Sunday, May 20, 2018

Democratic Alliance political party reveals ANC party is branding digital terrestrial TV set-top box messages as election marketing; says communications minister lied about new mid-2019 deadline from the ITU to complete digital migration.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party wants to know why a logo from the ANC political party and ANC election messaging is appearing on pamphlets encouraging South African to collect free, government-sponsored set-top boxes (STBs) - the decoders people need to watch digital terrestrial television (DTT) as part of the South African government's botched and long deyaled digital migration process from analogue to digital TV.

The DA's member of parliament, Marian Shinn and the party's shadow minister of telecommunications and postal services, on Sunday in a statement said the pamphlets "is a blatant abuse of taxpayers' money and must be stopped".

She also revealed that the department of communications' latest new deadline of June 2019, apparently instituted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) after South Africa missed all of the other previous deadlines including the 17 June 2015 deadline, is apparently bogus.

"The minister of communications now claims that a new deadline of mid-2019 has been agreed to with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a date that coincides with South Africa's next general election".

"Correspondence I have had with the ITU office in Geneva, shows that there is no 2019 deadline for South Africa," said Marian Shinn.

"A parliamentary question I submitted to the minister asking documentary proof of the 'new' deadline has not been answered," said Marian Shinn.

Marian Shinn says she has written to communications minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, the cabinet leader of the Broadcasting DigitalMigration (BDM) project of which the DTT set-top boxes are a component - and responsible for its marketing "to put an immediate stop to the flyers' distribution and have them destroyed".

"I have also written to the ANC National Executive Committee member, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, minister of telecommunications and postal services, who is responsible for the government entities procuring and distributing the decoders to demand an investigation within the ANC to determine who instigated the abuse of a government-funded project under his watch for election purposes and to hold these people to account."

STBs are currently being given out to poor South African households who have to prove that they're earning less than R3200 per month.

The much-delayed digital migration project aims to bring all broadcasting in South Africa from analogue to digital, freeing up spectrum bands to be used by mobile broadband products and services.

Various misguided political decisions, as suspicions over MultiChoice's alleged undue influence on the government's policy regarding conditional access (encryption) of the government-sponsored decoders, as well as drawn-out in-fighting and court battles between MultiChoice and, as well as other broadcasters and manufacturers, have delayed South Africa's DTT process for a decade.

BREAKING. Sports minister Tokozile Xasa calls on SuperSport to immediately suspend rugby commentators Nick Mallett and Naas Botha after Ashwin Willemse live TV studio walk out.

South Africa's minister of sport and recreation, Tokozile Xasa, in a statement is calling for the immediate suspension of SuperSport rugby commentators Nick Mallett and Naas Botha after the eye-popping walk off incident that saw commentator Ashwin Willemse leave the Randburg studio on live television on Saturday night.

Meanwhile the political party Icosa in the Western Cape on Sunday called on a boycott of MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service

Tokozile Xasa said "I call upon SuperSport to suspend the two panellists while they are busy with full investigation. The continued appearance of Nick Mallet and Naas Botha will be seen as an endorsement of their alleged racist behaviour".

SuperSport told TVwithThinus on Sunday in response to a media enquiry seeking comment on the minister's comments that "an investigation will take place. SuperSport cannot prejudice any possible findings with a speculative comment. SuperSport will release an updated statement on Monday".

SuperSport on Saturday night told TVwithThinus that it would be conducting an investigation and do interviews with everyone involved after an eye-popping live TV on-air incident on Saturday night that saw an upset commentator Ashwin Willemse walk off set after a verbal altercation in SuperSport's Randburg studio with commentators Nick Mallett and Naas Botha, while presenter Motshidisi Mohono kept the show going.

It's not clear yet what triggered Ashwin Willemse, but in a live SuperSport broadcast scene that quickly went viral on Saturday night after the victory of the Lions of 42-24 over the Brumbies at Ellis Park, the former Springbok wing was clearly upset at both of the two other seated commentators Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.

Tokozile Xasa in a statement says "This behaviour of entitlement by some white South Africans who continue to think that their whiteness represent better must come to an end, if it was not for a barbaric nonsensical apartheid system that privileged them we could not have implemented quota system to normalize an otherwise abnormal system".

"Ashwin Willemse is not just a former Springbok player but in 2003 he was named SA Rugby Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and the Player’s Player of the Year. Players like Ashwin Willemse, Bryan Habana and Siya Kolisi continue to make us proud as a nation and affirm that they are not token players or quota players."

"It is clear that Ashwin Willemse was referred as a quota player by his fellow panelists despite his many successes in the field of play, I call upon SuperSport to suspend the two panelists while they are busy with full investigation. The continued appearance of Nick Mallet and Naas Botha will be seen as an endorsement of their alleged racist behaviour," said Tokozile Xasa.

Meanwhile The Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa), a political party founded by Trueman Prince, in a statement issued by Icosa spokesperson Dawid Kamfer, says Icosa "call on all non-white South Africans to cancel their DStv subscription, till SuperSport remove the likes of Nick Mallet, Naas Botha, Toks Van Der Linde and Kobus Wiese".

"We also want the removal of all presenters who represent apartheid South Africa on the rugby field. No more historical references for statistical purposes of the era before unification".

Faiez Jacobs, provincial secretary of the ANC Western Cape in a statement said on Sunday that "it is disturbed by the incident at SuperSport studios yesterday" and that "we know Ashwin as a strong man who against all odds, pulled himself by the bootstraps out of poverty and out of a written fate for many of the young people who come from his neighborhoods".

"We believe that Ashwin's public walkout is a result of what many black people experience in offices and boardrooms across the country, where being black is a constant source of being undermined, doubted, spoken down upon and largely made to feel outside various social cliques and cores within the same working environment."

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Upset commentator Ashwin Willemse walks off the SuperSport set after a live on-air verbal altercation with Nick Mallett and Naas Botha, saying he won't be patronised and work 'with people who undermine other people'.

SuperSport says it will be conducting an investigation and do interviews with everyone involved after an eye-popping live TV on-air incident on Saturday night that saw an upset commentator Ashwin Willemse walk off set after a verbal altercation in SuperSport's Randburg studio with commentators Nick Mallett and Naas Botha, while presenter Motshidisi Mohono kept the show going.

