Tuesday, September 2, 2014

EbonyLife TV channel extends its reach to South Africa and Southern Africa on DStv from 10 September.

MultiChoice is making EbonyLife TV (DStv 165) available to DStv subscribers in South Africa and Southern Africa from 10 September, just over a year after the black entertainment and lifestyle TV channel launched on 1 July 2013 on DStv in West, East and Central Africa.

At the time MultiChoice said there's no plans to launch EbonyLife TV in South Africa, although insiders said EbonyLifeTV would launch by the end of 2013 in South Africa, but it took a year longer.

"We're extremely excited about EbonyLife TV's extension into the Southern African and South African markets, barely a year after our launch," says Mo Abudu, the executive chairperson and CEO of EbonyLife TV in a statement.

 "This expansion is due to our success in the rest of Africa. We're proud of the fact that we are 100% homegrown," says Mo Abudu.

Monday, September 1, 2014

M-Net's Big Brother Africa Hotshots scandal grows as Rwanda and Sierra Leone follow Ghana and are also dumped from the show.

The scandal around M-Net's latest upcoming season of Big Brother Africa set to start on Sunday on MultiChoice's DStv is growing with Rwanda and Sierra Leone contestants now also dumped from the house, following the decision to dump the originally selected contestants from Ghana.

The 9th season of Big Brother Africa, entitled Big Brother Hotshots and produced by Endemol South Africa from Johannesburg in South Africa, is now also eliminating the selected contestants from Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

It raises questions about whether, and how much, the supposedly pan-African reality format voyeur show is really going to be representative of the continent and the countries where contestants were originally allowed, and asked, to enter from.

Big Brother Hotshots is set to start on Sunday 7 September at 19:00 for 91 days with highlight shows which will be broadcast on AfricaMagic Showcase (DStv 150) as well as running for 24 hours per day on MultiChoice's  DStv 197 and DStv 198 channels.

Endemol South Africa and pay-TV broadcaster M-Net last month dumped the originally selected contestants from Ghana, launching a frantic search for people from Ghana already in South Africa to rather include.

Now Rwanda and Sierra Leone's originally selected contestants are also out of the house just days before the reality show is set to start.

The South African government's dramatic and negative change in visa regulations is to blame, now majorly impacting on South Africa's TV and film industry.

Already the confusing new visa regulations impacted on Homeland, the international and award-winning series currently filming some of its 4th season in Cape Town South Africa and which saw production and filming delayed. Homeland will film until November but would have been done sooner.

M-Net's AfricaMagic's Big Brother Africa has become the first and biggest casualty of the non-sensical new visa regulations, impacting not just the production and production values of the show but directly impacting what viewers - not just in South Africa but across the African continent - gets to see (or rather not see) on their TV screens.

Endemol South Africa and M-Net says in a statement it can "confirm that Sierra Leone and Rwanda will no longer form part of the countries participating" in Big Brother Africa Hotshots.

"Unfortunately, due to schedules and logistical constraints there was insufficient time to follow the necessary procedures in order to process the required travel documentation which has recently become a more complex procedure," says Endemol SA and M-Net without mentioning by name South Africa's sudden visa regulations changes.

"M-Net and Endemol SA wish to extend their gratitude to all those individuals, organizations and parties which assisted in working to secure the inclusion of housemates from both countries".

"Whilst it is not possible to include housemates from both countries in this season, M-Net and Endemol South Africa are confident that they are able to improve the process in order to successfully incorporate housemates from both countries if there are future editions of the series".

Sky News adds beautiful looking new primetime news show, Sky News Tonight, anchored by Adam Boulton and Sarah Hewson.

Sky News (DStv 402) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform today added a brand-new primetime news show, Sky News Tonight, with simply beautiful looking graphics and which will from 1 September broadcast between 20:00 and 22:00 with Adam Boulton and Sarah Hewson as the anchors.

Besides Sky News, CNN International (DStv 401) and eNCA (DStv 403) also made big changes today, with CNN International changing its on-air graphics to reflect that of CNN in America, and eNCA also changing its on air-graphics, logo and look.

Sky News Tonight on Sky News has a distinct blue look with beautiful, clean and clear translucent graphics.

