THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Game of Thrones tops list of most illegally downloaded show for 2015 for 4th year in a row; M-Net has 8 shows on the top 10 list of most pirated programming.


The fantasy drama Game of Thrones on M-Net once again tops the list of the most pirated and most illegally downloaded TV show of the year for the 4th year in a row.

Interestingly, 8 out of the top 10 list of most pirated TV shows worldwide in 2015 is shown in South Africa by M-Net across its range of M-Net supplied channels to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, with only 2 of the most popular pirated shows on other pay-TV channels, also on DStv.

TorrentFreak has released its annual list of most pirated TV shows and Game of Thrones on M-Net Edge (DStv 102) by far tops the list for 14,4 million illegal downloads in 2015 so far.

Second is the zombie drama The Walking Dead seen on FOX International Channels' FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) with 6,9 million downloads.

It's followed by nerd comedy The Big Bang Theory on M-Net (DStv 101) with 4,4 million, Arrow on M-Net with 3,9 million, The Flash on Vuzu Amp (DStv 114) with 3,6 million, Mr. Robot on M-Net with 3,5 million and then Vikings on A+E Networks UK's History channel (DStv 186) in 7th place with 3,3 million.

The new Supergirl on Vuzu AMP with 3 million, The Blacklist on M-Net with 2,9 million and Suits on M-Net with 2,6 million round out the top 10 list's 8th, 9th and 10th places.

The astounding numbers are only for the most downloaded single episode of a series, with a series that can only be listed once for the purposes of compiling the list. In reality, multiple individual episodes of a single series on TorrentFreak’s top 10 list for 2015 will have millions of downloads of its own.  

TorrentFreak also says the illegal downloads for each of the shows will actually be "significantly higher" since online streaming and downloads for file-hosting services are not included since there are no public sources to draw data from.

Earlier this year Game of Thrones shattered the all-time piracy record when more than 258 131 people were downloading and sharing the same Game of Thrones episode simultaneously over the internet.

According to TorrentFreak, while 480p versions of TV shows remain the most popular, downloaders are drastically upsizing and upscaling with a large number of people starting to upgrade to higher definition 720p and 1080p versions of TV shows and movies.

TorrentFreak says in 2015 "pirates have shown an increase in interest for higher quality releases compared to earlier years".

While broadcasters and video content suppliers like M-Net, Fox International Channels (FIC), HBO and MultiChoice have been working harder in 2015 than ever before to close the broadcasting gap between the American and international airing of episodes of shows and when it's shown in South Africa and Africa, the prevalence of piracy of TV shows in South Africa and Africa, like in the rest of the world, is increasing.

"There is no sign that TV show piracy is declining," says TorrentFreak. "On the contrary. The download numbers for the most popular shows continues to rise, sometimes exceeding the number of traditional viewers in the United States".

CNN International, Fox News Channel ringing in 2016 with New Year's Eve special programming; M-Net has Royal Variety Performance 2015.


Both CNN International (DStv 401) and Fox News Channel (StarSat 261) have special News Year's Eve programming to ring in 2016 while M-Net has again acquired and scheduled the Royal Variety Performance 2015 on 31 December.

M-Net (DStv 101) will bring viewers the high entertainment quality Royal Variety Performance 2015 on Thursday, 31 December at 21:30. The annual beautiful British variety concert once again has several outstanding acts, performers, musical numbers and comedians.

Comedian Jack Whitehall is the host, and this year Elton John, Kylie Minogue, One Direction and several others at London's Royal Albert Hall.

On Friday morning 1 January 2016 at 03:00 CNN International will broadcast CNN New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin - a simulcast of CNN's United States feed with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin from New York's Times Square.

CNN New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin will run between 03:00 and 08:00 (South African time).

As per usual, MultiChoice's electronic programme guide (EPG) for CNN International is wrong, outdated and incorrect, showing only an hour of CNN New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin between 03:00 and 04:00.

This makes it impossible for DStv subscribers to actually record or schedule a recording of the programme that won't infuriate everyone trying to watch it since it will record only an hour of the much longer show.

If you want to watch it in its entirety and have a PVR or DStv Explora, click record on every other programme between 03:00 until 08:00 on DStv's CNN International EPG on 1 January.


Interestingly, Fox News for its special New Year's Eve coverage is adding ... Donald Trump, the frontrunner candidate of the United States' Republican Party for the upcoming presidential election in that country.

Jesse Watters, Lisa "Kennedy" Montgomery and Katherine Timpf will be the presenters of Countdown to 2016 on the Fox News Channel starting at 04:00 on Friday 1 January (South African time).

From 05:00 Kimberly Guilfoyle and Eric Bolling will be the co-presenters of Fox News Channel's All-American New Year 2016 broadcasting from the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square.

Donald Trump will join the Fox News Channel News Year's Eve team from Florida during the 07:00 hour (23:00 in New York) and remain until midnight.


At midnight (meaning 1 January) e.tv has the hour-long The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2015, the lingerie runway show that has pink carpet interviews, the multi-million dollar Fantasy Bra and musical performances.


Neither SABC2 nor SABC3 has special New Year's Eve programming; SABC1 has the usual Come Duze 2016 from Thursday night at 21:30 until 05:02 on Friday morning with musical performances, new year's messages and South African music videos.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SABC2 fined R15 000 for showing 18SNVL movie; BCCSA slams e.tv and She's the One for putting the safety of vulnerable children at risk.


SABC2 was fined R15 000 after the public broadcaster's channel was found guilty of showing an 18SNVL movie during family time or before the so-called "watershed" time period.

Meanwhile e.tv and its Edgars advertiser-funded production (AFP), She’s the One also got rapped over the knuckles by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for showing the faces and identifying

The BCCSA fined SABC2 R15 000 for showing the film Dead Fall for what it called a "serious contravention" by the SABC of South Africa's broadcasting code.

The SABC admitted that it knew it isn't supposed to broadcast such a film on a Saturday night at 20:30 during what is still known as the family viewing time period or before the so-called "watershed" time of 21:00 after which more risque TV programming is allowed.

SABC2 blamed the scheduling on a "new and inexperienced employee" and told the BCCSA that management "both in respect of training and day-to-day supervision of the employee had been lacking".

The SABC must pay the R15 000 before the end of December.


e.tv put safety of children at risk
Meanwhile e.tv and its Edgars She’s the One reality competition show produced by Janez Vermeiren's Cheeky Media production company was also reprimanded by the BCCSA following viewer complaints for not protecting the privacy of children.

An episode showed the faces of children at the Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope where children in need of care and protection are being looked after.

E.tv denied that the children's identities were disclosed by She’s the One although the programme and channel showed their faces. The BCCSA ruled that merely showing their faces is sufficient identification and place them at risk.