It's not clear yet what triggered Ashwin Willemse, but in a live SuperSport broadcast scene that quickly went viral on Saturday night after the victory of the Lions of 42-24 over the Brumbies at Ellis Park, the former Springbok wing was clearly upset at both of the two other seated commentators Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.

"I've been in the game for a long time like most of us here. As a player, I've been called a quota for a long time and I've worked very hard to earn the respect I have now."

"I'm not going to sit here and be patronised by these two individuals who played their rugby during the apartheid era, a segregated era," said Ashwin Willemse who meant it in reference to Nick Mallett and Naas Botha as he walked over to the anchor desk and put his papers down.

Ashwin Willemse said he "can't work with people who undermine other people".

Ashwin Willemse told a grinning Nick Mallett he can continue to laugh but that he knew what happened.

"It's fine. It's fine. I don't mind being ridiculous. I'm glad it happened on live TV so that people can see," said Ashwin Willemse as he readied his studio exit.

Anchor Motshidisi Mohono who tried to say something, interjected with "Ash". She had no time to prepare but kept the show going and said the altercation is "unfortunate" as Ashwin Willemse felt for his lapel mic and walked off set to the right.

"Well, that's unfortunate. Because the match was going so well and so was our conversation - lots of players that have done really, really well in this game as well. It would have been great to hear Ashwin's thoughts especially because he had so much to say regarding this match between the Lions and the Brumbies."

"It is an unfortunate way for us to end this, our coverage of live Super Rugby today," said Motshidisi Mohono.

SuperSport said it is "aware of the on-air incident" and is looking into the matter".

SuperSport told TVwithThinus that "SuperSport views this incident in a very serious light - we will conduct a full investigation and interview all relevant individuals."

Afterwards the live on-air incident that quickly went viral triggered mixed reactions from a wide group of South Africans on social media, some praising Ashwin Willemse and some criticising him.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

MTV abruptly halts production on Catfish, suspends presenter Nev Schulman after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Viacom's MTV (DStv 130) has abruptly halted production on its Catfish series and suspended presenter Nev Schulman following allegations of sexual misconduct.

"We take these allegations very seriously," says MTV said in a statement. "We're working with Critical Content, our third-party production company, to conduct a thorough investigation and we've put a pause on shooting until the investigation is completed."

Since 2012 Catfish with Yaniv "Nev" Schulman and Max Joseph seek out the real identities of people who pretend to be other people online as they "fish" for victims who fall for their deceptive alter ego online romances and are conned out of money. Nev Schulman is also an executive producer of Catfish.

It's not clear what the nature of the sexual misconduct allegations against Nev Schulman are, but it surfaced in two YouTube videos earlier this week that were posted by a woman who appeared on Catfish 3 years ago.

Nev Schulman in a statement says "the behaviour described in this video did not happen and I'm fortunate that there are a number of former colleagues who were present during this time period who are willing to speak up with the truth".

"I have always been transparent about my life and would always take responsibility for my actions – but these claims are false."

M-Net adds another black historical drama series, Shaka-Ilembe, from Bomb Productions that will explore the precolonial South African kingdoms that influenced and gave rise to Shaka Zulu.

M-Net has added another black historical drama series, Shaka-Ilembe, produced by Bomb Productions, that will explore the precolonial Southern African kingdoms and characters that had an influence on Shaka Zulu.

The producers of the 12-episode first season of Shaka-Ilembe already has three seasons mapped out should the production go further, and follows after the umpteenth rebroadcast of the classic 1986 Harmony Gold USA series Shaka Zulu with the late Henry Cele that scored over 2 million Sunday night viewers for SABC1 in mid-2017.

Shaka-Ilembe that has been created by M-Net specifically with an eye on global distribution, will be broadcast on M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) for MultiChoice's DStv subscribers, and comes amidst a big global and African interest in Disney and Marvel's film Black Panther that depicted the mythical Wakanda kingdom and had moviegoers enthralled.

Shaka-Ilembe will revolve around the powers that influenced and shaped Shaka Zulu - the drama unfolding from the time of his conception, his bravery as a young man, the early attempts to kill him and the subsequent years of exile with his mother.

The drama series will also introduce the chiefdoms of the AmaThethwa, the AmaNdwandwe, AmaQwabe, AmaHlubi and others, which will give rise to Shaka Zulu as ruler.

Shaka-Ilembe follows M-Net's February announcement of two new commissioned drama series, the detective drama Trackers based on Deon Meyer's crime novel, and House of Phalo, described as a "Xhosa Game of Thrones" currently in production in the Eastern Cape province as a retelling of the modern Xhosa and the rise of King Phalo.

Trackers is produced by Three River Fiction and SCENE23, while House of Phalo is produced by by Mfundi Vundla's Morula Pictures. Bomb Productions previously created drama series like Yizo-Yizo and Zone 14 for the SABC's SABC1 channel, Jacob's Cross for M-Net and Isibaya for Mzansi Magic.

Bomb Productions describes Shaka-Ilembe also as an African Game of Thrones, saying "the epic series" will tell the story of precolonial kingdoms and the "heroes and villains who shaped and influenced one of Africa's greatest kings - Shaka kaSenzangakhona".

"We have seen how global audiences are ready to enjoy universal stories from multiple geographies. Now it is time for the incredible tradition of African storytelling to travel beyond our continent," said Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment for MultiChoice.

It echoes her speech in Dubai two weeks ago at MultiChoice's 5th Digital Dialogue Conference, saying MultiChoice and M-Net are "looking forward to investing even more in telling local stories, documenting our history and providing a platform for Africans to share African stories".

"The success of companies like Iroko TV, artists like Davido, actresses like Lupita N'yongo and the movie Black Panther are confirmation that the world is ready to consume African stories, celebrate African culture and embrace African languages."

She promised that this year MultiChoice and M-Net will start production on a number of epic African stories.

In the Thursday announcement, Yolisa Phahle said "we are committed to building a film and industry that will deliver benefits to our industry and are increasing our investment in local productions".

Teboho MahlatsiShaka-Ilembe executive producer who will be working with Angus Gibson on the series, says that "with ambitions of making a series as epic and vast as Game of Thrones, we want to tell the story of the Nguni peoples who migrated to below the Pongola river and ruled over this verdant land."

