SABC: THIRD OF OUTSIDE BROADCAST TRUCKS NOT USABLE

Monday, June 30, 2014

New drama series, The Librarians coming to Universal Channel in SA days after America, as Universal Networks International enters the race.


I did not expect this. At all: Universal Networks International (UNI) will be bringing the thrilling, premium and brand-new TV drama The Librarians in high definition (HD) to Universal Channel (DStv 117) from December only a day after the new series starts and as episodes become available.

With this drastic and unexpected programming upshift, Universal Networks International is entering the race of TV channels, TV channel suppliers, distributors and content distributors dramatically improving their international pipeline funneling and strategic content push to South Africa and the rest of Africa to close the gap and radically narrow the broadcasting window lag pay-TV subscribers experienced.

South African pay-TV broadcaster M-Net is in the vanguard with a record-breaking number of foreign content playing out extremely close to international broadcasting dates, followed by Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) running FOX.

Sony Entertainment Television (SET) on DStv and Viacom International Media Networks' BET on On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat have stepped it up by trying hard and bringing several foreign TV properties relatively quickly to South African viewers.

Discovery International Networks (DNI) is still lagging however - although it is trying, and consistently brings several once-off factual news related documentaries to the Discovery channels.

Likewise BBC Worldwide running channels like BBC Entertainment is now lagging behind the others insofar as the roll-out of content and broadcast windows are concerned. Individual episodes of the bulk of programming are still months old and now looks stale in comparison to what other content and channel distributors are suddenly doing with their TV channels in South Africa.


Following the quick roll-out of the second Sharknado movie as a once-off telefeature on Studio Universal and the reality show Escape Club on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) (both other UNI channels) almost instantaneously with its international dates, The Librarians marks a significant start and shift for Univeral Networks International.

UNI will now bring South African pay-TV subscribers a new, hot fantasy TV show just like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Falling Skies, Under the Dome, Da Vinci's Demons and other series just like M-Net and FOX are doing in increasing numbers. 

UNI says The Librarians, with Noah Wyle from FOX' Falling Skies (and who remains in that show) and Rebecca Romijn, will premiere in South Africa and "over 100 countries" "within 24 hours of the United States debut on TNT in December".

The Librarians from Electric Entertainment plays like a TV show of Indiana Jones and Relic Hunter, and is a TV series based on the made-for-TV movie series Noah Wyle starred in before he did Falling Skies

It has now been redeveloped into a TV series and Noah Wyle is one of the executive producers.

In The Librarians there's an ancient organisation hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library in New York dedicated to protecting an unknown world from the secret,magical reality hidden all around. The

"The Librarians is a captivating addition to Universal Channel's programming for our markets, and we are delighted it will be airing within just 24 hours of the United States premiere," says Colin McLeod, the managing director for emerging markets for Universal Networks International.

"We are thrilled to bring this action-adventure drama to our viewers, giving our audience instant access to the brand new and exciting series".

Car crashes into ANN7 headquarters and lands in parking lot as it rams into another car; injured driver taken to hospital.


A white van this morning crashed off the road and into the ANN7 (DStv 405) parking area, ramming into another car parked outside the ANN7 reception area.

The driver of the white van lost control, flew over the embankment next to the N1 and crashed into the car while an ANN7 cameraman was nearby, unpacking equipment.

The driver of the white van was taken to hospital.

Factual drama miniseries, Klondike, starts on Discovery Channel on DStv tonight at 21:00


Klondike finally starts tonight on Discovery Channel (DStv 121) at 21:00 in South Africa after the start of Discovery's first factual drama was pushed out by months from earlier this year.

Klondike which can now be seen in high definition (HD) follows the Klondike gold rush in the late 1890's in the North West of Canada.

The story follows the gold prospectors and various nefarious characters and is based on the book Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike by Charlotte Gray. Ridley Scott was executive producer and Richard Madden (playing Bill Epstein) and Augustus Prew (Byron Prew) can be seen.

"We are incredibly excited to launch Klondike on Discovery Channel in South Africa," says Lee Hobbs, the vice president of channels for emerging business for Discovery Networks' Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region, in a statement.

"Scripted content is a new direction for us and fills a gap in the market for viewers who see high-quality storytelling based on actual events".

"Klondike, with its Hollywood cast and captivating story is guaranteed to get our local viewers talking and will look stunning on the Discovery HD simulcast," says Lee Hobbs.

Lefa Afrika has left SABC3 as head of programming; SABC3 looking to appoint a new programme manager.


Lefa Afrika
has left SABC3, leaving SABC3 without a programming manager.

I'm told Lefa Afrika left SABC3 last month. 

Lefa Afrika was the head of programming at SABC3 but became the acting channel head of SABC3 at the beginning of 2013 when Ed Worster left.


The SABC says SABC3 is looking for a new programme manager.

BREAKING. Dragons' Den coming to Mzansi Magic as a new local South African version of the entrepreneur idea show.


South Africa is getting its own version of Dragons' Den on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) with production company Rapid Blue which is producing the first local television version of the format show for South Africa.

The British show seen on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) sees various entrepreneurs who bring their quirky, offbeat and innovative ideas and then pitch it - often with resultant surprises and drama - to a group of moneyed investors known as "Dragons" - who then decide if any of them want to invest in the ideas, inventions and creations.

The British version of Dragons' Den is in its 11th series in the United Kingdom and is being shown on BBC Entertainment on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

The local version of Dragons' Den will start on Mzansi Magic in September and there will be 12 episodes.

Entries are now open at www.mzansimagic.tv.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

SABC entertainment TV channel on MultiChoice's DStv platform will launch before the end of 2014, says the SABC.


The SABC says its SABC entertainment channel will launch on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform before the end of this year.

The SABC says partnerships between itself as a public broadcaster and private companies to provide TV channels to them, will be come increasingly important and is an important focus of the SABC.

The SABC entertainment TV channel should have launched in November 2013 on DStv - one of two SABC channels supplied by the South African public broadcaster to MultiChoice - the other being the SABC News (DStv 404) 24-hour TV news channel.

The SABC entertainment TV channel will be using archive material from the SABC's TV library to compile the schedule.

"In our partnership that we currently have with DStv, we currently provide the 24-hour TV news channel, SABC News to DStv".

"We should be launching another channel with DStv before this year is over which is a general entertainment channel," Leo Manne, the general manager for TV channels at the SABC, told TV critics, journalists and advertisers at the SABC's Post 2014 World Cup programming Upfront.

TV with Thinus asked MultiChoice in the week about what the SABC said and what MultiChoice wants to share or say about the channel.

MultiChoice says "the launch and details of the SABC entertainment channel will be announced when we are ready to communicate".

"It is important speaking to an audience like this, in terms of digital terrestrial television (DTT), but also in terms of creating TV channels outside of DTT with some of our telecommunications partners, partnerships - public-private partnerships - in creating channel opportunities are very important and will be very important for us going forward," said Leo Manne.

"There are some TV channels that we will capacitate ourselves and build ourselves to meet our mandate [for DTT], but there's some entertainment TV channels - some specific niche entertainment TV channels - that we will go into partnerships with others and other public partners to ensure that we create entertainment that speaks to all South Africans," said Leo Manne.

Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO on DStv repeats: 'Repeats are a bit of a balancing act. It's to make the service affordable to consumers'.


Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO says the pan-African satellite pay-TV operator which runs DStv in South Africa and across Sub-Saharan Africa broadcast repeats as part of a balancing act which is to make pay-TV affordable to subscribers and to give the opportunity to watch shows at different times.

Meyer is in Mauritius at the MultiChoice Content Showcase which kicked off this past Tuesday evening with African artists, journalists, international content distributor executives and on-air talent, as well as guests who were flown to the Trou Aux Biches Resort & Spa.

The MultiChoice Content Showcase Extravaganza ends today, 28 June.

In an interview with Kenya's NTV programme The Trend and asked about subscribers complaining about repeats on DStv, Nico Meyer says "that's the nature of pay television".

"If we would bring just simply new content all the time it will simply make it far too expensive. And also people's viewing behaviour are very different. Some people want to see it in the early evening. Some people want to see it in the afternoon".

"So it is a bit of a balancing act. It is to make the service affordable to consumers, but also the ability to be able to view something which they might have missed in another opportunity," said Nico Meyer.

ALSO READ: MultiChoice launches new "Africa Rising" music video and campaign - although one of the six artists in the music video fails to show up.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Is the SABC clueless, simply out of touch with what its doing, or lying about its own coming huge schedule changes? Which is it?



It's hilarious how the SABC is working in a PR blitz segment as "news" every evening on the public broadcaster's English language news bulletin directly in relation to my ongoing news stories.

The SABC is saying things which are completely the opposite of what is happening at the SABC schedule wise, and what is going to happen.


It's okay. First belittle the messenger as a big institution and try to destroy a journalist's credibility, and then cast aspersions like saying legitimate reporting from a legitimate journalist and longtime TV critic seems "to some extent instigate racial and linguistic divisions".

 I won't stop providing news reporting on South Africa's TV industry and the SABC's latest ongoing scheduling changes and the affects that it will have on the country and viewers.

(By the way, the SABC doesn't even have its own image to use of the SABC's Afrikaans news - they have to use mine - oh the irony! using the self proclaimed TV critic's photo of one of your own shows - with their own story.

On the SABC's SABC News website with their story - and for which nobody from SABC News asked me for any comment - it is basically the SABC press release masquerading as news - they're using my image I took from August 2013 without any photo credit. Madness.)

What I have to ask is whether the SABC's spokespeople are lying, or whether they genuinely just don't know what is happening at the public broadcaster with the schedule after the World Cup? 

Please look and watch this clip for instance of just one of this week's inserts on the SABC's news bulletin which the SABC keeps doing, following my ongoing reporting.

It's strange that SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago would tell news anchor Vabakshnee Chetty on SABC3's news bulletin that "we will come back to our normal programming after the World Cup".

That is definitely not happening, yet the SABC keeps saying that.

Meanwhile SABC's TV executives are on record that the TV schedules are changing and that the Afrikaans news is moving to SABC3 permanently, and that the bulk of Afrikaans programming on the SABC is moving from SABC2 to SABC3 permanently as part of "drastic" scheduling changes coming to SABC television from 14 July.

Vladimir Duthier leaves CNN International to join CBS News as news correspondent from August.

Vladimir Duthiers is done with CNN International (DStv 401) joining CBS News as news correspondent.

Vladimir Duthiers who became CNN International's correspondent in Nigeria in early 2012 is jumping to CBS News.

South African viewers will now see him on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley which is broadcast on Sky News (DStv 402) nightly.

Vladimir Duthiers will start working for CBS News in August and will move back to New York from Lagos where he has been working.

Vladimir Duthiers started his career in 2009 working as a production assistant on Amanpour at CNN International.

Richard Quest comes out as gay on CNN International on his own show Quest means Business: 'Would the fact that I'm gay affect my credibility?'


Richard Quest, the eccentric presenter of Quest means Business on CNN International (DStv 401) came out as gay on his own weekday show on Friday night saying "Would the fact that I'm gay affect my credibility as a business journalist? Would you watch the programme differently?"

Richard Quest said he wish that he had done it on Thursday night - a day before - when he interviewed John Browne, the former CEO of the British oil giant, BP. John Browne resigned in 2007 after a British tabloid revealed that he was gay.

John Browne wrote the book The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good for Business, and Richard Quest interviewed him about it on Thursday.

In his "Profitable Moment" segment which Richard Quest uses to close out every show, he came out as gay on Friday night on CNN International, saying that it is good for his business as a financial journalist.

Instead, he did it on Friday evening a day later, and told viewers globally that it is good for his business as a business journalist.

"If I remember back to when I wasn't open about my sexuality, I spent a great deal of time worried about it. About what my family would think, what would my friends, my colleagues would think, and of course, what would you think".

"Would the fact that I'm gay affect my credibility as a business journalist? Would you watch the program differently?"

"Thinking like this saps energy, it drains confidence, it takes a toll on productivity, it's exhausting.

"I realize that everyone has their own road to travel in making this decision about when it's right to come out. "I know that in my case, the worst fears never materialized. All in all professionally, I know the work I do here every day is better because I'm honest about who I am".

Friday, June 27, 2014

'Drastic' scheduling changes for the SABC's 3 TV channels starting from right after the 2014 FIFA World Cup on 14 July.



Changes the SABC top TV executives themselves describe as "drastic" is coming to the South African public broadcaster's three terrestrial TV channels - SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 -  from 14 July after the conclusion of the SABC's 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage.

SABC1 will change first with some big changes on SABC2 and SABC3, and then other changes later on SABC2 and SABC3 later during the year.

TV with Thinus already revealed - and stands by those stories - of how the Afrikaans news bulletin that was on SABC2 and moved to SABC3 for the duration of the World Cup,will be shifted to SABC3 permanently.

The Afrikaans drama slot on SABC2 which has been there since 1976 when SABC television started on the then TV1, is moving to SABC3 - the SABC channel received by the least number of TV households in the country.

Several other Afrikaans programming, from Fokus, Voetspore and others are moving to SABC3 permanently, SABC2 and SABC3 TV programming executives and channel heads told the press and advertisers.

SABC1: The schedule will change completely
SABC1 won't be the same from 14 July," says Sam Mpherwane, SABC1 channel head. "Coming out of the World Cup we're looking to create and offer a schedule which hasn't existed and not been seen in the country before"

"The schedule will change completely - both in primetime and daytime. For the first time we're launching a soapie in primetime at 18:30 something that has been a dream for a decade. We've moved our news bulletins from 19:30 to 19:00 because that is when the people want to catch them. We've moved our sitcoms from 19:00 to 19:30. Generations stays at 20:00".

"Its important for us to go out with this fresh, exciting content that we'll be offering to viewers. Largely the SABC1 schedule will change drastically".


SABC2: Introducing game shows and reality
"The Afrikaans news as we had it on SABC2 is moving to SABC3 from 14 July, said Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC2's acting programme manager. "What does for us on the schedule is that it opens it up so that it flows better. It's been quite a challenge for SABC2 in the past. We really have been like a schizophrenic channel".

"We've been serving two markets - the Sesotho audience as well as the Afrikaans audience - and it's been really quite a struggle to serve both those very important audiences. But in one channel that kind of positioning has become unsustainable."