According to the Children's Act of 2005, by showing the faces of children they could be placed at risk since some were the subjects of human trafficking and the victims of sexual exploitation and were removed from people who could possibly find out where a child is being kept now.

A lecturer in the department of social work at the University of the Witwatersrand complained about She’s the One and said that showing children’s faces on camera is "a huge child protection issue in terms of the safety risk of the children".

"Since some of the children have been removed from abusive homes and in some cases the perpetrator do not know the whereabouts of the the children, the faces of underage children [should not] be on national television".

The BCCSA said in its judgment that "it would not need a Sherlock Holmes to trace the address of this home and for any evil-minded person to abduct a child from this home. By showing the faces of the children, we are convinced that their safety and well-being were being put at risk".

e.tv wasn't fined for the transgression but got a reprimand.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Shamed bride ditched at the altar as Our Perfect Wedding groom on Mzansi Magic lies that he was hijacked but got arrested and jailed for fraud and forgery.


The scandalous township wedding show Our Perfect Wedding on Mzansi Magic again raised eyebrows on Sunday after a bride was ditched at the altar with the groom arrested for fraud.

The now controversial show – for which pay-TV broadcaster M-Net apologised earlier this month calling an episode “offensive and wrong” for glamourising South African rape culture – once again shocked viewers as a groom ditched his bride at the altar and got arrested for fraud and forgery.

Our Perfect Wedding is produced by Basetsana Kumalo's Connect TV production company for M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel supplied to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

In the latest episode on Sunday night the show saw a bride, Neriah Ratanang, shamed when her physiotherapist groom didn't show up at the wedding set for 5 December, claiming he was hijacked.

In fact Wanda Mhobo was arrested for fraud and forgery this past Friday evening.

Wanda Mhobo is set to appear in the Midrand magistrate's court today on charges of fraud and forgery. 

Wanda Mhobo will appear in court after allegedly forging proof of payment slips from Capitec Bank for his wedding planner, Ambrosia Hall and Catering.

new 6th season of Our Perfect Wedding is set to start on Mzansi Magic on Sunday 3 January at 19:00.

Friday, December 18, 2015

After 2 years of existence, e.tv's local eKasi+ channel picked up and added to StarTimes Media SA's StarSat pay-TV platform.


StarSat satellite pay-TV platform added e.tv's eKasi+ channel to its channel line-up from Thursday afternoon in a new carriage deal between e.tv and On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media SA.

Until now eKasi+ - a local high definition (HD) channel focused on black township lifestyle programming - was only available on Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) free-to-air satellite platform as one of the self-compiled channels from e.tv's digital channels offering.

eKasi+ has been broadcasting since October 2013 as part of OpenView HD and has now been added to the StarSat Special bouquet on channel 489.

It follows the loss of the BET channel that Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) yanked from StarSat at the end of November.

'We are constantly looking for channels that can add great value to our current programming and that is what we have found in the eKasi+ channel. There is an array of shows to satisfy different tastes," says Ian Woodrow, StarSat's head of content.

Ian Woodrow again promised more new channels for StarSat in the coming months although the struggling pay-TV service has so far failed to replace several lost channels like the FOX Movies channels from FOX International in July, Discovery Networks International's TLC and others.

"The eKasi+ channel has established a good audience base on OpenView HD. The channel has a strong local appeal with some entertaining and original local content dominating the schedule," says Monde Twala, managing director for e.tv's channels.

"The move to make it available on another platform is simply to ensure broader reach based on the steady, growing popularity of the channel.OpenView HD is already reaching 300 000 homes and this extension will simply grow our base and ensure we reach as many South Africans as we can."

TCM on Sunday showing the hour long special, George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema, looking at the fantasy film genre including a George Lucas interview.


This Sunday 20 December at 11:25 TCM (DStv 137) will show George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema, an hour long documentary special looking at the fantasy film genre that includes an interview with Star Wars creator George Lucas.

With the cinema release of The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm's release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that started on Wednesday 16 December in South Africa, the documentary - part of TCM's Night at the Movies series, the documentary examines the ways that writers and directors bring the fantasy genre to life in film.

In George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema director Laurent Bouzereau examines the limitless world of the imagination as portrayed in fantasy films.

George Lucas discusses the origins and evolution of fantasy cinema, the influence of certain films on his own career and the differences between genres such as fantasy and science fiction. 

He also offers his personal insight into what the future holds for the fantasy genre in film.

George Lucas also examines a variety of influential films including King Kong (1933), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Planet of the Apes (1968), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Back to the Future (1985), Labyrinth (1986) as well as an in-depth discussion of his own iconic Star Wars series.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens from Disney and Lucasfilm shatters its opening day box office in South Africa with a haul of R4,72 million in Wednesday ticket sales.


Disney and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Force Awakens has shattered its opening day box office in South Africa where the latest 7th film in the Star Wars film franchise raked in a massive R4,72 million on its Wednesday opening day.

What is means is that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the biggest Wednesday film draw in South Africa's cinema's history.

The Walt Disney Company Africa announced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has broken the record for the biggest opening Wednesday in South African box office history, pulling in R4 726 865 on its first day of release in South Africa alone.

In South Africa, Africa's most sophisticated consumer film market, over 70 000 moviegoers flocked on Wednesday to specifically see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ticket tallies for other African countries besides South Africa are not yet available but its a given that Disney's latest Star Wars film from producer and director JJ Abrams will set new African records - especially in South Africa where Star Wars: The Force Awakens also shattered records for ticket pre-sales, as well as for IMAX and 3D screenings.

Similar to its American and other international Disney counterparts, Walt Disney South Africa and Walt Disney Africa was cautious to make any statements pre-release of the movie in a bid to contain and manage box office expectations, but now Disney is talking.

"We are thrilled at the reception South African fans have given Star Wars: The Force Awakens," says Christine Service, the senior vice president and country manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa in a statement released on Thursday.

"As the next instalment in the Star Wars saga, the release of this film means that every generation will now have their own Star Wars story to experience."

Earlier this year M-Net's M-Net Movies division and MultiChoice launched a successful Star Wars pop up channel on DStv in South Africa and throughout Africa showing the previous Star Wars films as well as other related Star Wars content on a dedicated channel that ran for a month.

Like elsewhere in the world, Star Wars fans embraced , dressing up as characters and attending fan events like in Sandton, Johannesburg at the Nelson Mandela Square on Wednesday.

Platco Digital's OpenView HD passes 300 000 South African households after 2 years; adds 100 000 OpenView households in the last 4 months.


Platco Digital's OpenView HD free-to-air satellite platform has passed 300 000 South African TV households.

The platform launched in October 2013 as e.tv's plan to create a workaround for its own digital television given the government's long-delayed and ongoing inability to commercial launch digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa.