"With three action-packed seasons mapped out, we hope to breathe life into the kings and queens, warriors and witches, spies, slavers, marauders and traders who lived, loved and fought for this land".

"This is a legacy project and has deep meaning to the team who have been telling stories of everyday South African heroes and heroines for the past 21 years. This is not a colonial telling of a great African empire, this story will finally be told from our perspective".

Teboho Mahlatsi, says "scale will not be compromised - whether that be in battles with 20 000 warriors, the visualisation of a kingdom or the capturing of an elephant".

M-Net says the team behind Shaka-Ilembe is vast, including historians, traditional leaders, oral custodians, royal advisors and filmmakers working through the many versions of source materials and stories to ensure authenticity.

Some of the names attached and helping out are the playwright Mpumulelo Grootboom, Catherine Swart, Nhlanhla Mtaka, Jacob Ntshangase, Hlonipa Mokoena, Benedict Carton and Thishiwe Ziqubu.

"We are at a pivotal time in history, a time where South Africa is reclaiming its own story, where history has been re-examined," said Jacob Ntshangase. "To tell the story of Shaka is a huge honour, and a huge responsibility".

The parastatal signal distributor, Sentech, wasting R150 million per year due to the South African government's failure to switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

The state-owned broadcasting signal distributor, Sentech, that relays TV broadcasters' signals in South Africa, loses R150 million per year due to the government's incompetence and delays in the far-behind process of switching from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

While Sentech is burning through hundreds of millions of rand every year in waste due to the drawn-out switch, a process known as digital migration, Sentech is owed millions of rands by the struggling public broadcaster, SABC.

Siyabonga Cwele, the minister for telecommunications and postal services, speaking at a press conference before his department's budget vote speech in parliament, revealed that Sentech is wasting R150 million per year.

South Africa is years behind in the DTT switch and missed the globally imposed deadline to finish the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting by June 2015. The government is also on track to miss the latest imposed deadline to complete the process by June 2019.

"The delay in digital terrestrial television migration is costing Sentech about R150 per annum in dual illumination," said Siyabonga Cwele said.

So-called "dual illumination" is where an analogue and a digital version of the same signal from the same broadcaster is being relayed,for instance the existing analogue broadcast version of SABC1, as well as a broadcast version of SABC1 for digital reception.

"We need to finalise the digital migration next year in order to release spectrum to telecommunications network providers as directed by the International Telecommunications Union," he said.

Premier Soccer League Awards 2017/18 to be shown as a live and delayed live broadcast on 29 May on SuperSport 4 on DStv and SABC1.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) Awards will be taking place on Tuesday 29 May at the Sandton Convention Centre as a live broadcast ceremony the football league announced on Thursday.

The awards will honour the achievers of the 2017/18 season.

The PSL Awards will be broadcast live on 29 May on SuperSport 4 (DStv 204) from 20:00 and will then be shown as a delayed live broadcast on SABC1 from 21:00.

MultiChoice boss warns the Naspers pay-TV giant isn't being alarmistic about the online threat of global video services to DStv: 'Satellite pay-TV will disappear'.

MultiChoice's boss is warning that the Naspers pay-TV giant isn't being alarmistic about the massive online threat posed by global streamers and services like Netflix, YouTube, Facebook and Amazon Prime Video that are ready ready to not just destroy and replace its satellite pay-TV business but severely damage South Africa's entire TV industry.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice South Africa CEO, shocked the country's TV biz the past two weeks with highly alarming quotes and interviews, in extremely stark language, speaking in a way that MultiChoice in its entire 22-year history since its founding, never used before.

To The Sunday Times Calvo Mawela in an eye-popping interview said traditional satellite pay-TV is dying and that "the regulation that Icasa is proposing will just make the business die quicker".

In shocking statistics, MultiChoice is apparently losing 630 DStv Premium subscribers across all its African markets per day.

In other interviews Calvo Mawela raised eyebrows as well, and is now arguing for South Africa's broadcasting regulator to urgently implement regulations on global streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video operating in South Africa, instead of imposing even more onerous regulations on video entertainment businesses like MultiChoice.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa is currently conducting yet another investigation into pay-TV regulations in the country, and how and if, regulations should change.

The public inquiry comes as the fight for eyeballs and subscribers' money are heating up amidst the dramatic digital revolution sweeping video entertainment in Africa, affecting everyone from community TV stations and free-to-air and public broadcasters, to subscription TV services.

While fast making inroads in South Africa, although from a small base, local and international subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Naspers' Showmax now run by MultiChoice, as well as global streamers like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are not currently regulated. The global streamers for instance don't pay local taxes and are not encumbered by things like local content quotas and other regulatory restrictions.

TVwithThinus, in a wide-ranging interview with Calvo Mawela, asked him if he's not being too alarmistic about MultiChoice being under threat and why he is painting such a dire picture of traditional satellite pay-TV services like DStv.

"We believe based on the research that we are doing and what we are seeing in terms of our consumer behaviour, yes, people are moving online at a pace much faster than we have seen in the past. The future is definitely going to be online," said Calvo Mawela.

"As to whether tradition direct-to-home (DTH) satellite pay-TV will disappear, I think it's a question of when, not a question of if."

"That is definitely happening on a day-to-day basis. People are moving online and they like viewing content online. It's not like the appointment viewing we used to do."

'We are fighting for eyeballs'
"If you look at the last financial year, we have lost over 100 000 in the DStv Premium bouquet. That is an indication that people are moving on to online. The other element that we're also seeing is that people are leaning towards more DStv Catch Up than what they watch linear TV."

"So definitely there's a big shift in terms of consumption of content. What people don't recognise is that we are fighting for eyeballs. If the eyeballs move from TV to watching YouTube, it means the eyeballs have moved for that period from traditional TV watching to YouTube."

"If people are watching videos on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, it means those eyeballs are not watching TV. That is a definite."

"We are not being alarmist. What we are seeing in terms of the behaviour it is clear that people want to consume content online and it is a question of time as to when they are going to move from a traditional DTH TV offering to consume purely online content in the future," said Calvo Mawela.

