Monday, February 19, 2018

Former CNN International correspondent Diana Magnay joins Sky News; meanwhile Sky's technology correspondent Tom Cheshire moving to Beijing as new Asia correspondent.

The former CNN International (DStv 401) correspondent Diana Magnay has joined Sky News (DStv 402) as Moscow correspondent while Sky News; technology correspondent Tom Cheshire has been appointed as Sky News' Asia correspondent.

Tom Cheshire (right) will be based in Beijing, China.

Diana Magnay is replacing John Sparks who is Sky News' new Africa correspondent replacing Alex Crawford who is moving to Istanbul, Turkey to set up a new news bureau for Sky News there.

21st Century Fox that still wants all of Sky, says it would put up 'firewalls' to prevent Fox meddling in Sky News and would continue to keep the loss-making Sky News on the air for at least 5 years after a Sky takeover.

21st Century Fox continues to work towards trying to acquire Sky News (DStv 402) and is offering up more guarantees to try and secure backing for its takeover of Britain's pay-TV operator Sky, including "firewall" guarantees and saying that it would continue to keep the loss-making Sky News on the air for at least 5 years after a takeover.

Britain's competition regulator in January ruled that Fox' plan to buy the 61% of Sky that it doesn't yet own, should be blocked and prevented.

Interestingly Sky has told the regulator that if it blocks the Fox deal, Sky might shut down Sky News completely because it's loss-making anyway and no longer an important part of Sky's future going forward.

"The combined effect of the Proposed Firewall Remedies is that there could be no circumstances in which, post-transaction, the MFT (Murdoch family trust) or members of the Murdoch family could influence, whether directly or indirectly, the editorial line or policy of Sky News," says 21st Century Fox.

It suggested the possibility of creating a fully independent board to oversee Sky News, including the appointment of the head of Sky News who would be"sole responsibility for setting editorial strategy and direction for Sky News’ digital, television and radio output, including the appointment and dismissal of senior Sky News employees".

Fox also promised that it would keep the loss-making Sky News around for at least 5 years if it took over Sky, and keep investing in it.

Fox says "no Fox employee or member of the board would "influence or attempt to influence" editorial choices at Sky News.

Andi Mack on The Disney Channel, that DStv won't show in Africa or South Africa because Kenya banned it, renewed for a 3rd season.

Disney has renewed its hit tween series, Andi Mack, banned from MultiChoice's DStv in Africa and Africa, for a 3rd season.

Episodes of the third season of Andi Mack with Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Lilan Bowden, Joshua Rush, Sofia Wylie and Asher Angel will be broadcast later in 2018 in America.

Filming on the 3rd season, produced by Horizon Productions, will start soon in Salt Lake City in America.

Disney says Andi Mack tells the heartwarming, diverse coming-of-age story about the most important things in any young person’s life - life and friends, and the journey of self-discovery.

"A series about a girl discovering that her sister is really her mother was new territory for Disney Channel, but Terri’s honest, authentic storytelling allowed our audience to connect deeply to these characters and their journeys of self-discovery," says Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide.

"What she has crafted stands as a high-water benchmark for kids and family storytelling around the world."

That's of course not true for Africa where Andi Mack is banned from being broadcast with MultiChoice that rolled over for the Kenya censorship board and is going along with its misguided decree to ban the show in Kenya and across Africa on The Disney Channel (DStv 303).

Africa's censorship problem of TV and film keeps expanding and growing due to the lack of public push-back against misguided African censorship boards who have become more and more emboldened in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as they ban more and more content from being seen, instead of simply classifying it with proper parental guidance advisories.

After it's been in cinemas for weeks already in South Africa, South Africa's misguided Film and Publication Board (FPB) suddenly reclassified the film Inxeba as X18 last week - the same as hardcore pornography, although it contains none - without giving any reasons.

The FPB, funded by South African tax payers' money, now refuses to answer specific media enquiries about the exact reasons why the award-winning film suddenly got given a new classification months after it was given another one.

The multiple award-winning film that has a gay storyline - South Africa's official entry to the 90th Academy Awards and that made the top 9 shortlist in the Best Foreign Film category - has now effectively been banned from being shown in cinemas.

Inxeba can't even be shown with that classification on channels like M-Net (DStv 101), or the SABC during its pay-TV window licensing and free-to-air broadcast run.

So far in 2018 no further additional TV shows have been banned in Africa but Kenya's dictatorial government did shut down several entire TV channels who were slapped with a censorship blackout before they could broadcast the symbolic inauguration ceremony of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Fox Networks Group Africa's new deal with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution brings shows like The Gifted, The Resident and Ghosted to South African viewers - although with a big gap.

FOX Networks Group Africa (FNG Africa) and 20th Century Fox Television Distribution signed a new contract for exclusive TV series as well as regional premieres to broadcast on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) in South Africa and Africa.

FNG Africa was asked for the period of the deal but Fox Networks Group Africa told TVwithThinus it's confidential - although deal duration is usually announced in these types of agreements and the value is kept under wraps.

"The timing of the conclusion of this deal could not have been more perfect, having just launched the second season of Lee Daniels’ Star on the FOX schedule on Thursday nights," says Tracey Gilchrist, FOX Africa programming director.

"Empire season 4 Part B returns in March, filling the schedule with absolutely the best in class from 20th Century Fox Television content and we are thrilled to be able to bring to our fans this variety of content to ensure there’s something for every taste on the schedule and a thrilling start to 2018."

New shows that will be rolled out on FOX include The Gifted, Ghosted and The Resident, although FNG Africa is quite far behind America with all of these shows.

The Gifted that started in October 2017 already finished its entire 13-episode first season on FOX in America.  A year ago in February 2017, FOX Africa announced that FOX will have The Gifted and that it would be a Express from the US title that never happened.

The Gifted, set in the X-Men universe, will now start on FOX on 23 April at 21:00. A family who has children with supernatural abilities, go on the run.

The new series Ghosted will also be on FOX as part of the new deal but this show too will be old.

Ghosted with Craig Robinson and Adam Scott already started on 1 October 2017 on FOX in America and will start on 14 April 2018 at 20:25 on FOX in South Africa and Africa - half a year later.

Ghosted is a single-camera comedy and revolves around a cynical skeptic and a genius “true believer” in the paranormal who are recruited by a secret government agency, known as The Bureau Underground, to save the human race from aliens.

The 3rd new series won't have such a big lag between episodes shown in America and in South Africa.

The Resident is a new medical drama series that started on 21 January on FOX in America and will start 2 months later in South Africa on 27 March  at 21:00 on FOX. Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Shaunette Renée Wilson (Billions), Melina Kanakaredes (CSI: NY) and Merrin Dungey (Big Little Lies) are some of the stars in this series following doctors' drama.

The animation shows Family Guy and American Dad are part of the 20th Century Fox Television Distribution deal and FOX will now play these two shows out starting with The Simpsons, stripped daily, from 18:00.

What FNG Africa is doing very well currently is showing episodes of the very good drama series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story on FOX, within 24-hours after the US premiere on Fridays at 03:00, and available for DStv subscribers an hour after broadcast on DStv Catch-Up.

The latest and final season of The X-Files, is also on FOX.

Atmosphere Communications takes over the publicity contract of BBC Worldwide South Africa's BBC channels from Total Exposure.

Atmosphere Communications has taken over the PR account of BBC Worldwide South Africa's set of BBC branded pay-TV channels and content from today, from Total Exposure.

Atmosphere Communications is now responsible for communicating to the media regarding BBC Worldwide Africa's channels - BBC First, BBC Brit, BBC Earth, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies - and the BBC Worldwide brand.

The BBC Worldwide South Africa switch to Atmosphere Communications from Total Exposure is noteworthy in that within South Africa's TV industry the BBC's PR representation by Total Exposure was a record.

