as to why e.tv is doing a 24-hour trial channel on OVHD.

"MultiChoice's channel will feature an incredible breadth of content," Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice's head of content tells TV with Thinus."It's not going to be just a one dimensional 'Oh, this is the trial and we're going to do analysis', type TV channel," she says.

"There's important pieces, profiles on the lawyers, profiles on the witnesses; the DStv channel is a fully comprehensive 360  degress and not just about Oscar Pistorius and the court trial," says Aletta Alberts.

"All the journalists involved are preparing very thoroughly for this. This is a complicated matter and it has to be treated with responsibility. There is an enormous amount of research that's been done," George Mazarakis tells me.

"I must make it clear that that particular application that was granted was an application that we as past of the MultiChoice group negotiated with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This was a very different application from the one applied for my e.tv".

"The application we brought was deeply considered, a great deal of behind-the-scenes work went into it. And we came to a conclusion that we couldn't ask for blanket coverage".

"It wasn't what the judicial system would be ready to give us at this point. Remember it had never been granted before. So what we achieved is a remarkable result. Basically blanket coverage on audio and we got quite a lot of television coverage on top of it," says George Mazarakis.

Regarding the broadcast feed George Mazarakis says "we provide the actual physical mechanism for accredited media to plug into. And then what they do with it is up to them but there are no holds barred. Everybody who is an accredited broadcaster around the world would be able to access it".

"The feed will be made available to all media, not to the public - I think the public thinks that they're going to get access to that feed. That feed will be on the DStv Oscar Pistorius TV channel and on other accredited broadcasters. It is free of charge, at a point where different broadcasters then picks it up and deliver it to their own station," explains Aletta Alberts.


ALSO READ: George Mazarakis from Carte Blanche and Aletta Alberts from MultiChoice talk about the content of DStv's dedicated Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel.

BREAKING. A SECOND dedicated, 24-hour Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel starting on OpenView HD (OVHD) on Monday.


Besides MultiChoice's Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel starting on Sunday on channel 199 on DStv, South African viewers are now getting an additional, second 24-hour Oscar Pistorius which will be bringing viewers  around the clock court coverage of the sensational court trial.

The paralympic athlete shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year. His court trial will start on Monday in which he stands accused of premeditated murder.

Besides MultiChoice's DStv channel, the Sabido-owned OpenView HD (OVHD) satellite TV platform from Platco Digital, is now adding its own Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel to feed the huge interest in the case.

OVHD will launch its Trial TV: The State vs Oscar Pistorius TV channel on Monday on channel 119, and will bring viewers live court proceedings from the Pretoria High Court daily from 10:00 to 16:00. Court proceedings will be repeated on a 24 hour basis.

"OpenView HD is pleased to be able to broadcast the Oscar Pistorius trial live on our platform," says Maxwell Nonge, the managing director of Platco Digital.

"The decision to provide our viewers access to information of public interest is in line with our commitment to afford OpenView HD viewers with as broad a range of programming as we have at our disposal".

"There has been a lot if interest around the Oscar Pistorius case among our viewers, therefore we would like to afford our viewers the opportunity to witness and follow the trial of Oscar Pistorius as it happens," says Monde Twala, e.tv's head of channels.

Besides the OVHD Oscar Pistorius TV channel, the e.tv group will also do heavy coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial on e.tv's eNews Prime Time daily news bulletin, as well as on the eNCA (DStv 403) 24-hour TV channel.

BREAKING. South African televisionaries George Mazarakis and Aletta Alberts talk content of MultiChoice's Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on DStv.


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MultiChoice's dedicated Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel starting on Sunday on DStv on channel 199 will be an analytical and current affairs TV channel which will integrate social media in a revolutionary way never seen on South African television before, as well as making daily use of Eyewitnessnews (EWN) reporters in a sinergistic resource sharing agreement.

The paralympic athlete shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, and will stand trial from Monday, accused of premeditated murder, in a story which continues to grab world attention.

The Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel - packaged, produced and provided by Combined Artistic Productions (which produces Carte Blanche on M-Net) - will be running for 24 hour per day with a breakfast preview show and an afternoon and late afternoon wrap-up shows.

In-between there will be rolling news coverage and a wide array of documentaries and other pre-filmed inserts.

The channel will also have a daily analytical show and make extensive daily use of Eyewitnessnews (EWN) reporters on television in a sinergistic partnership. Seven documentaries have already been produced and acquired and 70 inserts have already been produced which will all be shown on the channel.

George Mazarakis, executive producer tells TV with Thinus hat the Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel will be "analytical and quite serious and responsible in terms of its approach".

"The content is responsible, above all, and its legally sound. We've been very, very particular about doing that. Our presenters are legally trained".

"We have Emma Sadleir who is an expert on social media and media law in general, and David O'Sullivan from 702 who is a media lawyer by training and was in fact Carte Blanche's lawyer for many years before he became a very good broadcaster".

"And we have the Carte Blanche presenters, all of whom are by their very definition serious in their approach to their work. And that's what important about this. We also have John Webb who is a Carte Blanche presenter - you might know him - he is going to be the court presence in Pretoria," says George Mazarakis.

"We're going to have breakfast shows which are going to preview the events of the day, a lunchtime break which summarises the events of the morning and looking at what will be coming in the afternoon, and a late afternoon analysis of happened in court".

"Then there will be four hours of live programming from 18:00 to 22:00 in the evening which will take the form of both a newsier - but not news - a newsier approach to things ... meaning a current affairs approach, including some documentary material."

"And then an analytical programme around 20:00 which takes the legal view of what happened in court and what the procedures are. It's an educative role which is a very significant aspect of this".

"The last thing that you can call this is tabloid," George Mazarakis stresses to me. "It's not what we want. We have a very particular approach it".

"Remember that Carte Blanche has been based on a tradition of investigative journalism, not purely light-hearted stuff. We've won 155 awards for credible journalism, and we want that spirit to persist in this channel".

George Mazarakis tells me that for the Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel Carte Blanche and EWN will be working close together to bring South African viewers all the angles and news. "There will be a sinergistic relationship; we're sharing resources".

"They have eyes on the ground where we are going to be. This is an entirely different approach to broadcasting - social media - embracing a social media approach not just with how we transmit and how we consume information, but we also want to engage with our audience on social media".

"With EWN, these are the most credible people on radio, we are using some of their presenters. Katy Katopodis, their news editor, is going to one of our presenters, and we're going to have crossings to Pretoria to the field reporters who will be interviewed there by John Webb who's working with us as well".