HCI owns Sabido Investments, which holds a 67% interest in Platco Digital and a 63% stake in e.tv.

Its broadcasting component didn't want to be left behind as MultiChoice's DStv and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat launch more channels, community TV stations grow and channel fragmentation increase and individual channel audience share keeps decreasing.

Several of the existing e.tv packaged and supplied channels on OpenView HD like eKasi+, eMovies+, eAfrica+ and eToonz+ are very likely part of the channels offering that e.tv will launch its commercial DTT service with once the actual commercial digital migration switch from analogue to digital terrestrial TV finally happens.

OpenView HD saw its share of difficulties with losing some channels that went dark over the past two years as well as some new additions as well as signing up radio stations, currently sitting with 20 TV channels and 8 radio stations and more promised.

However, as the country's economic steadily situation keeps worsening for consumers, OpenView HD has seen a sudden surge from TV viewers opting for its free satellite service which requires a once-off decoder and satellite buying and installation fee.

It's also become easier for existing pay-TV subscribers to make the switch to Platco Digital's service since it started using space on Intersat's IS20 satellite in 2014. It means that subscribers who had a DStv dish installed don't need a new installation since the existing dish is already pointed in the right direction making it easy for OpenView HD buyers to just plug-and-play.

Platco Digital has now experienced a surge, with 100 000 new satellite and decoder installations in the last four months - a third of its overall total users it managed to amass the past two years.

"The strong retail partnerships have contributed to a 300% increase in uptake of OpenView HD decoders in the market," says Maxwell Nonge, Platco Digital managing director who says OpenView HD is now active in 300 000 South African households.

"We constantly strive to secure content that is guided by customer research to ensure that the channels are in line with the target audience's viewing patterns," says Maxwell Nonge.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SABC to show all away games of Bafana Bafana played outside of South Africa again on SABC1 from 2016 in a new 3-year deal with SportFive.


From 2016 the SABC will go back to once again broadcast all the away games of South Africa's national soccer team, Bafana Bafana on public television on SABC1 in a new deal worth millions of rand with SportFive.

This follows after years of the SABC not having the broadcasting rights to Bafana Bafana matches played outside of South Africa and the public broadcaster not willing to pay the much high per match broadcasting rights fees for individual games from the French based company SportFive, saying its too expensive.

SportFive is the official Confederation of African Football (CAF) broadcasting rights holder who sells the broadcasting rights for all of the organisation's tournaments and once-off games to individual companies and broadcasters like the SABC.

In July last year the SABC told parliament that paying for sports rights is putting the SABC under enormous financial pressure and that the public broadcaster cannot continue to pay R500 million per year for sports broadcasting rights.

The SABC told parliament that the revenue the public broadcaster derives from sports coverage does not cover its costs with a shortfall of millions of rand per year and that the SABC cannot continue to pay for sports rights going forward in the future on a unsustainable basis.

In 2015 the SABC went blank on Bafana Bafana several times as the public broadcaster was a no show with matches the national team played outside of South Africa's boarders, but will start showing these again from 2016.

It's part of a new 3-year from 2016 to 2019 that was signed on Tuesday between the SABC and SportFive as the CAF broadcast rights holders.

The new deal between the SABC and SportFive means that all of the remaining 2017 Afcon qualifier matches, as well as the 2018 World Cup qualifiers will be broadcast on SABC1.

"We agreed on the final phases of the African Cup of Nations in Gabon in 2017," says Idriss Akki, SportFive managing director. "Part of the deal is also the next Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 in Cameroon where we agreed on the qualifier matches and on the final phase. 

REVIEW: Star Wars The Force Awakens brilliantly reshapes George Lucas' modern myth in the story that continues to try and bridge the gap between fathers and their children.


(This review written by a critic that's been a longtime Star Wars fan and contains no spoilers.)


What is it with every generation of fathers? 

Luke Skywalker has disappeared, but moviegoers can gladly put in an appearance at the cinema for two hours and 16 minutes to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens – a visceral, moving tour de Force that’s definitively the best in the entire saga after The Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope.

As for Luke, don't worry - he shows up. Eventually.

Anyone in love with George Lucas' sprawling galaxy far, far away and even newcomers or those less familiar with the Force will find a visual delight and their emotions tested in the dark side of the cinema in the next, very well executed chapter of the franchise taken over by director JJ Abrams.

To those who fell in love when Luke Skywalker first started at the horizon where twin suns were setting to a rousing score, feel that The Empire Strikes Back is the best in the series and for those who abhor the sequel-prequel trilogy – The Force Awakens is definitely the movie and further continuation of Star Wars you've been looking for.

As Episode VII, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an emotional unveiling of a next chapter in a story that solidly remains at heart a tale about trying to close the gap, and bridging the distance – literally and figuratively – between fathers and their children.

As if it hadn’t become transparent over the past three decades, Star Wars latest iteration as a modern myth makes it abundantly clear that it’s become the most classic cinematic Bildungroman of all: Star Wars The Force Awakens again restarts the youth’s search for meaning, purpose, and parentage – and this time it’s also the inverse: the parent’s search for child.

The Force Awakens is a visually authentic, nostalgically sound and forward-Force-facing addition to the Star Wars universe – an Oedipus opus that’s the new first act of a new saga, referencing back but laying the solid groundwork for new characters, character development, plot points and yes, a spectacular new war amidst the stars.


History repeats itself but this time in an opposite way. Absent fathers and father figures still fail their children (sons and daughters), but children also fail (and save!) their parents in the film that feels expansive and harkens back to the timeless and massive size and scope of the original Star Wars trilogy.

With a lot of death, destruction, deterioration and some big shockers – there’s at least one climactic, tragic scene between a father and son that rivals and deftly mirror’s the now iconic ‘Luke, I am your father” – the movie is definitely not meant to be seen by anyone under 12.

While previously Star Wars spurred endless debate like "Did Han shoot first?", The Force Awakens will have moviegoers long be talking and definitely debating things like seeing Han Solo again and the new Death Star.

Some dramatic plot points are foreshadowed and can be guessed and figured out fairly quickly within half an hour by real Star Wars fans due to framing and exposition limiting some of the surprise but it doesn’t in any way take away or diminish from the sheer enjoyment and emotional gut punches that’s delivered when ancestry is revealed and when a major death changes the ongoing expanding Star Wars universe forever.

Right up to the end – and literally in the final scene – The Force Awakens continues to be the unfolding of a new journey and to be the passing of the baton to a new Star Wars generation.


A beautiful inverse
While the new film is a new start – an expansion of the established mythos – it incorporates the cleverest of of Jedi minds tricks: a fully and very calculated, inverted story.

Beneath the surface basically every single thing is not just symbolic but also the beautiful inverse of what Star Wars fans saw previously – from camera angles, characters, scenes and a lot of dialogue.