While various TV channels, shows, even streaming services like Netflix South Africa, as well as pay-TV channels are repped by different external PR agencies and boutique publicists across South Africa, the set of BBC channels made use of Total Exposure for the longest time.

No other TV channel, show or channels set with a presence inside South Africa had been continuously represented by the same external publicity agency for such a long time as what Total Exposure had the BBC contract.

Now it has switched to Atmosphere Communications.

"We are excited to partner with a significant global brand such as BBC Worldwide and look forward to keeping local audiences updated on all the exciting British television content coming their way," says Megann Outram, atmosphere regional director: Johannesburg, in a statement, announcing the BBC contract switch from Total Exposure to Atmosphere.

"With choices like Come Dine with Me South Africa, brand new Top Gear as well as a range of popular drama’s and of course the phenomenal Blue Planet II voiced over by Sir David Attenborough, and much more, viewers will continue to be spoilt for choice".

Atmosphere Communications, a partner firm of PROI Worldwide, has offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg and says it is "the most awarded public relations consultancy in the country".

BBC Worldwide Africa's office in South Africa is headed up by Joel Churcher, the general manager and vice president, BBC Worldwide Africa.

Besides its content being accessible on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, BBC Worldwide shows are also licensed to Cell C black's where a raft of titles are available on an on demand basis, as well as Naspers' subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, Showmax.

BBC Worldwide formats are also being produced in South Africa like Dancing with the Stars SA currently on M-Net (DStv 101), while BBC Worldwide Africa is also producing local content from other formats holders like Come Dine with Me SA from ITV Studios, and Great South African Bake Off from Love Productions. 

M-Net is switching off its analogue signal to M-Net decoders at the end of March - if you're one of these M-Net subscribers who haven't yet switched, here's what you need to do right now.

Pay-TV broadcaster M-Net is switching off its analogue M-Net signal to its M-Net decoders by the end of March.

Many M-Net subscribers have not yet switched to a specially customised M-Net GOtv package and a new digital decoder, and these longtime M-Net viewers are going to completely lose their signal in just over a month's time. 

People still watching M-Net through a M-Net decoder must call DStv extremely urgently on the specially dedicated number of 011 289 2270.

These M-Net subscribers will be helped so that they can be switched to either a special M-Net GO package of GOtv that includes the M-Net channel, or the DStv satellite service.

Many of these mostly older and Afrikaans speaking M-Net subscribers are not aware that they're going to lose their service, or have simply not bothered to switch to a digital M-Net channel version.

M-Net can no longer continue to keep its obsolete analogue M-Net decoders going and has to switch these subscribers over as part of the overall South African TV industry's change from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT), a process called digital migration.

It's however been difficult to get a hold of all of these legacy M-Net analogue subscribers, and M-Net and MultiChoice haven't had a ready-made like-for-like package available to switch these subscribers to.

MultiChoice South Africa's DTT pay-TV service GOtv doesn't have the premium M-Net channel included, but MultiChoice and M-Net did now create a special M-Net GO package that does have the M-Net channel included and is only available for existing M-Net analogue subscribers.

MultiChoice says that it has has been talking to our M-Net analogue customers for the last 3 years about digital migration.

If an existing M-Net analogue subscriber is in the growing GOtv DTT reception area where the digital signal can be received, they get a GOtv installation with M-Net GO.

MultiChoice says this "is a special package we created just for them which has M-Net and CSN included with free-to-air channels and costs the same as their current M-Net analogue."

"If they are not in the DTT reception area, they get a DStv satellite installation with M-Net GO."

MultiChoice is footing the bill of the switch-over and M-Net analogue subscribers don't have to be scared that it will cost them anything,or that they will lose out, or lose access to M-Net.

"To assist these long-time loyal customers, we pay for the decoder, the installation set-up and arrange for an accredited installer to come out at our expense."

"We’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to get hold of many of our M-Net analogue customers, so are now playing out a ticker tape across their screens asking them to contact us on 011 289 2270 so we can assist them."

"There is a variety of different options, depending on the current set up the customer has," says MultiChoice.

"Some M-Net analogue customers already have a DStv set up, while others just have their M-Net analogue. That is why it’s important that customers get in touch with us, so we can give them the offer that applies to them."

"M-Net analogue customers will get a much better viewing experience once they migrate – they’ll have clearer picture and sharper sound quality. They’ll also, for the first time, get access to the electronic programme guide (EPG) so they can see what is currently showing and what is up next."

"We’re committed to help our M-Net analogue customers to migrate in the next month or two. As we’ll be switching off this service at the end of March, it is important that customers act immediately," says MultiChoice.

SABC3 and Top Billing's Presenter Search on 3 returning for a 4th TV turn in May, will once again look for new on-air talent to join the channel's shows.

SABC3 and Top Billing's Presenter Search on 3 will return from May for a 4th time, once again looking to add new South African TV talent to joins shows like Top Billing, Expresso or Afternoon Express.

The Presenter Search on 3 will once again be produced by Tswelopele Productions with the search for a new presenter or presenters to join various SABC3 shows that is taking place to co-incide with the 25th anniversary of the venerable weekly gloss entertainment and lifestyle magazine show Top Billing that started on the SABC in 1992.

Previous seasons of the highly popular Presenter Search on 3 have made bona fide TV stars and celebrities of Simba Mhere and Jonathan Boynton-Lee with thousands of hopefuls who queued across the country in 2010 and in 2012 when it known as My Top Billing Dream.

The last season of Presenter Search on 3 was held in 2015 with the winners who were Zoe Brown who joined Expresso, Danilo Acquisto who joined Afternoon Express and Jade Hubner who joined Top Billing.

The show was however also a star vehicle launching pad for Chris Jaftha who made the Top 5 and was picked up soon afterwards by Top Billing as a presenter as well anyway, and who is currently also the co-presenter of Dancing with the Stars South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101).

Likewise Mishka Patel was picked up to join Tswelopele Productions' weekly Afrikaans magazine show Pasella on SABC2.

The presenter of the new Presenter Search on 3 will include among others Jonathan Boynton-Lee, Ayanda Thabethe and the evergreen Jeannie D.

Contestants will once again be put through their paces in grueling real-life TV challenges before and behind-the-scenes with various presenting tasks taking place in-studio and shot outside on-location to not just test the telegenic mettle of those who want to be on TV but also their adaptability and how they respond to unexpected production curveballs.

BREAKING. 'Make it work': Project Runway SA reality show coming to Mzansi Magic on DStv; produced by Ndalo Pictures and Rapid Blue for broadcast from July.

"Make it work": A South African version Project Runway is coming to Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), with episodes of the designer competition reality show that will be broadcast on the channel from July.

Project Runway South Africa is the second of two new localised titles of well-known American reality shows that South African and African viewers haven't yet seen before.

M-Net's local entertainment channels division announced that month that it will be doing a South African version of The Real Housewives of ... for the rebranded 1Magic (DStv 103).

The Project Runway format is held by the now notorious The Weinstein Company (TWC) and local licensing versions are shopped by FremantleMedia International's (FMI) FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide (FLW) division.

FMI already sold several seasons of the American version of Project Runway to M-Net with seasons broadcast on the M-Net, M-Net Series, VUZU Amp and Vuzu channels along with spin-offs like Project Runway Junior and Project Runway All Stars.

Project Runway has done well internationally. We are excited to have the local version on Mzansi Magic," says Reneilwe Sema, the director of local entertainment channels at M-Net.

"As a channel we have successfully introduced scripted content and reality formats into the market. Project Runway SA will add value and variety to our content proposition".

