Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BREAKING. SABC and SABC2 fined R10 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa over 'sex in the alleyway'.

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The beleaguered SABC and its SABC2 TV channel has been fined R10 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for showing a sex scene in an alleyway at 19:30 during early primetime with no warning to viewers.

The BCCSA received complaints from viewers over the Afrikaans drama Swartwater on SABC2 which started with a recap at the beginning of an episode on 29 April showing "a sex scene where a man and woman were having sex in an alleyway".

"My four year old grandson wanted to know what they were doing. This is at 19:30," wrote one complainant.

"The act was totally open and disgusting for children and teens watching at the time," wrote another complainant.

The SABC admitted to the BCCSA that there was no warning at the beginning of the Swartwater episode and said the episode was "not deemed to have required ad advisory" although the BCCSA disagreed.

The SABC said "we understand the complainants' concerns and steps have been taken to ensure stricter use of advisories in situations like this and apologise for any offense caused".

The SABC has since moved Swartwater, along with the bulk of Afrikaans TV programming to SABC3, its TV channel which has the smallest footprint.

This has placed the Afrikaans drama slot, along with other programming like the SABC's only Afrikaans TV news bulletin, current affairs like Fokus, and other shows out of reach of millions of South African terrestrial television viewers.

Swartwater was moved to a timeslot of 21:30 where viewers have been unable to find it, leading to numerous complaints from irate viewers.

The BCCSA said SABC2 contravened the Broadcasting Code of Conduct by not showing a warning.

"We have a duty to give priority to the protection of children and the right of parents and caregivers to at least plan sex education at home in a manner that they deem fit," said the BCCSA in its finding and that "the parents had good reason to complain" about the SABC.

The SABC has to pay a fine of R10 000 before 31 August.

Lifetime launches on MultiChoice's DStv: 'We believe there's a real gap in the market for Lifetime, a female centric entertainment channel'.

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Lifetime (DStv 131) launched on Tuesday evening on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa and across the rest of Africa, upping the competition for female viewers and increasing the choices when it comes to drama, made-for-TV movies, scripted reality shows and factual entertainment programming.

Lifetime enters a TV channel field fast getting crowded.

The new channel from A+E Network UK will compete for DStv Premium bouquet viewers' attention along with channels like Discovery Networks International's TLC Entertainment and ID: Investigation Discovery, Universal Networks' E! Entertainment and even SABC3 undergoing a schedule and content revamp.

A+E Networks UK - a joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB - already delivered the History and Crime+Investigation channels to DStv and the female focused channel now hopes to attract eyeballs to its mix of melodrama movies, spicy new reality shows like Dance Moms and Shahs of Sunset and dramas like Suits and Orphan Black.

A+E Networks UK plans on launching ad sales on Lifetime from October this year.

Lifetime will be investing in local reality television production in South Africa to beef up the channel's schedule from 2015, and is also looking to appoint local staff to help in the operational side of the channel as South Africa and the rest of the African continent's pay-TV market continues to sizzle with rapid expansion driven by ongoing strong subscriber growth.

Lifetime launched on Tuesday evening at the same time as a media launch event for the channel took place at Shine Studios in Braamfontein.

"Our vision is to be the fastest-growing television portfolio in each of our markets and the launch of Lifetime brings us one step closer to achieving that vision here in Africa," Tom Davidson (above), the managing director of A+E Networks UK told TV executives, TV critics and journalists, advertising executives and ad buyers Tuesday evening.

In a statement Tom Davidson added that "the launch of Lifetime in Africa is exciting for us and marks a key moment in our continuing investment in this market," saying that he's "confident that Lifetime will appeal to African audiences".

Mark Rayner (above), the chief operating officer (COO) of MultiChoice South Africa said at the launch event that Lifetime will bring content to DStv's female audiences "that will inspire with a winning formula of quality scripted dramas, Lifetime Original Movies and factual entertainment shows".

"We believe there's a real gap in the South African market for Lifetime, a female centric entertainment channel that offers a variety of original content," said Mark Rayner.

"We're confident that the powerful stories told on Lifetime will speak to our customers, uplifting them on a daily basis".

Heather Jones (below), the vice president for programming at A+E Networks UK told guests at the Lifetime launch that the channel has an "amazing schedule, packed with exciting, entertaining and engaging content" for viewers.

"I'm really confident that our brand-new channel will be a big hit with DStv viewers".

