Friday, July 3, 2015

Is StarSat's 'expanding' FX coming to MultiChoice's DStv as a new TV channel from FOX International Channels?

Is the expanding FX (StarSat 133) TV channel on On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA's StarSat coming to MultiChoice's DStv as well soon?

FOX International Channels (FIC) which packages and distributes FX and FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) says it is in the process to "extend the distribution of FX in South Africa".

FX has been available since May 2010 in South Africa on TopTV, which has since rebranded as StarSat.

In May this year FX as a TV channel itself rebranded with a new on-air look.

Since MultiChoice's DStv is the only other satellite pay-TV operator available in South Africa running a commercial service besides ODM's StarSat, "extending the distribution of FX" would appear to strongly suggest that FX is coming to DStv - since its the only other pay-TV platform available that can possibly currently accommodate FX.

FOX International Channels Africa didn't respond to a media enquiry specifically asking whether FX as a TV channel will be added to DStv.

MultiChoice, responding to a similar media enquiry asking whether FX will be added to DStv, responded and said when there's news to share of new channels MultiChoice will make the necessary announcements.

FIC decided to remove its FOX Movies and FOX Movies+2 channels from StarSat which will go dark at the end of this coming weekend.

FIC Africa says it is "currently involved with the process of strengthening and extending the distribution of its local portfolio of channels in a strategic move to ensure the brands continue to flourish locally [in South Africa] with compelling and engaging content and in line with the company's global strategy".

FIC Africa says "exciting plans" are underway for FX.

FIC Africa says that the extension of FX - presumably to include DStv as well - "will bring new audiences to the channel that since May 2015 offers a revamped version with a fresh on-air look and feel".

FX has shows such as Archer, Entourage, Hell on Wheels and Copper.

eNCA's Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola loses comedian David Kibuuka who joins Trevor Noah at The Daily Show on Comedy Central as writer.

"Thank you, Loy."

eNCA's Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola is suffering yet another creative and on-screen setback with the loss of brilliant comedian David Kibuuka who won't be returning to the weekly satirical faux news show when the new season start on the 24-hour TV news channel and

The 34-year old Ugandan born David Kibuuka is joining South African comedian Trevor Noah when he takes over from Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show from 28 September on Comedy Central (DStv 122).

The brilliant stand-up comedian David Kibuuka appeared on the Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola as the hilariously outspoken, off-script foreign correspondent the past few seasons and was a mainstain as the show cycled through comedians and segment replacements the past few years as Riaad Moosa and Tats Nkonzo left. 

David Kibuuka will join the writing staff of The Daily Show.

eNCA has not yet announced a starting date for the new season of Late Nite News with Loyios Gola, besides playing on-air promos saying "returning soon".

Meanwhile Loyiso Gola has become a contributor to the similar The Weekly with Charlie Pickerin, an Australian satirical news show on Australia's ABC which is currently on, and which is part of the reason for the delay of the new season of LNN.

Kgomotso Matsunyane to present a second weekly TV talk show, Sex Talk, on CTV from 9 July; promises 'frank, fun' discussion of sexuality.

Multi-tasking, multi-talker Kgomotso Matsunyane isn't staying with just the SABC, next week she will start her second nationally shown TV talk show, Sex Talk on community TV station Cape Town TV (DStv 263) at 19:30.

Kgomotso Matsunyane who is the moderator of the recently started panel discussion talk show Rise on SABC1 starts another talk show on Thursday, 9 July on Cape Town TV, opening up the discussion about sex and sexuality.

Sex Talk promises to be CTV's most provocative show yet and since the terrestrial community TV station is carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform making it accessible for DStv subscribers nationally, viewership will likely spike for Cape Town TV with the addition of the weekly talk show.

Episodes of Sex Talk will repeat on CTV on Saturdays at 21:00.

Kgomotso Matsunyane promises that Sex Talk will be a frank discussion about sex, "yes – sex, that topic that we dare not talk about, even though people are thinking sex, wanting sex, reading sex, watching sex, having sex, avoiding sex, or even worse, hurting or killing someone through sex".

Like SABC1's Rise, Kgomotso Matsunyane's new concurrent talk show which will be "a fun, frank and entertaining weekly talk show" will also have panelists and guests in conversation to talk about sex. Sex Talk topics will range from masturbation and deception to infidelity and impotency.

Sex Talk will also tackle issues of social concerns, such as sexual equality, teenage pregnancy, the role of the parents, violence based on sex and sexuality, but also the pleasures of sex.