We will still have all the languages on our channel, including Afrikaans, not all the content is going to SABC3 that's Afrikaans, but we do feel that it's about family viewing, that it's about family values and all the good things that we need to build this country," said Jacqui Hlongwane.

"At 18:30 on SABC2 we have 7de Laan. That stays on the channel from Monday to Friday. And then after that where we had the Afrikaans news we will start introducing things like family game shows and reality and factual content".

"After that we will put some sitcoms in - both foreign and local sitcoms - as well as a new telenovela that we want to introduce. In primetime you will see these changes."

"Unlike SABC1 those changes will come in a phased-in approach. We will start in July slowly. Then in September we will go bigger. It will be an evolusionary process".

"We will allow them [SABC1] to first take the space and shine. Hopefuly all these changes will work to make all three channels better so that we offer a solid network of content that every South African can watch," said Jacqui Hlongwane.

Interface is moving from SABC3 to SABC2.


SABC3: Going younger, a 'whole new SABC3 by February 2015'
Aisha Mohamed, SABC3's new channel head said the troubled commercial TV channel of the broadcaster is going younger.

"We're going to focus a lot on local productions, so there's a strong focus on generating good local content especially within the genre of lifestyle and entertainment - fashion, food, travel - all of the things viewers have come to expect from SABC3 - just with a younger look".

"SABC3 will slowly start changing. It won't be jarring. Once the World Cup is over viewers won't get brand new programmes and content. You will get a new schedule for sure. Repeats will get knocked off quite a bit. The schedule definitely changes. The focus will be on younger".

"What you might also get in July and what we're aiming for, is a new on-air look and feel. So SABC3 will no longer be blue necessarily. In July it might have a new look and feel."

"By August there will be more change; by September. By the time we get to next year February [2015], it will be a brand-new SABC3," said Aisha Mohamed.


SABC has to stay relevant
"We can't exist in the way that we've always existed," says Leo Manne, the general manager for TV channels at the SABC. "It's important that a public broadcasting platform like the SABC stays relevant as far as South Africa's development is concerned. That's why is necessary that we react to the times".

TV with Thinus asked specifically about ongoing scheduling disruption at the SABC and why the SABC channels are changing schedules again shortly after the World Cup changed schedules.

SABC schedules changed in a big way last year when The Bold and the Beautiful was moved from SABC1 to SABC3.

"There is no broadcaster in the world which doesn't change schedules," says Leo Manne.

"It is a challenge with three channels, to try and accomodate and speak to, and be relevant to millions of TV households. But we do it and we try and do it to the best of our ability. Naturally you can't please everybody; you won't please everybody".

"The challenge is perhaps we can try and become a lot better in the way we communicate and how we communicate these changes," says Leo Manne.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

kykNET on SABC moving Afrikaans drama and Afrikaans news to smaller SABC3 channel: 'A setback for the Afrikaans TV industry'.


kykNET (DStv 144), the Afrikaans language TV channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, says it "regrets" the decision of the SABC to marginalise its offering of Afrikaans television through the move of the seven o' clock Afrikaans TV news bulletin to SABC3, as well as the shift of Afrikaans drama from SABC2 to SABC3.

TV with Thinus reported that the SABC will be moving the Nuus om 7 on SABC2 to SABC3 permanently after the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and to a new timeslot of 19:30.

SABC3's terrestrial TV channel footprint is the smallest of the SABC's three TV channels, which means that less people would be able to see this news bulletin on SABC3 than on SABC2.

TV with Thinus also reported that the SABC plans to move the Afrikaans drama slot which has always been on SABC2, to SABC3 permanently after the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

"SABC3 has a smaller footprint than SABC2. As a result, less Afrikaans speaking viewers will be able to see news on SABC channels in their own language," says kykNET in a statement.

"If reports are correct that the SABC also aims to move Afrikaans drama from its traditional home on SABC2, it is a setback for the Afrikaans TV industry and for the whole Afrikaans creative community," says kykNET.

"kykNET can confirm that the seven o' clock news bulletin in the evenings will continue unchanged. Regular news bulletins kan also be seen every weekday morning on the breakfast show, Dagbreek".

"Afrikaans news is now available on two channels: kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145). kykNET & Kie is available on DStv Family for R185 per month".

e.tv's morning breakfast show adds Nthabiseng Ndhlovu as sign language interpreter and Nolufefe Msomi as Xhosa newsreader to the team.

e.tv's morning breakfast show Sunrise has added Nthabiseng Ndhlovu (right) as a sign language interpreter and Nolufefe Msomi as Xhosa newsreader.

"It's a great pleasure to welcome two new ladies. I am confident that the Xhosa and deaf viewers will enjoy their bulletin weekly," says Nicholas Maphopha, the Sunrise executive producer.

Both started on Monday joined the team that includes Neo Monyetsane for the Sotho news bulletin, Thabo Masithe for the Setswana bulletin, Elsa Esterhuizen for the Afrikaans news bulletin and Mawandumusa for the Zulu news bulletin.

"Joining the Sunrise team has allowed me to step out of my shell and helped me to explore the media industry and what it takes to stand out and be heard," says Nthabiseng Ndhlovu.

Nolufefe Msomi (left) says "I am really excited to be part of the Sunrise team".

"I have wished for a long time after many years of doing radio journalism, to get an opportunity to anchor television news and get behind the news on a regular and daily basis".

BREAKING. M-Net secures HBO film, The Normal Heart, for M-Net Movies Premiere on 1 July at 21:30.


M-Net has secured the broadcasting rights for the brand-new HBO film, The Normal Heart, and will show it on M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 103) on 1 July at 21:30 just over a month after its debut on American television.

The Normal Heart chronicles a man's life in the United States during the Aids pandemic as the new fatal disease, of which little is known, start claiming a lot of lives and creates fear.

The Normal Heart stars Mark Ruffalo as a gay man, as well as Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts.

"Licensing the movie for broadcast so close to its United States debut is a great coup for us," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

"It's our mission to bring our viewers the very best international movies and series as fresh as possible from Hollywood and we're delighted to screen this fantastic film on M-Net Movies Premiere next week".

The Normal Heart will repeat on 2 July (00:00), 3 July (03:00), 11 July (22:30), 12 July (00:30) and 13 July (02:30) on M-Net Movies Premiere.

SABC calls me a 'self proclaimed' TV critic; public broadcaster not happy with my stories (go figure).


The SABC calls TV with Thinus an online publication "which claims to do news and analysis on South African television".

The SABC says I am a "self-proclaimed" TV critic.

(I've been a TV critic for longer than 14 years - one of the longest serving, actively writing journalists and TV critics in South Africa covering television with the fearless Bianca Coleman of the Cape Times and the intrepid Tashi Tagg of TVSA. Nobody else has done this for longer and is still at it.)

The SABC is unhappy about two stories regarding the disappearance this week of the Afrikaans TV news on SABC2 and SABC3; as well as the move of Afrikaans language programming from SABC2 to SABC3.

I stand by my reporting, everything in it, all the quotes, all the information - PLEASE go read it for yourself.

The SABC calls the article(s) "questionable" and says the SABC perceives it as a move to cause confusion and that the reporting is "subjective". Yet the broadcaster says it "welcomes any critique on its work".