"All the journalists involved are preparing very thoroughly for this. This is a complicated matter and it has to be treated with responsibility. There is an enormous amount of research that's been done," says George Mazarakis.

"The style of the channel will be a combination of current affairs and news as it happens," Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice's head of content tells TV with Thinus.

"It will be the first time that we will do a very different way of social media integration into a DStv channel," she says. "It won't be your standard strapline that sits at the bottom of the screen, its going to be completely integrated".

"From a content perspective it was really important for us to ensure that we make our coverage really balanced and responsible but most of all we have to understand that we are dealing with a human being in the sense of Oscar Pistorius, and somebody who died in terms of Reeva Steenkamp".

"We can't forget that. We have to be responsible around that. We are not there to character assassinate anyone or prejudicing anyone," says Aletta Alberts.


ALSO READ: Broadcast of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on television is "a seminal moment in broadcast history," broadcast experts tells TV with Thinus.

BREAKING. Carte Blanche's entire Sunday night edition on M-Net at 19:00 dedicated to an hour long Oscar Pistorius murder trial preview.


Carte Blanche on M-Net on Sunday night at 19:00 will devote the entire programme to an hour long TV special about Oscar Pistorius before the paralympic athlete's murder trial starts on Monday.

Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year on Valentine's Day, 14 February, and is accused of premeditated murder in a court trial which will start Monday.

The Oscar Pistorius court case has all the elements of a Hollywood drama - a superstar sporting hero, a beautiful victim, a glamourous lifestyle and on Valentine's Day a dramatic killing which has gripped the world.

For the Oscar Pistorius court case MultiChoice will run a dedicated Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on channel 199 on DStv from Sunday. The TV channel which will run for 24 hours per day is produced for DStv by Combined Artistic Productions which also does Carte Blanche. Other TV channels such as eNCA (DStv 403) will also televise portions of the trial.

On Sunday Carte Blanche on M-Net will show how, in Hollywood, renowned forensic experts are working alongside leading dramatists on a project called "Oscar - Fall of a Titan". Could this partnership between science and art reveal unexpected truths about the tragedy?

Speaking about the Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel starting on DStv on Sunday, George Mazarakis, the executive producer of Carte Blanche and of the TV channel told TV with Thinus that the style of the channel is going to be "analytical and quite serious and responsible in terms of its approach to the law, because this all about the law".

"We have a host of programmes which are pre-filmed and pre-edited in a style as advanced as Carte Blanche. The style is beautifully filmed, beautifully assembled material."

In the region of 70 inserts have already been produced covering all aspects of the case and which will be shown on the dedicated DStv channel.

BREAKING. SOS Coalition holding a mass meeting on 7 March to try and save 'dying' SABC from censorship, political interference.


The SOS Coalition, a civil society pressure group looking out for public broadcasting in South Africa, will be holding a mass meeting for the public on 7 March at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein to try and save the "dying" SABC from censorship, political interference and maladministration.

The SOS Coalition, a vast group representing major groupings from academics to trade groups and the South African TV and film producing sectors, was established in 2009 when the SABC came to the brink of financial collapse due to gross mismanagement.

"In 1994 we were building an SABC we could be proud of. Today our SABC is, yet again, unfree," says the SOS Coalition. "We are being denied an independent, credible and people-driven public broadcaster," says the group which is planning a mass meeting on 7 March at Constitition Hill *number 4 and 5) from 14:00 to 17:00. Anyone is free to attend.

The SOS Coalition will try to seek a course of action as to what is to be done. "Why is our SABC falling apart? Who benefits from a dysfunctional SABC?" asks the group. "We, the people, must act radically, and act now. Unspeakable bad maladministration is killing our public broadcaster".

Last year the entire SABC board resigned after intense infighting to be replaced with yet another new SABC board.

Just this year the SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo quit barely two years into her five year contract without giving any reasons and becoming yet another CEO in and out in a revolving door of CEO's at the SABC fingered for maladministration.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released an independent and scathing skills audit report of the SABC which found SABC workers and executives lack critical thinking and found fraudulent and non-existing qualifcations and certificates and that a lot of SABC workers don't even have personnel files.

Then the Public Protector released a shocking report into abuse of power, irregularities and maladministration at the SABC.

The Public Protector's investigation of over a year found that the matricless liar and acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng admitted in a recorded interview to having committed fraud by claiming he had a matric certificate and that he made up symbols, and implicated him in irregular hirings and firings at the SABC, such as the firing of all the people who were involved in an earlier disciplinary hearing against him.

The Public Protector also questioned how Hlaudi Motsoeneng's salary grew multiple times per year. He currently gets a salary of R2.4 million.

The Public Protector said that Hlaudi Motsoeneng "should never have been appointed at the SABC". After two weeks the SABC and the SABC board has not suspended Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The Special Investigative Unit (SIU) last week detailed in parliament further details of corruption, mismanagement and wasteful and irregular spending of more than R275 million at the SABC.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

MGM renews the contracts of its top MGM Television executives through 2016.

MGM which movie TV channel is seen in South Africa, as well as several of the studio's shows such as Teen Wolf and Vikings, has renewed the contracts of its top MGM Television TV executives through 2016.

The MGM movie channel (StarSat 140 / DStv 140) is seen in South Africa on both MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat.

MGM has renewed the contracts of Roma Khanna as president of the TV group and digital, Chris Ottinger who is the president of International Television distribution and acquisitions, and Steve Stark who is president of television production and development until 2016.

Roma Khanna continues to report directly to MGM chairperson and CEO Gary Barber, with Chris Ottinger and Steve Stark reporting to Roma Khanna.

"MGM Television, under Roma Khanna's direction, is stronger than ever, and is an important producer and distributor of content for television and digital platforms worldwide," says Gary Barber in a statement.

MGM Television's portfolio includes shows such as Vikings which will start on 13 March on M-Net Series Showcase after History (DStv 186) failed to bring it to South African viewers as it did in the United States, and Teen Wolf which has been seen on MTV as well as M-Net Series Showcase.

Rhoma Khanna joined MGM in 2011 from NBCUniversal.

BREAKING. E! Entertainment and E! News announce its backing off from showing paparazzi images of celebrities' kids taken without consent.


You're reading it here first. 

E! News co-anchor Giuliana Rancic just announced that E! Entertainment (DStv 124) and E! News is backing down and backing off from showing and featuring paparazzi photos and images of celebrities' kids taken without parental consent.