Project Runway SA will be produced by Ndalo Pictures, the new TV and multimedia division of Ndalo Media that secured the licensing rights from FMI for a local version, and production partner Rapid Blue that is currently producing Dancing with the Stars SA for M-Net and did a new season of Come Dine with Me South Africa for BBC Worldwide South Africa.

“South Africa has impressive design talent that is absolutely ready for an international show like this,” says Khanyi Dhlomo, owner of Ndalo Media where magazines like ELLE and Destiny are going to be used to leverage interest in the local version of the TV show.

"It’s engaging, informative, enlightening and entertaining. It’s about talent, about mentorship, opportunity, and pushing creativity past all boundaries. We’re incredibly proud to be able to bring this show to our shores.”

In Project Runway South Africa, the finalists will have to prepare for the 2019 Paris Fashion Week in February 2019 with Edgars as the clothing sponsor and TRESemmé for hair.

Project Runway South Africa will face somewhat of an uphill climb. Designing reality TV shows in South Africa cater to a small niche audience and several other attempts have suffered from a combination of lackluster viewership and low ratings as well as scandals.

From 2006's The Cut South Africa to Raw Silk on SABC1 and most recently the scandal-riddled The Intern with David Tlale on SABC3, the local shows that suffer from rushed and bad production values have struggled to capture public viewers' attention and catch on in the way overseas ones do.

Last week David Tlale and the SABC shocked when the prizes of Kuena Moshoeshoe who was announced as the winner of The Intern in October 2017, were given to runner-up Keletso Moraba who was suddenly "crowned" the new winner following ongoing acrimonious in-fighting behind the scenes.

Entries for Project Runway South Africa will open on Monday 26 February.

MultiChoice won't be hiking DStv fees in Southern African countries Zimbabwe and Swaziland after its latest DStv price increase coming to South Africa from April.

MultiChoice won't be hiking DStv fees in the Southern African countries of Zimbabwe and Swaziland after its latest DStv price hike that is coming for South Africa's DStv subscribers from April.

While South Africa's rand is a stronger currency against the dollar and has been more resilient against the greenback that the currency of several other African nations, MultiChoice Africa decreased the DStv subscription fees in the past few months in several other African countries.

In contrast MultiChoice South Africa keeps increasing overall DStv subscription fees in South Africa every year - its biggest subscriber base market.

Now for 2018, it appears so far as if South Africa is going to be the only Southern African market in which MultiChoice operates its DStv satellite pay-TV service, where it will be upping its monthly DStv subscription fees this year.

MultiChoice Zimbabwe and MultiChoice Swaziland have both been very quick to respond that in these countries DStv subscribers won't see a similar increase in 2018, with more Southern African nations - Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zambia - who could possibly follow.

Swazi Observer reporter Fortune Ndlangamandla blatantly plagiarised and stole large chunks of my orginal reporting by stealing through a copy-and-paste job what I wrote first about South Africa's DStv subscriber fee increase, but did add an originally sourced response from MultiChoice Swaziland saying it won't be hiking DStv fees there.

Dumsile Masuku, MultiChoice Swaziland publicist said about MultiChoice South Africa's DStv price hike that "What they do is irrelevant to us. We know nothing about the price hikes".

In Zimbabwe DStv actually lowered DStv subscription fees due to DStv subscribers struggling extremely with its trash currency, Zimbabwe's reserve bank making it basically impossible to pay DStv subscription fees, and the launch of rival Kwesé TV from Econet Media.

MultiChoice Zimbabwe told told TechZim that DStv subscription fees will remain the same in 2018.

"While we can confirm that Multichoice South Africa will increase DStv prices in South Africa, it’s worth noting that MultiChoice Africa is a seperate business unit that operates independently."

"In the past two years, we haven’t increased DStv subscription prices for our customers in Zimbabwe – and in fact, we’ve decreased some package prices and added exciting premium content across various packages as part of our priority to put customers in the heart of everything we do."

"Should there be any changes to DStv subscription prices in Zimbabwe, we will inform our customers accordingly."

Joel McHale reveals that E! Entertainment bosses told him to stop making fun of the Kardashians while he did The Soup on E!.

Comedian Joel McHale whose long-running satirical clip show, The Soup, on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) was cancelled by E! in 2016, has revealed that E! bosses actually told him to stop making fun of the Kardashians appearing in the Keeping up with the Kardashian show on E!.

Joel McHale also revealed that shows like Fashion Police!, The Soup and others got cancelled on E! after these shows got unionised, since

Joel McHale used his last episode of The Soup on E! to slam E!'s low-brow programming over the years in a funny segment.

Joel McHale just started a new show for and on Netflix, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, the first episode of which is now available on Netflix since Sunday.

In an interview with Variety, Joel McHale revealed that "Way back when, Kris Kardashian would complain about our jokes, and Ted [Harbert, the boss of E!] would literally go, 'Hey man, Kris called, can you just lay off of her for a week?"

Once E! got a new boss when Ted Harbert left, things got even more strict, with E! interfering even more with censoring The Soup and what it didn't want the show to say and joke about.

"The [new] president said to my face, 'Don't make fun of the Kardashians. We don't want you to make fun of the Kardashians anymore,'" said Joel McHale. "So I was like, oh, this show is doomed because that's why the show worked, because we would make fun of ourselves."

About the cancellation of The Soup, Joel McHale said several shows on E! got cancelled when they unionised since they were no longer able to make money afterwards.

E! now had to pay repeat fees where it didn't previously.

"We went off the air because when the Writers Guild of America (WGA) made us union, along with Chelsea Lately and with Joan [Rivers, Fashion Police!], E! does not make money that way."

"They get their money off of repeating shows. So that’s why we went away. But yes, I did miss it."

INTERVIEW. Ebenaezer Dibakwane out of Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net first: ‘I didn't expect to turn out to be the person that I now know I am’.

On Sunday night, Ebenaezer Dibakwane became the first celebrity to be voted off Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net (DStv 101) when his combined score from the judges and viewers was the lowest.

He tells TVwithThinus how the experience has changed him and his outlook on life, his new muscles ("I can see one of my six-pack"), what the hardest was for him, and about the deep and profound way the show has changed him: "I didn't expect to turn out to be the person that I now know I am".

Is there anything you could have done differently?
I imagine that I could have pushed myself further. There's always more to be done in any situation. I had not worked my body to the point of breaking. So, I suppose yes, there could have been more work done.
At the time I was doing it though, it felt as though there was nothing more I could do. I know one thing that might have changed was my attitude towards the dance throughout the week, that might have changed things.

What has the experience been like for you?
In its entirety it's been absolutely amazing for my profile, for my female fans! [ha ha.] It's been amazing to find the strength to carry on. To wake up in the morning and go to rehearsal - something that I'm bad at, and get critiqued on something that I had no ambition on following initially, I had to dig deep. I had to dig deep.
And in digging deeper, I saw bits of my self that was beautiful, and I saw bit of myself that I had not dealt with - problems. So in its entirety it's been an amazing process.
It's been difficult and grueling on the body and mind but in its entirety I think I'm a human being that I'm very excited to journey with; the me that I now know.

What did you think of the judges?
I can't say that there's anything weird about them. They're great personalities and they make the show great to watch.

What was the hardest for you?
Failing consistently. Consistently failing every day; waking up in the morning to go. And I try to overcome something and that day you don't overcome it - that was painful.
Because you wake up in the morning - firstly I don't want to leave my bed, it's comfortable, and I'm very good at this sleeping thing - and you get out of the house.

I live very nearby the studio, and you get to the studio, with positivity, and changing your mindset, being positive. And 4 hours in, it's not gotten better! [ha ha.]
And I'd go "Why? Why? What's wrong with me?" It was hard not being able to overcome what all the self help books told me to do. [ha ha.]