"When new technology comes in, people eventually move on and embrace it. So it's definitely going to happen."

Calvo Mawela said the Icasa inquiry seeking to regulate pay-TV in South Africa "is irrelevant in this day and time".

"We think it would have been appropriate for this inquiry to have happened 15 years ago. We are saying traditional pay-TV and how people consume content has changed drastically over the last few years."

"We now have audio-visual services and we include the over-the-top (OTT), we include free-to-air,we include Netflix, Google, YouTube which is where and how people are consuming content. People have moved from appointment viewing of television to decide for themselves when to watch what they want."

"Therefore for Icasa to do an inquiry that narrowly seeks to regulate more traditional pay-TV,we think that Icasa has missed the boat. We have seen internationally a move towards regulating Netflix, Google and Facebook, for instance the European Union (EU) where the EU directive on audio-visual content recognises the over-the-top players."

"They got them into the regulatory net - of course not on the same way that traditional television used to be regulated, but what they said was if anybody is pushing content to the consumer, they need to be regulated."

"So they've introduced a local content quota - we think that is the progressive regulation that you need - it still light touch but it also recognises that the proliferation of OTT services need to be addressed".

"Start considering the market as a broader audio-visual market. Just level the playing field. Make sure that like-for-like services are treated the same - the likes of Netflix and Facebook and YouTube. They need to pay tax, they need to register in the country, they need to pay VAT, they need to have local content quotas, to make sure that we grow the industry as the industry moves to online," said Calvo Mawela.

TV soaps Binnelanders and Muvhango reach 3 000th episode milestone; Binnelanders to introduce new opening theme look, working to include on-location shoots going forward.

The South African TV soaps Binnelanders and Muvhango have both reached the 3 000 episode milestone, with Binnelanders on kykNET that will introduce a brand-new opening title sequence tonight to celebrate the production achievement and just started shooting scenes on location as well to expand the visual aspect of the show.

The Venda soap Muvhango on SABC2, produced by Word of Mouth Productions, reached its 3 000th broadcast episode at the end of March, doing away with characters and  bluntly ending story lines in a weird and inexplicable time-jump that left fans confused and upset.

The Afrikaans soap Binnelanders on kykNET (DStv 144), produced by Stark Films with the mom-and-son team of Elsje and Human Stark, will reach its 3 000th broadcast episode this evening at 19:30 on kykNET and will introduce a new opening title sequence - retaining the Jak de Priester sung lyrics and music by Danny Smoke but adding new imaging and some red and yellow tones to the well-known purple opener.

Last week Thursday the Binnelanders cast and crew celebrated the soap's 3 000th episode with a special cake-cutting ceremony at Stark Studios in Fontainebleau, Johannesburg.

"On a daily basis Binnelanders changes people lives while they're watching it in their living rooms," said Karen Meiring, director of kykNET channels. The soap recently got overwhelming reaction over a domestic abuse story line in which one of the female characters was physically and emotionally abused by a lover.

"It's incredibly important for kykNET to be relevant and resonant, and that is what Binnelanders is and that is one of the reasons why Binnelanders, on-screen and as a production, has such a successful story."

"Binnelanders started on M-Net and then moved exclusively to kykNET in April 2011. That was a big day for kykNET. I'll never forget what the management of M-Net told me, saying 'Karen, maybe you'll have this show just for one year because we'll have to see if your Afrikaans programming budget can actually manage.' And that was 2011. Now we're in 2018 and 'kyknet' what happened!"

Relevant stories that resonate
"3 000 episodes later, Binnelanders remains the number one programme on kykNET," said Karen Meiring.

"What more can you say in terms of the success of a show? I have to thank Elsje and Human Stark, Mitzi Booysen (co-producer) and Danie Joubert (director), I admire your attention to detail and the firm hand with which you manage this production, and the respect with which you deal with viewers".

"Thank you for the extremely relevant story lines that continue to resonate with viewers," said Karen Meiring. "We love you because you bring us unbelievable ratings," she joked.

Elsje Stark said producing Binnelanders is a team effort. "I feel humble and proud at the same time," she said and mentioned her late husband Friedrich Stark who unexpectedly passed away on Christmas Day in 2016 and who started and produced the soap with her.

"I'm sure if Friedrich were here, he would have felt exactly the same. Humble, because it's such a privilege to celebrate 3 000 episodes of this series, and proud - so very proud - because of what we've achieved as a team."

"It's not easy. Not at all. When we pitched and got awarded the contract for Binnelanders 14 years ago it was like a dog that chased a bus and caught it. There we were, with this tiny newborn Binnelanders baby, and now we had to nurture and raise it. It takes non-stop commitment."

"The reason that our effort has paid off is because every single care-giver of the Binnelanders baby and their contribution of passion and hard work and leaving no stone unturned that we can say that the Binnelanders baby's upbringing has been successful so far."

Outdoor, on-location shoots in the 'Congo' 
"3 000 episodes are 45 000 scenes and about 130 000 pages of script - no mean feat in anybody's book," said Elsje Stark. "And it wouldn't have been possible without kykNET's unwavering support. We will never allow Binnelanders to settle for mediocrity and to just be 'fine'."

"We will always stretch the challenges and set new goals because just sliding by and getting by with little effort will fool our viewers maybe for a while, but not indefinitely. And then they'll move on to better company, more interesting company because there's a lot to choose from our there. Because who wants to be in the company of a lazy, boring presence? Especially the premium that people put on their time today," said Elsje Stark.

"Binnelanders will never be boring or lazy. This child now actually wants to go and play outside. On Monday we are going to start shooting location scenes," she said, with the on-location scenes that will enhance the visual look of the soap.

The first scenes are being shot close to the Lanseria airport, standing in as Africa's Congo where some of the characters are now finding themselves.

"This is a lovely new challenge and it will be happening while we're still recording with the full team in the studio. We can do this challenge and we will. We're raising a child that people will continue to enjoy and love," said Elsje Stark.

Veteran actor Hans Strydom playing At Koster said "It feels like yesterday when we started. Yet it's the same time as from Grade 1 to matric that just flew past. 13 years."