"By allowing guests to interact in dialogue rather than being interviewed, Sex Talk enables free flowing and uninhibited conversation - and what emerges is revelatory," says Kgomotso Matsunyane.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Growing concerns about the process followed and the validity of the appointment process of the new SABC CEO Frans Matlala.

Concerns are growing around the process followed and the validity of the appointment of Frans Matlala who the South African Broadcasting Corporation yesterday announced as its new CEO.

The rudderless SABC, which is also limping along with a gutted SABC board, hasn't had a CEO for a year and five months since Lulama Mokhobo abruptly quit in February 2014 without explanation and left with a golden handshake just a few months into her 5 year contract

At its Auckland Park headquarters the SABC yesterday announced that Frans Matlala, a former banking executive who've been an advisory consultant for the SABC for a year, has been appointed as the new SABC CEO.

Frans Matlala was already identified in October 2014 as the frontrunner to become the new SABC CEO as fears grew that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) would be appointed as CEO.

SABC executives Tian Olivier and Anton Heunis who had both served as acting SABC CEO in the past were the other two contenders for the position. In April Anton Heunis suddenly left the SABC as acting CEO.

Frans Matlala said he hopes to serve as SABC CEO for the entire length of his contract. Since 2009 several SABC CEO's either left or were fired long before the end of their tenure.

The non-profit media monitoring organisation Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) slammed the lack of transparency in the SABC CEO appointment process.

"It is very difficult to comment on a process where there has been so little transparency," William Bird, MMA director tells TV with Thinus.

"We would like to know: When was the SABC CEO position advertised? Who were the top three candidates, when did the interviews take place, who made the decision at SABC board level and when was person appointed?"

"We heard contradictory statements at the SABC press conference. We we told that Peter Matlala was appointed by the current reduced SABC board. Hlaudi Motsoeneng then said that actually the SABC CEO appointment had taken place under the older SABC board before the two members were removed, and that the delay was in the minister of communications agreeing to the appointment."

"It cannot be both," says William Bird.

"It seems that yet again instead of improving corporate governance we have another controversial SABC appointment that is likely to yield more challenges in the future."

The SOS Coalition, a public pressure group representing a vast number of the biggest industry stakeholders in South Africa's public broadcasting sphere, is also raising concern about the appointment process.

"We need to know when the recommendation was made and whether the SABC board that made this recommendation was, indeed quorate, or whether, yet again, it operated unlawfully to push for an appointment viewed as suitable by government," Sekoetlane Phamodi, SOS Coalition coordinator tells TV with Thinus.

"There remains the tender issue of the legality of the Memorandum of Incorporation," says Sekoetlane Phamodi.

"[It] is incompatable with the basic tenets of public broadcasting which require the institution to be demonstrably independent of government influence in how it allows the government of the day to cherry-pick the editor-in-chief of the SABC as well as the very people that direct the operations and finances of the SABC."

"This cannot be allowed to be the case lest the SABC is reverted back into a state broadcaster as we had under the erstwhile apartheid regime," says Sekoetlane Phamodi.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party also says there are questions around the appointment process of Frans Matlala.

"With only 6 members, the SABC board is three short of the quorum it requires to make legally binding decisions such as the appointment of a new CEO. The DA is looking into this," says Gavin Davis, DA MP and a member of parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

The Congress of the People (COPE) said it doesn't support Frans Matlala's appointment as SABC CEO.

"He is a close ally of Hlaudi Motsoeneng. We don't think that there will be any changes because Hlaudi Motsoeneng will still be in control. This man will only be a flower pot and Hlaudi Motsoeneng will still run the show," said COPE.

Leah Khumalo, new SABC board deputy chairperson, said that "we believe we had enough quorum to make the appointment. We are sure all legal requirements were satisfied".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said at the Auckland Park press conference that "Frans Matlala was appointed even before the three SABC board members left the organisation. It is not a new matter. The only issue that was outstanding, it was the approval from the minister".

The minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, congratulated Frans Matlala who is a supporter of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"We wish Frans Matlala all the best as he undertakes the important task of ensuring that our public broadcaster delivers on its mandate of fulfilling the public's right to know, educate, and entertain as well as nation building."

"We are looking forward to working with him, the SABC board and the entire leadership of the SABC in realising their obligation to serve the whole population."

New SABC CEO Frans Matlala: Broadcaster will be 'telling the truth but balancing the perspective'; political parties react to his appointment.

The new SABC CEO Frans Matlala says the South African public broadcaster going forward will tell the truth but be "balancing the perspective" and that he will be spending the next 3 months talking to various people to find out what happened at the SABC in the past and what issues there are.

Frans Matlala was announced as the new permanent SABC CEO yesterday at the broadcaster's Auckland Park headquarters, a year and five months after Lulama Mokhobo quit just a few months into her five year contract.