It follows after a meeting today between E! Entertainment and Hollywood star Kirsten Bell after she refused to do interviews with media outlets and boycotted E! News and People magazine for showing paparazzi photos of her baby.

The entertainment news show Entertainment Tonight which was seen in South Africa on SABC3 and lasted only one season, already agreed to no longer show images of celebrities' kids taken by paparazzi and for which it doesn't have the parent's consent.

According to Kirsten Bell who shamed E! News and People by refusing to do any press, small children of celebrities are followed, yelled at, taunted and having their privacy invaded as paparazzi try to elicit a reaction for photos.

"We here at E! met with Kristen Bell today," said Giuliana Rancic. "Great, great meeting. She has been trying to get photographers to stop going after kids with their cameras and harassing them. So many of these photographers have been using this very aggressive manner that is very frightening to small kids".

"So Kristen Bell as a new mom, she feels very passionate about this. In our meeting we told her we've always been considerate about that. We've always been committed to never showing pictures of kids being harassed. So we want you to know you will not see that on our show, you will never see that online".

"We've always been on board, but we wanted to mention this because we're going to be increasing our efforts because Kirsten Bell gave personal examples of how bad its become for kids."

"Of course if celebrity parents are out and they want to share their photos from Instagram or Twitter, of if they're on the red carpet, of course we'll show those photos to you, our viewers. Those are meant to be shared".

"As a mom of an 18 month old, I was in a Mommy-and-Me class and there was someone taking pictures and pretending they were taking pictures of their kids. And then I saw they were taking pictures of Duke! And you feel so violated," said Giuliana Rancic. "I was ready to get all Italian crazy on her."

"I love sharing pictures of Duke, putting him out there on Instagram. That is fine. But it is startling when photographers come over and they're taking pictures of your baby and its scary. We support Kirsten Bell's efforts and we're so happy to continue to be on board with this".

In an open letter now published on eonline, Suzanne Kolb, president of E! Entertainment, writes that "after meeting with Kirsten Bell, we appreciate even more how out of hand the pursuit of child images has gotten and vow to be a leader in taking a stand against it".

"Here at E! we share the concerns of all parents to protect children and are committed to heightening our efforts to ensure that we never support or encourage the targeting of children. We will not feature photos of children that were taken without parental consent".

"We also feel a deep responsibility to both the celebrities that we cover, as well as our viewers and readers, and take pride in our balanced approach and credible reporting," writes Suzanne Kolb.

Your complete Oscar TV coverage - no, not THAT Oscar - Oscar as in The 86th Annual Academy Awards.


TV with Thinus has your most comprehensive and your complete TV rundown - in chronological order - of where and what you can watch when it comes to The 86th Annual Academy Awards taking place on Sunday 2 March at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting for the second time. Times are all South African times - and trust me. My times are correct.

Monday 3 March
00:30 - 03:30 E! Live from the Red Carpet: 2014 Academy Awards E! Entertainment (DStv 124)
03:00 - 05:00 The 86th Annual Academy Awards (LIVE & HD) M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 103)
19:30 - 22:30 The 86th Annual Academy Awards (HD) M-Net (DStv 101)

Tuesday 4 March
22:30 - 00:00 Fashion Police: The 2014 Academy Awards Special E! Entertainment (DStv 124)

Wednesday 5 March
21:00 - 22:00 E! News: 2014 Academy Awards News Special wrap-up E! Entertainment (DStv 124)

BREAKING. New season of Top Billing supposed to start tonight on SABC3 inexplicably moved out by 2 weeks by the SABC without reason.


Viewers are complaining about Top Billing repeat episodes on SABC3 as the start of the new season has inexplicably been pushed out by the SABC.

A new season of new episodes for the weekly glamarama magazine show on Thursdays was supposed to start already, but has been pushed out by SABC3 without any reason or explanation to the press or to viewers.

Whilst not production company Tswelopele Productions's fault, viewers are wondering about the show's lack of new content in primetime on SABC3.

Meanwhile its the SABC which rescinded on what the start of the new Top Billing season would have been, without any transparency or accountability as to what is going on.

Interestingly SABC3's daily afternoon talker, Three Talk with Noeleen has been similarly stuck in repeat episodes limbo,  also with no communication from the SABC, no explanation as to what is going on, and no response to the press' multiple media enquiries.

The new season of Top Billing is now set to start on Thursday 4 March.

BREAKING. SABC gives zero coverage to the minister of communications, Yunus Carrim, meeting with the SABC board today over scathing report.


The minister of communications Yunus Carrim and the department's deputy-minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams met with the SABC board today about the Public Protector's scathing report released last week - but the story of the meeting and discussion didn't make the SABC's SABC News (DStv 404) channel on Thursday, nor was it mentioned or given airtime on the SABC's flagship evening programme on SABC3.

As during the scant coverage last week by the SABC and given on the SABC's channels, of the beleaguered SABC's corporate mess, the minister of communication's visit to Auckland Park on Thursday got nary a mention.

Last week the Public Protector's office found that the SABC's matricless liar and acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng committed fraud, and imlpicated him in maladministration, abuse of power, irregular appointments and firings at the SABC, and questioned how his salary could balloon to R2.4 million.

The SABC board has now met twice over the Public Protector's report since last week and the matricless liar Hlaudi Motsoeneng who the Public Protector's report found was directly involved in the dismissal of all the SABC staff who testified against him in a disciplinary hearing, is still in office and has not been suspended.

Regarding the Public Protector's report the SABC board has apparently "put a process in motion" but is not communicating what that "process" is, nor what "motion" is taking place.

The minister of communication today told the SABC that a review is needed as to the reasons behind the high turn-over of SABC board members, SABC CEO's given that Lulama Mokhobo just quit without giving reasons, as well as the continued loss of other senior SABC executives.

BREAKING. Tellytrack horse-racing channel on MultiChoice's DStv to end on 26 March; discussions ongoing about possible extension.


The South African horse-racing TV channel Tellytrack (DStv 239) will terminate on 26 March on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform, although discussions are ongoing about a possible extension.

Tellytrack says in a statement that MultiChoice gave it notice yesterday, 26 February, that "the broadcast of Tellytrack on the MultiChoice platform will terminate with effect from midnight on 26 March".

"MultiChoice has indicated that it would be willing to consider entering into a short-term agreement in orer to allow Tellytrack to make arrangements for the channel to be delivered on an alternative platform," says Tellytrack.

"Tellytrack is considering its options, including the possibility of pursuing a short-term agreement to ensure a smooth transition of the content to another service provider".