Sky News Tonight promises to bring "the best of Sky News' journalism with interviews with major guests, studio debate, analysis and a pioneering social media cross-over".

The social media component was instantly felt but didn't overpower the show, making it possible for viewers to interact with the show.

Sky News' social affairs editor Afua Hirsch will now bring a brand new, forensic analysis of the day's major national and international news using new technology, data journalism and cutting-edge digital media tools.

"Sky News Tonight will not only showcase the best of  the channel’s journalism but also offer a platform to delve further into the stories of the day incorporating digital components to better illustrate and explain," says John Ryley, the head of Sky News.

"This will be a high production show determined by a serious news agenda".

CNN International changes its on-air look and graphics to now fit how the CNN domestic TV channel in America looks to viewers.

CNN International (DStv 401) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform changed the international 24-hour TV news channel's on-air look and graphics today to now reflect the look of CNN (domestic) in the United States of white, black and red.

Besides Turner Broadcasting's CNN International, Sky News (DStv 402) and eNCA (DStv 403) also made big changes today, with Sky News adding the brand-new Sky News Tonight as a new primetime evening newscast between 20:00 and 22:00, and eNCA also changing its on air-graphics, logo and look.

On CNN International the image of the Earth is now gone from CNN's logo which is just the white CNN letters in a red block.

It now makes it more seamless for South African viewers - and those watching in the rest of the world - when CNN suddenly drops its international coverage and switches to coverage from the United States - which usually happens when there is a live shooting in progress, public unrest or some sort or an American domestic terror attack.

The changes on CNN International had been expected - the past month and a half saw numerous unannounced on-air changes as the schedule changed, programmes changed, and as CNN International cut a lot of the previous anchoring done from the rest of the world and Hong Kong and centralised much of it to New York.

FIRST LOOK. How e.tv's eNews Prime Time will look from this evening as the channel's flagship TV news bulletin gets a new look makeover.

You're seeing it here first.

Here's your first glimpse at the new logo and look of e.tv's eNews Prime Time which will come into effect and be used for the first time this evening at 19:00 on e.tv as eNCA (DStv 403) and eNews Prime Time adopt new on-air imaging today.

eNCA is implementing a redesigned corporate look and on-air imaging from today and that includes e.tv's daily flagship TV news bulletin, eNews Prime Time.

The NON TV trash story of the day: Grazia SA has Brad and Angie heading for a breakup (meanwhile they just got married).

The largely lamentable entertainment trash "reporting" (if you can call it "reporting") from South Africa's entertainment media remains as dismal as its saddening. 

Take Kerrie Simon-Lawrence's Grazia SA for instance of which the new 3 September issue has Angelina Jolie on the cover screams: "Shock! Brad tells Ange: I don't love you anymore."

Meanwhile Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie just got married while the staff of the magazine from the "slut shaming" scandal of earlier this year were working on this cover story.

Did I forget to mention that the "source" for the Grazia SA cover story is allegedly Brad Pitt's former psychic, with Grazia SA using sources like the often dubious Daily Mail and National Enquirer as sources?

"Could Hollywood's strongest pair be on the verge of heading to Splitsville" is what the article speculates in the latest issue. 

Uhm, no. They just got married while Grazia SA signed off those pages. 

Is there reason why a lot of the entertainment news coverage in South Africa is never trusted, because it's so bad? When will the madness stop?

Whenever there's incorrect reporting regarding economics, politics, sport or other hard news current affairs, publications and broadcasters feel compelled and are pressured to do retractions and run corrections. With entertainment news? Never.

Why if tabloids and others run a Bang Showbiz story of "Kim's little North makes a poopy" and it turns out to not be true, is there no correction, no apology and no pressure to be more accurate?

South Africa's entertainment reporters, journalists and publications I feel are the reason the news segment is largely regarded as fluff and the news circumspect.

Where is the real news, the honest reporting, the insightful and comprehensive reporting? Just because its "entertainment news" doesn't mean the news values of accuracy, fact-based reporting, and real and credible sources shouldn't apply. 

It's tiring to constantly see an avalanche of fake frivolous news that's not just dished up for consumption, but never even corrected. 