I take my work as a journalist who loves television, and as someone who has reported on it exhaustively for many, many years with insight, scoops and candour, extremely seriously.

I've always tried to be a real journalist, covering television on a real, honest and thorough way from a hard news perspective. (I first did financial reporting, then general hard news, before covering solely television).

A journalist's role is not to "cause confusion" - actually the opposite - to inform, to educate, to tell people what is happening, and why it matters.

I don't write for the SABC. Or for any TV channel, or for any show, any producer or any TV executive. I write for the viewer, the content maker, the TV lover, the person wondering where their show went - and when, or if it will be back.

I write for those without a voice - often subjected to the vagaries of powerful broadcasters, big operators, and those who have loud voices in a big industry and business called television broadcasting, but who don't often use those big voices very well in this medium called television.

The SABC can attack me as a TV critic. It's fine. I don't hate the SABC. I don't live in fear of any TV person or place; I don't need to feel loved or not loved by them. I love television and I love those who slog to make great television.

It's my work and my joy to watch it and tell about it.

Keep coming back and keep reading - tomorrow I will report on the SABC's dramatic TV scheduling changes which will be happening from July after the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 and how that will be impacting all TV licence payers in South Africa - of which I am a fully paid up one.

Below is the SABC's statement in full:

SABC REFUTES ALLEGATIONS OF DUMPING  AFRIKAANS PROGRAMMING

Johannesburg, 26 June 2014-The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would like to express its misgivings on the article published today on TV with Thinus, an online publication, which claims to do news and analysis on South African Television. The Cape Town based self-proclaimed TV critic, Mr. Thinus Ferreira’s article is questionable and is perceived by the SABC as a move to cause confusion and to some extent instigate racial and linguistic divisions.

The article alleges that SABC will move its Afrikaans programming to SABC 3 in order to further marginalize the Afrikaans language. This is not a true reflection of the state of affairs, as the SABC has not marginalized any language and will not do that in the future. The SABC has an obligation as prescribed by the Broadcasting Act to ensure that all languages are treated equally.

It is further alleged that the Afrikaans news bulletin has been canned from SABC 2 with no forewarning to the viewers. The SABC refutes this allegation with the contempt it deserves, as the corporation revealed its 2014 World Cup broadcast plans in a press conference, on the 29th of May 2014 indicating how programming in general will be affected. 

 It is rather appalling that in his article, Mr. Ferreira says the viewer anger has flared up this week, whilst he was one of the Journalists who received the SABC media statement with a detailed schedule of all the temporary changes on SABC television programming which does not only affect the Afrikaans speaking community but other languages too. All the programme changes were further communicated directly to the viewers on air subsequent to the Press statement.

The Xitsonga, SiSwati, IsiNdebele and Venda news have also been moved from SABC 2, and there is no mention of this on Ferreira’s article.  We strongly believe that all South Africans are equally important, and therefore Mr. Ferreira’s statement saying “The Nuus om 7 became a ‘hurdle’ for SABC 2” is inappropriate and uncalled for.

This week, the mostly watched Sesotho Current affairs programme on SABC 2, Leihlo la Sechaba will not be playing and it is rather disturbing that Mr. Ferreira singles out only the Afrikaans programmes. This is viewed in a serious light as it indicates that his report is subjective and is intended to suit a certain agenda only known to him.

One of our flagship programme, Generations, has been moved to SABC 2 from SABC 1 if Ferreira’s argument was anything to go by, we would have seen and recorded millions of complaints from Generations viewership. It remains a puzzle why when Afrikaans programming is touched this then becomes an issue.

The SABC’s programme shifts are not a decision that is not well thought, there is always a strategic need informed by our market intelligence to shift programmes around when there is a need and we will not let any individual paint a different picture which is not necessarily informed by any substantial case or evidence.

In this particular case, the Afrikaans news and many other programmes were affected by the fact that the World cup matches were playing at the same time, thus, we used SABC 1 and SABC 3 channels to broadcast the matches.


The SABC welcomes any critique on its work in order to assist the organization to move towards the right direction, however, we do not appreciate malicious reporting that is aiming at polluting the democratic society that is established by all instrumental institutions including the SABC.

BREAKING. Roxy Burger, Katlegoe Maboe Strictly Come Dancing's new presenters' duo for the upcoming 7th season on SABC3.


You're reading it here first.

I can break the news and exclusively reveal that Roxy Burger and Katlegoe Maboe of morning show Expresso, will be the new presenters' duo of the popular ballroom dancing floor format show Strictly Come Dancing's upcoming 7th season on SABC3.

The 7th season of Strictly Come Dancing, produced by Rapid Blue, will start on SABC3 on Friday 18 July at 20:30 for 10 episodes of two hours each.

The reality dancing show was successfully revived last year by SABC3, which is looking to build upon the new momentum.

The reality show - one of the few broadcasts outside of news and sport the SABC still does live - helped to not only lift SABC3 ratings but also helped SABC3 in a new metric measure of success: online and social media buzz, where viewers engaged and talked about the show and the contestants.

According to various TV with Thinus sources the new 7th season of Strictly Come Dancing has Roxy Burger and Katlegoe Maboe as presenters. The various celebrity dancers and the professional dancers they're paired up will be announced tonight in Johannesburg at the VSP Lounge in Sandton.

Roxy Burger is still on honeymoon in France and not in South Africa.

"We've spent a lot of time on who our presenters will be, who the celebrity dancers will be, what kind of music will be selected for the show, what kind of sets we're looking for, the kind of artists that are performing in-between, simply because we want to set a tone" says Aisha Mohamed, SABC3's new channel head.

"We simply want to bring Strictly Come Dancing back to what it was, which is a really beautiful show".

BREAKING. SABC ready to dump several Afrikaans language TV shows from SABC2; moving news, drama to smaller SABC3 permanently.


You're reading it here first

The SABC is getting ready to dump almost all of the remaining Afrikaans language shows still left on SABC2 and will  move this Afrikaans programming to SABC3 - a channel with a much smaller footprint - meaning that Afrikaans is getting marginalised even further as an overall broadcasting language on SABC terrestrial television.

It is the result of a TV programming language battle at the SABC which has "become unsustainable" for the public broadcaster's SABC2 channel.

I can reveal that the SABC will permanently move its sole terrestrial, daily, Afrikaans language TV news bulletin, Nuus om 7, from SABC2 to SABC3 once the SABC's coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup concludes.

It will also be the first time in 38 years that there won't be any Afrikaans TV drama on SABC2 (the former TV1) since television began in South Africa in 1976.

The Afrikaans drama slot, when that content is commissioned by the SABC, will play out on the much smaller SABC3 where less viewers are able to see it..

Viewer anger flared up this week when the SABC canned its sole Afrikaans TV news bulletin on terrestrial  television entirely since Sunday for this week with no forewarning to viewers who couldn't find it on SABC2 or SABC3 because it doesn't exist.

The Nuus om 7 has become a "hurdle" for SABC2 - although its remains a huge viewership and ratings getter.

The move is part of a broader language shift of Afrikaans away from SABC2 since the SABC says that trying to do both Sotho and Afrikaans on SABC2 has "become unsustainable".

Shows like the current affairs program Fokus, TV drama Swartwater, magazine show 50/50 (which also contains other languages) will all be repositioned from SABC2 to SABC3 permanently.