According to Tellytrack, MultiChoice told it that the TV channel "is not performing to its satisfaction", which means not enough viewers.

MultiChoice, in response to a media enquiry, says that MultiChoice "can confirm it has issued a notice to terminate the Tellytrack channel on DStv".

"Notwithstanding this, MultiChoice and the channel provider of Tellytrack are in ongoing discussions regarding the matter. Given that the terms of the agreement between these parties is subject to confidentiality, at this stage further details are not available".

"MultiChoice will let its customers know how they are affected in any way once these discussions have concluded".

Tonight on CNN International (DStv 401) at 19:30 in Winning Post, CNN International's horse racing show, the programme visits the J& B Met of 2014.

Francesca Cumani interviews Gaynor Rupert, the wife of Johann Rupert and one of the most powerful figures behind horse racing in South Africa; talks to Justin Snaith, one of the youngest trainers in Cape Town; and interviews S'manga Khumalo, a Zulu from KwaZulu-Natal who hadn't seen a horse until she was 14 years old and is now South Africa's first black jockey poised to make racing history.

Gareth Williams appointed as the new vice president for commissioning at Scripps Networks International.


Gareth Williams who was a BBC Worldwide content executive is moving to Scripps Networks International as vice president for commissioning for the United Kingdom and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region in which South Africa falls.

Gareth Williams will take up the new position from April when he replaces Sue Walton.

Gareth Williams will report to Nick Thorogood, the senior vice president for content and marketing at Scripps Networks International.

Gareth Williams will oversee the commissioning for all of Scripps Networks International's channels such as Travel Channel, Food Network and Fine Living Network (FLN) which are seen in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat.

"Gareth brings insight and understanding across editorial and commissioning. His international experience, lifestyle expertise and his extensive knowledge of production communities across the globe will be invaluable as we continue to develop our portfolio of channels," says Nick Thorogood in a statement.

"Food and lifestyle programming has been my passion throughout my  career in TV and I am thrilled to be able to bring my experience and passion together in this new role working for the world's greatest platform for this genre of television," says Gareth Williams in the statement.

BREAKING. Three Talk with Noeleen on SABC3 remains in talk show repeat limbo as the SABC remains completely silent about what is going on.


You're reading it here first.

While a growing number of viewers and TV critics are now openly wondering what's going on with the weekday daytime SABC3 talk show Three Talk with Noeleen - apparently stuck in repeat episodes limbo - the SABC remains quiet as to why it is happening, what is going on, and when the popular local talk show will return with new episodes.

SABC TV publicity head Zandile Nkonyeni has not responded to media enquiries about Three Talk with Noeleen which has entered yet another week of daily repeat episodes on SABC3, some inappropriately mentioning Christmas.

Although the longrunning show prompts viewers to interact on social media like Twitter for instance, talk show host Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu last "tweeted" on 30 December on @Noeleen3Talk and then fell silent.

On screen viewers only see the word "repeat" next to the SABC3 channel logo and has had no explanation from the SABC as to why Three Talk with Noeleen went into repeats, for such a long period, and when it will end.

Viewers are wondering what's going on and the SABC isn't forthcoming with any explanations.

Because the SABC is not talking and communicating as to what is going on and if or when the talk show will return, this has now prompted wild speculation under viewers and TV critics.

A growing number of people are now wondering whether Three Talk with Noeleen is getting cancelled; whether there is contract problems between the SABC and the production in the way that SABC1's Generations had contract problems in 2013; whether Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu is ill, unwell, injured, on holiday or no longer interested in doing the show.

"Why can't the SABC say what is happening with 3Talk and where is Noeleen? Every week is old episodes and nobody is explaining when I can see new episodes again" a reader asked TV with Thinus, summarising the feelings that fans of the afternoon talk show are starting to express.

Three Talk with Noeleen (bar the unexplained weeks of repeats) remains South African television's longest running and only local, daily, hour long television talk show.

The show produced by Urban Brew Studios and which has seen several different timeslots since it started on SABC3, should be celebrating its 11th anniversary in April.

M-Net dropping 'HD' from its channel ident: 'Change was made to create a uniform look and feel across the DStv platform,' says MultiChoice.

The M-Net channel on MultiChoice's DStv got rid of the "HD" behind its on-screen channel ident just over a week ago, and the pay-TV platform is responding and says its been done to create a more uniform look.

The M-Net channel on channel 101 on DStv adopted the M-Net HD logo from October 2012 when the M-Net HD channel - which was a separate channel on DStv with slightly differentiated content - fell away and the standard definition (SD) M-Net channel became able to carry the full HD content in terms of ads, filler and its programming content.

Responding to the use of just the stylistic blue-ribbon device "M" from now on for channel 101, MultiChoice says "this change was made to create a uniform look and feel across the DStv platform".

"The M-Net and M-Net Movies channels are simulcast HD/SD channels; just like Universal, Studio Universal and FOX. The various DStv HD decoders automatically pick up these channels in HD - customers who have HD equipment will always see the simulcast channels in HD without having to do anything. The only exception is SuperSport HD channels which are not yet simulcast".


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BREAKING. Nikiwe Bikitsha out as senior anchor at eNCA after almost 5 years; final date on-air not certain.


You're reading it here first.

Nikiwe Bikitsha is leaving eNCA (DStv 403) after four years on air; a final on-air appearance date for the senior anchor is not known.

eNCA tells TV with Thinus that Nikiwe Bikitsha is leaving the 24-hour TV news channel "in order to further her studies and to pursue other interests".

eNCA says Nikiwe Bikitsha "has been a great asset and has contributed immensely to the channel during her tenure".

"eNCA can confirm that Nikiwe Bikitsha has resigned to further her studies and pursue other interests," Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA news director tells TV with Thinus. "We wish her everything of the best in her future endeavours".

It's not clear who would be taking over Nikiwe Bikitsha's daytime anchoring slot on eNCA and whether it would be a temporary or a permanent replacement.

"The channel is in the process of finalising her departure date and will announce her replacement in due course," says Mapi Mhlangu.

Nikiwe Bikitsha left her primetime spot as co-anchor of NewsNight next to Jeremy Maggs in August 2012 when eNCA was still known as the eNews Channel.

Nikiwe Bikitsha worked for 567 Cape Talk radio and then Talk Radio 702 before joining the eNews Channel in May 2009.

After joining the eNews Channel, she left in August 2012 for an American study programme - but thereby also her very visible primetime role as one of the faces on the channel's most prestige daily news bulletin.