To appreciate the magnitude of some of the moments and events happening you really do need to see A New Hope, Empire and Return of the Jedi first to fully revel in what JJ Abrams and Disney taking over Lucasfilm have very successfully been able to accomplish.

Yet even for casual moviegoers not steeped in Jedi tradition or Wookiee lore this “space movie” will be an enjoyable holiday film fantasy romp through the stars.

While The Force Awakens is filled with dense narrative techniques and very clever mirroring of the work that came before it that can keep film critics and academics busy disecting it for weeks, it’s not flawless but won’t matter if enjoyed on a purely superficial level – as million of people around the world surely will.

The acting Force is definitely with the new stars. You easily lose yourself in the standout and emotive portrayal of Daisy Ridley as Rey. John Boyega as Finn and then the antropomorphic droid, BB-8, are wonderful and dear old Chewie – still actually young for a Wookie – will have you laughing out loud together with moviegoers.

The somewhat disappointing Adam Driver as the new dark nemesis Kylo Ren is however no Darth Vader (one character somewhat ironically remarks that “Your biggest fear is that you will never be Darth Vader”) and will possibly develop as the trilogy rolls out.

Star Wars will still be and is the definitive movie series dads take their sons to. Now they – and mothers – can take their daughters too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

MultiChoice gives all DStv Premium subscribers full free access to Naspers' video-on-demand service, ShowMax, for 30 days.


MultiChoice is now giving DStv Premium subscribers free access to its Naspers video-on-demand rival, ShowMax, for 30 days.

To help with promotional sampling of the Naspers' service that was launched in August, MultiChoice is giving DStv subscribers 30 days of full free access to ShowMax during the holiday and Christmas season when holiday-goers will presumably have some more time to sample and check out the subscription video-on-demand (SvoD) service.

"DStv is making this holiday season even more festive by giving its loyal customers a complimentary gift of 30 days access to the newly launched video-streaming service, ShowMax, worth R99," says MultiChoice in a mailer to subscribers.

MultiChoice that recently experienced problems due to new software upgrades for its DStv Catch Up service is giving a voucher to all DStv Premium subscribers for a 30-day trial of ShowMax.

"DStv gives you the latest series and movies, the best in live sports, world news and much, much more."

"ShowMax is a different service that lets you watch all the great series you may have missed. With over 20 000 episodes available at the click of a button, ShowMax is the best way to binge on entire series starting with season 1, until you reach the latest season which you can then watch on DStv," says the satellite pay-TV platform.

"See Game of Thrones from the very beginning, and then catch the newest episodes as they air on DStv next year."

MultiChoice says DStv Premium customers who didn't receive a voucher can email enquiries@multichoice.co.za to update their email address on the DStv database to get a voucher number.

Star Wars: The Security Awakens - Tight embargo and strict security in South Africa around press preview, reviews of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


A tight embargo and strict security surround the press preview of the latest Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens that will start showing in South Africa and several other territories a whole two days before its official release in the United States.

The latest 7th installment in the archetypical science fiction blockbuster franchise set in that galaxy far, far away will start showing in South Africa and several other countries from Wednesday 16 December, 2 days before the film's official debut in the Unites States where it had its official, star-studded red carpet premiere in Los Angeles on Monday night.

While Disney is careful to temper expectations for the movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will likely shatter box office records in South Africa – especially for IMAX showings where pre-ticket sales have soared – as well as internationally as well as in the United States.

In South Africa, like in the United States, there's been no advance press showings to the media and film critics of the new movie as Disney and Lucasfilm are trying to keep the secrets and surprises of the film under wraps.

In America only a few publications and selected film critics are being shown the movie and in South Africa the press screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place on late Tuesday afternoon, less than 12 hours before the film opens to moviegoers locally.

Reviews for Star Wars: The Force Awakens are embargoed for Wednesday, 16 December at 12:01 in the United States and for Wednesday 10:01 in South Africa.

Disney is also requesting film critics to limit their reviews of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to not include spoilers as to keep the surprises of the film intact for fans and moviegoers. It means that film critics have to refrain from spoiling things like why the Millennium Falcon crashes, what happened to Luke Skywalker, who Rey really is and why C-3PO has a red arm.

As in America, and as has been done before for certain high-level security film, no recording devices are allowed for press screenings and South African film critics like their US counterparts will have their cellphones collected beforehand and only returned afterwards.

The new event film helmed by J.J. Abrams is already breaking movie records in South Africa which is setting a new benchmark for ticket pre-sales for IMAX.

Moviegoers clearly want to see the latest Star Wars film on a really big screen and it represents the most advance bookings of any IMAX title in the country before.

Advance bookings to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at IMAX and 3D venues across South Africa have already reached record levels.

More than 34 500 tickets have already been sold to watch the film at Ster-Kinekor cinemas in the country alone. Meanwhile Nu Metro is also showing the film at its 4DX cinema at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Discovery's ID: Investigation Discovery on MultiChoice's DStv also being changed to ID Xtra from January 2016 a few months after it happened on StarSat.


Discovery's ID: Investigation Discovery channel on MultiChoice's DStv is now also being changed into the ID Xtra channel as what happened on StarTimes Media SA's StarSat a few months ago, with the switch set to take place on 5 January 2016.

Discovery Networks International for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region launched ID Xtra as a replacement channel in April 2014. 

It switched ID: Investigation Discovery out for ID Xtra on 31 July on StarSat where the channel has been running for the past five months.

The same switch will now happen on 5 January 2016 on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform on channel 171. ID Xtra will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers.

ID Xtra is more geared towards targeting specifically female viewers with predominantly tabloid-focused crime stories, since a lot of Discovery's existing other channels like Discovery Channel and Discovery World are mostly geared towards a male audience.

Besides TLC Entertainment, ID Xtra as a mystery and suspense channel will give female viewers another channel catering to their viewing taste with crime programming and dramatic crime reconstructions covering "desperate housewives" and "salacious real-life stories of passion, revenge and murder". 

"With its glossy reconstructions of real-life mysteries, ID Xtra will have viewers glued to their screens for hours at a time," says James Gibbons, the executive vice president and country manager for emerging business for Discovery Networks' CEEMEA region.

"Mystery and suspense is one of the fastest growing genres within pay TV and Discovery is in pole position, leading the category with a channel that has already been a proven success across CEEMEA."

"Our DStv customers love mystery and suspense stories and ID Xtra takes these stories to a glossier and more dramatic level," says Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice South Africa's general manager for content.

"Avid fans of this genre will have an even wider selection of brand new and intriguing content to choose from and still be able to catch up on their old time favourites from Discovery ID."

ID Xtra carries shows like Tabloid with Jerry Springer (weekdays at 20:20) covering shocking and bizarre crime stories making headlines.