The upcoming move will leave only soap 7de Laan and game show Noot vir Noot as the last vestiges of predominantly Afrikaans language programming on SABC2.

SABC3 has the smallest terrestrial broadcasting signal footprint of the SABC's three terrestrial TV channels.

It means that Afrikaans language programming - already a fraction of what it was on the SABC and SABC2 almost two decades ago in 1996 when the public broadcaster relaunched TV1, CCV and NNTV as SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 - is being further marginalised.

Since SABC3 cannot be received by as many South African viewers as SABC2 and SABC1 - especially in the vast areas further away from big metropolitan areas and cities - it means that less potential viewers who would want to, would be able to tune in for the daily Afrikaans news bulletin, Fokus50/50 or Swartwater simply because they simply don't get the signal.

Interestingly, only Afrikaans language shows are moved away from SABC2. (SABC3's English language current affairs interview show Interface will be moving to SABC2.)

It's part of a "network" approach between the three SABC TV channels with firstly a dramatic new schedule structure coming to SABC1 from immediately after the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

SABC2 will slowly change to let the SABC1 changes happen first and not to steal the sister channel's thunder, and then have its major schedule changes in September. SABC3 will follow after that and could be doing away with its recognisable blue look when it gets a new on-air look as early as from the beginning of July.

Where the Afrikaans language Nuus om 7 and Fokus are both perenially making the list of top 10 most watched programmes on SABC2 every week at around 1.5 million and 1.3 million viewers respectively, these viewership ratings are set to plunge when these programmes move to SABC3 which as a channel is available in less TV households.

Nuus om 7 will get the 19:30 timeslot on SABC3, while the hour long English news bulletin which has not been performing well, will be cut back down to only half an hour again, starting at 18:30.

"The Afrikaans news as we have it at the moment will be moving to SABC3 permanently," Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC2's acting programme manager told TV critics and advertisers this week.

"What that does for us on the SABC2 schedule is that it opens it up, so that we're able to flow better. It's been quite a challenge for SABC2 in the past. We really have been like a schizophrenic TV channel."

"We've been serving two markets now - the Sesotho audience as well as the Afrikaans audience - and it's really been quite a struggle to try and serve both those important audiences," said Jacqui Hlongwane. "In one channel that kind of positioning has become unsustainable".

"In terms of our family proposition, we want content that speaks to South African families. So language should not be what defines us".

"We will still have all the languages on our channel, including Afrikaans, not all the content is going to SABC3 that's Afrikaans, but we do feel that it's about family viewing, that it's about family values and all the good things that we need to build this country," said Jacqui Hlongwane.

"At 18:30 on SABC2 we have 7de Laan. That stays on the channel from Monday to Friday. And then after that where we had the Afrikaans news we will start introducing things like family game shows and reality and factual content".

"After that we will put some sitcoms in - both foreign and local sitcoms - as well as a new telenovela that we want to introduce".

"Obviously it takes time to produce that kind of local content but hopefully by July next year we have a telenovela. So there's a lot of local content investment going on at SABC2 because viewers said that they want to see themselves. They want their lives reflected on screen," said Jacqui Hlongwane.

"Swartwater, basically the Afrikaans drama slot, is moving to SABC3. So SABC2 won't be having Afrikaans dramas anymore, it moves to SABC3," said Jacqui Hlongwane.

"It is a challenge with three TV channels to try and accomodate and speak to, and be relevant to 34 million TV households in this country, but we do it, and we try and do it to the best of our ability," said Leo Manne, the general manager for TV channels at the SABC.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO in Mauritius at MultiChoice Content Showcase: 'We're committed to the digital migration process in Africa'.


Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO says the pan-African satellite pay-TV operator which runs DStv and GOtv across sub-Saharan Africa is "committed to the digital migration process in Africa".

Nico Meyer is in Mauritius, speaking at the MultiChoice Content Showcase which kicked off on Tuesday evening with African artists, 80 journalists, international content distributor executives as well as guests flown to the Trou Aux Biches Resort & Spa.

MultiChoice unveiled a new Africa Rising music video which will be part of a new campaign although one of the six African artists in the music video didn't pitch in time for the official unveiling.

The MultiChoice Content Showcase - billed as "Africa's biggest content showcase" - is to show the local and international content MultiChoice brings to viewers.

Content at the MultiChoice Content Showcase unveiled and screened to journalists come from BBC Worldwide providing the BBC channels; Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) providing CNN International, Cartoon Network and Boomerang; and NBCUniversal's Telemundo.

There's also Viacom International Media Networks International Africa's (VIMN Africa) providing MTV Base, Comedy Central Africa and Nickelodeon; A+E Networks International's History and Crime+Investigation Network; M-Net's AfricaMagic and Channel O; Ebony Life TV; and SuperSport.

"Our mission has always been to be at the cutting edge of new technology that enables our subscribers to enjoy the very best home television experience," says Nico Meyer.

MultiChoice believes that the people of Africa deserve "only the best dynamic technology platforms and a range of bouquets built around compelling news, premium movies and documentaries, as well as sports channels," he says.

Nico Meyer says the satellite pay-TV operator is aiming "to be part of the making of this unfolding critical time in Africa's history through various initiatives that promise to unearth Africa's potential. We aim to be part of creating a paradigm shift among Africans" and that there is "so much more to celebrate in and about our continent.

Speaking about digital terrestrial television (DTT), he says that MultiChoice uses the latest generation digital video broadcast standard for its GOtv product.

"It leapfrogs the outdated T1-systems which were utilised by first movers in the digital migration and puts Africa at the forefront of technology in the digital migration process".

"MultiChoice Africa remains committed to the digital migration process in Africa and will continue to work closely with governments and all stakeholders to ensure that this is a seamless platform, ensuring great family entertainment at affordable prices," says Nico Meyer.

"Over the years we have invested billions into brand new state-of-the-art SuperSport and M-Net studios to catapult the local film industry into showcasing local talent and programmes".

"We are committed to using every technology available to us to enhance that [viewing] experience and developments on the horizon hold the promise of exciting changes," says Nico Meyer.

SABC3's Special Assignment quietly stuck in ongoing repeats on Sundays at 21:30 as a 're-launch' is planned of the investigative magazine show.


Look no further than the sad, tragic and ongoing demise of "current" current affairs programming at the SABC than the SABC3 show Special Assignment which is quietly stuck in repeats.

Viewers have not been getting ongoing new content but instead a bunch of repeats, and tucked away in one of TV's graveyard slots on Sunday nights at 21:30.

Special Assignment has also been largely defanged from the investigative magazine show it used to be.

The SABC says Special Assignment will be back with new episodes, but there is no "launch date" for the show which the SABC says is "preparing for a re-launch".

"Viewers can continue to watch repeats of some of our best stories produced during 16 years of journalistic excellence. Special Assignment's seasoned team of intrepid journalists will soon be back, bringing you stories that fearlessly investigate, provoke and expose," says the show.

BREAKING. Viewers fuming as SABC dumps the Afrikaans TV news bulletins, Nuus om 7, entirely after moving it to SABC3.


You're reading it here first. 

You won't see it because it doesn't exist: South African TV viewers are fuming because they can't find the Afrikaans TV news bulletin on the SABC - and they can't find it because it doesn't exist.