Nikiwe Bikitsha returned to eNCA a year later, but not to primetime and a much more marginal role - bouncing around as anchor on the afternoon and later afternoon eNCA schedule. Although eNCA said during her return that Nikiwe Bikitsha's new role would be announced and clarified, it never really happened.

In essence the well-studied TV newser was at eNCA for almost five years, four of which viewers saw her on-air.

Nikiwe Bikitsha recently did live outside broadcast coverage on eNCA earlier this month during the Democratic Alliance's disrupted Johannesburg march.

GOTTA LOVE 'EM: Totally redundant to say it - but yes - Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti of NewsNight are TV news' dream team.



The sheer amazingness when you're an immaculate professional and at the pinnacle of what you do, must surely be a blessing.

Just ask eNCA's (DStv 403) NewsNight co-anchors Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti.

Together these two work (on a seemingly co-joined stratospheric Q score level as TV newsers) on a playing field where nobody else in South African television news even comes close to touching them when they move in behind the reflective desk in the Hyde Park studio.

To do the news on television, to deliver it right, and to also make it flow with just the right touch of imbued personality and empathy is an incredibly hard thing to achieve. To make it look deceptively easy - almost impossible.

Yet its what Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti achieve, every time they're co-anchor the news on eNCA together. Ipso facto: ease, flow - and TV news perfection.

There's really not much more I can say, comment on, or contextualise that I've not yet said before regarding this terrific primetime NewsNight co-anchor duo.

As a TV critic I'm not obsessed with them; I'm not trying to favour eNCA or NewsNight or Jeremy Maggs or Iman Rappetti. But I have to keep watching it (and them!) and what I keep seeing, without fail, remains astounding.

What they do and how they do it - their smooth, faultless delivery, their in tandem teamwork throwing to and backing each other up all the way, the casual yet formal professionalism and warmth they exude jointly - is really television and TV news that viewers in South Africa (or wherever they're watching it) shouldn't take for granted.

What Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti - together with quite clearly a lot of dedicated and talented people behind the cameras - are doing night after night on NewsNight on eNCA is great, high quality television news.

The on-air pairing is unique and incredibly synergistic and remains amazing to watch (second would be Jason Kennedy and Giuliana Rancic on E! News on E! Entertainment - and that's with the easier and softer entertainment news as genre).

Doing hard news, especially on live television, and staying focused but yet also making it personal without making it frivolous, keeping the viewer tuned in without gimmicks and tabloid coverage, establishing a personal connection and keeping that connection, is an incredibly hard, difficult and elusive thing to do.


Together Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti simply excel at it.

Yes. I've said it before, I will try not to say it again.

Yet, in fairness - and since NewsNight is an ongoing television programme - I feel that I have to reiterate that there's simply no better nightly newscast for the South African TV viewer than NewsNight with Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti on eNCA.

Take just the very final closer moment of Wednesday night's NewsNight edition. Laugh it off, maybe don't even realise what you're really seeing, or what they're really doing so subtly - but if you really dissect it, its a potent drop of their consummate television news delivery skill at large.

Look at the pauses, the eye contact with each other (but also with you as the viewer as the third person in this implicit triad), the hand movements, and the seamless ongoing switch and transition between talking to each other and talking directly to the viewer as if you're really physically present.

Observe the small personal, ongoing revelations night after night - like tonight that Jeremy Maggs is "grumpy", is on a no-carbs diet, and needs his supper.

Their light and often humorous to-and-fro style when the news content allows it is always pitch-perfect. Their quick and contained banter create the illusion that they bringing the news but that they're really open about everything about themselves. It fosters trust and likability.

Whether deliberately done or a natural outflow of their on-screen working relationship Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti also strengthen this over time.

They've created, and keep creating the illusory feeling that you know them - personally - that when you have to make a choice that they are the clever, warm yet professional "friends", the ones that you know the best, the ones that you want to tune to when it comes to the television space you want to get your news from.

What you see and what you get from Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti together - is a truly exceptional, and very rare, high quality television news anchoring symbiosis.

Something which neither viewer, nor eNCA, should ever take for granted.


ALSO READ: eNCA's Jeremy Maggs asks his co-anchor Iman Rappetti for her ring finger - but it's not what you're thinking.

BREAKING. eNCA's business anchor Arabile Gumede who says 'it's fine to be homophobic' forced to apologise as eNCA is embarrassed again.


The eNCA business news anchor Arabile Gumede who says "it's fine to be homophobic" has now become the second TV anchor at eNCA (DStv 403) having to apologise for actions on Twitter, once again embarrassing the 24-hour TV news channel.

Lance Witten who has since left as sports anchor, embarrassed eNCA in November 2012 with a Tweet following a concert tragedy in Cape Town which left one woman dead.

Now Arabile Gumede who joined eNCA recently has also been forced to apologise after writing a Twitter message in response to Uganda's new anti-homosexuality law. The business anchor Tweeted: "I think it's fine to be homophobic, but to imprison someone for life because of their sexual preference is quite hefty".

Arabile Gumede had to apologise. "My sincerest apologies for my tweet sent on 25 February 2014 regarding homosexuality and the anti-gay laws passed in Uganda. My tweet was not sent to incite anger, bring disrepute to eNCA, malicious intent or condone discrimination in any form," says Arabile Gumede.

"My hope was to relay a message that no one should impose their views on others either through death or any harm no matter what their views are on any social, judicial, economic or environmental issues. I am truly sorry, and take full responsibility for my actions," says Arabile Gumede.

eNCA has a social media policy which bans eNCA staff from making personal views public which are racist, sexist or which contain religious bigotry or prejudice on grounds of sexual orientation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BREAKING. Former Big Brother SA contestant will be covering the Oscar Pistorius murder trial on TV for MultiChoice's DStv channel.


Damaging the credibility of its soon to launch Oscar Pistorius murder trial TV channel, MultiChoice will employ a former Big Brother South Africa reality housemate contestant to cover the Oscar Pistorius TV murder trial during the month of March on its special DStv channel starting 2 March.

Combined Artistic Productions which produces Carte Blanche for M-Net as its Sunday evening weekly investigate show, will be doing the Oscar Pistorius TV trial for DStv using the Big Brother South Africa contestant Leigh Bennie as an on-screen presenter.

The former reality show star who became a radio host will be part of the Oscar Pistorius editorial team to "provide fascinating insights" although Leigh Bennie has zero journalistic history of crime reporting, court reporting and no bona fide credentials for longtime investigative journalism.