Other ID Xtra programming include Do Not Disturb: Hotel Horrors (Saturday 9 January, 22:00) going behind closed doors to uncover shocking crimes inside hotels; Bad Blood (Sunday 24 January, 22:00) following families driven apart by heinous crimes as they come together for the first time; and Mansions & Murders (Monday 11 January, 22:50) that re-enacts crimes involving wealthy mansion dwellers.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

RACIST? SEXIST? M-Net deliberately deletes and crops out the only black man and the only woman from the Horrible Bosses 2 poster art to market it on DStv.


M-Net decided to deliberately delete the only black man and the only woman featuring on the Horrible Bosses 2 poster to promote the movie on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, leaving only white men.


M-Net Movies took the original Horrible Bosses 2 poster art and decided that it didn't want the sole black man or the woman in the image.

M-Net photo-shopped Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Aniston out of the image that was shown on DStv's channels and on social media to promote the Sunday night film on the M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 103) channel.

The strange move from M-Net comes across as very racist and sexist.

 Look again carefully at what M-Net did in its image: spacing is clearly not a problem: Jamie Foxx doesn't appear at the horizontal side where it might make the overall image "too long". He filled a "gap" that's simply now left empty.

The same goes for Jennifer Aniston: To add insult to injury, M-Net's reprehensible image doctoring leaves the space where she stood completely empty.

It's not as if M-Net "functionally" deleted her to crop and make the image "shorter" - the space where she stands but got deleted from is left there.

It begs the question: Why did M-Net decide to deliberately remove all traces of specifically these two characters - the black man and the woman? And how many people at M-Net, after it was done, all saw it and signed off on it and said this is right?

This also wasn't a "little" or thoughtless decision. Notice how Jamie Foxx' right hand had to be scrubbed from the image. Notice how Jennifer Aniston's whole arm had to be deleted and a whole new black tie created for the character she stood next to.

Making M-Net's disgusting marketing photoshopping even more reprehensible is if keep in mind that M-Net is a South African company and that M-Net Movies Premiere presumably would want South African viewers, and South African viewers of all races, to watch.

If anything, the black man and the sole woman should have been left in the image and one or two of the white men rather deleted to make the image come across as more multi-cultural and inclusive.

I have asked M-Net for comment on Sunday afternoon and why the pay-TV broadcaster decided that the only black man in the marketing image and the only woman in the image who was put there originally by the Hollywood movie studio isn't good enough to be there for South Africa.

I will update this story if and when M-Net has a response.

Miners Shot Down documentary film will now be broadcast on eNCA on Sunday at 19:00 followed by special panel discussion; will be shown on e.tv in January 2016.


The harrowing and International Emmy awarded South African documentary Miners Show Down will suddenly be broadcast tonight on eNCA (DStv 403) at 19:05, with the documentary that will also be broadcast sometime in January 2016 on sister channel e.tv.

The Rehad Desai documentary won an International Emmy at the end of November in New York despite the refusal of South Africa's big terrestrial TV broadcasters - the SABC as public broadcaster and Sabido's e.tv - to show it in the country.

The documentary, produced by Uhuru Productions that won in the documentary category and which has won numerous international and local film awards the past year, recounts the horrific story through witnesses and widows of how the South African police massacred miners in the shocking incident which left 44 miners dead and the country stunned.

Miners Shot Down has since been shown on the education channel [ED] (DStv 190), Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257), the community TV station, Cape Town TV (CTV) and the video-on-demand services of Times Media Group's VIDI and PCCW Global's ONTAPtv.com.

Following public pressure through a petition which already amassed more than 5 000 signatures and public calls for the SABC and e.tv to broadcast Miners Shot Down following its Emmy win, the commercially run e.tv and eNCA at the end of November said that it won't pay the TV producer and filmmaker to show Miners Shot Down but will broadcast the documentary "if Rehad Desai drops us a free copy".

Miners Shot Down has now quietly appeared on the eNCA schedule on Sunday at 19:05, with no pre-publicity or programming advisory from the channel to the press or TV critics and no notification that the documentary has been picked up and scheduled.

While broadcasters and TV channels usually want to maximise their potential ratings by getting media exposure through publicising and marketing shows and its programming acquisitions - especially for an Emmy winning programme - eNCA's lack of letting the media and viewers know through the press, makes it less likely for viewers to be aware that the documentary is finally on TV and that it will be shown.

The Miners Shot Down broadcast will be followed by an hour-long panel discussion on eNCA between 20:00 and 21:00 with eNCA anchor Jeremy Maggs as moderator. eNCA also decided to keep quiet about this additional programming add-on to the press with no publicity promotion or announcement about it.

Sister channel e.tv will now also broadcast Miners Shot Down sometime in January 2016. 

e.tv and eNCA didn't respond to a media enquiry about their programming acquisition of the documentary and its scheduling that made on Saturday evening.

Two people killed in MTV helicopter crash on Saturday in Argentina working on the reality show, The Challenge, in an unauthorised flight.

Two people have been killed in a MTV helicopter in the western part of Argentina on Saturday working on a show called The Challenge, according to Argentina's state news agency Telam.

The Bell 206 helicopter crashed at the reservoir at the Potrerillos de Mendoza dam 1 000 km northwest of Buenos Aires and Carlos Alberto Zarlenga and Luis Marcelo Barrera both died.

A police spokesperson told the Spanish language newspaper El Sol that the MTV helicopter was not authorised to fly over the dam.

Roberto Munives told El Sol that "due to the time of the accident, there is no hope of finding the crew alive".

Search and rescue workers have so far been unable to retrieve the bodies of the MTV helicopter pilot and a technician since the helicopter wreck is 60 m under the water surface.

According to Todo Noticias Argentina, the helicopter crashed into the Potrerillos dam in the city of Lujan de Cuyo at 08:15 and that "the white and light blue aircraft — contracted by MTV to take footage in the area — suddenly fell and exploded".

Saturday's crash is the second deadly helicopter crash in Argentina involving a reality show.

In a statement MTV says the helicopter was part of The Challenge, a co-production of MTV and Bunim-Murray Productions and was on its way to a shooting location when it fell and crashed. According to MTV the two people who died are not part of the cast or crew.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

BREAKING. SABC's controversial COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng found not guilty on the 3 charges brought in his disciplinary hearing.


On Saturday evening the SABC's controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng was found not guilty on the three changes brought against him in a disciplinary hearing, the outcome of which the SABC decided to broadcast live in primetime.

It means that Hlaudi Motsoeneng will be back at the SABC as its chief operating officer (COO) after taking a "voluntary special leave of absence" with the SABC's head of news Jimi Matthews who stepped in as acting COO and then as acting CEO when Frans Matlala was abruptly suspended last month for another unrelated disciplinary hearing.