The SABC and SABC News entirely dumped the Nuus from its schedule for this week.

The SABC moved the daily Afrikaans Nuus om 7 half hour bulletin from SABC2 where its usually broadcast to SABC3 at 19:30 for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

But now the Afrikaans news bulletin has disappeared because SABC3 also doesn't have space for it and the SABC doesn't care enough to show that news bulletin to that language group this week.

Meanwhile viewers are desperately trying to find where the bulletin went since the beginning of the 2014 FIFA World Cup since it was moved to SABC3 with little communication.

Two weeks into the SABC's soccer coverage viewers are now wondering where SABC3 moved it to and if they're missing it due to tuning in and the "wrong" times - the reality is that it doesn't exist.

Meanwhile the SABC, which moved the Afrikaans news from SABC2, saying it had to make space for soccer matches and SABC1 programming, is now again showing news in the 19:00 timeslot - but the Xhosa and Zulu news bulletins, which means that the Afrikaans news could have remained in that slot.

The SABC says SABC3 is supposed to show the Afrikaans news but because SABC3 is also showing soccer matches this week, that it won't be broadcasting the Nuus.

The first time that Afrikaans SABC viewers will be able to see Nuus again, will be on Friday 27 June on SABC3, with no Afrikaans TV news provided in that language by the public broadcaster on SABC2 or SABC3 this week until then.

BREAKING. Comedy Central dumps Gareth Cliff's The Gareth Cliff Show from television after simulcast of internet radio show broadcast flops.


You're reading it here first.

I can break the news and reveal Comedy Central (DStv 122) is dumping Gareth Cliff's Gareth Cliff Show just a month and a half after it launched on the TV channel as a simulcast web show after the internet radio shown on TV experiment failed to attract enough viewers wanting to "listen" and watch it on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

TV with Thinus can reveal that Gareth Cliff's last show seen on Comedy Central will be on Monday at the end of the month - 30 June - after it will be gone on the TV channel after 42 episodes.

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) which runs Comedy Central launched the Gareth Cliff in May on Comedy Central, but moved it to an earlier timeslot from 07:35 to 06:00 after just a month at the beginning of June in a desperate attempt to lift viewership figures.

Comedy Central said the timeslot change of The Gareth Cliff Show after a month was due to viewers' requests for an earlier timeslot but it turns out viewers didn't want to listen/see it earlier - they didn't want to see it at all.

"We are confident that it will do even better in the new earlier timeslot, allowing viewers to watch it at leisure as they get ready for work in the mornings," said Evert van der Veer, the head of Comedy Central Africa, earlier this month - but that confidence was seemingly misplaced.

With the earlier timeslot also not lifting ratings sufficiently, Comedy Central is pulling the plug on showing the internet radio show on the TV channel.

Comedy Central confirms to TV with Thinus that The Gareth Cliff Show is ending on the channel, and will stop on 30 June.

Comedy Central tells me in response to a media enquiry that it was "a mutual decision" to end it.

Comedy Central says it will still be working with Gareth Cliff on further projects.

Gareth Cliff will be seen again soon on TV on M-Net's Idols where he remains one of the judges for the new 10th season.

Artist Diamond Platnumz in MultiChoice's new Africa Rising music video miss flight, fails to attend launch of content campaign in Mauritius.


The artist Diamond Platnumz didn't make it to event last night because he missed his flight, for the launch of the new music video Africa Rising from MultiChoice which is holding a MultiChoice Content Showcase at the Trou Aux Biches Resort & Spa in Mauritius.

Diamond Platnumz missed his flight from Belgium where he was performing, and didn't join the other artists from across Africa at the launch of the music video like Davido Bongo from Nigeria, Ghana's Sarkodie, Tiwa Savage, Lola Rae and the South African band Mi Casa.

Journalists and guests from across Africa and Europe flew to Mauritius for MultiChoice's launch of the Africa Rising music video on Tuesday evening, part of a content extravaganza by MultiChoice.

The 5 minute long collaborative Africa Rising music video (complete with DStv Walka 7 product placement) is to celebrate what's positive in Africa.



MultiChoice on Monday announced record subscriber growth with the release of Naspers' financial year end results for the year until 2014.

Subscribers to DStv and GOtv are up by 1.3 million, taking MultiChoice's pay-TV subscriber base to over 8 million homes across 50 African countries.

"We believe that this campaign provides the ideal platform to showcase meaningful change amongst the people of Africa," says Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO.

Ryan Giggs gone from SuperSport and its 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage - after being announced as leading its commentary and analysis.


Ryan Giggs is gone from SuperSport and the commentary and analysis coverage provided around the 2014 FIFA World Cup, broadcast on the various SuperSport channels on MultiChoice's DStv.

SuperSport announced with big fanfare just weeks ago that the former Manchester United "heads up a stellar cast of analysts and experts for SuperSport's coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup".

It's not clear who now heads up SuperSport's 2014 FIFA World Cup analyses since Ryan Giggs is gone and nowhere to be seen.

Just a short while into the 2014 FIFA World Cup Ryan Giggs left SuperSport's on-air presentation team.

He provided insight which didn't overwhelm critics and his commentary mostly left them lukewarm, so Ryan Giggs isn't really missed.

He was often the only face on the SuperSport panel disappearing and being replaced by another analyst while the others in the studio remained unchanged between games.

SuperSport never mentioned that Ryan Giggs' "gig" will only be for a few days and not be for the entire duration of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

I asked SuperSport what happened to Ryan Giggs after viewers wondered why they're not seeing him on television anymore.

When SuperSport announced him as leading its 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage it created an expectation that they will be seeing him for the duration of the global soccer tournament.

"Ryan Giggs was contracted for a short stint, primarily because of his new duties as assistant Manchester United manager. He is back in the UK," SuperSport tells me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Aussie Hayden Quinn of MasterChef Australia set for a new show, Hayden Quinn South Africa, on SABC3, starting 14 July.


You're reading it here first.

The surfer, Sydney-born lifeguard, former MasterChef Australia contestant and now celebrity chef Hayden Quinn is set for his new travelogue food show, Hayden Quinn South Africa, which will start on SABC3 on Monday 14 July at 21:30.

In 13 episodes, Hayden Quinn visits Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Paternoster, Franschhoek, Hermanus, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, the Northern Cape, Johannesburg, Lesotho, the Midlands, Zululand and Durban.

In Hayden Quinn South Africa he discovers local flavours in various culinary capers, take part in various action adventures and follows the journey of South African produce from farm to the fork.

Viewers will see Hayden Quinn for instance instance surfing the cold waters of the Western Cape to zip lining through the Tsitsikamma tree tops and walking with rhinos in Zululand.

Local cooks, chefs and foodies teach Hayden Quinn how to cook and prepare a range of local dishes and give him a taste of the melting pot of the South African palette.

In Hayden Quinn South Africa viewers will see him make a tuna sashimi atop Table Mountain, cooks a potjie amidst a desert thuderstorm, shucks Knysna oysters and makes ice-cream in the fields of the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

Hayden Quinn South Africa was filmed since February in and around South Africa; Hayden Quinn visited South Africa previously and returned for the filming of the series.