"The success goes to Team Starks and kykNET, and especially our loyal viewers who keep supporting us. We thank you and we're looking forward to the next 13 years. And a small request from At Koster - after 13 years my shoes are walked through. Can I please get a new pair of shoes?"

Singer Jak de Priester sang two Afrikaans songs at the 3 000th episode celebration, with the second a live rendition of the Binnelanders theme song, the complete version:

Here's the cast and crew celebration of the 3000th episode at Stark Studios, in photos:

Vodacom to launch a new video-on-demand entertainment service, including Netflix and Showmax.

The cellular operator Vodacom will launch a new video-on-demand video entertainment service within weeks that will include streaming services like Naspers' Showmax currently run by MultiChoice, as well as Netflix.

"Vodacom will launch a new content service in the coming weeks that will offer a variety of content, a Vodacom video service and access to certain third-party content," Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy told TVwithThinus.

"The new service will be competitively priced and will be supported through discounted data use options such as the recently launched Vodacom Ticket multimedia bundles."

In preparation of its VOD service, Vodacom launched its Social Media Ticket products earlier this month - essentially data bundles that Vodacom users can use to get certain data discounts when they use the data for social media, video viewing, music and gaming when making use of YouTube, DStv, Netflix or Facebook and Apple Music.

Vodacom's as yet unnamed VOD platform has been months in the making and follows the launch of Cell C's black VOD service that launched in November 2017 and that has seen impressive growth.

The third rival, MTN is limping along, after having tried twice with its now shuttered MTN FrontRow that was started in December 2014, relaunched as MTN VU and got terminated in May 2017.

Telecoms and cellular operators are fast ramping up and expanding their video entertainment streaming offering, as over-the-top (OTT) subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix South Africa, Amazon Prime Video, Showmax and others are trying to cash in and make market share inroads as broadband penetration, data costs and speed improve.

Legacy pay-TV operators feeling the heat from the rapidly-expanding SVOD consumer sector are not about to give up their lunch. MultiChoice this week announced that it will launch a dishless streaming-only DStv option sometime in 2019, with increasing budget spending by M-Net on local productions to keep viewers hooked. can broadcast condom ads during Scandal!, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa rules.

Following complaints from viewers, the commercial free-to-air broadcaster is allowed to broadcast condom adverts during its prime time soap, Scandal!, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa has ruled.

Viewers complained to the ASA about Durex condom ads from Reckitt Benckiser South Africa shown during the local prime time soap with the Durex Real Feel commercial showing a man and woman touching and kissing each other while taking their clothes off and the voiceover "Now every touch can feel more real with Durex Real Feel, our first condom with the real feeling of skin on skin" and the words "Love sex" displayed on screen.

One viewer complained and said that Scandal! on has an age restriction of 13 years older and that condom ads shouldn't be shown during the timeslot when children are watching. The complainant said that the current South African legislation recognises the age of consent for sex as 16 years and older. 

Another complainant raised similar issues.

This is the third time that viewers complained about condom commercials, following complaints in March 2012, and again in December 2016. In 2014 following viewer complaints about Lovers Plus condom ads on SABC3, the ad agency Joe Public SA agreed to move the condom ads later after the ASA ruled that it was shown during inappropriate timeslots.

In the latest case, told the ASA that the viewers' complaints  undermine efforts to educate people about HIV prevention. told the ASA that the Broadcasting Code permits to broadcast 13 years age restricted material before the watershed period and that the content and themes of Scandal! is in line with the commercial, and that in terms of the Children's Act of 2005 and the Sexual Offences Related Matters Amendment Act of 2007, adolescents above the age of 12 can have access to contraceptives and HIV testing without the need for parental approval.

Reckitt Benckiser South Africa argued that Scandal! on frequently deals with romantic affairs and the advertisement of this kind would be in line with the themes usually dealt with on the show. The ASA agreed.

"A parent who is allowing their child to watch Scandal! cannot then be outraged when the child is exposed to sexual content or references. It can be assumed that a child of over 13, who is allowed to watch content such as Scandal!, should have been exposed to appropriate sexual education to be able to understand the commercial before us," the ASA ruled.

"In addition, they should be watching in the company of an adult who is able to explain the content to them if they are confused or disturbed. The Directorate is satisfied that there is nothing in the commercial that would adversely affect a child of over 13."

"While true that the commercial promotes a product that is intimately related to sex, it does not do so in an uncouth or overtly sexual manner. The visuals used are not unlike images frequently seen on soapies or in fashion magazines, and is not 'explicit' as suggested by the complainants."

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How Netflix literally shaded MultiChoice during the regulator's public hearings into pay-TV regulations in South Africa, flying a helicopter with a banner 'Netflix is Here!'.

Netflix let it fly last week, when the over-the-top (OTT) global streaming service available in South Africa literally shaded DStv during the public hearings into pay-TV regulations by flying a helicopter over MultiChoice with a banner reading "Netflix is here!"

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is busy conducting yet another investigation into pay-TV regulations in the country, and how and if, it should change.

The public inquiry comes as the fight for eyeballs and subscribers' money are heating up amidst the dramatic digital revolution sweeping video entertainment in Africa, affecting everyone from community TV stations and free-to-air and public broadcasters, to subscription TV services.

While fast making inroads in South Africa, although from a small base, local and international subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Naspers' Showmax now run by MultiChoice, as well as global streamers like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are not currently regulated. The global streamers for instance don't pay local taxes and are not encumbered by things like local content quotas and other regulatory restrictions.

Last week, perfectly timed for while MultiChoice did its presentation before Icasa about pay-TV, Netflix South Africa hired a helicopter and literally flew circles over DStv with a "Netflix is here!" banner.

MultiChoice told Icasa that the Naspers-run pay-TV giant had lost over 100 000 DStv Premium subscribers in its last financial year due to unregulated streamers like Netflix but didn't provide any proof. Icasa that said the regulator requires factual documents about MultiChoice's claim that the pay-TV operator said it would provide according to in-house research it had done.

MultiChoice told Icasa it wants so-called "soft touch" regulations and for streaming services - especially so-called global over-the-top (OTT) players, like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix South Africa to be regulated - similar to what the European Union (EU) is currently implementing in terms of 30% local content quotas and tax requirements.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice South Africa CEO, told TVwithThinus that global OTT players like Netflix are definitely placing a growing, strong focus on markets like Africa and South Africa, and realise that there's money to be made, having realised that advances in broadband is making more and more things possible in the consumer video entertainment market.