Stop the National Enquirer and Bang Showbiz stories, pick up the phone and call real people, more than one, and lets report the actual news and the facts to help people make better and more correctly informed decisions.

SCANDALMARVELLOUS: e.tv adds Scandal! weekend omnibus (yay!), but sadly dumps Rhythm City weekend omnibus (nay!).

e.tv giveth and e.tv taketh away: The red letter South African broadcaster is finally granting one of South African viewers' wishes, but like any fairy tale there's also a bit of a price to pay - a Scandal! omnibus is finally being added to the e.tv schedule on weekends but e.tv is dropping the omnibus of its other soap, Rhythm City to make space for it.

First the good: After pleading for literally years, South African viewers will now get a Scandal! omnibus on e.tv from this Satyrday, 6 September at 09:30, repeating all of this week's episodes, and doing so henceforth every Saturday.

The bad news? That used to be the omnibus timeslot for the weekend repeats of Rhythm City, which means that the Rhythm City omnibus is being dumped from e.tv.

It's not clear how this decision is going to be going down with viewers. Yes, the Scandal! weekend omnibus is hugely welcome, hugely appreciated, and will be hugely liked and is a major step forward for e.tv. It's just sad that it has to be done at the cost of the Rhythm City omnibus.

A clever e.tv would find a way to accomodate both a Rhythm City omnibus over weekends, as well as a Scandal! omnibus over weekends - perhaps showing the one soap's episodes on a Saturday and the other soap's omnibus episodes on a Sunday.

What is now happening, is that the Rhythm City omnibus will be moving to the eKasi+ (OVHD 105) channel on OpenView HD - although viewers without the OpenView HD satellite service won't be able to see it anymore.

"We've received a huge response from viewers requesting a Scandal! omnibus and have decided to introduce this to our weekend morning line-up," e.tv tells TV with Thinus.

I asked why it hasn't been possible for e.tv to have a separate omnibus of both Rhythm City episodes and Scandal! episodes on e.tv sometime during Saturdays and Sundays.

"Rhythm City fans can still enjoy the premiere episodes in the 18:30 weekday slot as well as the repeats at 09:00 on weekdays," says e.tv.

"The move is simply a lack of availability of suitable slots for an omnibus on e.tv. Viewers can catch the Rhythm City omnibus at 09:00 every Sunday from 7 September on our eKasi+ channel through OVHD. The audience is consuming content across various platforms at different time and we have to constantly monitor audience needs and flow," the channel tells me.                                                                                                                                                

BREAKING. MTV on DStv adds The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon from 24 September; new episodes to be shown quickly after America.

The American late night talk show, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, is coming to MTV (DStv 130), with episodes which will be shown very quickly and follow closely on the heels of being broadcast in the United States.

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) secured the broadcasting rights for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and will start the show with new episodes on 24 September at 18:00 on weekdays.

CNBC Africa (DStv 410) which used to show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for years, quietly got rid of and dumped the late night talker in February this year. Viewers of the show and fans of Jimmy Fallon will now switch DStv channels and tune to MTV.

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on MTV in South Africa will show episodes from the new second season just 36 hours after it's shown in the United States on NBC, but from 8 September.

As a lead in to the new regular programming strand, MTV will show "classic" episodes from the first season, also at 18:00 on weekdays, to give African viewers on DStv a feel of the show.

From 8 September until 24 September viewers will be able to watch the big-buzz episodes from the first season with guests like Michelle Obama, Halle Berry and Will Smith who've already dropped by.

BREAKING. M-Net adds new Batman origin story, Gotham; high-buzz drama will show in South Africa just hours after America.

It's the bat signal, people! M-Net which has the broadcasting rights to Gotham is adding the new Batman origin story to the schedule as an "express" title, with Gotham that will start on M-Net on Tuesday 23 September at 01:00.

Gotham will be shown after the early 01:00 showing, in its regular timeslot of Tuesdays at 20:30 (from 30 September).

Gotham will debut in America on 22 September on FOX and M-Net will show it in high definition literally only hours later on 23 September.

Gotham will be like Smallville, chronicling the teen years of Bruce Wayne in the years after his parents' death and before he becomes Batman - as well as all the to be "evil" - now just ambivalent - personalities who will become the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and the rest of the tormentors of Gotham City.