The travelogue series is also taking a look at sustainability issues in and around South Africa and things like farming and environmental conservation.

Public broadcasting lobby group, SOS Coalition calls for the SABC to be 'rescued from its sorry state'.


The South African public lobby group for public broadcasting, the SOS Coalition, is calling for the SABC to be "rescued from its sorry state".

The call from the SOS Coalition comes on the day the new minister of communications, Faith Muthambi"ordered" the SABC to appoint a new CEO within 3 months

Lulama Mokhobo quit in February as the umpteenth SABC CEO to suddenly up and leave and not finish a CEO contract.

Ongoing scandals continue at the public broadcaster which is still mired in a leaderless crisis.

The SOS Coalition has been at the forefront of the call for the rescue of the SABC from the many forces which have stripped its power and ability to be a successful people's broadcaster.

"We recognise that not all of the challenges facing our public broadcaster are of its own making," says the SOS Coalition, "but there remains a series of problems for which the SABC, including the SABC board, must take responsibility".

The SOS Coalition once again blasts the instability of the SABC's top executives "which has reduced the SABC's reputation as a reliable and trusted public institution to a devastatingly weakened state".

The SOS Coalition is also concerned over the SABC board's refusal to carry out the remedial actions suggested by South Africa's Public Protector.

Then there is "the SABC board's failure, amidst growing public distrust in the news and current affairs of the SABC, to oversee the conclusion of a widely consultative editorial policy review process, which is now nearly five years late".

Big Brother Africa audition dates for the 14 African countries taking part in the 9th season starting in September.


The audition details of the upcoming brand-new 9th season of Big Brother Africa is now known.

The 9th season of Big Brother Africa will start on television on Sunday 7 September on DStv for 91 days and is once again produced in Johannesburg, South Africa by Endemol South Africa.

People need to be 21 and older and must have a valid passport.

People in 14 countries can enter, although Angola is dropped and has been replaced by Rwanda.

"The inclusion of Rwanda in this season is even more exciting as this displays that our reach and growth into the various sub-Saharan markets is going from strength to strength," says Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO.

"We look forward to seeing further growth as well as the impressive social media presence that the show enjoys".

"We have been producing this series for M-Net for a number of seasons now and as partners, together we have seen this show grow to the phenomenon that it has become," says Sivan Pillay, managing director of Endemol.

"Audiences and fans can expect yet another high quality production".

South Africans who want to try for a chance to be in the reality show will only have one city in South Africa to audition in: Johannesburg on 30 June and 1 July at The Pyramid Venue and Conference Centre.


Here's the dates for the various countries for Big Brother Africa's 9th season:

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Capital Hotel and Spa)
30 June 2014

Lilongwe, Malawi (The Crossroads Hotel)
30 June, 1 July 2014

Lagos, Nigeria (Protea Hotel Leadway)
30 June, 1 July 2014

Nairobi, Kenya (The Hilton Nairobi)
3, 4 July 2014

Gaborone, Botswana (Cresta President Hotel)
4, 5 July 2014

Lusaka, Zambia (InterContinental Hotel)
4, 5 July 2014

Accra, Ghana (Holiday Inn Hotel Airport)
5, 6 July 2014

Kampala, Uganda (Sheraton Hotel)
7, 8 July 2014

Windhoek, Namibia (Hilton Hotel)
8, 9 July 2014

Kigali, Rwanda (The Lemigo Hotel)
9 July 2014

Free Town, Sierra Leone (The Country Lodge Complex)
9 July 2014

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (New Africa Hotel)
11, 12 July 2014

Harare, Zimbabwe (The Meikles Hotel)
12, 13 July 2014

BREAKING. New minister of communications 'orders' SABC to appoint new SABC CEO within 3 months.


The new minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, today in parliament "ordered" the SABC to appoint a new CEO within 3 months.

Lulama Mokhobo quit in February as the umpteenth SABC CEO to suddenly up and leave and not finish a CEO contract, without the SABC giving reasons as a public broadcaster.

In March the SABC fired Gugu Duda as acting CFO. She was suspended in September 2012 at the SABC in relation to procurement and financial irregularities.

Last month the SABC advertised for both positions - for CEO and CFO - but not yet for chief operating officer (COO), the one currently held by the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng, currently acting in the position.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was not suspended not relieved of his position, following a damning Public Protector's report released in February which stated that he "should never have been appointed at the SABC".

Today in parliament Faith Muthambi said and reiterated the decades old government refrain that the department of communications must help to "stabilise their [SABC] leadership".

"I have recently indicated to the SABC to ensure that we can appoint a CEO within the next three months".

Faith Muthambi said that the SABC has a board of directors "who must do their work without needing the minister to interfere in their operations. However, where necessary and as the law empowers us to do so, we will step in as the shareholder on behalf of the people of South Africa".

SABC3 goes Windows Vista with its TV schedule - TV critics and media workers perplexed, frustrated with SABC3 obsolete 'upgrade'.


Kid you not: SABC3 is suddenly going Windows Vista with its TV schedule - to the huge frustration of TV critics and media workers who have to use it and work with it and retype it into TV listings and take information from it.

It comes just a day after the SABC told journalists, TV critics and advertisers that the broadcaster wants to be open, helpful, transparent and help stakeholders to engage with the SABC better.

Well.

Changing and using Windows XPS, Microsoft's alternative to PDF which was introduced with the hated Windows Vista which is now obsolete, and which never gained any traction, is not going to further and help.

TV critics (myself included) and others are suddenly waking up to the fact of the impossibility and frustration of having to work with a suddenly changed document format which doesn't even want to open - unless you buy the "new" (yet old) software.

SABC3 basically "demands" that those wanting to use or see the TV channel's schedule, now "upgrade" (to new, yet old) software because the SABC wanted to "upgrade".

That's not how its supposed to work. And not even any prior notice to media houses, journalists and those using the SABC3 schedule.

The irony: The SABC3 schedule in basic Excel as it was done and issued and re-issued with updates worked completely fine. It was accessible, clear, concise yet comprehensive. There was nothing wrong with it.

Now something that was working fine and great is being broken. Something that didn't need fixing, nor an "upgrade".

Not one - not a single one - of the hundreds of TV channels available in South Africa, neither any of MultiChoice's DStv channels, On Digital Media's StarSat, OpenView HD, SABC1 or SABC2 or any of the free-to-air e.tv channels, or community TV channels sends a schedule in XPS or has ever sent a schedule as an XPS document.

Ever.

"The average person should stay away from XPS files," tech experts warn.

"It's unclear why you'd actually want to create an XPS file instead of a PDF file," says HowtoGeek.

Can someone please tell SABC3?

Can somebody please do something and end this madness being inflicted before it grows.

Progress and improvement are always welcomed, but don't burden those who have to type up TV schedules for magazines and newspapers and publications on a daily, weekly and monthly basis (which is already hidden, late-night, somewhat soul-deadening work) with even more cumbersome, difficult and sincerely impossible insanity.

MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice grows to 529 000 pay-per view video rentals per month; PVR base grows 15% to 1.1 million.


DStv BoxOffice - MultiChoice's pay-per-view video-on-demand (VOD) service - has grown to 529 000 movie rentals on average per month.

This was revealed in Naspers' financial year report for the year ended 31 March 2014. It's a dramatic increase from the 400 000 movie rentals per month recorded in 2013.