On Saturday night in Sandton, following the week's disciplinary hearing, chairperson Willem Edeling said "Hlaudi Motsoeneng is discharged on charges one to three".

Someone in the room in Sandton loudly screamed "yes!"

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, dressed in a blue tuxedo jacket and a bow tie, looked extremely irritated having to sit through the judgment while he hardly ever looked in chairperson EJ Edeling's direction.

He most stared vacantly in the opposite direction and up as if waiting for the inevitable conclusion.

After being told that the three charges against him were "discharged", Hlaudi Motsoeneng launched into another one of the mostly non-sensical rants he's become known for, saying that that "I am still the COO" of the SABC and that he knows that people want to "outset me and I know their motives".

"Some are business, some are political, some are to influence which people should be appointed within the organisation. I have been rejecting that because I am an independent person. I can't be influenced by an outsider".

"No one but God can stop me," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng, calling himself an intellectual.

"I'm an intellectual strategist. No one can take that away from me except God. No one can stop me to go up and up because I have brain in me. I am a visionary. I am a born leader," he said.

The disciplinary hearing saw 6 initial charges against Hlaudi Motsoeneng inexplicably reduced to just 3.

The "not guilty" verdict followed a rushed few days of testimony from just 6 current and former SABC employees - Jabulani Mabaso, Lorraine Francois, Bernard Koma, Motlanyane DipopoPaul Tati and Alwyn Kloppers - and mostly centred around just the one issue and charge of Hlaudi Motsoeneng's lack of matric.

The SABC's bizarre disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng suddenly resumed this week after it was "terminated" and "cancelled" last week.

The disciplinary hearing which lacked credibility, oddly changed chairpersons twice without any explanation.

On Monday this week first advocate William Mokhari who abruptly disbanded the disciplinary hearing last week on Thursday saying it would serve no purpose other than being an "academic" exercise was suddenly gone and replaced with a new chairperson, Willem Johannes (EJ) Edeling.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's disciplinary hearing also changed prosecutors three times.

First labour lawyer Sandile July was fired after alleged irregularities with the appointment, then Mponyana Ledwaba abruptly left last week, and then Tumisho Phalane took over as the 3rd prosecutor to work on the disciplinary hearing.

Tumisho Phalane told the hearing and chairperson on Monday this week that he doesn't have enough to prepare. Chairperson EJ Edeling said the case must proceed.

Strangely, the disciplinary hearing that was postponed multiple times since it was supposed to start at the end of October, became a rushed and truncated since it raced to meet a High Court imposed deadline of 60 days which ended today, or the SABC would have been held in contempt of court.

As a result of the sudden pressure and multiple delays and postponements, key witnesses were simply not available and were not called.

Some said they can't testify until January 2016 on such short notice but handed documentation.

At least one set of documents, Exhibit F, was dismissed, not entered into evidence and not read, sent by a possible witness who was in Mpumalanga and said she could only attend a disciplinary hearing in January.

Chairperson EJ Edeling on Saturday evening said that "there was not sufficient evidence before me".

The outcome of the disciplinary hearing was broadcast live and uninterrupted on South African television on MultiChoice's DStv on two South African TV news channels: The SABC's own SABC News (DStv 404) and the Infinity Media and Gupta owned ANN7 (DStv 405) from just after 19:00.

The disciplinary hearing was not shown on Sabido's eNCA (DStv 403) which ran a red scroll in the lower third after the announcement.

The outcome was initially set to be announced at 14:00 on Saturday - then suddenly to 19:00 in primetime with the SABC announcing that it would broadcast the summary and the outcome of the proceedings live on television.

While the Public Prosecutor issued a lengthy and incredibly detailed report in February 2014 with multiple findings that implicated Hlaudi Motsoeneng is maladministration and abuse of power at the SABC, the bulk of those findings and evidence were not available, used or incorporated into the disciplinary hearing.

The disciplinary hearing this past week mostly centered around whether or not Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied about having matric or not, when he applied at the SABC in Bloemfontein in 1993.

The Public Protector has a recorded interview that the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela did with Hlaudi Motsoeneng in which he admitted that he lied about having a matric.

One of the witnesses, a former SABC HR manager, also testified how Hlaudi Motsoeneng twice lied to him about having a matric certificate, and finally in a third conversation "admitted" that he doesn't have a matric certificate and lied.

Yet the disciplinary hearing has now "discharged" Hlaudi Motsoeneng on the charge of having lied about having a matric certificate.

In a mindboggling way, no evidence was given, no witnesses called and no interrogation and discovery took place into issues and related charges of Hlaudi Motsoeneng unilaterally increasing his salary and that of other SABC executives, dismissing employees who disagreed with him, and of purging all SABC staff who testified against him at an earlier disciplinary hearing held against him.

Of the three remaining charges out of an original six - charges relating to unilaterally increasing salaries and creating a new position for a staff member as well as gross abuse of power - virtually no evidence was heard or anything discussed.

Only 6 witnesses were called, some of whom still work at the SABC and one whose company is in negotiations with getting a contract from the SABC. Several testify in camera.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng reportedly has close ties with South Africa's president Jacob Zuma; a former fired SABC board member revealed that the minister of communications Faith Muthambi wrote that "Baba loves him", with Baba referring to Jacob Zuma and "him" being Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

On Saturday night the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party was first to react, saying the the disciplinary hearing and the outcome "has been exposed to be the whitewash we always suspected it would be".

"It is completely preposterous that the chairperson can, erring in due process, come to the determination that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is a suitable person to hold his position as COO."

"We submit that this farcical stitch-up job and its outcome are exactly what Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC and the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, concocted from the very beginning," said the Democratic Alliance in a statement.

Friday, December 11, 2015

While TV households in South Africa are set to grow, pay-TV and DStv is set for growing its share while the SABC and e.tv will continue to lose share.


New research shows that TV households in South Africa will grown by 10% over the next two years to 13,3 million - but although pay-TV subscribers will continue to increase its bad news for the free-to-air broadcasters like the SABC and e.tv that will lose share.

According to a new report from research firm Dataxis, South African TV households will not only keep growing robustly - it will largely be fueled through pay-TV with the number of South African TV households relying on free-to-air terresstrial TV services set to decline from 48,2% at the end of 2015 to just 34,5% at the end of 2018.

That is bad news for the South African public broadcaster which is facing growing competition from pay-TV operators like MultiChoice's DStv, StarTimes Media SA's StarSat, as well as a growing number of video-on-demand (VoD) services ranging from ShowMax and ONTAPtv.com to VIDI, MTN's VU and now SAVuka TV. Netflix will launch in South Africa sometime in 2016.

According to Dataxis, about 43% of South African TV households will need digital terrestrial television set-top boxes (STBs) once those are sold and the long-delayed switch from analogue to digital broadcasting in the country really starts.
National terrestrial broadcasters like the SABC and e.tv will likely also have to contend with new competition, further cutting into existing viewership share and accelerating audience fragmentation.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) recently held public hearings for 4 possible new free-to-air TV broadcast licences.