Frans Matlala, who is a supporter and ally of the SABC's controversial and brash famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng and who was an advisory consultant for the SABC for a year, admitted that there was room for improvement at the beleaguered SABC.

The public broadcaster has been lurching constantly from crisis to crisis and scandal tot scandal since 2009 when it came to the brink of financial collapse and got a billion rand bailout in the form of a government guaranteed loan from Nedbank.

Frans Matlala, the umpteenth CEO to take the reigns at the SABC since 2009, has to try and rightsize the broadcasting behemoth.

The SABC - fraught with ongoing insider politics, executive and SABC board room power struggles and growing perception concerns about news bias, maladministration and undue political interference - faces big internal challenges.

There's also the looming and expensive switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) which the SABC will now only start with a paltry 5 TV channels one of which will be the rerun channel SABC Encore (DStv 156), as well as complex and difficult questions over the future funding of the public broadcaster.  

"Over the next 100 days I'm going to spend time with the SABC executive team, and of course I'll spend time with the SABC board and different people outside the organisation, including the minister of communications Faith Muthambi, parliament's portfolio committee of communications and different stakeholders so that I can appraise myself of things that have happened in the past, current realities, as well as future issues that I need to be aware of," said Frans Matlala.

Frans Matlala very closely echoed president Jacob Zuma's speech last month he gave at the SABC media launch event when the broadcasting footprint of the SABC's 24-hour TV news channel, SABC News (DStv 404) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, was extended into several African countries.

"I think it's important that we take advantage of the role and the opportunity we have to be able to serve the nation and Africa as a continent and lead that narrative. And it's a narrative of telling the truth but at the same time balancing the perspective that we put on the table," said Frans Matlala.

Political parties in South Africa reacted over the appointment of Frans Matlala.

The ANC congratulated Frans Matlala. "The appointment of a CEO for the SABC is long overdue and therefore we congratulate him on his appointment and wish him well in his position particularly in terms of continuing to deepen the mandate of the SABC as a public broadcaster," said the ANC.

The Congress of the People (COPE) said it doesn't support Frans Matlala's appointment as SABC CEO.

"He is a close ally of Hlaudi Motsoeneng. We don't think that there will be any changes because Hlaudi Motsoeneng will still be in control. This man will only be a flower pot and Hlaudi Motsoeneng will still run the show," said COPE.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it tentatively welcomes the appointment of Frans Matlala, but cautioned that Frans Matlala will have to "put Hlaudi Motsoeneng in his place".

"The new SABC CEO is not Hlaudi Motsoeneng. This, in itself, is a positive development," said Gavin Davis, DA MP.

"Frans Matlala has an opportunity to learn from the experiences of his predecessor, Lulama Mokhobo, who resigned as CEO after just 11 months. The Public Protector found that her position was made untebale by Hlaudi Motsoeneng's campaign to bully and undermine her."

"The key to Frans Matlala's success in this new role is for him to quickly stamp his authority as the top administrator at the SABC. Already the signs are good that Frans Matlala will put Hlaudi Motsoeneng in his place."

"There are some question marks around the process to appoint Frans Matlala. With only 6 members, the SABC board is three short of the quorum it requires to make legally binding decisions such as the appointment of a new CEO," said Gavin Davis.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BREAKING. Frans Matlala appointed as the new permanent CEO of the SABC, says he needs 'to acknowledge the honour I've been given'.

Frans Matlala has been appointed as the SABC's new CEO, saying "I need to acknowledge the honour I've been given".

Frans Matlala, a banking executive and consultant to the SABC for project management and strategic advisory services, has been a keen supporter of the SABC's controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng,

The appointment comes almost a year and a half since Lulama Mokhobo abruptly quit in February 2014 after just 14 months into her 5 year contract without any explanation.

Like Eskom, South African Airways and the South African Post Office, the SABC's new CEO faces  a daunting and herculean task to try and right the struggling broadcaster which came to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

Frans Matlala becomes the SABC's 9th CEO - including those who were appointed in an acting capacity in the position for a period of time - to be in charge of the public broadcaster since 2009.

Over the past 6 years several SABC CEO's left before their terms ended, several got golden handshakes of millions of rand when leaving and several took legal action when their contracts were terminated.

The appointment of a permanent CEO at the SABC is crucial to try and repair stability at the beleaguered public broadcaster which keeps lurching from crisis to crisis and which is constantly battered by a barrage of bad press.