"From the observations that we have been making in the market is that they've taken Africa very seriously. Netflix for instance have started advertising in Sandton. They had a helicopter even circling during our public hearings at Icasa; the helicopter even made rounds around the campus as well to show that they are here and that they want to get a piece of the action."

"So that demonstrates that they're realising that this is a good market for them and they should be able to get in and compete."

"The second element is that they've announced that they will be producing local content in South Africa as well. So we're seeing a shift - Facebook, they've got an office here in South Africa that they're operating from for the rest of Africa."

"From what we're seeing, they're taking the market very seriously, they're heavily invested in it, they've started to market strongly around their product offering, and we think it will continue to grow.  They're actively participating in the market and trying to capture as much market share as possible," said Calvo Mawela.

MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International for Africa upgrade TLC, Discovery Family and Investigation Discovery channels to HD on DStv.

MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International for Africa are upgrading three more of Discovery's TV channels seen in South Africa and across Africa on the DStv platform from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) channels from Monday 21 May.

The upgrade means that all of Discovery's channels portfolio available in South Africa will now be shown in HD.

TLC (DStv 135), Discovery Family (DStv 121) and Investigation Discovery (ID) (DStv 171) will all broadcast in HD from 21 May, joining the Discovery Channel (DStv 120) that is already in HD.

"At Discovery we are constantly seeking ways to enable our passionate audiences to explore their world and unlock new experiences," says Amanda Turnbull, the vice president and general manager for Discovery for the Africa and Middle East region, in a statement.

"With our entire DStv portfolio available in HD, Discovery fans can now catch their most loved shows in the best quality."

After MultiChoice's abrupt removal of Discovery's Animal Planet channel with very little advance warning to DStv subscribers at the end of 2017 that was poorly communicated and infuriated and confused viewers, Discovery will be adding a new channel to DStv in mid-2018.

NCIS’ Pauley Perrette says she was the victim of ‘multiple physical assaults’ on set.

Actress Pauley Perrette who just left NCIS, took to social media, saying she was the victim of "multiple physical assaults" – something that likely led to her decision to leave the most watched TV series in the world.

On Twitter in a series of messages, Pauley Perrette said that "I feel I have to protect my crew, jobs and so many people. But at what cost? I don't know," she wrote.

"Just know, I'm trying to do the right thing, but maybe silence isn't the right thing about crime." She said that "maybe I'm wrong about not 'spilling the beans' about the story," and that "I refused to go low, that's why I've never told publicly what happened."

Pauley Perrette explained that "There is a 'machine' keeping me silent, and feeding FALSE stories about me. A very rich, very powerful publicity 'machine'. No morals, no obligation to truth, and I'm just left here, reading the lies, trying to protect my crew. Trying to remain calm. He did it."

CBS Television Studios that produces NCIS that is seen on M-Net City (DStv 115), SABC2 and Universal TV (DStv 117) said in a statement that "Pauley Perrette had a terrific run on NCIS and we are all going to miss her. Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows.”

In her latest tweet Pauley Perrette now says "I want to thank my studio and network CBS. They have always been so good to me and always had my back".

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

BREAKING. eMedia Investments to launch a new 24-hour TV news channel, OpenNews, at the end of 2018 on its own OpenView; will do a 2-hour Afrikaans block on eExtra including a new Afrikaans TV news bulletin.

eMedia Investments will launch a new 24-hour TV news channel, similar to its existing eNCA (DStv 403) carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, at the end of this year that will be called OpenNews and that will be carried on its free-to-air satellite pay-TV platform OpenView run by Platco Digital.

In addition to the new TV news channel, a 2-hour Afrikaans programming block will be added to the eExtra channel, including a new Afrikaans TV news bulletin to rival the Afrikaans bulletin from the SABC on SABC2 as well as eNuus that produces for kykNET.

OpenNews will include some eNCA content like the new magazine show, The Spotlight with Tanya Nefdt, as well as 2 new current affairs shows, The Tim Modise Show and The Fix with Karima Brown, but will be catering to a different market segment and viewing audience.

"OpenNews will be broadcast out of the Cape Town studios, offering viewers an integrated news channel combining short format news, onscreen information and links with selected social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and a proprietary app," says AndrƩ van der Veen, eMedia Investments CEO.

"eMedia Investments has the talent, knowledge and experience to launch South Africa's first satellite free-to-air television news channel. OpenNews will be an independent news service, but hosts will be encouraged to 'to take a view' on regional, international, sports, entertainment and financial news," says AndrĆ© van der Veen.

OpenNews will start as a standard definition (SD) channel but may switch to high definition (HD) later when it launches during the fourth quarter of 2018.

OpenNews will have its own management team and brand identity and will look distinctively different to eNCA that OpenNews will be competing with.

eMedia Investments willl also start a 2-hour block of Afrikaans programming on OpenView's eExtra (OVHD 105 / DStv 195) channel. This Afrikaans broadcasting block will include general entertainment, current affairs programming as well as an Afrikaans TV news bulletin that will be different from the eNuus provided to M-Net's kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) on DStv.

eMedia Investments says the programme mix is in the final stages of being finalised and the line-up will be announced in the next few weeks.

eMedia didn't give an explanation for starting a new TV news channel but one factor at play in the creation of OpenNews as well as the new Afrikaans TV news bulletin is that eMedia Investments wants to establish its own supply chain owned-and-operated TV news channel and content in case contracts like supplying eNCA or customised content like eNuus to MultiChoice and kykNET are cancelled.

Contract negotiations between eMedia Investments and MultiChoice and M-Net's kykNET have steadily become more contentious over recent years.

If a future carriage agreement renewal for eNCA or content like eNuus can't be reached - something that would mean the sudden disappearance of a eNCA or eNuus leaving eMedia Investments with no market presence in these content spaces - eMedia Investments will have fallback brand positions like OpenNews where it owns both the channel, the content as well as the distribution platform.