"The schedule is packed with fresh, powerful stories and addictive entertainment featuring some of Hollywood's biggest stars, both in front of, and behind the camera. At launch all of our programmes are exclusive premieres in Africa," said Heather Jones.

"We will be announcing more brand-new blockbuster dramas in the coming months. We will also be bringing you a number of live music concerts which we think will be really popular here in Africa".

"We're very keen to start making local content here, which will air on Lifetime from 2015," said Heather Jones. "We're currently finalising a deal on our first big entertainment commission, so we hope to bring you more news on that in the coming weeks".

In a statement Dean Possenniskie, the managing director for A+E Networks for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region added that "in less than two years we have launched Lifetime in more than 60 countries outside the US and during 2014 we will add over 50 more".

"Lifetime brings a unique offering to DStv viewers, and we believe our new channel will play a leading role in the current African female-skewing pay-TV space."

ALSO READ: In pictures: Orange is the new black on Lifetime on DStv at the media launch of A+E Networks UK's new channel in SA and Africa.

Orange is the new black on Lifetime, as the new female focused channel from A+E Networks UK launches on MultiChoice's DStv in Africa.

Orange is the new black on Lifetime (DStv 131), the new female skewing TV channel which launched on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform on Tuesday night.

A media launch event took place at the same time as the new channel, supplied by A+E Networks UK, started its broadcast across South Africa and Africa on the DStv Premium bouquet.

A+E Networks UK, a joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB, already delivers the History and Crime+Investigation channels to DStv.

While the Lifetime channel logo is red and white, what DStv Premium subscribers will predominantly see on-screen is orange and white. Orange and white are the main colours used in the programming boards and title cards on Lifetime.

Around 250 people - TV executives, producers, advertising executives, TV critics and journalists, and ad buyers - gathered at Shine Studios in Braamfontein on Tuesday evening to await the start of Lifetime's transmission on DStv at a media launch event.

The colour theme was orange.

Guest mingled and talked shop and during the official presentation A+E Networks UK and MultiChoice executives spoke.

Afterwards A+E Networks UK did a round table panel interview with those members of the press who didn't just come to sip champagne and grab swag bags but to actually work and do interviews.

(Cringe moment: When an A+E Networks UK executive had to tell a lazy uninformed journalist after a question: "You're actually talking about our competitors".)
There was a green screen photo booth where guests took their photos and were superimposed into photos of shows like SuitsDance Moms and Orphan Black which will be shown on Lifetime.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Joan Rivers' shocking new and extremely tasteless Reeva Steenkamp joke on Fashion Police on E! Entertainment.

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The American comedienne Joan Rivers and host of the weekly acerbic Fashion Police show on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) has made her most shocking and extremely tasteless joke about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial and the killing of model Reeva Steenkamp yet.

Choosing American pop star Christina Aguilera's blonde hair with knotty cornrow braids, hair extensions and red highlights at the VH1 Music Awards as her 4th must-see look of 2000, Joan Rivers shocked in the latest episode of Fashion Police calling it "the triple crown of skank do's".

"The last time I saw a blonde with red streaks in her hair she was laying on Oscar Pistorius' bathroom floor," said Joan Rivers.

Her daughter Melissa Rivers gasped, then laughed.

It's Joan Rivers' third extremely crass Oscar Pistorius murder trial joke the past four months.

In April she critiqued a star's footwear on Fashion Police on E! Entertainment saying "I have not seen footwear this f- up since Oscar Pistorius wobbled to the witness stand".

In another episode later in April Joan Rivers called a star's outfit a bad idea that "falls in between marrying Charlie Sheen and using Oscar Pistorius' bathroom".

The murder trial of the paralympic athlete who shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day, 14 February 2013, generated massive global interest and will resume on 7 August for closing arguments.

On 9 April The Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel (DStv 199) from Combined Artistic Productions, eNCA (DStv 403) and MultiChoice made South African television history when they showed the extremely graphic and unblurred image of Reeva Steenkamp's gruesome head injuries on the DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

While The Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel kept rebroadcasting the horrific image of Reeva Steenkamp's head damage during the day, Sky News in an edited news story only used pieces of the footage, blurred the images and warning viewers beforehand.

TOLDJA! The Disney Channel in South Africa on DStv finally also changes its on-air logo after the logo changed in May in America.

The Disney Channel (DStv 303) seen in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform suddenly changed to its new logo on Monday without any prior warning or notification to the press.