Rubicon Investments; Hola Media (backed by Liquid Telecom, the pan-African fibre telecommunications firm controlled by Strive Masiyiwa's Econet Group); Change Network; and Infinity Media (jointly owned by Essel Media, Oakbay Investments and Mabengela Investments) which controls the African News Network, ANN7 (DStv 405) all applied for TV licences.

With DTT the SABC said it will launch with 5 TV channels - SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, SABC News and SABC Encore, the last two of which are currently given to MultiChoice's DStv as part of an exclusive contract.

e.tv will likely launch with 11 TV channels while M-Net will possibly do 9 TV channels.

Meanwhile pay-TV DTT licences have also already been awarded to SiyayaTV and CloseTV, Mindset TV and and Kagiso TV - the last three of which were granted conditional pay-TV licences.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Emile and Razia Samson the winners of Power Couple South Africa on M-Net; taking home R508 000 in live finale broadcast from Cape Town.


Emile and Razia Samson from Johannesburg were announced as the winners of Power Couple South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) in the live finale broadcast from The Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, Cape Town, on Thursday evening.

It bring to a close the new reality show produced by Afrokaans and that started in August on M-Net, based on an Israeli format.

South Africa and M-Net became the first to do an English language version of the show that put 8 couples from across the country through various relationship tests while living in a Camps Bay villa as the cameras rolled.

Emile and Razia won R508 000 with Dyllan Smith and Viki van den Barselaar-Smith winning R100 000.

Power Couple SA wasn't the big ratings grabber that Idols and MasterChef South Africa were that consistently cracked the top 10 list of most watched shows on M-Net, but it was an opportunity for the Randburg-based pay-TV broadcaster to test the waters with a novel reality format and spruce up its schedule during the second half of 2015.

M-Net's kykNET content goes global on-demand on ShowMax; as Naspers' video-on-demand service expands to Europe, Australasia and North America.

The pay-TV broadcaster M-Net's Afrikaans channels unit kykNET is working with Naspers' video-on-demand service, ShowMax, to now make Afrikaans content available in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America and Canada.

ShowMax declined to comment when it was specifically asked about expansion plans outside of South Africa's borders at the end of November, but is now releasing a statement exactly two weeks later.

Viewers in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, North America and Canada where a lot of Afrikaans speaking expats now live, can now watch kykNET programming on ShowMax with around 13 000 episodes of TV shows and movies - almost 6 000 hours - of Afrikaans TV content available to them.

ShowMax outside of South Africa, and offering only Afrikaans content for now, cost $8.99 (R134.85) per month. It's the first time that ShowMax is expanding its footprint outside of South Africa since the subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service from Naspers launched in August.

In the content agreement between ShowMax and M-Net, the latest episodes of kykNET shows like the weekly magazine shows like Kwêla, Robinson Regstreeks, and the weekday soaps Binnelanders and Villa Rosa will be added and available for viewing within 24 hours after it's broadcast on kykNET (DStv 144 on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in Africa.

"There are vast numbers of Afrikaans speakers who live outside Africa and still want to keep in touch with their culture and language," says Jeanne van Zyl, now the head of kykNET Internasionaal. "kykNET Internasionaal now makes this easy to do using the ShowMax platform".

"TV shows and movies are a great way to keep the Afrikaans link alive and help make sure that young and old alike don't lose contact with their roots. As an example,it's a great way to immerse children in a world that they may not have experienced directly, or are too young to remember."

"Because we're adding content within 24 hours of it airing in South Africa, it also means that being away from home doesn't mean being out of date," says Jeanne van Zyl.

"No matter where South African expatriates end up on the globe, they remain fiercely loyal to, and supportive of, their heritage," says Karen Meiring, the director for M-Net's Afrikaans channels.

"We're thrilled to be able to work with ShowMax to help keep that link alive and deliver the best Afrikaans content, fresh from home, to fans across the globe".

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

MTV Base going 'glocal' in 2016: The Viacom Africa channel plans a new local Daily News show; local versions of Lip Sync Battle and Ridiculousness.


MTV Base (DStv 322) is planning on going "glocal" in 2016 - the channel will launch a brand new daily news show, localise the clip show Ridiculousness, and do a local version of Lip Sync Battle.

MTV Base channel director Tim Horwood who is also the creative director for Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) made the announcements last week at VIMN Africa's Media Day held on Wednesday.

The VIMN Africa Media Day was held in Johannesburg for press and TV critics, with OgilvyPR who invited journalists to it less than 24 hours before it took place.

MTV Base's new daily news show with a working title of MTV Base Daily News, will discuss actuality and popular culture news stories from mostly South Africa and Nigeria has no definite starting date in 2016 yet.

The show will be panel-based like The Real on SABC3, and will integrate live social media input in the show to give it a sense of immediacy and daily relevance.

According to MTV Base 2016 will also see a second season of the local prank show #YouGotGot from April which is also going international.

VIMN Africa will attempt to do a local version of the clip show Ridiculousness, there will be a new round of the MTV Base VJ Search and programming Behind the Story and Between the Video.

Lip Sync Battle that's been showing on MTV, MTV Base and e.tv will see a localised version in 2016 on MTV Base in which well-known personalities compete by dancing and lip-singing to well-known hits.

Meanwhile BET (DStv 129) - now only available on MultiChoice's DStv and only as a single channel from December after it was killed off on StarTimes Media SA's StarSat and the two BET channels on DStv were reduced to one - will in 2016 broadcast a Hurricane Katrina special as well as a OJ Simpson documentary.

Afrikaans female lifestyle channel on DStv, VIA, looking for an Afrikaans speaking commissioning editor to oversee local productions.

VIA (DStv 147), Media24's new Afrikaans lifestyle channel aimed at women is looking for an Afrikaans speaking commissioning editor to oversee local productions.

Applications close on 21 December and a CV and motivational letter can be emailed to our CV and a short motivational letter to magazineshr@media24.com

The commissioning editor position is based in Auckland Park and the person will report to VIA channel head, Cheryl Uys-Allie.

The VIA commissioning editor will be responsible for commissioning of content briefs, managing of production budgets and contracting production companies as well as reviewing the scripts and viewing of content.

The person needs a minimum of 5 years production experience, a degree or national diploma in TV, media, scriptwriting, drama or music, knowledge about TV broadcasting and be fluent in Afrikaans and English.

Generations actress Manaka Ranaka drives over and kills a schoolgirl; Prehalin Naidoo who killed Simba Mhere claims his car had a mechanical fault.

The Generations actress Manaka Ranaka has knocked down and killed a schoolgirl in a car crash, while the speeding driver who killed the Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere on SABC3 claims his car was "faulty".