What did you not expect about this journey?
I didn't expect to turn out to be the person that I now know I am. I didn't expect to get a new person. What my expectation was, was to come to this show, be myself - as I've understood that person to be - and make the world fall in love with that person.
I had expected to overcome certain challenges, I had expected to grow as a human being of course. But I had not expected to meet this entirely new human being who has got entirely new dreams and perspective about things.

And I wanted to ask next what did you learn about yourself, so is that what you learnt. And how did you change?
I am emotional. I always knew that I'm emotional but I said it with my mouth. I take things very badly. I have a tendency to feel sorry for myself. I have in the past at least sometimes not taken responsibility for things. I had an expectation that the world would do things for me. I had a sense of entitlement.
I thought talent was enough. So what I've learnt about myself was that I am not just that person. I thought that's who I was and in journeying with Nombulelo Hlathi ([professional dance partner] I learnt that not who I am in my entirety.
I also learnt that yes, I am beautiful. That I am a beautiful human being, and that if I continue to attend and strive towards myself in uncovering the beautiful elements of myself, I will inspire other people to do the same. And we'll all share in this beauty and move forward together laughing and dancing - hopefully the jive and not the tango! I don't want to tango with the world! [ha. ha.]

How do you feel about being voted out and did you expect it?
I did not expect to be voted out at all. I thought it's very possible that I might make it to the dance-off, but I thought in the dance-off I would definitely clinch it back.
But I don't feel hard done. Nombulelo says when you body has reached its limit, its only done 40%. I wish I had pushed myself further to find out. I thought I had pushed myself to the limit, I thought I had done everything I could. So I didn't think that effort that epic would go unrewarded in the sense that I had imagined that you'd read stories of a young man who had overcome all sorts of other things and now overcoming dance. [ha. ha] And not being offended by someone calling him "twinkletoes".

My life has been changed dramatically. I didn't expect it. It's a testimony to the fact that things do happen but I don't feel hard done, I don't feel that it was unfair, and I don't think that I've lost anything. I'm very happy for the people who are remaining. I'm friends with them, a  lot of them are close friends now. I've not lost, I only gained.

How did you body change? And did that change you attitude to your body?
I looked at my body in the mirror the other day. And I usually don't because my body wasn't something to look at - not something really special. And then I was looking at my body and going "wow - hold on I've never seen those muscles in my life before!"
It felt as if I was going through puberty all over again. I thought "oh I'm going to be emotional". And I was. I really was.
My muscles are developing. I have these shoulder muscles between my neck and shoulders. My back, my back muscles are becoming ripped. I even think I've seen one of my six-pack. [ha. ha.] So I think I might be able to take on gymming. I think gym and some cardio, I hope. Like running.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

SABC takes SABC News anchor Peter Ndoro off air 'to rest' after second erroneous on-air death announcement within weeks, this time saying president Cyril Ramaphosa has passed away.

The SABC has taken the SABC News anchor Peter Ndoro off the air "to rest" for an unspecified period of time, after he made a second erroneous on-air death announcement on Thursday evening, this time saying newly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa has passed away.

The SABC that struggles with a trust and credibility problem and is working hard to regain viewers' confidence and trust in its news output, said the news anchor is "fatigued" and that SABC management agreed with the news reader talent that it's better for him to step away from the anchor desk for the time being to rest.

During Thursday night's news bulletin on SABC3 and SABC News (DStv 404) Peter Ndoro erroneously used Cyril Ramaphosa's name while he was reading a story about Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai who died earlier this week.

The SABC has moved the TV news bulletin to 21:00 on SABC3 from the beginning of February - the sudden new much later timeslot of the public broadcaster's flagship English TV news bulletin from its erstwhile 18:00 timeslot.

It's Peter Ndoro's second similar mistake after he in January announced that Mangosuthu Buthelezi had died when he should have said former Bophuthatswana leader Lucas Mangope.

The SABC in a statement said that it noted Peter Ndoro's mistake "with concern".

"In as much as we acknowledge that this is a human error, we take this matter in a very serious light as it is not only embarrassing but could potentially affect those involved negatively."

"In the light of the event, news management has since engaged Peter Ndoro and he indicated that he is fatigued and needed some time to rest. Management has agreed to his request and he will be taking a break from the show. Peter Ndoro has apologised to the president's office and his apology has been accepted."

"The SABC would like to ensure all its audiences that it remains fully committed to delivering news that is fair, balanced and accurate".

New SABC reality TV low as SABC3 The Intern winner Kuena Moshoeshoe is dumped by David Tlale and her prizes given to the runner-up.

South African reality TV reached a new low point when the long over due prizes promised to the proper winner of The Intern, Kuena Moshoeshoe and who had already waited more than 3 months, have now suddenly been given to runner-up Keletso Moraba by fashion designer David Tlale and the SABC.

Three weeks ago the SABC in an official statement still promised that "the SABC will ensure that the delivery of prizes to the winner will be honoured".

It came after the controversial fashion designer and the reality show failed to give Kuena Moshoeshoe her prizes as promised by SABC3's The Intern that ended in October 2017.

The 13-episode show that has since been marred by multiple shocking revelations and damaged the SABC, SABC3, David Tlale as well as sponsors' brands, yielded further cautionary tales that South African reality TV glitter is far from gold. 

The fashion designer wannabe contestants who took part in the reality show previously spoke out about the allegedly horrific conditions during filming of The Intern, claiming that David Tlale failed to give them the R3 000 S&T they were meant to get while being a part of the show and saying "he didn’t give us a cent. We were suffering, we didn’t have food at the apartment and we had no toiletries”.

Contestants who said they felt betrayed, slammed David Tlale as "horrible" and "rude". Some of the interns who have been living in David Tlale's flat in Johannesburg have also been fired and evicted.

In yet another shock revelation never disclosed to SABC3 viewers, it also recently came to light that Kuena Moshoeshoe actually interned for David Tlale before the show, that they knew each other and that he asked her to enter. She worked for him for 4 months in 2015. David Tlale said he didn't see it as a conflict of interest.

The Intern on SABC3 that struggled with bad production values and a rushed production schedule promised the winner beforehand more than R1 million in prizes, including a new Mercedez Benz CLA, R200 000 in cash, studio equipment to the value of R250 000, and a chance to be an assistant designer for David Tlale for one year.

Kuena Moshoeshoe, originally from Lesotho, spoke up about not getting her prizes and over the excuse being given that she doesn't have a valid work permit, saying that she's always had a work permit and was "tired of being treated like shit" by David Tlale.

Now David Tlale has revoked Kuena Moshoeshoe's prizes and it's being given to runner-up Keletso Moraba of Burgersfort, Limpopo, who has been "crowned" as the new The Intern winner.

'Proceeding with the alternative process'
The SABC, after it promised the winner would get her prizes, responded on Friday when asked what is going in the matter and why a new person is suddenly being announced as the winner by the designer.

Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC TV head publicist, says SABC3 met with David Tlale and thereafter reached out to Kuena Moshoeshoe for her side of the story.

"The conclusion was that Kuena needed to sign the winner's contract that stipulate the terms and conditions of her one year employment with David Tlale in order for the prizes to be handed over to her."

"A part of the prize package is for her to work with David for a year. She also needed to apply for a working permit as she is based in Lesotho. Subsequent to the back and forth telephone and written communication between SABC3 and Kuena, she agreed that she will respond to us with her final decision to inform us whether she will sign the contract or nor. However she decided not to communicate further with us nor respond to our emails."

"The communication took place between the months of December 2017 and the end of January 2018. Since then, both David Tlale and SABC3 made numerous attempts to reach out to Kuena in an attempt to complete the prize contractual process and for her to submit the signed copy. Kuena did not reply nor contact David or SABC3's emails," says Zandile Nkonyeni.