Serious concern has also been growing the past two years about the SABC news coverage; the unstable SABC board lost several members, and former chairperson Ellen Tshabalala was forced to step down in December 2014 after she exposed for lying about fake tertiary qualifications she didn't have.

In April ongoing concern was raised in parliament over the SABC's audience share which is flat at 53%.

The SABC also wasted R3.39 billion on irregular spending in three years according to the Auditor General (AG) and the public broadcaster has so far received 4 consecutive annual qualified audits from the AG.

Since Lulama Mokhobo abruptly quit in February 2014 after just 14 months into her 5 year contract without any explanation, the SABC has been without a CEO for a year and five months until now.

That left Hlaudi Motsoeneng in charge as the next highest ranking SABC executive, himself embroiled in litigation over his appointment and fingered in a scathing report from the Public Protector, implicating him in maladministration, corruption and abuse of power at the SABC.

Frans Matlala's held a number of senior executive positions at places like Standard Bank, African Life SA, First National Bank and South African Breweries, and lists a graduate diploma in engineering, a B.Sc in chemistry and a M.Sc degree.

Frans Matlala's studied at the University of Cape Town, Duke University and Wits.

Bonang Matheba dropped, Lerato Kganyago and Pearl Thusi added as the South African talk show hosts of Moments on EbonyLife TV.

Bonang Matheba has been dropped and replaced with Lerato Kganyago and Pearl Thusi in the new talk show Moments starting today on EbonyLife TV (DStv 165).

Bonang Matheba would have been seen in the new Moments with Mo talk show spin-off simply entitled Moments, but was barred from finalising the deal after extending her existing Top Billing work on SABC3 to become one of the talk show presenters of the weekday talk show Afternoon Express which started at the beginning of May.

"We wanted to work with her but unfortunately she has a talk show on SABC3 whose format is the same as ours, so we couldn't proceed because it was a conflict of interest," says Sandra Amadio, head of entertainment at EbonyLife TV in a statement.

EbonyLifeTV turns two years old today and is launching Moments as a spin-off talk show from Mo Abudu's Moments with Mo which EbonyLife TV calls "Africa's first and only syndicated daily talk show".

Moments will closely mirror Moments with Mo in structure and style.

Mo Abudu, who is also the EbonyLifeTV CEO, will now only "appear occasionally for only a limited number of very important interviews," says EbonyLife TV. Moments with Mo will have fewer episodes as Moments become the main talk show.

Moments will be broadcast in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. Lerato Kganyago and Pearl Thusi will only be seen in South Africa as would have been Bonang Matheba.

Earlier reports erroneously reported that Bonang Matheba would have been seen continentally on EbonyLife TV but it's not true.

Each of the four countries get their own local talk show presenters for the Moments' spin-off, with Wanjira Longaue and Amina Abdi presenting Moments in Kenya, Berla Mundi and Ama K. Abebrese presenting the version in Ghana and Bolanle Olukanni, Toke Makinwa and Michelle Dede the talk show trio of Moments in Nigeria.

Each of the spin-off's versions will also have its own guests.

"We are excited to see the Moments with Mo brand expand across the continent of Africa," says Mo Abudu.

"The purpose behind the creation of Moments is not only to connect more with audiences across the continent as well as offer a much wider and more divergent platform for truly pan African conversations, it is also calculated to be an exponential brand extension strategy targeted at delivering greater brand visibility and larger market shares," says Mo Abudu.

"With nine beautiful, intelligent and stylish presenters spread across four African countries, Moments is set to capture an even wider audience by connecting Africa like never before," says Damilola Amele, the series producer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MultiChoice adds new M-Net supplied channel Zambezi Magic from 1 July as a new Southern Africa channel; won't be available in South Africa.

Tomorrow at 20:00 MultiChoice will launch a new channel, Zambezi Magic (DStv 160) on DStv for viewers in Southern Africa outside of South Afric.

Zambezi Magic will give DStv viewers access to South Africa's popular soaps from the SABC ranging from SABC1's Generations and SABC3's Isidingo to SABC2's Muvhango, as well as other curated content from the SABC's archives as well as from the M-Net and Mzansi Magic shelves.

Zambesi Magic, a channel run and managed by M-Net for MultiChoice's DStv, aims to become a showcase of "quality programming from the southern tip of Africa" and a catalyst for the production of new regionalised content from this region.

By showing the SABC soaps, Zambezi Magic will also try and curb the growing and lucrative black market in pirate copies of shows smuggled daily and weekly across South Africa's borders to neighbouring countries where viewers who can't watch these daily melodramas on TV pay for DVDs with burnt episodes.