This part Friday the SABC1 Generations  -The Legacy actress Manaka Ranaka ran over and killed a schoolgirl on the R554 road to Leondale near the highway in Roodekop, according to the Ekurhuleni Emergency Services.

The 18-year old grade 12 girl, Millicent Mbonani from the Leondale High School died on the scene when Manaka Ranaka in her BMW crashed into her and killed her.

Manaka Ranaka will likely face a culpable homicide charge.

Meanwhile the speeding Preshalin Naidoo who killed Simba Mhere and Kady-Shay O-Bryan in January on the William Nicol Drive offramp from the N1 highway in Johannesburg in his Polo GTI, is claiming in court the accident happened because the vehicle was faulty.

Preshalin Naidoo in the Randburg Magistrate's Court claims he lot control of his speeding vehicle due to "a suspension problem" on the front right side of his car.

"To say mechanical failure is the cause at this late stage is disappointing news for the family without seeing any support documents," says Ryan Harrison, on behalf of Simba Mhere's family.

"There has never been allegations of mechanical failure of the vehicle."

Prehalin Naidoo is facing two counts of culpable homicide.

What you don't know about the messy and called-off media day of A+E Networks UK in South Africa for Idris Alba and the History channel on DStv.


I know the rest of the press brigade have remained silent but I need to weigh in on A+E Networks UK and their Africa's office hysterical History hufflepuff with Idris Elba that set back relationships with the media and broke trust - something that I have no idea how long it will take to repair or build up again.

It's the second time (and the second time in a row) that a documentary made in South Africa and also specifically about Nelson Mandela for, and on, A+E Networks UK's History channel on MultiChoice's DStv ends up being more in the news for the scandal and drama around it, than for the actual programme and its contents.

It's no accident.

By now the media intelligentsia and every South African TV critic will know how Idris Elba was on his way to South Africa for work and a "secret" A+E Networks UK press junket for its South Africa office at the end of November to promote a documentary shown on History (DStv 186).

I say "secret" since A+E Networks UK's South African office and its PR company deliberately chose not to tell all the press who they do lip-service to as having a so-called real media relationship with, about it.

It wouldn't have been that big of a deal, but of course Idris Elba who didn't want to continue to do his/the work he agreed to as a professional artist, abruptly left Heathrow airport at the very last minute and went back home when he discovered his daughter wouldn't be allowed into the country without an unabridged birth certificate.

The turnaround, visit cancellation and scuppered press jaunt of course flung A+E Networks UK, A+E Networks' office in South Africa and Idris Elba into the national and international headlines - but for all the wrong reasons.

Dear Idris suddenly became the latest poster child of the South Africa's cause célèbre around the controversial visa regulations damaging tourism, travel, the economy and making overseas visitors no longer wanting to fly to South Africa.

It's presumably not the type of hard news, banner headline type stories A+E Networks UK, A+E Networks in Africa, the History channel or MultiChoice wanted to see their names and brands mentioned in who work hard to bring TV viewers entertainment.

What most people won't know is how A+E Networks UK, A+E Networks' South Africa office headed up by Anthea Petersen as regional director, and its PR agency JAG Communications actually damaged its standing, relationships and what trust there was with the South African media and TV critics because of this incident.

A+E Networks in Africa and JAG Communications didn't bother to tell all the journalists and TV critics they work with and supposedly have a relationship with, about the impending Idris Elba visit to Johannesburg and media day to screen the Mandela documentary and do interviews.

The irony in A+E Networks UK and JAG Communications' lack of proper and expected communication and media relations was however twofold.

Firstly a lot of media knew about it beforehand anyway even though they were not even shown the common courtesy of just being told (and they were miffed, felt dissed and decided to deliberately not give exposure to the programme and focus on other programming).

Secondly, while A+E Networks and JAG worked on "secretly" bringing press in to Johannesburg, almost all of South Africa's journalists and TV critics from Cape Town and Durban, but hilariously kept in the dark, were already in Johannesburg anyway for M-Net and Mzansi Magic's Idols finale on Sunday 22 November.

Since A+E Networks in South Africa and its PR company couldn't bother to reach out and talk and have conversations with the media beforehand (it's called having and building public relations), they were apparently clueless that press would and were already present, and that they knew about the impending Idris Alba presser. 

I can't repeat most of what the contingent of media from across South Africa - all together and waiting for the live finale of Idols - had to say for hours on Sunday afternoon when the news broke that the (selfish?) Idris Elba turned around at Heathrow and decided to no longer come and work in South Africa to promote a documentary film for History.

What I will say is that the sentiment was extremely negative, and I suppose still is: towards Idris Elba ("Why if his holiday plans are no longer working out does he not continue to come to South Africa to do his work?") - as well as towards the History channel and by implication A+E Networks in Africa.

"Silly" and "Why don't they properly communicate?" and "They [meaning History/ A+E Networks] clearly showed who doesn't matter to them, so they and their show doesn't matter to me" were some of the things I heard from various journalists who were - and I'm sure remain - extremely unhappy with History and A+E Networks UK.


After the blow-up and after reporting the news of the media event's cancellation, I asked if Idris Elba is doing interviews for the History documentary. 

Even at this late stage, A+E Networks UK by proxy of their PR agency couldn't sense that what was needed was to reach out to all relevant media and to provide something usable to everyone.

The flat response back was: "He did do telephonic interviews with those media who were scheduled to meet him in Johannesburg".

Since silence is golden, I doubt if A+E Networks UK's South African office and JAG Communications have the faintest idea of just how many journalists and TV critics were and are pissed off by what is perceived as a diss. 

What's interesting is how everyone from the press corps who were together on Sunday 22 November and who talked about the Idris Elba media day and the spoke in the plan, shared the same negative remarks and sentiment towards History.

What I also now by now is that people - especially journalists - don't forget these things. 

Inadequate reputation management has seared a certain (very negative) perception and feeling and attitude towards History, Idris Elba and A+E Networks in South Africa into the minds of several journalists covering television - something that will be difficult to change or lessen over time.

I always think a TV channel or a show or broadcaster and the intermediaries like their marketers, publicists or PR agencies want to build and maintain and grow real relationship and above cultivate a bigger degree of mutual trust and respect. 

Obviously in this case not - where the exact opposite happened.

Gladly choose the "select" press you want to work with, the ones you want and will bother to communicate with, and then those you won't tell anything, or keep informed, or be as open and honest with. Continue to run your "tiered" system of press management and see if and how well that works.

Just then don't ever complain about media or TV critics not liking you, or sit and wonder why there are not more and deeper media relationships, a lack of trust from journalists, a lingering negative media perception about your brand(s) and general journo disinterest.

The answer is that bad public relations actually caused it.