"SABC3 took the decision to allow David Tlale to proceed with the alternative process as prescribed in The Intern's contract signed by all the contestants. The contract stipulated and legally allowed David to evoke the win and hand over the prizes to the runner-up of the competition should the winner not honour the contractual agreements."

TVwithThinus asked has The Intern damaged the SABC's image regarding reality shows and the trust that viewers can or should have in terms of entering, that they will get what is being promised as prizes. The SABC didn't want to answer the question.

Friday, February 16, 2018

eNCA's on its coverage plans of president Cyril Ramaphosa's inaugural State of the Nation Address 2018.

In response to a media enquiry, eNCA (DStv 403) has this information about its coverage plans for president Cyril Ramaphosa's inaugural State of the Nation Address 2018 taking place at parliament in Cape Town today.

"eNCA has already started its rolling coverage ahead of newly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa’s inaugural State of the Nation address."

"The eNCA team will continue to broadcast live from our fully-operational temporary studio at parliament, with senior anchors interviewing ministers, opposition parties and commentators in the lead up to the president’s maiden address."

"We have a team of reporters placed in and around the parliamentary precinct, and at historically-relevant locations around the country, including president Cyril Ramaphosa’s childhood home in Chiawelo."

"In addition, the news team will get in-depth analysis from political analysts and commentators post the address. We will also interview ordinary South Africans to capture their thoughts and reactions in response to the address."

"The eNCA team will continue to follow the subsequent political transition closely through the weekend and into next week, unpacking the critical issues and developments, including any possible changes to the cabinet."

New eBella TV channel targeting women to be added to Platco Digital's OpenView HD and MultiChoice's Dstv from 5 March.

A new TV channel also targeting female viewers, eBella, is set to be added to OpenView HD (OVHD) and DStv from around 5 March.

eBella comes from Platco Digital that runs OpenView HD.

Besides packaging the channel for the OpenView HD free-to-air satellite platform, eBella will also be provided to DStv subscribers as part of the packaged channels deal that MultiChoice has for the set of additional e-branded channels.

The official announcement regarding eBella will be made soon with all the details about the programming that will be on the channel.

The launch of eBella is the first new channel being added to OpenView HD in a while that has scrapped a number of non-owned channels over the past few months.

eBella is also an channel meaning has direct and full control over the channel's content, as well as full responsibility for its performance ratings wise.

The addition of eBella comes shortly after the launch of Moja Love on DStv on Valentine's Day, targeting a black female audience with locally produced programming centred around love and relationships.

Forget SONA2018, the TV drama tonight will be Uzalo's celebrity funeral spectacle with Babes Wodumo and Hlengiwe Mhlaba.

Forget the State of the Nation 2018 broadcast on South African television on Friday evening - the TV drama will be in Uzalo tonight where the celebrity funeral spectacle to mourn MaNzuza and Smangele's after their double murder will be packed with stars, all snagging top seats from Babes Wodumo and gospel singer Hlengiwe Mhlaba, to Durban's current mayor all making appearances.

The weekday prime time telenovela on SABC1 will be a special hour long funeral episode tonight packed with histrionics and special guests.

The hour-long episode was filmed a month ago on 16 January as a razzmatazz TV funeral for the killed off characters of MaNzuza and Smangele who were both murdered after Leleti Khumalo quit the show for more money in's upcoming Imbewu also filmed in Durban and Sihle Ndaba got fired.

Viewers tonight are in for drama and emotional moments in scenes filmed on the Newlands sound stage in Durban where the Stained Glass TV production roped in guest stars like the current Durban mayor, Zandile Gumede who will make an appearance as a community representative.

The veteran gospel singer Hlengiwe Mhlaba will lead the congregants in some gospel melodies.

According to the producers the "the funeral service is a send-off that no-one expected will happen. People have to hold on to their faith, some on their weapons, to make sure that they stay alive and breathing".

Viewers will recognise familiar faces snapping up top seats at the TV celebrity funeral including Babes Wodumo - no visa required - and Mampintja, Tzozo, The Legacy, Selbeyonce, Zodwa Wabantu, Destruction Boyz, Dumi Mkostad and others.

Kid Sithole appears as Pastor Goba and Dudu Khoza is the master of ceremonies.

Uzalo characters from Mkhonto and Advocate Zulu to Mabuza, Sibahle, Mumsy, as well as Gundi and Jabulile go to church to mourn, plot and scheme in front of the caskets.

Tonight's special episode of Uzalo at 20:30 on SABC1 will also explore the theme of violence against women.

MultiChoice hiking DStv subscription fees again from April; Compact subscribers see biggest increase; DStv re-uses same 2017 line: 'We're committed to keep improving our offering so it gets better every year'.

MultiChoice is hiking DStv subscription fees again from 1 April with subscribers of the fastest-growing tiers, DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus seeing the steepest increase.

DStv Compact Plus (the renamed DStv Extra) will pay 4.1% more from April with these DStv subscribers seeing their monthly payment going up from R489 to R509 per month.

DStv Compact subscribers will be paying 5.5% more as their monthly fees will increase from R365 to R385 per month.

DStv Family subscribers on the lower tier are hit the hardest with a 6% increase with their subscription climbing from R235 to R249 per month.

The top-tier and most expensive DStv package, DStv Premium, will cost 2.5% more from 1 April, rising from R789 to R809 per month.

The 2.5% increase is almost half of the 4% price hike for DStv Premium last year.

The percentage of MultiChoice's DStv Premium subscriptions as part of overall DStv subscribers have been steadily declining the past few years, an indication that subscribers no longer see it as offering as much, or enough value, to justify the price.

The bottom-rung DStv Access remains unchanged at R99 per month and DStv EasyView remains unchanged at R29 per month.

While subscribers on the legacy DStv Select package continue to lose channels that are not being replaced, they will see a price hike of 6% from R235 to R249 per month.

People with M-Net analogue decoders will see a price increase of 5.1% from April with their subscription fees rising from R389 to R409 per month. M-Net analogue subscribers are now paying more than for DStv Compact although that bouquet obviously doesn't include the sought-after M-Net (DStv 101) channel.

DStv's access fee for PVR users will increase by 5.9% from R85 to R90 per month.

Decoder insurance fees remain unchanged and DStv BoxOffice PVR rental fees at R35 per title also remains unchanged.

MultiChoice elsewhere in Africa lowered DStv fees the past few months in countries ranging from Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Ghana, saying in a statement that "We recognise that our customers are living in tough economic times and want to reward them for their ongoing loyalty and support. We want to do our part by adjusting the price of our DStv packages through making them more affordable while adding more value at the same time."

While South Africa's rand has been performing better than most other African nation currencies and has even marginally strengthened, MultiChoice keeps hiking DStv prices in South Africa, where its largest subscriber base is located.

About the latest DStv price hike for South Africa MultiChoice repeats the exact phrase it used in 2017, saying "We're committed to keep improving our offering so it gets better every year".

Thursday, February 15, 2018

M-Net acquires and schedules several great science fiction series for March that are all well worth watching.

M-Net has acquired and scheduled (and rescheduled!) several great science fiction series for March that are all well worth watching.

M-Net (DStv 101) picked up the new science fiction thriller series, Counterpart, that started in America on 10 December. Counterpart will start on Tuesday 27 March at 22:00 on M-Net and revolves around a man who discovers that the mysterious agency he works for is guarding a secret parallel dimension.

Then M-Net also grabbed the first season of the anthology science fiction series, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams (pictured above).

Like The Outer Limits, every episode has a self-contained science fiction story and will start on M-Net on Wednesday 14 March at 22:00.