Zambezi Magic will not however show the most recent episodes of these SABC soaps - the new channel which will not be accessible to DStv subscribers in South Africa will show the soaps starting from previous seasons.

Zambezi Magic will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus subscribers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and Swaziland.

"Zambezi Magic will offer the most sought-after archive content that has so far not been available outside of South Africa," says Addiel Dzinoreva, the head of the Zambezi Magic channel.

"The channel will also build regional entertainment brands by showcasing entertainment productions from the various Southern African countries," says Addiel Dzinoreva.

Besides the SABC soaps, and as part of MultiChoice's deal with the SABC for exclusive rights to archive content from the public broadcaster, Zambezi Magic acquired a large number of SABC shows for its channel line-up.

In addition to the SABC soaps, Zambezi Magic will also broadcast other SABC fare, including youth dramas like SABC1's Zone 14Intersexions and Yizo-Yizo dealing with issues like HIV/Aids, as well as Khumbul'ekhaya, City Ses'La and SABC2 sitcom Stokvel.

M-Net and Mzansi Magic's Jacob's Cross and Cooking with Siba with Siba Mtongana, reality show Our Perfect Wedding, comedies like The Coconuts, Skwizas and Kota Life Crisis and It's For Life are also on the programming line-up for Zambezi Magic as part of repurposed TV fare, along with lifestyle shows like Goal Diggerz and Forever Young.

Zambezi Magic will broadcast the new Lusaka based lifestyle magazine show The Kool Roc Show and the channel says going forward many more local shows from other Southern African countries will be added to the channel.

"Our ultimate goal is to be the go-to channel for quality Southern African produced shows and to provide viewers with a channel they can trust to bring local stories made in their own backyards," says Addiel Dzinoreva.

"The launch of Zambezi Magic to the DStv platform is a significant one for us because this is proof that we listen to our viewers' requests for content that is closer to home," says Tim Jacobs, MultiChoice Africa CEO.

"Adding a channel that includes local productions also strengthens our association with the burgeoning entertainment industry in Southern Africa and reinforces our role in developing and supporting African production companies," says Tim Jacobs.

CNN quietly removes its awkward and embarrassing 'exclusive' story of an ISIS flag at a Gay Pride event which actually depicted dildos and sex toys.

CNN International (DStv 401) has quietly removed the video of a story in which the TV news channel "exclusively" spotted and reported on a "ISIS flag" on Saturday in a gay pride parade in London which was actually a flag filled with sex toys.

The incident is already called "CNN’s most embarrassing flub ever". 

The video of the news report remains available on YouTube where it's racked up close to 4 million views since Saturday.

It started when CNN went into breathless reporting about how the black and white "ISIS flag" showed up at the Pride Parade in London, "exclusively" spotted by CNN International assignment editor Lucy Pawle.

Lucy Pawle said she seemed "to be the only person who had spotted this, and nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing it out".

Lucy Pawle then confirmed that a gay event organiser also knew nothing about the flag. "I also spoke to the police nearby, who weren't aware either," said Lucy Pawle of the terrible terrorism flag.

CNN then went on to cover the "terrorism" story for six and a half minutes, with CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux shocked that London authorities are not tracking and arresting the flag waver. 

CNN even quickly got in the terrorism expert Peter Bergen to comment and give perspective on what it all means.

The black and white flag was actually covered in images of various, dildos, plugs and sex toys to somewhat mimic the letters on the ISIS flag but wasn't Arabic at all.

Nobody at CNN noticed as the channel zoomed in on the flag, as well as the man waving it, and kept discussing the terrorism implications at length in its "exclusive" scoop.

BREAKING. New Afrikaans soap, Suidooster, starting on kykNET & Kie from 16 November; produced by Gambit Films.

The new Afrikaans soap opera Suidooster ("Southeaster") will start on 16 November at 20:00 on M-Net's kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) as a three day a week soap set in the Western Cape.

Suidooster is produced by Gambit Films.

Suidooster on kykNET's second tiered channel, will be that channel's first soap opera following kykNET's (SDtv 144) Binnelanders and cancelled Villa Rosa, and will revolve around and primarily be aimed at the coloured community.

kykNET put out a commissioning brief for the new soap exactly a year ago.

Gambit Films last year produced the Ons Stories ("Our Stories") documentary series for kykNET & Kie and Homebrew Films, also based in Cape Town, played a mentoring role the past few years to help Gambit Films.

kykNET says it wants to "create more employment opportunities in the television and entertainment industry in South Africa" and that Suidooster is an example of M-Net's commitment to the transformation of the South African TV industry, "promoting and supporting producers from previously disadvantaged communities".