The Disney Channel's brand-new logo was unveiled in May and Disney Channel for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region then told TV with Thinus that the logo would change in winter for South Africa but claimed a date for the change is not known.

The new wider Disney Channel logo is part of a redesign to help with a contemporary new look for the unified global business and to look better in the 42 places where The Disney Channel is broadcast as a high definition (HD) channel.

The Disney Channel is not broadcast in South Africa (yet) as a HD channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

Tricia Wilber, the chief marketing officer for The Walt Disney Company EMEA, couldn't be bothered to communicate or notify about the upcoming logo change of The Disney Channel for South Africa and Africa beforehand, but suddenly released a statement on Monday, saying "South African audiences will recognise some familiar scenes as the new look rolls out over the next few months".

Unlike the American press who were told, notified and shown the logo before it actually changed on-air in May in the United States, the Walt Disney Company and The Disney Channel EMEA strangely doesn't show the same respect to South Africa's media and couldn't be bothered to inform the press similarly beforehand - a weird double standard when it comes to marketing and publicity.

According to Tricia Wilber, "a series of spots" were filmed on Blouberg Strand in Cape Town "earlier this year" with South African children playing on the beach.

The rest of today's stale statement from Disney is the old drop-in quotes already used and read in May globally of Ron Pomerantz, the vice president of marketing and creative of The Disney Channel saying: "The dynamic new logo is a combination of two classic Disney icons – the distinct signature stroke of company founder Walt Disney and the three-circle shape evocative of Mickey Mouse".

"Our viewers have great affinity for two heritage elements that have long created a 'story' during our daily programming schedule - the four note music mnemonic and the beloved 'wand ID' in which our stars form our Disney Mouse ears with a wand. We are looking forward to introducing these elements in an exciting new package".

Monday, July 21, 2014

International Olympic Committee (IOC) supports creation of a global Olympic Games TV channel to broadcast all-year round.

Sixteen International Olympic Committee (IOC) leaders and sports officials over the weekend backed the plan of IOC president Thomas Bach to create an Olympic Games TV channel to run all-year round, every year.

The creation of an Olympic TV channel or Olympic Games TV channel for the years in between the Olympic Games taking place will serve the purpose of promoting the games and keeping it in people's global consciousness.

Thomas Bach convened a summit in Lausanne, Switzerland to forge the Olympic Agenda 2020 which includes the proposal for an Olympic Games TV channel to broadcast globally as a new sports channel.

According to the Associated Press the goal of the sports channel would be to showcase lesser known and shown sports, and to attract a young(er) audience to Olympic Games sports.

In a statement the IOC said that it recognises "the potential to greatly increase the presence of sports and the promotion of the Olympic values year round and worldwide" with such a new sports channel.

"The IOC will contact all the relevant stakeholders in the coming months to further develop the concept".

The IOC wants to use the National Geographic Channel as a model for its Olympic TV channel, "curating" content that could be shown constantly.

Such a channel will fill the void in-between the times when South African viewers for instance watch the Olympic Games on South Africa's public broadcaster, SABC, and on pay-TV with MultiChoice which broadcast Olympic Games coverage on the various SuperSport TV channels in the country and across the rest of the African continent.

'The SABC forsakes its role as South Africa's public broadcaster' - Die Burger editorial.

Die Burger Afrikaans newspaper on Wednesday 16 July carried this editorial opinion piece translated in full, below, regarding the SABC blatant and shocking marginalisation of Afrikaans TV programming on public television:


"The news that the SABC wants to move its Afrikaans television programmes and news bulletins to SABC3 from the current SABC2 channel - which far fewer people can access - creates understandable distress.

This beggars belief. It is not normally the case that an organisation that is being smothered by a tsunami of bad publicity chooses to exacerbate the problem.

In the past few days the SABC has been dealt two crushing blows. 

The first was the public reaction to the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer (despite the damning indictment of him by the Public Protector); the second was the revelation that the chairperson of the SABC board, Ellen Tshabalala had enhanced her CV - just as Motsoeneng had done.

In itself this would have resulted in any organisation under competent management taking a decision not only to investigate those under a dark cloud of suspicion but to delay or negate any further controversial decisions.

But no, the SABC resolutely continues with its decision to move its Afrikaans television news bulletins to a channel which cannot be accessed by the majority of people in areas of South Africa where the dominant language is Afrikaans.