Then there is the rescheduled Time After Time that was initially slotted for late-2017 and for M-Net, but was yanked from the schedule.

Time After Time has now also been moved to M-Net City (DStv 115). It will now premiere on this channel on Monday 5 March at 21:00. The show was sadly cancelled after its first season but the story is great. HG Wells uses his time machine to pursue the serial killer Jack the Ripper to modern-day New York.

Not science fiction but also looking good, is the new forensic crime drama series, Instinct, that M-Net has also acquired. Instinct, with Alan Cumming, will start on M-Net City (DStv 115) 3 days after the new show starts in America.

Instinct is a bit like The Mentalist, Elementary and How to Get Away with Murder, and revolves around the professor and former CIA agent Dr Dylan Reinhart who is lured back to his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer who is using his book to commit murders.

South Africa is far behind, but the first season of the quite good, totalitarian science fiction drama series, Colony, is finally starting on the Universal Channel (DStv 117) in March. Josh Holloway is a dad who lives in a segregated Los Angeles with his family where resources are scare after aliens arrived on Earth and divided cities worldwide with massive walls.

TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: Sorry, SABC1, no coverage of your S'phethe Ezishisayo from me - and here's why the bulk of the rest of the 'champagne press' who've never cared, won't do any reporting either.

As a TV critic it's bad to say this but the SABC's lazy SABC1 won't be getting any coverage of its "S'phethe Ezishisayo" media event held last week from me - this reporter covering the medium of television is done churning out comprehensive articles out of nothing about channels like SABC1 who can't care less about actually properly engaging the media and stakeholders.

It took a week to get a PR person at the SABC (eventually not even SABC1) to respond to multiple media enquiries seeking more information about SABC1's media event where Clara Nzima, SABC1 channel head, spoke last week and new on-screen talent were unveiled while the entitled press drank and publicists hunched over their cellphones updating their Facebook feeds instead of engaging with media.

While SABC1 is the biggest TV channel in South Africa in terms of viewership, it's one of the channel's getting the least exposure for its programming in the press. The reason is its outdated, stoic, one-dimensional PR approach that hasn't evolved in 20 years.

While SABC1 flew in media from Cape Town and Durban to join the Johannesburg based press, a lot of media covering SABC1 were not. SABC1 couldn't even do bare basic PR and communication to say that a media event announcing new talent and scheduling changes would be happening - nor bothered to send out anything afterwards.

Truth be told, TVwithThinus (as usual) would be able to put together, out of nothing and with no help by just doing some digging, a perfectly fine and comprehensive news report about what Clara Nzima and SABC1 talent said at the event, and the channel's programming news and changes.

But this time I won't.

In a multi-channel universe where the inbox overflows with press releases and advisories from a multitude of TV channels, I'm tired of having to beg and beg and beg for basic answers and information from channels who don't care.

SABC1 can continue to life inside its own, increasingly irrelevant bubble-world, or it can update its PR strategy to one that's dynamic, responsive, interactive and where it at the very least signals that the press covering the channel matter.

After a week of asking several times for a transcript of what Clara Nzima said, of what the various on-screen talent said and what happened at the event, there's been nothing beside a press release run-down of SABC1 shows.

It's because SABC1 doesn't have it, doesn't think its important or necessary, doesn't know how to do it - and on top of all won't respond to say that it doesn't.

How SABC1 thinks or wants (if it even wants it) proper media coverage of its channel news, programming executives and shows when it does less than minimum and can't provide the media with what it needs, is really beyond me.

The other sad tragedy about the lack of coverage of SABC1's media event of last week (and there were several so-called "media" in attendance) is not fully SABC1's fault as it is the press.

A week later you will (still) struggle to find any article or report about SABC1's event or what was actually said and happened there. It's because the channel doesn't care about proper press but do hugs and air-kisses with nouveau media and the so-called "champagne press" who have Instagram accounts and Twitter followings but no intention of actually properly covering your TV event or media launch and doing the homework.

These so-called "entertainment" remoras who harbour thinly disguised desires to be famous and who are largely in it for the open bar and to come and grab goodie bags, can't care less about actually working or going back and doing something in terms of reporting.

If they did, there'd be multiple articles already about SABC1's event. But there's not.

These social butterflies under the guise of "media" flit from event to event to exploit for self-gain; literally attending for what there is to take at TV media events - then leave and don't do journalism besides a possible self-promoting selfie.

The same happened at SABC1's Uzalo set visit last month in Durban for Friday's funeral episode.

The same happened at M-Net's media event for the launch of its rebranded Vuzu AMP to 1Magic channel: a lot of booze, a lot of so-called "media", a lot of executives and producers showing up to talk, and in the end not a word in print or any articles about what was actually said there.

Why invite these lame-duck people over and over again if they constantly end up not being media messengers of what you're trying to communicate about your brand?

SABC1 has no clue, and can't bother to ask or improve, as to how "best in class" TV channels have been operating and have advanced in terms of how they communicate and do public relations with media, falling further and further behind.

If you were to tell SABC1 that certain TV channels actually do group internet video calls to journalists to brief them that they will be issuing a press release and what will be in it days before it's even issued; that some channels even have Whatsapp groups to tell journalists information has been emailed, that some channels calls and communicate even when there's nothing to say but are building and maintaining actual media relationships, there'd probably be vacant-looking, uncomprehensive stares.

While this journalist covering television constantly feels compelled to do the story anyway, to just dig more and find the information and relay it to readers anyway because it's important - irrespective of whether a TV channel or show even cares or made any effort - for once I'm not going to.

I'm tired of it and if SABC1 doesn't attach value or importance to getting its own message out, for once I'm no longer either.

SABC1 PR needs to wake up and start doing proper public relations. If your channel head talks and you can't provide a rushed transcript of what the person said, that is wrong and a failure.

If you have a media event and don't have any publicity images because you can't be bothered to have a photographer, you've failed. If your on-screen talent is unveiled and there's a Q&A and you can't disseminate that to the media not invited or not present, your not doing your job.

If you can't tell press that there would be a media event beforehand, or afterwards, how do you justify your job as a so-called communicator?

If you can't in a week and after being asked multiple times, respond to basic questions from a journalist - simply ignoring enquiries and hoping you'll tire out the press interested in your brand who will just give up and go away - why are you even in PR when you can't communicate properly?

SABC1 is the biggest TV channel in South Africa but the proper value it seems to attach to getting proper press is sadly very little.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Siyaya TV's new Moja Love channel on DStv hopes to lure female viewers with love and relationship programming.

The new Moja Love channel aimed at a black female viewership is starting today, on Valentine's Day at 17:30 with little fanfare on MultiChoice's DStv on channel 157, hoping to make inroads in a highly competitive TV landscape where competitors like Lifetime and Discovery Networks' TLC already exist.

With the obligatory local telenovela - every channel now starts one of these serialised staples - and a flurry of talk show and self help programmes loosely modeled on popular American daytime TV formats, Moja Love, produced and packaged by Siyaya TV, will predominantly focus on women's issues and relationships.

"Moja" meaning good or alright, is packaged for MultiChoice by Siyaya TV that got a pay-TV licence from the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) but failed to start it's own service, just like eSat that ended up producing eNCA for DStv.

Siyaya TV's Moja Love is made available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers and will run 24-hours per day with repeat blocks and have 22 shows including several new local productions.

New programmes will be broadcast between 17:00 and 22:30 daily on Moja Love with the rest of the late night and daytime schedule then consisting of repeats.

"For us at MultiChoice, it's important to offer our customers a range of different entertainment options and to provide a platform for local stories to be heard," says Yolisa Phahle, CEO for general entertainment at MultiChoice.