Leigh Bennie has worked at an airport and hosted radio programmes.

It's not immediately clear what MultiChoice and Combined Artistic Productions' reasons are for the inclusion of Leigh Bennie - a statement was issued late on Thursday just before the close of the work day and a media enquiry was subsequently not immediately answered.

The statement only refers to Leigh Bennie having experience but doesn't elaborate.

Compared with a Karyn Maughan, the excellent and experienced court, crime and specialist reporter who will for instance cover the Oscar Pretorius murder trial for eNCA (DStv 403), the jaw-dropping addition of Leigh Bennie to cover and comment on a serious court trial where someone is accused of premeditated murder is  incredulous.

Like The SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the Nelson Mandela ANC organised memorial service with fake sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie, the addition and inclusion of Leigh Bennie with "Big Brother South Africa contestant" on her resume, makes not just her seem unqualified for the position - it makes the DStv channel seem low rate and oddly without pedigree.

It is inconceivable that a show like 60 Minutes in America, the authoritative investigative magazine show that Carte Blanche is based on, would ever add a former Big Brother America contestant to its on-screen talent roster without possibly years and years of applicable study and proven work, but in South Africa it's happening and for a very high-profile murder case.

By adding a former Big Brother South African contestant to DStv's Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel, it damages the perception of what Carte Blanche is on M-Net, what Combined Artistic Productions will be producing and providing for the specific channel; also where DStv is pegged when news consumers are going to make choices of where they will be getting what kind and type of news regarding the Oscar Pistorius trial.

Isn't it news channel ANN7 which appointed models to read the news who haven't studied journalism and struggle to read but got to sit at the anchor desk - a place that other people on television have to work for years to achieve?

Isn't it SABC1 which does a discriminatory regional "talent" search in just KwaZulu-Natal for a red carpet reporter for the MetroFM Awards - a deceptively difficult job which should only be given to the best and proven people who've worked their way up through many years, and events and covering entertainment junkets?

Surely Combined Artistic Productions, Carte Blanche, M-Net and DStv are "better" than this?

It raises questions: Is this the best that the people putting this channel then could come up with? Because a former Big Brother South African contestant as one of the on-air talent covering a murder trial is definitely not enhancing the pedigree of whatever product your pumping to the public.

Leigh Bennie whose contract with 702 was not renewed in 2013 shockingly suddenly popped up in October on M-Net's Carte Blanche as a presenter after she was axed, in what is regarded as a prestige position in a prestige programme, reserved for experienced on-air talent and journalists who've proved their journalistic credentials and skills over many years.

Now the Big Brother contestant who appeared in the lowbrow reality format in 2001 and who has no legal background, will weigh in for South African viewers along with a team of TV presenters from a special studio in Johannesburg, with regular live crossings from on-air talent based at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The inclusion of a perfunctory Leigh Bennie who will appear on the channel without any history of real court reporting, real crime reporting, or longtime investigative reporting skills, now appears to sway the slant of the Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel - before its starts on 2 March - into a decidedly tabloid direction.

It could have been that it was the scope and slant of the channel all along - MultiChoice when it first announced the channel for March, didn't give an indication of whether the Oscar Pretorius Trial TV channel would tilt towards reali-trash or credible, fact-based coverage.

Will Leigh Bennie become South Africa's Nancy Grace talking head - weighing in not on "Octomom" and "Tot mom" but "Oscoshot" and "Bladegunner"?

Will Leigh Bennie rope in analysts and commentators like her former Big Brother South Africa reali-trash housemates to comment - like "Bad Bad" on his personal experiences of the South African justice and legal system?

Or perhaps Ferdinand Rabie will talk about how bad things are when you're caught on camera doing something you shouldn't do?

The line between tabloid and terrific fact-based coverage is fine. The jarring inclusion of a Leigh Bennie instantly creates a hill that MultiChoice's Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel on DStv now has to climb if it wants to appear to be a legitimate and real TV channel or having any semblance of broadcasting gravitas.

BREAKING. Confused trade union, Communication Workers Union (CWU), supports the SABC's matricless liar Hlaudi Motsoeneng.


In a bizarre turn of events the one SABC trade union, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), is supporting the beleaguered public broadcaster's matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng and is not lashing out at the SABC, but at the South African Public Protector for exposing irregular spending, maladministration, abuse of power and irregular hiring and firings implicating Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

In a recorded interview Hlaudi Motsoeneng's - whose salary the Public Protector documented to have increased three times in one year to R2.4 million, who was involved in the firings of all the SABC staff who once were involved in a disciplinary hearing again him and who "should never have been appointed at the SABC" - told the Public Protector in a recorded interview that he committed fraud by being dishonest about having a matric (he doesn't) and that he made up fake symbols for a matric certificate he doesn't have.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) now referring to itself as the "Hlaudi Motsoeneng Coalition", says that it "violently rejects" the Public Protector's report.

According to the CWU it is not Hlaudi Motsoeneng but the Public Protector "which seek to undermine the working class.

The CWU now wants to march to the Public Protector's office following the release of the report.

The CWU didn't march to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which released a scathing report at the beginning of the month on the shocking lack of skills at the SABC, missing personnel files, SABC staff without qualfications and SABC staff with fraudulent qualifications.

The CWU also didn't march on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) which last year revealed in parliament a report into rampant corruption at the SABC, and last week revealed further facts into maladministration at the SABC and irregular spending of more thatn R275 million at the public broadcaster.

The CWU accuses the Public Protector of bias. Its not clear whether the CWU is itself partial to be on Hlaudi Motsoeneng's side because Hlaudi Motsoeneng is a member of the CWU.

Neither of the other two trade unions involved in SABC dealings - the Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa) nor the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) has come out in support of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

BREAKING. Oscar Pistorius murder trial will be partially broadcast worldwide from 3 March, judge rules.


Partial television broadcast will be allowed of Oscar Pistorius' upcoming murder trial set to start on 3 March in the North Gauteng High Court, Judge Dunstan Mlambo has just ruled.

The Paralympic athlete shot and killed his girlfriend and model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day, 14 February 2013 and is accused of premeditated murder.

MultiChoice will run a special Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel on DStv on channel 199 from 2 March for the duration of the month.

The judge allowed for the entire trial to be broadcast on radio, and partial television broadcast.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Low-rated Piers Morgan Live on CNN International cancelled, end date for the 3 year old talk show not yet known.


The low-rated Piers Morgan Live (formerly Piers Morgan Tonight) on CNN International (DStv 401) has been cancelled after three years David Carr reports in The New York Times.