OPINION. As eNCA turns populist, its mutual masturbation with politicians now made on-air anchors, will be fun - until its not, as eNCA damages its news credibility, brand values and viewer trust.

There's no astrologer or a wheel of fortune game show element just yet, but eNCA (DStv 403) that has just added South African politicians as anchors and has literally given its anchor chair over to those it's supposed to cover, has become the real-life epitome of what the prophetic 1976's film Network warned about in terms of making TV news an info-entertainment spectacle.

The eMedia Investments channel run on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform and that will turn 10 years old next month is also the most watched TV news channel in South Africa.

Because eNCA doesn't have to care about actual competition and viewers getting turned off by things like its latest bake-and-fake prime time plan, it has come up with its latest infotainment on-air extravaganza: literally bumping eNCA's own anchors out of their chairs since Monday night to turn it over to politicians during its most valuable 20:00 prime time hour.

eNCA decided to, by itself, to turn eNCA's motto of "No fear, no favour" into a lie, damaging its news values, its news brand, its credibility and its viewer trust through shamelessly pandering to politicians in a TV mutual masturbation session that's eNCA must think is and will be oh so entertaining to watch.

Of course there's favour and favouritism when eNCA chooses unskilled, inexperienced politicians with no background, knowledge, qualification or hours of experience to suddenly be TV news anchors over and above people whose work it really is and who've worked to achieve what is supposed to be a respected position.

Of course there's favour and favouritism when eNCA chooses only certain political parties over other political parties in South Africa.

Of course there's something wrong when you cosy up, have a hearty laugh and engage in partnering up with TV fun-and-games with politicians instead of actually covering them.

And of course its terrible when you're eNCA and instead of representing the viewer and asking the hard questions of politicians, turn your most valuable asset over to them to ask softball questions, banter with joy and make on-air niceties.

While the scrappy SABC's SABC News is too busy fighting and confronting a daily existential crisis with dwindling resources to do such a thing, the propagandistic and amateur ANN7 (now renamed Afro Worldview) doesn't have and never had the skill sets, or knowledgeable enough executives to do such a thing.

But eNCA is like the Russian doper and disgraced Lance Armstrong - willfully and deliberately, literally "gaming" the system - shooting up with damaging injectibles for a high, abandoning ethics, and doing what it isn't supposed to do not because it must or can, but because it wants to.

eNCA's trash-up of its news values and destruction of the perceived value that a TV news anchor chair holds, even comes with its own #AsItHappens hashtag on social media.

eNCA presumably wants its politicians as TV news anchors to "trend".

It signals that for eNCA, it is about prime entertainment at 20:00 more than what it is about giving South Africans news, context and perspective when most of its viewers are tuned to the channel.

eNCA is playing with fire, and what's worse is that Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA managing director and editor-in-chief, as well as every single eNCA reporter and TV anchor know it and are all ailently going along with it.

Think of what eNCA is doing! eNCA is literally turning over its most valuable real-estate - TV time - to politicians, to make them shine, to get uncritical coverage, to sit in the anchor chair, for free reign, for huge free publicity and what is called (earned) media exposure (although it's not really earned). Who does that and how on earth can eNCA do this?

What exactly are viewers supposed to think who happen to turn on the TV and to eNCA and who then see a politician, from whatever party, centre-frame, positioned where eNCA places the "news-bringer"?

What exactly are viewers supposed to think of eNCA, selling itself as objective, impartial and supposedly holding politicians to account on behalf of the viewing public, when it welcomes the politicians with feted access to its anchor chair?

The way that eNCA deliberately bastardise news values because it knows and assumes that its African news audience doesn't know better or won't know better is embarrassing and disgusting.

Will CNN International or the BBC's BBC World News or even America's lame-duck commercial news shows like NBC Nightly News ever turn their on-air product over to politicians like this? Never. But it's apparently okay for eNCA to do so.

It's tragic and tragically comical that eNCA anchors have to do clips giving "advice" to politicians on how to anchor, how to ask questions and what to ask - as if it's all a game and not to be taken seriously, while they literally are shilling for people replacing them in their own seats, as if they're "rooting" for, and encouraging friends.

This is how propaganda TV news channels in Egypt and across the Middle East and southeast Asia look in dictatorial regimes where it's not really about bringing the real news to viewers but about how the news looks.

eNCA isn't supposed to be in this game.

While eNCA is courting politicians, it raised questions about why eMedia Investments is being jolly-jolly with specific politicians and giving them the spotlight to shine.

Is it to influence them to give preferential treatment to eNCA just like eNCA is giving to them?

Is it to get political parties like the EFF that have been critical of eNCA to back off and be "nicer" to eNCA because eNCA is ingratiating itself with certain politicians to be less harsh in a lovely, sycophantic tit-for-tat?

What message is eNCA sending to not just viewers but to people who want to be(come) serious journalists, reporters and news anchors? That the shortcut to get on eNCA is to rather become a politician?

The stark truth is that it is bad for eNCA, and bad for viewers, when eNCA wants to be friends with politicians (or celebrities, or company executives, or people in positions of power).

The job at eNCA and eNews is not to make nice or to make them look nice - the job is to actually report the news.

eNCA is supposed to ask the hard questions of politicians and the government about things like lack of service delivery and promises made to the people.

Instead eNCA is subverting its mandate of holding people and politicians to account by letting them sit behind the anchor desk under best lighting and basking in the soft glow, literally opening the door for the wolf to the TV hen house to come and play.

In Network, the news anchor Howard Beale lamented the trashing up of TV news. "Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business!"

You'd be forgiven for thinking that eNCA doesn't know about Network or its dire warnings.

The sad truth is that eNCA not only knows, but knows exactly the trash-TV it's doing. But all for the rush of that high, hey?

MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela reveals that the Naspers pay-TV giant is working to launch a dishless DStv streaming-only service offering in 2019.

MultiChoice says the Naspers-owned pay-TV operator is hard at work on a dishless DStv, streaming-only consumer option that it plans to launch in 2019, and that will mirror the existing direct-to-home (DTH) DStv service but work through the internet without the need for a decoder and a satellite dish.

With South Africa's entire TV industry now facing seismic change due to a rapidly evolving digital environment that already wrought devastating and dramatic changes to the print media and music industry, MultiChoice is responding to the video entertainment sphere that is being radically altered by ongoing advances in internet broadband penetration and speed.