"Moja is a slang word that means 'everything is good' and while love is a universal emotion, Moja Love shall explore love from the unique perspective of the modern South African woman using honest, reflective, hopeful and humorous storytelling," says Jacqui Setai, Moja Love channel head.

New programmes on Moja Love include a new local weekday talk show, similar to The Real in America as a panel discussion show with women talking about female issues. Show Me Love will have KG Moeketsi, Unathi Msengana, Abigail Visagie and Nontobeko Sibisi as part of the panel.

Show Me Love that has been commissioned for 260 episodes will be broadcast on Moja Love on weekdays at 17:30 with a repeat on weekday mornings at 08:00.

"These dynamic hosts meet daily to schwashwata on every topic that concerns women at one time or another. With no topic off limits, the show provides a safe place for women to air any issue, in the company of their sistas," says Moja Love.

The local telenovela Hope with 208 episodes stars Nimrod Nkosi, as Pastor Buthelezi, a well-meaning pastor of a small congregation who is about to go through challenges when a new church opens up across the street. Hope will show on weekdays at 19:00.

"It sets in motion a story of love, deceit and betrayal, which unravels in the exciting world of
churches. As brother is pit against father, church members hide dark secrets, and pastors compete
for the soul of the community, take comfort that there is always hope in a dark world," says Moja Love.

Papgeld on Saturdays at 18:30 is an investigative reality show about children and will track fathers, and in some cases mothers, who are not living up to their parental responsibilities,

A spin-off show Let’s Talk Papgeld, Saturdays at 19:00 will try to help viewers with tips and guidelines from a range of experts and service providers in the social services and child maintenance sector.

Judge Khambule on Saturdays at 18:00 is a sitcom set in a courtroom that features characters caught up in various legal issues. Judge Khambule is played by Thenjiwe Mosley.

Other shows on Moja Love include Highly Inappropriate with Phat Joe, a reality beauty makeover show Beat, the sex advice show Thrills with Dr T, presented by sexologist Dr Tlaleng on Wednesdays at 21:00, and Sofa Slahlane, with the presenter and veteran journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika on Thursdays at 17:00.

Moja Love will also broadcast Sisters in Law, Food Police, Nairobi Diaries, Direct Flight, Amagugu, Curvy Girls and Nomakanji.

Neither StarSat, Cell C black nor OpenView HD interested in taking over the ANN7 channel from MultiChoice's DStv.

Neither StarSat, Cell C black nor OpenView HD are interested in taking over the ANN7 channel from MultiChoice's DStv, with none of the three TV providers who carry TV news channels in a position - or willing - to pump the millions of rand into the so-called "Guptanews" channel that's required to keep such a channel afloat.

MultiChoice's has decided to dump ANN7, that's been a mistake-riddled embarrassment since the first day it launched on 21 August 2013, from its DStv satellite pay-TV platform at the end of July.

MultiChoice discarding ANN7 doesn't technically spell the shutdown of the channel since the floundering Mzwanele Manyi owned TV albatross could be taken over by another platform - although nobody else actually wants, or can afford, it.

StarSat CEO Debbie Wu tells TVwithThinus that "as you are aware StarSat just came out of business rescue, our current focus is to re-establish and stabilise the business. Currently we have not mandated any engagements in connection with ANN7.

Surie Ramasary, Cell C black chief executive says "We have a very strong suite of news channels and a news specific package on black with our current content offering and are not looking to include additional news channels at this time.  We will review our news content offering when appropriate."

eMedia Investments that run the free-to-air satellite TV platform, OpenView HD through its Platco Digital division, says "eMedia Investments will not be commenting on the issue you have raised below."

It's extremely unlikely that OpenView HD will take over ANN7 since the channel's operating costs are too expensive, OpenView HD can't pay that, and eMedia Investments already supply the rival TV news channel eNCA to MultiChoice's DStv.

ANN7 can't exist without a platform
ANN7, now owned by Afrotone Media Holdings, can't exist on its own and can't broadcast directly to viewers - it needs a platform through which to broadcast for two reasons.

Firstly ANN7 can't for instance just become a YouTube channel or be turned into a free-to-air digital terrestrial television (DTT) channel since it doesn't have such a license. ANN7 was commissioned by MultiChoice as specifically a satellite TV channel with the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

Like M-Net's Mzansi Magic or ITV Choice or BBC Worldwide's BBC Earth, ANN7 is a channel that was created for and must sit in a TV decoder basket. Like a gold fish in a bowl, it can't exist independently outside of the environment that keeps it alive.

Icasa okay'ed ANN7 as a pay-TV channel for a satellite TV service. Therefore ANN7 can't suddenly broadcast to everyone like a SABC1 or

Even if it were to do so, ANN7 would first have to get a type of DTT or analogue television broadcasting frequency and license - something Icasa is not issuing now or anymore.

ANN7 will also then have to find a terrestrial signal distributor like Sentech, and pay millions of rand for its TV signal to be send through the airwaves so that TV antennas can receive it.

ANN7 as an expensive operation also needs millions to keep afloat, and the possible income generated from YouTube or other streaming services simply won't be enough.

Secondly ANN7 is very largely dependent on what is known in the biz as "carriage fees" - the money the platform it is on, pays the channel for its content.

This "carriage fee" is the millions of rand that MultiChoice has been paying ANN7 as part of the carriage agreement or contract. It is the controversially large amounts of money that MultiChoice has been pumping into ANN7 over the past four years although the channel kept damaging the MultiChoice and DStv brands.

It's also interesting to note that carriage agreements between TV platform operators and TV channel suppliers usually stipulate that if a channel's content quality isn't up to scratch that penalties kick in, often in the form of reduced carriage fee payments.

Just like in shops where last season's leftover fashion rejects are marked down in the "bargain bin" and the price of food items are decreased as they near their sell by date because their value are diminishing as a result of their quality going down, bad TV channels as a product are paid less than premium, "good" channels.

In MultiChoice's and ANN7's case however, when ANN7 performed extremely badly, MultiChoice didn't penalise ANN7 by paying it less, but decided to pay ANN7 even more.

ANN7 essentially since launch became a laughing stock for its bad audio and video quality, amateur anchors making mistakes and struggling to read, numerous technical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

MultiChoice decided to pump millions of rand more into ANN7 when the channel under-performed and suffered from bad quality, with MultiChoice saying in a statement it decided to pay ANN7 even more money because "the terms of the agreement were renegotiated and payments increased when it became apparent that ANN7 needed to improve quality on the channel".

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Special Investigating Unit (SIU) issues a summons against SABC's former controversial COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, liable to pay back a staggering R21 million to the public broadcaster.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has issued a summons against the former controversial and famously matricless SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng for more than R21 million that he owes the public broadcaster and has to pay back, says the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party's member of parliament, Phumzile Van Damme.

The R21 million includes the staggering R11.4 million bonus - called a "success fee" - the SABC paid Hlaudi Motsoeneng and is MultiChoice money that was paid to him through the SABC for the controversial SABC and DStv channels deal to provide SABC Encore and SABC News to MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV platform.

The R21 million also includes another R10.5 million payable to the SABC related to irregular SABC appointments, as well as the firing of staff.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng caused horrific damage at the SABC on all levels during his executive tenure, plunging the SABC into a financial crisis as credibility, staff morale, governance, pay control, commissioning and management on every level at the SABC over the past 3 years took a massive blow.

"It is to be welcomed that action against Hlaudi Motsoeneng continues," says Phumzile Van Damme.

"It cannot be that individuals like Hlaudi Motsoeneng loot public institutions, resign or are dismissed and there is no further action. All stolen money must be returned to the public purse. We therefore welcome the SIU’s action in this regard."

Phumzile Van Damme says that the SIU is investigating 8 contracts that were identified as "dodgy" during the SABC ad-hoc inquiry, including the "questionable R460 million contract with MultiChoice".