Karen Meiring, M-Net's director for Afrikaans channels, says Suidooster will be a "compelling" soap opera. "Even though the show calls the Western Cape home,  its storylines are universal - we look forward to sharing this story with Afrikaans viewers throughout South Africa."

"We're determined to deliver on the confidence that M-Net has placed in us," says Travis Taute, Gambit Films director about producing Suidooster. "We're focused on ensuring that Suidooster becomes must-watch Afrikaans TV entertainment."

Monday, June 29, 2015

BREAKING. Naspers' MultiChoice lifts satellite pay-TV subscriber base to almost 8 million DStv subscribers; pay-TV growth 'remains robust'.

Naspers' MultiChoice, though its pay-TV platform DStv and ancillary assets and divisions M-Net and SuperSport, generated annual revenues of R42,4 billion - 17% more than a year ago and is touching 8 the number of almost 8 million DStv subscribers, Naspers said in a summary of its annual financial results for the year ending 31 March 2015.

For the first time in its annual results Naspers is now also referring to its pay-TV business as its "video entertainment segment".

Naspers says it is continuing with considerable investment in its pay-TV and video entertainment segment, in preparation for global online video subscription providers like Netflix which are coming, and with Netflix for instance confirming earlier this year that it will be starting its video-on-demand (VOD) service in South Africa before the end of 2016.

"The video-entertainment business made solid progress with the total base closing at some 10.2 million households across Africa," says Naspers.

"This comprises 2.2 million digital terrestrial television (DTT) subscribers and almost 8 million direct-to-home (DTH) satellite service subscribers."

MultiChoice added 727 000 satellite pay-TV subscribers across the African continent bringing the DStv subscriber base to almost 8 million, with Naspers saying that "subscriber growth across the African content remained robust".

DStv BoxOffice rentals, MultiChoice's video-on-demand service which is now available in 11 African countries including South Africa, now average around 600 000 monthly.

"The smartphone is becoming the primary internet device in many of our markets, and we are dedicating considerable resources to advancing our mobile products," says Naspers.

"Given ongoing delays in analogue television switch offs, we decided to invest incrementally in the second half of the year to continue to drive DTT growth, which resulted in 1.4 million African homes being added to the base, to close the year at 2.2 million subscribers,” says Naspers.

"Increased development spend, plus capital expenditure to build our DTT footprint and TV production facilities in East and West Africa, resulted in free cash outflow of R515 million (2014: outflow of R349 million).

Naspers says R2 billion was spent in South Africa on local sports as well as securing and producing other local TV content.

Naspers, which now has a digital terrestrial television (DTT) network in place across Africa and already operates DTT in 11 countreis in 114 cities across Africa, has doubled its DTT base.

"The DTT base more than doubled, closing at 2,2 million customers. Kenya is one of the first African countries to make the transition to digital as the analogue switch-off roll-out began in January 2015."

"MultiChoice is investing in its online offering, expanding its delivery platforms and improving products and services. The DStv Explora personal video recorder is a significant differentiator and became internet-connected in November 2014," says Naspers in its annual financial report.

"Our 'TV everywhere' strategy gained traction with the launch of DStv Now. Connected services allow customers access to a greater selection of entertainment on their tablet or smartphone - anywhere, anytime."

"Home movie rentals were made available to all DStv customers through BoxOffice, the video-on-demand service, which is now available in 11 African countries. Average monthly rentals tally around 600 000."

MultiChoice signed contracts with Eutelsat and Intelsat to increase its backup satellite capacity and also created a second. It also invested in a second broadcast site to ensure uninterrupted viewing — for example, to deal with inclement weather conditions at its Randburg, Johannesburg headquarters that can affect broadcasts.

ANN7 exposes massive corruption at department of home affairs in special expose 'Money Talks at Home Affairs' by Kalden Ongmu.

ANN7 (DStv 405) on Monday evening at 18:00 exposed massive corruption at South Africa's department of home affairs in a special TV expose.

The ANN7 special investigation revealed how migrants in the country are abused and taken advantage of by home affairs officials, demanding bribes ranging from R50 to hundreds of rand and even cooldrinks in return for papers and to be moved out of the slow moving, "no bribes" line at Marabastad.

ANN7 reporter Kalden Ongmu , who've been with the 24-hour TV news channel run by Infinity Media since it launched, spoke to literally hundreds of people who related to her their personal stories of bribes they've allegedly had to pay to get the right forms at the home affairs office.

Victims - a lot of them Africans from elsewhere on the continent trying to get processed to work and stay in South Africa legitimately - told and showed how they have to pay bribes to be given the rights forms and to be placed into lines that actually move, as opposed to non-moving and slow moving "no-bribes" lines.