MultiChoice in 2019 will launch a stand-alone "internet" or over-the-top (OTT) version of DStv to capture pay-TV subscribers who are able to and want to watch premium pay-TV content this way, as well as to combat churn and to compete with the proliferation of global OTT players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others who have entered the South African and African market and are starting to steal DStv subscribers away.

MultiChoice already runs the DStv Now OTT service as an added-on bundled service for DStv subscribers, but will launch a stand-alone commercial version that is like this, sometime next year, said Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice South Africa CEO, in a wide-ranging interview about the pay-TV giant’s view on the rapidly changing TV and subscription television landscape in South Africa and across the African continent.

MultiChoice has to work out international  content streaming rights, as well as the costing and pricing of the service.

"I can confirm, yes we are working on a dishless DStv service offering which is purely online, almost a replica of what DStv is today," Calvo Mawela told TVwithThinus on Tuesday.

"Teams ranging from technology to marketing are busy working on this proposition to make sure that we have a full online offering similar to DStv."

"In terms of timelines we would like to bring the first product possible without any glitches that can work seamlessly and without problems – that is what the teams are focused on – to make sure that when we go out to market, we have all the areas covered: price points, how the marketing is going to be, how well it will work."

"This is a work in progress," said Calvo Mawela. "We anticipate that next year sometime we should be able to go full-blown on this offering. However we are pushing the teams hard to be able to bring that product offering forward."

"Unfortunately I can't share with you an exact time, but as soon as we can, we will share with you the launch plans and what the offering is going to be. But we are definitely going that route."

The SABC names everyone 'Jared Kushner' on the bottom third banner of SABC News.

On Monday night the South African public broadcaster's SABC News (DStv 404) turned everyone appearing on screen into "Jared Kushner" when the SABC reported on the violence and latest politics playing out in the Gaza-Israel border where the United States controversially opened its US embassy in Jerusalem.

The real Jared Kushner, married to Ivanka, daughter of the American president Donald Trump, eventually made an appearance for the on-screen "Jared Kushner, White House advisor" to fit.

The SABC started by incorrectly naming Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador as Jared Kushner.

The SABC then called a United Nation's (UN) security advisor Jared Kushner.

The real Jared Kushner finally showed up.

Monday, May 14, 2018

SABC2 goes to space with the new Afrikaans science fiction comedy series, Die Vlieƫnde Springbokkie, as hapless crew tries to reach B Earth.

Decades since the Mielie Malie Maantuig, the South African public broadcaster is venturing back to space with the science fiction comedy series Die VlieĆ«nde Springbokkie starting on SABC2 on Monday evening at 19:00 following a group of South Africans  leaving Earth to travel to a new world.

Die Vlieƫnde Springbokkie, produced by Urban Brew Studios and filmed at its new Randburg complex in Johannesburg, stars actors like Antoinette Kellerman as onboard scientist Pat and David Isaacs as Commander Mak in crew member roles.

The on-board computer called Oom ("Uncle") is voiced by the legendary Afrikaans news anchor Riaan Cruywagen who returned to his first voice acting role in a TV series since he was the voice of Haas Das in the start-up years of SABC television.

The show's title of Die Vlieƫnde Springbokkie is also the name of the ship on which the crew, including Nikolai Mynhardt as Mossie, Thandi Puren as Captain FJ, Wesley Lauder as Doctor Farrell and Liza Scholtz as thecaptain's daughter Lisa are all travelling to B Aarde (B-Earth). Doreen Morris also pops up in the role of the current black female president.

In the comedy series, it's the year 2068 and the South African Airways (SAA) - still in existence in the science fiction show - had donated its scrap to help create Die Vlieƫnde Springbokkie to take cryogenically frozen celebrities B Aarde to escape the over-populated and polluted planet.

Due to technical problems however, the crew becomes lost in space and struggle to try and keep their ship going while maintaining their "popularity with the viewing public back home".

"In some ways they're a microcosm of South Africa: a theatre of politics," says SABC2.

SABC2 didn't do set visits fir the press for Die Vlieƫnde Springbokkie and very little publicity material is available, but according to a few of the episode synopsis available in the first episode the crew will be "threatened by space debris" in this comedy of errors.

The second episode deal with a mutiny of sorts against the captain, preparations are made for a visit from the president, and in the 4th episode there's computer troubles when Oom refuses to let astro-pilot Mossie fly the ship.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

NBCUniversal International Networks changing the Universal Channel to UNIVERSAL TV with a new colour palette and new on-air look.

After 8 years, NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUIN) is again changing the brand name and look of its flagship general entertainment channel, with the Universal Channel that is changing to UNIVERSAL TV (DStv 117), including a new on-air look.

The Hallmark Channel changed to the Universal Channel in March 2010 and the purple look that was introduced in May 2013 has now given way to the word "channel" falling away and replaced by "TV".

A coral colour palette has been introduced with the logo retaining the circular globe iconography and design that's again slightly amended.

The Universal Channel look is changing globally, with UNIVERSAL TV that switched in the United Kingdom earlier this month and UNIVERSAL TV in South Africa and across Africa that is the second market to follow.

NBCUIN says the "evolved proposition" for the new-look brand will continue to "highlight that characters are at the heart of great storytelling".

"UNIVERSAL TV’s reinvigorated identity best positions our flagship brand into the future as a relevant, compelling destination for fans of character-driven programming,” says Lee Raftery, the chief marketing and content officer and managing director for the United Kingdom and emerging markets at NBCUniversal International in a provided quote about the UNIVERSAL TV rebrand.

"In making this latest investment in UNIVERSAL TV – combined with the raft of top-quality shows we have recently acquired – we're reinforcing our commitment to delivering a must-watch destination for affiliate partners and viewers, alike."

The new UNIVERSAL TV look developed in collaboration between NBCUniversal International Networks' central marketing team, and the creative agency Red Bee who established the brand positioning, brand logo and creative concept, and the brand consultant Lee Hunt.

Specialist contributions were provided by Dalton Maag (the typeface design studio), Future Deluxe directed and produced brand idents motion and Zelig Sound is responsible for music and sound design.