South African and African audiences didn't connect with Piers Morgan and Piers Morgan Tonight which saw the show being pushed on CNN International from 21:00 (South African time) and repeats, to later and later time slots and less repeats.

Eventually Piers Morgan Tonight, renamed as Piers Morgan Live, was banished to late after midnight (01:00 South Africa time).

Piers Morgan Live is ending although a date for the cancelled show is not yet know.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

SABC's weekly Media Monitor with Alicia Jali ignores Hlaudi Motsoeneng; completely silent on biggest story in broadcasting in the past week.


Media Monitor, the weekly reflective news magazine show on Sundays on the SABC's 24-hour TV news channel SABC News (DStv 404), blatantly ignored and stayed silent on the biggest story in South African broadcasting this past week: the SABC's own matricless liar and acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The closest Media Monitor with anchor Alicia Jali came to Hlaudi Motsoeneng - and unbeknownst to viewers - was to show B-roll footage of the press corps, standing and sitting at Hlaudi Motsoeneng's hastily convened press conference which took place this past Thursday.

That behind-the-scenes footage which was from Hlaudi Motsoeneng's press conference was shown however during another story on Media Monitor that had nothing to do with Hlaudi Motsoeneng, .

The SABC and Media Monitor clearly scraping the archives for recent B-roll on journalists covering news, used the week's Hlaudi Motsoeneng presser visuals - but did so during an interview with the SABC's deputy political editor for radio, Mahlatshe Gallens talking about covering news in war zone territories in Africa.

On Monday South Africa's Public Protector released a damning report on maladministration, abuse of power and corruption at the SABC, as well as irregular appointments and firings implicating Hlaudi Motsoeneng, as well as saying he is a liar for fraudulently claiming he has matric and making up fake matric symbols. 

On Tuesday the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) released further damning evidence of corruption and maladministration as well as irregular expenditure of R275 million at the SABC.

Media Monitor on Sunday didn't mention the SABC or any of the scathing reports and coverage, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, or the massive number of press articles, commentary or coverage about the beleaguered public broadcaster which filled newspapers and online this past week.

Ironically Alicia Jali still had the audacity to tell viewers on Sunday with a straight face that "the concept of this programme is to monitor and evaluate media coverage of some of the major news story of the week".

For the SABC, as far as the public broadcaster is itself involved, there was no story more major the past week than that of the matricless liar Hlaudi Motsoeneng - but the broadcaster blocked it out on its own media review show.

Alicia Jali said the aim of the show is to "put the media in the spotlight".

Given that the SABC itself was the biggest media and broadcasting news maker during the past week, it is astounding that the SABC and Media Monitor with Alicia Jali in the space of an entire hour couldn't find even 30 seconds to devote to the SABC finding itself in crisis and to Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Amidst Oscar Pretorius watching porn allegations, Sky News plans global coverage; Carte Blanche on M-Net to preview the trial next Sunday.


Amidst startling allegations and revelations over the weekend that Oscar Pistorius was allegedly watching online pornography and pornographic sites on the night he shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, Sky News (DStv 402) has started running a promo promising global coverage and Carte Blanche on M-Net will also preview the court murder trial on Sunday, 2 March at 19:00.

The double amputee paralympic athlete is accused of premeditated murder and his court case will start on 3 March.

"South Africa is bracing for Oscar Pistorius' trial," says Sky News in its new on-air promo. "One of the fastest men on earth might be facing life behind bars".

On Sunday night Carte Blanche anchor Derek Watts told viewers that the weekly investigate magazine "will be back next Sunday, 2 March, with a preview of the Oscar Pistorius trial".

"Currently MultiChoice, Eyewitness News, Media24 and eNCA are awaiting a judgement from the North Gauteng High Court for permission to televise aspects of the trial," said Derek Watts.

The court will announce this Tuesday morning at 11:00 whether the Oscar Pistorius murder trial will be televised.

Whether permission is granted or not to televise actual court proceedings, MultiChoice will run the Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel on DStv's channel 199 from 2 March filled with documentaries and programmes compiled by Combined Artistis Productions which is also responsible for the weekly Carte Blanche.

BREAKING. Carte Blanche on M-Net drops its award-winning intro theme; spoils Survivor South Africa: Champions, and angers viewers.


Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101) has dumped the weekly investigate magazine show's iconic and award-winning theme song and music in favour for a so-called "cold open", and is also spoiling M-Net's big-buzz Survivor South Africa: Champions by telling viewers who they just saw being voted out.

The mysterious disappearance of Carte Blanche's award-winning theme song and the spoiling of Survivor South Africa: Champions are angering viewers wondering why the show did the changes.

 Carte Blanche on M-Net has done away with the iconic theme music, no longer intro its stories at the beginning of every broadcast, and tells viewers immediately who just got voted out of Survivor South Africa: Champions.

M-Net, in answer to a media enquiry says "M-Net is renowned for bringing its viewers television content in fresh, exciting ways and has changed the transition from Survivor South Africa to Carte Blanche on a Sunday night by implementing a technique that is currently used successfully by some overseas broadcasters".

"This seamless transition from one show to another usually increases viewership because it gives viewers content from the second programme, from the word go".

"The line-up for the evening's Carte Blanche show is still there, but a little later. We are currently monitoring viewers' response to this transition and, if necessary, we will make adjustments to ensure that M-Net remains to be viewers' number one channel on a Sunday night".

"We have already noted that our viewers are missing the Carte Blanche theme music and it might return in a different guise very soon," says M-Net.

Viewers are irritated that Carte Blanche dropped and no longer tells at the beginning of the Sunday evening programme what the line-up is and what they can expect to see in the hour.

Viewers also say it discourages them from viewing Carte Blanche live, because they will now rather "PVR it and watch it later to just fast forward to inserts you want to watch because you don't know what will be on the show from the beginning".

Viewers are also sad about Carte Blanche dropping the iconic intro theme of Dave Pollecutt which was just redone to celebrate its 25th anniversary in September 2013 with an orchestral rendition by Robert Michael Brinkworth and imaging from Masters and Savant Worldwide.

The refreshed Carte Blanche intro theme - now gone - won a gold for best title sequence design at the PromaxBDA Africa 2013 Awards.

"When you heard Carte Blanche you knew you had to run and sit for event television that everybody in South Africa's watching together. Now there is nothing to tell you the ads are over and Carte Blanche started. There's no music to know the show has started," viewers say.