DStv increased the price for new movie rentals from R25 to R27 on 1 June this year.

Jim Volkwyn, the head of Naspers' pay-TV division, told investors, stakeholders and the media in a tele conference call late this afternoon that Naspers will "aggressively" push pay-TV content to all platforms, meaning online and mobile devices.

Jim Volkwyn said that Naspers does not envision a drop in the spending of "localisation of services", meaning investment and money spend on producing and distributing local TV content in TV markets such as South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Jim Volkwyn said that the MultiChoice's PVR base (subscribers using a digital personal video recorder decoder) has increased 15% year-on-year (YoY) from 956 000 tot 1.1 million.

Regulatory and competition is intensifying for MultiChoice's pay-TV business; Jim Volkwyn said that MultiChoice is now involved in digital terrestrial television (DTT) in 11 African countries "and we believe we're fast catching up with competitor StarTimes".

Monday, June 23, 2014

FASCINATING. Lifetime and Nicktoons both included as new TV channels in the presentation of Naspers' financial year report.


Both Lifetime (the Lifetime HD logo no less!) and Nicktoons are included in the presentation of the financial year report of Naspers for the year ending 31 March 2014.

Naspers is the holding company of MultiChoice which runs the DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Last year TV with Thinus noted that Naspers' financial year results for 2013 contained imaging for M-Net Movies - TV channels which at that time haven't yet launch on DStv.

Then it did.

Interestingly I was told last month by sources that Lifetime as a TV channel is coming to South African pay-TV - sources outside of anything Naspers or Naspers subsidiary related.

I asked A+E Networks UK in London which runs the channel which didn't give any real yes or no answer. I also asked MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat whether it will be adding Lifetime and both didn't give specific answers denying or confirming.

Nicktoons is of course from Viacom International Media Networks. Viacom International Media Networks Africa already (VIMN Africa) already looks after channels like MTV, MTV Base, BET and Nickelodeon.

It's not clear why Lifetime and Nicktoons logos appear in the financial year report presentation, a serious document, and next to logos of which all the rest are real.

Nothing in a financial year report or its presentation to global stakeholders and investors is there by chance.Investors and the market (I used to be a financial journalist in a prior life) try to extrapolate a sense of confidence about the health and direction of a company from it and companies know it. Somebody put it in there deliberately, people checked it, people approved and signed off on it.

Just like last year they know it will be seen and studied carefully.

Oprah Winfrey says the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

If I make that applicable on the presentation of Naspers' financial year results report the past two years, my estimated guess would be that Nicktoons is replacing Kidsco and that Lifetime will  be added for South African viewers.

ATTACK ON JOURNALISM IN AFRICA: Three Al Jazeera staff convicted in Egypt in politically motivated court case.


From Africa's southern most tip, South Africa, to the edge of its northernmost end, Egypt, press freedom and freedom of speech are under attack and continue to be threatened as three Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 401) were convicted and condemned and given prison sentences today.

Mohammed Fahmy, Baher Mohammed and Peter Greste - kept in cages all during their court trial like animals - were sentenced today to between 7 and 10 years in prison.

This travesty was the "conclusion" of a shambolic and surreal court case filled with bogus claims and fake evidence regarding alleged terrorism charges, and which was eye-poppingly jarring for its farcical court procedures.

The conviction news sent shockwaves through Africa's journalism community as well as the global journalism community, with several international broadcasters, TV news channels and publications devoting attention, time and coverage to the outrageous act.

The three have been detained since December - 177 days. The shambolic trial took five months.

"Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists, 'guilty' of covering stories with great skill and integrity," says Al Anstey, Al Jazeera English's managing director in a statement.

"At no point during the long, dwarn-out 'trial' did the absurd allegations stand up to scrutiny".

"The support shown for Mohamed, Peter and Baher has been loud, unified, and determined, and has come from every corner of the world".

"The call for their freedom has come from journalists, people right around the globe, as well as leaders worldwide. This great solidarity is a stand for basic freedoms - the freedom of speech, for the right for people to be informed, and for the right for journalists around the world to be able to do their job".

"There is only one sensible outcome now. For the verdict to be overtuned, and justice to be recognised by Egypt," says Al Anstey.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

BREAKING. Most bizarre SABC press conference ever as bare-breasted Venda women perform ritual in Hlaudi 'woman as gift' scandal.


The most bizarre press conference at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters took place today when bare-breasted women and some fully clothed men performed a Venda ritual on the floor in front of the tables - to summon passed-on elders - in one of the strangest (and ongoing) scandals involving the South African public broadcaster since the inception of the broadcaster.

Meanwhile journalists were suddenly forced to take off their shoes and to kneel and lower themselves - awkward since no pre press conference protocol rules were circulated beforehand helping the press to know what to expect, prepare for, and what journalist or reporter to send in case of special circumstances.

Flabbergasted journalists and reporters had no real choice but to oblige the group - a specific lobby group called Mudzi Wa Vhurereli ha Vhavenda, comprising Venda traditional healers.

Adding to the surreal circumstances was the lack of English translators for speakers who only spoke in Venda.

The Venda delegation said that they are Venda and will be speaking Venda since English isn't better than their language and that nobody could really speak English well in the group.

The problem was that the press was unprepared and not informed ahead of time, and had to interrupt and ask for any possible translation into English.

However nobody was available nor willing. As the Venda group went ahead speaking in Venda, Dr. Gladys Netshengwe, a chief's wife could speak some English and agreed to translate.

Before the start of the press conference this afternoon in Johannesburg, the Venda delegation surprised with an unannounced ritual summoning elders. The bizarre press conference was also marked/marred by loud ululating by bare-breasted women every time before any Venda member spoke.

Later journalists and reporters who wanted answers had to lower themselves first to show respect in order to elicit a possible response or an answer.

Journalists from The Sowetan newspaper and wire service Sapa were ordered and basically forced to come to the front to collect a document as the "response" from the Venda people - but once the journalists who went forward under duress did it, they were ordered to get on their knees before handed the papers.

Next to them bare-chested Venda women lay on the floor.


The swirling controversy stems from SABC executives who visited Thohoyandou in Limpopo in an official public meet-and-greet to talk about the SABC and the public broadcaster's role just over a week ago.

The SABC's famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng was involved in a parading of women, reportedly including the "gifting" of one, as well as being given a cow and a calf.

The Commission for Gender Equality is investigating complaints.

After more than a week during which the SABC made no official statement, the Venda people suddenly decided to hastily convene a press conference and at the SABC - and weirdly for Sunday.

During the press conference Hlaudi Motsoeneng was often incorrectly referred to and called "Motsoaledi".

The Venda king Khosikhulu Mphephu Ramabulana is furious and is demanding answers from the SABC about the event and from those who organised it in a press statement which was issued this weekend from the royal Venda headquarters.

At the press conference on Sunday afternoon, the Venda delegation said that the cow and calf are a gift to the SABC, not to Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The 23 year old Venda woman, Vanessa Mutswari, is engaged to another man and says she was not given to anybody.

"It disgusts me [to read/see/hear] we are Venda, we are giving a wom- a wife to SABC," said dr. Gladys Netshengwe, a chief's wife at the press conference. No. It's not what we did".