Kalden Ongmu and a ANN7 camera team together with a decoy, recently filmed from 03:00 in the morning at home affairs, revealing bribery and corruption at every turn.

The ANN7 hidden camera captured how bribes are paid by migrants to home affairs officials and various "middlemen", with even a police officer signing a fake, false affidavit.

ANN7's expose revealed the faces of the alleged bribe takers, and how the corrupt process happens in which migrants are fleeced with thousands of rand.

South Africa's department of home affairs issues permits for foreigners, and the Marabastad office deals with asylum seekers.

Kalden Ongmu's expose was similar to a shocking recent Carte Blanche investigation on M-Net (DStv 101) showing how corrupt court officials are bribed and paid off to make police dockets and court documents "disappear" by removing and smuggling them out of court in exchange for thousands of rand.

"I will put you inside. You have to pay R500. You don't need to go into the line," the ANN7 spy cam shows one of the corrupt middlemen say to the ANN7 decoy, going through the painful bribery process to get the right forms and get inside the Marabastad building of home affairs. "Lauguage for home affairs is money."

Mkuseli Apleni, the director-general of the department of home affairs, was in ANN7's studios in Midrand admitting that "there are challenges of corruption" at the department of home affairs but "those challenges of corruption are not only at home affairs; they are across".

"The department of home affairs is not only about Marabastad. There are areas where we are doing the work. That picture is now painting as if home affairs in entirety is corrupt."

"Inside there is somebody who is colluding with those people outside," said Mkuseli Apleni.

Mkuseli Apleni said an "appointment system" will now be implemented at Marabastad so that "if you've got an appointment system then you kill that issue that is happening there".

BREAKING. FOX Movies channel and its time-shifted channel FOX Movies+2 removed from On Digital Media's StarSat.

FOX Movies and its time-shifted channel FOX Movies+2 from FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) are the latest TV channels getting dumped from On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA's satellite pay-TV platform.

FOX Movies and FOX Movies+2 were added to StarSat just a year ago, in June 2014.

FOX Movies and FOX Movies+2 will be gone within days - apparently getting dropped by 5 July from StarSat.

No word on it from StarSat yet, which says a press release about it is on the way.

So far also no word from FOX International Channels Africa.

FIC Africa provides channels such as FOX, FX, FOX Crime, FUEL, BabyTV, Setanta Africa, Setanta Action and Nat Geo Gold to StarSat.

More news and this story will update as StarSat and FIC Africa respond to media enquiries with press statements.

UPDATE 12:40 Monday 29 June - FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) confirms FOX Movies is gone from StarSat from 5 July.

FIC Africa tells TV with Thinus that the axed FOX Movies (which was added just a year ago to StarSat) will be gone by 5 July.

"It is in keeping with the company's global strategy to have a strong reference brand - FOX - ready for a future with multiple choices".

UPDATE 16:20 Monday 29 June - StarSat is issuing a press statement regarding the shuttering of FOX Movies saying FOX International Channels is to blame for the loss of the channel, and that StarSat regrets the loss of the channel.

"StarSat has been informed that as from 6 July 2015, FOX Movies will no longer feature on the StarSat platform. The decision to close down the channel was made by the supplier."

"In the world of pay-TV, the adding and removing of channels is part of the industry," says Ian Woodrow, the head of content at StarSat.

"We regret the removal of FOX Movies, but we are constantly looking at new channels and programmes to add to our various packages."

"We remain committed to bringing high quality and affordable content to our valued subscribers," says Ian Woodrow.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

WOW. Wowtv finally seems ready to start a pay-TV service in South Africa; wants to launch with 19 TV channels and 8 radio channels.

Another so far dormant pay-TV broadcaster, WoWtv which got a pay-TV licence in 2007 is finally ready to start its commercial pay-TV service in South Africa and wants to launch, offering 19 TV channels and 8 radio stations.

Walking on Water Television (WoWtv) was granted a licence in September 2007 to start a subscription TV service.

WoWtv got a pay-TV licence together with Super 5 Media (then called Telkom Media) which has since tanked and closed down without doing anything; On Digital Media (ODM) which launched the struggling TopTV - now StarSat - in May 2010 and remains in business rescue; and e.Sat which decided against starting a pay-TV platform but rather creating TV channels like the eNCA (DStv 403) TV news channel for MultiChoice's DStv.

With South Africa's broadcasting regulator last year granting new provisional pay-TV licences to Siyaya TV, Close-T Broadcasting Network Holdings, Mindset Media Enterprises, Mobile TV and Kagiso TV in a new round of pay-TV applications, it now seems as if the urgency to actually start pay-TV services is getting bigger.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa recently warned that companies who had received licences for communications services but who are not using them or the spectrum will now start running the risk of losing these licences.