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng is however not the only person implicated in the SABC ad hoc inquiry report. Compromised individuals such as James Aguma [former SABC acting CEO] and especially former minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, must also be prosecuted for any wrongdoing".

The SIU will hand over the interim presidential report on its investigations into these dodgy SABC and MultiChoice contracts to the Office of the President on 31 May.

South African National Editors' Forum warns new ANC publicist Pule Mabe to stop threatening SABC News journalists from covering the #ZumaMustGo campaign: 'the SABC must be allowed to exercise its editorial independence to cover the stories it deems fit'.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Monday warned the ANC's incompetent looking new publicist Pule Mabe to stop threatening the SABC and SABC News reporters from how the SABC, SABC News and the public broadcaster's journalists should or shouldn't be reporting on the #ZumaMustGo campaign against South African president Jacob Zuma.

Sanef told Pule Mabe to stop "infringing on the SABC's right to cover stories it deems important".

Sam Mkokeli, Sanef media freedom sub-committee chairperson, says Pule Mabe has been "critical of the SABC coverage of a dissident group claiming to be ANC and SA Communist Party (SACP) members, calling themselves the #ZumaMustGo campaign".

"Pule Mabe has strongly taken issue with the SABC covering the press conference. He has argued that the people covered have no mandate to talk and are not in formal ANC structures," said Sam Mkokeli.

"Sanef believes that the SABC must be allowed to exercise its editorial independence to cover the stories it deems fit, including of dissident ANC and SACP members."

"The ANC has the right to contest the coverage of the SABC, but it should never infringe on the SABC’s right to cover the stories it deems important. Also, it should never intimidate or threaten SABC journalists."

Sanef says the role of the SABC as South Africa’s public broadcaster "is critical, particularly during these turbulent and uncertain political times".

"Frank, robust relations between the ruling party and the SABC are essential. However, what must be jealously guarded is the SABC’s right to choose the stories it wishes to broadcast and its right to report without fear or favour."

SABC News anchors Peter Ndoro and Francis Herd moved to 9pm on SABC3 as news bulletin is late-shifted; Chriselda Lewis and Aldrin Sampear now anchoring weekends.

With the SABC moving its flagship English language TV news bulletin from 18:00 to 21:00 on SABC3, it has forced the News @ 6 co-anchors Peter Ndoro and Francis Herd to move to the new later timeslot as well.

On weekends the accomplished and proven Chriselda Lewis (pictured) is now being paired with Aldrin Sampear and the two will now co-anchoring the news at 21:00 on SABC3 and SABC News (DStv 404).

It's the latest that the SABC has ever scheduled a full TV news bulletin on the public broadcaster, with ratings that will likely go down further as the late-night appetite from viewers for news shrinks this late during the day.

SABC3 is also starting a new current affairs show, Frankly Speaking on Sundays at 20:30 from 11 February as an interactive show using Skype and social media to hear from participants watching it.

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane is the presenter of Frankly Speaking and will look at news and current affairs issues.

Biased ANN7 on DStv slapped with highest fine of R80 000 by Broadcasting Complaints Commission for blatant political sabotage of ANC's Jackson Mthembu; 'one of the most serious contraventions,' BCCSA finds.

The controversial and biased "Guptanews" channel ANN7 (DStv 405) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform has been slapped with the highest possible fine of R80 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for its shocking and slanderous coverage, and ordered to apologise to the ANC politician Jackson Mthembu.

The BCCSA slammed the now Mzwanele Manyi-owned ANN7 for blatant political sabotage after Jackson Mthembu, the chief whip of the ANC political party, lodged a complaint at ANN7 for staging a bogus "press conference" with 6 ANC members of parliament.

The sham "press conference" on 27 November 2017 where no questions were even asked, organised and attended by ANN7 only, was hatched between the 6 politicians and ANN7, with the BCCSA that found ANN7 guilty of blatantly intending "to sabotage the complainant's political career".

The shockingly trash ANN7 that MultiChoice is finally shutting down by the end of July didn't give Jackson Mthembu a chance to respond to the slanderous allegations made against him. The news report was repeated during the day and also during the next day, 28 November. The news report was also posted on YouTube by ANN7.

ANN7's Cecilia Russel, special projects editor, and ANN7 editor Abhinav Sahay told the BCCSA that "ANN7 regrets not affording the ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu a right of reply before airing the story of 6 ANC MPs opposing the parliamentary debate on State Capture".

Shockingly, ANN7 had the audacity to tell the BCCSA that "ANN7 was not lax in either urgency or intent to mitigate any possible harm which could have been caused to Jackson Mthembu's reputation immediately after the matter was brought to its notice on the morning of the 29th of November 2017. The station is of the view that the steps taken mitigated any possible harm caused".

Hilariously ANN7 told the BCCSA that "the fact that there were no other broadcasters or news media present at the news conference was not relevant". When the BCCSA asked ANN7 to produce the press invitation to the "press conference" ANN7 said it didn't have anything.

The BCCSA slammed ANN7, saying "it is unthinkable that the staff of ANN7 who produced, edited and broadcast this programme on their TV channel was ignorant of the right to reply and was not aware that their broadcast was in violation of this right and in contravention of the Code of Conduct".

"The fact that they repeated this pre-recorded programme the next day aggravates this contravention. The same can be said of the fact that they posted this programme on You Tube. It seems as if they were intent on causing maximum damage to the Complainant."

"It was only when the Complainant posted a comment on this broadcast on his Facebook and Twitter accounts on 29 November that the broadcasts were discontinued."

The BCCSA also slammed ANN7 for its sham "press conference" argument, finding that "by no stretch of the imagination could this then be regarded as a news conference. The corollary of this conclusion is that we are not dealing here with a bona fide press conference, but rather with a private meeting set up between the six MP’s and ANN7".

The BCCSA slammed ANN7 in its judgment, saying ANN7 clearly intended to defame Jackson Mthembu.

"Despite the Broadcaster’s denial that there was any intention to defame the complainant with the so-called news conference and the broadcasting thereof, we find, on a balance of probabilities, that the broadcaster and the six MP’s colluded in setting up a meeting and staging a press conference, the outcome of which was broadcast in the guise of a news broadcast."

"The purpose of this broadcast was clearly to defame the complainant and to jeopardise his political career. We can therefore not accept that ANN7's failure to grant a right to reply to the complainant was an oversight or a mere mistake. This was clearly all part of ANN7's intention to defame the complainant."

"In this instance we are dealing with a news programme in which not only pure news is broadcast, but where a long tirade is broadcast as part of a broadcast of a so-called news conference. In the tirade, quite a few minutes of broadcasting time is spent on defaming the complainant."

The BCCSA found that ANN7 deliberately misled DStv subscribers.

"ANN7 was broadcasting something out of context, thus misleading the viewing public. It was also not done in a fair manner because we have found that the so-called press conference was actually a meeting set up between the Broadcaster and the six MP’s and it was unfair to pretend that it was a bona fide press conference."

The BCCSA slammed ANN7 for committing "one of the most serious contraventions" of the Broadcasting Code.

"We agreed that this was one of the most serious contraventions that we have had to decide on. The fact that this pre-recorded news broadcast was repeated during the day of 27th November and the following day, aggravates this contravention."

"ANN7 was not forthcoming when dealing with the serious allegations against it. Although it admitted a contravention by not granting the complainant a right of reply, it persisted in its denial of a sham with the so-called press conference."

"The fact that the “press conference” and the broadcasting thereof was done in bad faith, are aggravating circumstances, justifying a maximum fine of R80 000."

"We have also decided that the contraventions of the Code warrant an order for the broadcasting of an apology to the complainant."