Ben MacKenzie is the very young and idealistic detective James Gordon who in later years will help Batman - and will now be helping Bruce Wayne to try and solve the murder of his parents and becomes a type of a surrogate dad.

David Mazouz is our new Tom Welling type - he will portray the young Batman, or Bruce Wayne.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Deen TV starts Deen TV News tonight at 19:00 as the channel adds its first-ever primetime TV news bulletin slot to the schedule.

Deen TV (StarSat  355 / OVHD 152) is suddenly starting TV news with the growing South African lifestyle TV channel with an Islamic ethos starting a primetime TV news bulletin, Deen TV News, from tonight at 19:00 with news anchor Danyal Zaal (left).

Deen TV News will provide world news and cover breaking stories during the primetime TV segment.

Faizal Sayed, CEO of Deen TV who is also the host of his own TV talk show on the channel, says the primetime TV news is in response for the demand for current affairs information from viewers.

"Deen TV tested the readership response from the website and feels that viewers are now expecting to see the news," says Faizal Sayed. "It falls in line with my global picture and news is a global matter".

"One of the the big focuses of Deen TV News is to educate and uplift people through the news and other segments". It's envisioned that in future Deen TV News could become its own 24-hour TV news channel as the channel's news operations and newsroom grows.

"I look forward to growing with Deen TV News and gaining the interest of the world through spreading global awareness of breaking news and its coverage," says Danyal Zaal.

"I believe the unique element of community notices within the news bulletin will be well-received by the public and we urge people to submit their points of interest for consideration," says Hassim Jogee, the KwaZulu-Natal regional director of Deen TV.

"This fresh, new approach will supply viewers with international, local and community news," says Hassim Jogee.

Vidi from Times Media to launch in September in South Africa as a brand-new video-on-demand (VOD) service to compete with DStv.

Vidi from the Times Media Group (TMG) will be launched in September in South Africa as a brand-new video-on-demand (VOD) service that will compete with MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice to provide TV shows and films to South African consumers as a commercial service.

Similar to MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice which currently charges R27, Vidi will also make use of the window between cinema showings and movies being distributed for DVD rentals.

The Afrikaans movie, Die Windpomp, will for instance be released on Vidi and DStv BoxOffice on 12 September.

Times Media Group owns TV channels like BusinessDay TV (and newspapers like Business Day, The Sunday Times and The Sowetan) and Nu Metro Cinemas.

Vidi's pricing plan and details for the on-demand video service will be revealed by Times Media on 10 September in Johannesburg. Vidi is of course Latin for "I saw".

Vidi will be an online service only, similar to DStv BoxOffice Online. Customers who will be paying per rental, will have to stream the rented video content to their computer or tablet.

With Africa's growing Ebola outbreak spreading, comes concern over the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards planned for Tanzania.

With the outbreak of the deadly Ebola diseas in Africa's growing and accelerating, comes concern over the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2014 planned to take place in Tanzania.

To be clear: There's been no reported and confirmed cases of Ebola in Tanzania; there's been no international travel restrictions placed on visiting or leaving Tanzania, and there's no fear about travelling to Tanzania.

Health authorities in Africa and internationally are however advising caution regarding international travel in and to Africa generally with travel advisories which had been issued.

What has however been happening is that confirmed cases of Ebola, the latest outbreak of which started in West Africa, have been inching closer and closer to the East Africa country of Tanzania and others.

Confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - which is now only one country (Burundi) removed from Tanzania.

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards which alternates bi-annually between South Africa and another African country, is supposed to be taking place in Tanzania on Saturday 18 October in Dar Es Salaam.

Whether Africa's most prestigious competition rewarding excellence in journalism on the continent will continue if Ebola spreads to Tanzania is not clear, nor whether the organisers have started looking at an alternative country, or would perhaps hold it in South Africa again where its logistically easiest to mount the awards show production and the education conference.

On Thursday the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is actually accelerating and that more than 3 000 people have now been infected. The WHO said that 20 000 people might become ill before this Ebola outbreak subsides.

MultiChoice and CNN International both tell TV with Thinus the pan-African satellite pay-TV platform and the international TV news channel are "monitoring the situation so as to ensure plans are adopted effectively".