Survivor South Africa: Champions fans who also watch Carte Blanche on M-Net, are also upset.

They say Carte Blanche spoils Survivor South Africa by appearing to want to be current and then using Survivor South Africa: Champions to say who just got voted out.

Viewers say Carte Blanche spoils it for viewers who record Survivor South Africa: Champions to watch that show later because Survivor South Africa: Champions is a longer, hour and a half show.

"Carte Blanche's motto is the right to see it all - all except their theme song," a viewer told TV with Thinus.

"If you happen to record and watch Carte Blanche or Survivor South Africa: Champions and happen to watch Carte Blanche first, their show totally spoils Survivor South Africa: Champions by telling you who was voted out".

"Why is one M-Net show blatantly damaging another show on the very same channel? It makes no sense and I'm just a viewer and don't even work in television and I can tell you that is wrong and makes no sense" says another.

"Carte Blanche no longer plays their introductory score and they no longer give a preview of stories like they did before. Now the show starts all of a sudden with presenters getting straight into the action".

"Not sure on their reasons for the change but some of us still prefer the way it was. The preview of stories is most important because it determines if one will watch the full programme or main story or certain stories".

"I'm glad I have a PVR else I'd be forced to watch the full programme. I sent a message to the show and didn't get any response. Any chance you can request George Mazarakis [executive producer] to comment and give clarify on the change?" another Carte Blanche viewer told TV with Thinus.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Da Vinci's Demons going to Peru and Machu Picchu in South America in the second season starting in April on FOX in South Africa.


The second season of drama Da Vinci's Demons will start in April in South Africa on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 130) soon after the season starts on 22 March in the United States, although FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) can't provide an exact starting date yet.

In the second season of Da Vinci's Demons with Tom Riley as Leonardo da Vinci, the show will see the character visit Peru and Machu Picchu while the Incas were at the height of their civilization in South America (albeit recreated on a Swansea sound stage).

New Da Vinci inventions viewers will see include a submarine.


Tom Riley told FOX International Channels that "we've got some really good, exciting new people coming to shake things up. And the characters that already exist are all going to be thrown together in strange combinations anyway, so you're going to see people interacting who you haven't seen interacting before".

"We spent a lot of time in the New World, so we have recreated a one of the hottest countries in the world in one of the coldest. So we had to spend quite a lot of time in very little clothes looking like we were sweaty and hot and trying to hide our cold breath. So that was pretty challenging this season," said Tom Riley.

"The show splits in the second season. We see the characters in various different geographical locations, different emotional locations, and Lucrezia is sort of the glue that holds it all together".

Biola Alabi at M-Net Africa undergoes job change; now M-Net Africa's managing director just focusing on special projects.

There was no public announcement but Biola Alabi, previously the managing director of M-Net Africa for five years, has now had a job title and responsibilities change and is now the managing director for special projects in Africa at the pay-TV broadcaster.

Biola Alabi's title and job description change came into effect from the beginning of last month due to personal choices.

According to M-Net, Biola Alabi who joined M-Net in 2008, will now focus exclusively on productions such as Big Brother Africa which has already seen four seasons and the AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards

In her new job title Biola Alabi is also working on the AfricaMagic Original Films project to help develop African film and television.

Biola Alabi's new portfolio comes amidst the appointments of Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu as M-Net's first ever regional director for West Africa and Michael Ndetei as M-Net's first ever regional director for East Africa who will both take up these positions from 1 March.

The SABC now looking for one schedule manager across SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3.


The SABC is now looking for one schedule manager - a person who will have to have a higher qualification that the SABC's matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and who will have to bring order and "alignment" to the SABC's three general entertainment TV channels which have fallen into serious disarray the past few years.

The new one schedule manager across all three TV channels, will have to have a relevant degree or diploma.The new SABC TV schedule manager will have to work at creating "optimally complimentary" programming schedules for SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3.

The three channels' schedules have seen growing overlap, redundancy and monotonous transversal repeats the past few years, where the channels are becoming more and more indistinguishable from each other - The Cosby Show on SABC3 would be on SABC1, every channel repeats each other channel's soaps, and all the movies on a channel like SABC3 would repeat on SABC1, breaking down the semblance of a unique character or channel proposition for each of the channels.

The new overall schedule manager will have to "ensure a commercially viable schedule for the channels" and compile the schedules in alignment with what each channel's target audience is supposed to be - something which has become watered down at the SABC over the past half a decade.

The new scheduling manager will have to "monitor audience patterns and their competitive environment to plan and develop schedules that willoptimise the channels' competitive stance and increase audience share and revenue" for the SABC.

It will also be this person's responsibility to ensure that the scheduling and broadcasting schedule and programme acceptance departments function productively and effectively - no placing of shows on the schedule if "the tapes haven't yet arrived because the SABC didn't sign the contract in time or lost the contract".

Do you use every single thing at the gym every single time and for the same duration? Why you should stop complaining about your TV channels.


Joe Marchese over at MediaPost is also explaining why you don't want you pay-TV provider to be forced to give you only the TV channels you want, and is putting the economics of scale into perspective in terms of what is at work with the product and service.

"Why You Should Shut Up and Love Your Cable Bundle" explains, using a gym and gym equipment analogy, why DStv subscribers who are outraged about getting The Home Channel when all you want is your horse races on the SuperSport 4 channel from MultiChoice, should think a bit about what they're really asking and what the consequences will be.

I've maintained, and still believe, that consumers and pay-TV subscribers clamoring for "let me choose the TV channels I want" should be careful what they wish for - they will end up ironically paying more for less TV content, instead of getting a cheaper deal which isn't really even possible.

Read this article, read other articles, read widely, study and really educate yourself about the econometrics of subscription television.

Read about how and where the content originates from, how the TV content generation, content flow and distribution works and how its interlinked and how it is possible for a pay-TV operator to bring you multiple pay-TV channels in the first place because of a business model.

Some pay TV-subscribers insist on wanting to "break" the business model. My belief is that they will do so at their own peril.

Whose side am I on as a journalist and a TV critic? MultiChoice's side? On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes' side?

I'm on the ordinary consumer and pay-TV subscriber's side - the consumer who rightly or wrongly thinks he or she is paying too much for pay-TV and naturally thinks it will be cheaper to select and pay for just the channels he or she wants.

Counter-intuitively, the irony is that people who ask to do that, will end up paying more, not less for the privilege of selecting only individual TV channels (if that content separation should ever happen or be possible), and that is not in the best interest of the basic consumer and TV viewer.