That, coupled with the roll-out of subscription video-on-demand (VOD) TV services from Altech's Node to Times Media's VUZU, MTN's FrontRow and Netflix which will be in South Africa before the end of next year, seems to have given new urgency to those with pay-TV licences to sew up and secure the broadcasting rights of whatever programming are still available and to start services as soon as possible.

WoWtv has now filed its Application for Authorisation of Channels. The term is the usually uneventful process all pay-TV operators undergo when they want to add TV and radio channels to their services.

The usual non-descript, mostly administrative process often goes off without a hitch, although it sometimes stir massive controversy like when ODM twice approached Icasa to start hardcore pornographic TV channels which were okayed during the second application but finally shut down at the beginning of this year.

WoWtv applied to start a "family-friendly" and multichannel pay-TV service to broadcast "only 100% Godly television content and entertainment".

WoWtv says it wants to operate "in the mainline television broadcasting industry" through "divinely inspired television programmes and genres that are designed to be relevant in today's world of entertainment".

WoWtv has applied for mostly German TV channels. The 19 TV channels Wowtv wants to authorisation for include RTL Television, RTL2, SAT.1, ProSieben, Kabeleins, VOX, Puis 4 Austria, ProSieben MAXX, DW-TV 24 German, Sixx, Super RTL, Jukebox, n-tv, FOX Sports, Euronews, Auto Motor, Fix und Foxi TV, N24 and Satelio Info & Event.

All the radio channels WoWtv wants to add are from Germany and in German, except one from Namibia, Hitradio Namibia which also broadcasts in the German language.

Subscribers will have to buy a WoWtv decoder costing R675, as well as a smartcard of R110. Then there's the dish of around R400 and a once-off installation cost of around R450.

People have two weeks to comment at Icasa on WoWtv's channels authorisation application.

BREAKING. MTV unveils its latest big brand reinvention; will now broadcast viewers' uploaded social media videos on TV through #MTVbump.

You're reading it here first.

From today MTV (DStv 130) will show people's clips and short videos on television when they use the hashtag #MTVbump as the international youth platform changes from "I want my MTV" to "I am my MTV" in its latest big brand reinvention.

The Viacom International Media Networks channel will connect its linear broadcast system to the internet to showcase social media videos on MTV in real time, saying it wants to "celebrate our audience and their talent" by spotlighting their social media videos between programming on-air and across all platforms.

From now on viewers' social media videos will be shown on MTV on television in more than 160 countries between programming as the youth brand opens itself up further to young people through showcasing user video content to audiences worldwide.

Using #MTVbump, viewers will be able to let MTV know they want to share their video on television. MTV then selects the best videos and broadcast them - from fun and crazy videos to pranks.

MTV says its promos will also take on a new look and feel and will be shorter, louder and hyper-visual as MTV experiments with narrative structures and visual storytelling.

Later in the year MTV will also be introducing MTV Canvass - a digital "sticker book" that will help viewers to create and share original MTV art, backdrops, celebrities, music and art work.

"MTV has always been committed to reinvention and it's time to shed our skin and reinvent again," says Kelly Taylor, the senior vice president for youth and music for Viacom International Media Networks and chief marketing officer of Viacom UK.

"Our audience expects MTV to push boundaries and take creative risks, and we truly believe that with this rebrand MTV's international channels will look like nothing else".

MTV is working with B-Reel Creative to connect the internet to the network's linear broadcast system, making it possible for social media videos on Instagram or Vines shared on Twitter with #MTVbump to be shown on-air within two hours.

MTV will curate the user content and filter it for relevance, pop culture topicality or number of fans and then play it out on-air and across MTV's platforms.

Users can also submit videos at, where the videos which were broadcast around the world will also be shown.

Some artists and social media talent like Grumpy Cat, Rixton, Shawn Mendes and Martin Garrix already did some special creations.

"No-one is bringing user generated content to air this quickly on a global scale," says Kelly Taylor. "#MTVbump lets us be incredibly topical, fast and localised - which is critical."

MTV is also adding a series of new Art Breaks which will spotlight experimental video art, music and storytelling from emerging artists around the world.

Artists included in Art Breaks are Thomas de Rijk from the Netherlands, Device from Spain, Johnny Wood from LA and Katie Torn from New York, Eva Papamargariti from Greece, Brdg from Japan and The Great Nordic Swordfights from LA.

MTV says videos from new artists will be added on an ongoing basis.