Nicole Scherzinger coming to South Africa to perform at ANN7's inaugural South African of the Year Awards on 6 September.

Nicole Scherzinger will be heading to South Africa to perform at ANN7's inaugural South African of the Year Awards (SATY's).

The singer and TV personality will jet to South Africa to join South African artists like Lira, Mafikizolo, Zahara, MiCASA and Junior Mambazo who will all entertain an elite roster of guests as the 24-hour TV news channel announce the winners in various categories.

The South African 24-hour TV news channel run by Infinity Media on MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV platform, just turned one year old this month.

ANN7 (DStv 405) improved its ANN7 Prime flagship nightly news programme during primetime, did away with weather girls doing the weather reports and added the South African of the Year Awards campaign which lured over 500 000 votes.

The SATY's will take place on 6 September in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre, which the news channel plans to be a celebration of extraordinary South Africans which South Africans had the chance to vote for.

Winners will be announced in categories like trendsetting celebrity of the year, sportsperson of the year, business person of the year, young South African of the year and South African of the year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

kykNET on DStv adds brand-new actuality timeslot with new programming strands and presenters every weeknight from 6 October.

You're reading it here first.

M-Net's Afrikaans language TV channel kykNET (DStv 144) is adding a brand-new late-night actuality timeslot with new programmes and presenters as a fixed new programming strand which will run on every weeknight from Monday 6 October.

From Monday 6 October viewers will be able to tune in for new actuality and magazine shows like Insig with Waldimar Pelser who is the editor of the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport; while kykNET is reviving one of its first local actuality shows, the longrunning studio talk show Prontuit and is even bringing back the original presenter Mariëtta Kruger.

The new kykNET actuality timeslot is in response to viewers demanding less repeats and more regularly updated magazine and actuality programming which changes more often than other serialised and heavily repeated shows.

The new weekday actuality slot on kykNET will feature various programmes ranging from politics and economic issues to business, culture, the arts, fashion and even satire.

The increase in new Afrikaans programming on kykNET comes at the same time that the SABC moved the bulk of Afrikaans programming permanently from SABC2 to SABC3, the public broadcaster's TV channel with the smallest footprint, making several Afrikaans TV shows less accessible to millions of terrestrial TV viewers in South Africa.

In July the SABC lied and said the move of the Afrikaans TV news bulletin from SABC2 to SABC3 as well as programming was only temporary, although it had already been planned as a permanent move.

The SABC also ordered the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan on SABC2 to reduced the amount of Afrikaans.

Besides Waldimar Pelser, Yvonne Beyers and Mariëtta Kruger kykNET viewers will also see iconic South African soap star Shaleen Surtie-Richards becoming a TV presenter, as well as Jody Abrahams, Bouwer Bosch, Santie Botha, Kabous Meiring, Kim Cloete, Divan Botha, Fanie Cronjé, Francois Toerien and Melt Sieberhagen fronting shows from October in the actuality timeslot.

"At kykNET, we continuously strive to improve and renew our schedule," says Karen Meiring, M-Net's director of Afrikaans channels.

"Our viewers' need for more relevant actuality programming was the reason behind the decision to make our available late night slots more actuality-driven, instead of repeating programmes".

"We not only want to inform and entertain, but also expand on everyday issues to stimulate conversation. This is a major move to something fresh and highly exciting – a brand new late night lineup that'll get tongues wagging on screen and across all social and other media".

Technical issues sees kykNET on DStv repeat Villa Rosa and Kwêla on Wednesday evening instead of showing new episodes.

Viewers were upset on Wednesday evening when kykNET (DStv 144) repeated the previous day's episode of the Afrikaans language soap Villa Rosa, as well as the previous week's episode of the Afrikaans magazine show Kwêla.

kykNET told TV with Thinus on Thursday it was due to "technical problems".

kykNET said that the proper episode of Kwêla would be played out during the repeat broadcast timeslots on Friday at 10:00 and 00:00, Saturday at 18:00, Sunday at 13:00 and Monday at 08:30.

"We apologise to viewers for the inconvenience and continue to endeavour to ensure the faultless playout of shows," says the channel.