Who is the most detrimentally affected by this decision? Afrikaans speaking people in rural areas, coloured and white, who cannot afford to subscribe to DStv. 

By taking such injudicious - or perhaps deliberately malicious - steps the SABC nullifies its duty as public broadcaster. 

But more than that: the Corporation which should be creating unity, through this step, creates division. In so doing it negates its calling.

It is ironic that, in so doing, the SABC has turned its back on a potentially valuable audience and created a gap in the market which will quickly be filled by the market forces of demand and supply. 

Other institutions will profit from this while the public broadcaster staggers under its growing debt.

The SABC's problems are far broader and deeper than just this poor decision. Its point of departure should be to remove Motsoeneng from his post and to thoroughly investigate Tshabalala. Only then can the question of reconstruction be considered."

Sky News reporter Colin Brazier brazenly and shockingly rifles through luggage of dead passengers of Ukraine's Malaysia airlines disaster.

Sky News's (DStv 402) correspondent Colin Brazier shockingly and brazenly started rifling through the luggage and possessions of dead passengers of the Malaysia airlines Flight MN17 disaster in the Ukraine, picking items from a suitcase on the air on Sunday afternoon to show to viewers.

Colin Brazier, reporting live from Gravobo on Sky News in eastern Ukraine, started picking up items like a child's drinking bottle and keys from dead passengers' bags, saying "we shouldn't really be doing this, I suppose".

In a statement Sky News says "Whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims' bags".

"Colin Brazier immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin Brazier and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused".

Sky News was met with an avalanche of criticism, calling the 24-hour TV news channel's coverage and Colin Brazier's shocking actions at at airplane crash site in which 298 people died "appalling", "disrespectful" and "a horrible moment for journalism" .

Wendy Williams of The Wendy Williams Show on BET turns 50; celebrates with 'hot shirtless guy', Chaka Khan sings Oprah's theme song.

Wendy Williams of The Wendy Williams Show weekdays on BET (StarSat 190) celebrated her 50th birthday on-air, having a white wine toast, having "a hot shirtless guy" roll out a massive cake likeness of her, and having Chaka Khan sing "I'm Every Woman" which used to be Oprah Winfrey's first theme song for The Oprah Winfrey Show.

BET from Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) on On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat shows the exact same episode of The Wendy Williams Show in South Africa that is shown in America on the same day - the only American TV talk show South African pay-TV viewers are able to see on the same date as it is shown there.

While other American talk shows are currently in repeats, The Wendy Williams Show, recorded in New York and executive produced by David Perler, has remained in new episodes throughout the American summer holiday, similar to last year. 

Wendy Williams celebrated with a white wine toast with her studio audience she famously refers to in her daily show as "my co-host". 

"One of my favourite birthday wishes was that I wanted a hot shirtless guy to deliver the cake. So we've invited sexy Hit the Floor star Robert Christopher Riley," said Wendy Williams, after which he pushed out a massive Wendy cake - oversized boobs and all - to a cheering studio audience who sang Happy Birthday.

The cake was made made by Carlo's Bakery, which is of course the bakery from the reality show Cake Boss on Discovery Networks International's TLC Entertainment (DStv 172) channel.

Chaka Khan sang "I'm Every Woman" which later became famous when Whitney Houston did a cover version of the song which Oprah Winfrey then used as her first theme song for many years when The Oprah Winfrey Show started.

Another Russia Today correspondent quits after bombed Ukraine Malaysia airlines disaster; says RT 'lying and finding sexier ways to do it'.

Another Russia Today (DStv 408) correspondent, this time Sara Firth who was based in Londen for RT, quit over the Krelim-funded 24-hour Russian TV news channel's coverage of the bombing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MN17 over the Ukraine, saying RT is spreading "lies" and that she cannot do it anymore.

"We work for Putin. We are asked on a daily basis if not to totally ignore, then to obscure the truth," Sara Firth, who joined RT in 2009 wrote on Twitter and that "Rule number one" is that "it is always Ukraine's fault".

While the world's TV news channels did stories that pro-Russian terrorists in the east of the country likely shot down Flight 17, RT has been blaming the tragedy on Ukraine and refuses to mention pro-Russian separatists in connection with it, or that Russian president Vladimir Putin should bare responsibility following the instability and conflict in the region.

"I couldn't do it anymore. Every single day we're lying and finding sexier ways to do it," she told BuzzFeed.

"It's the level of disrespect for the facts that really bugs me," she told Press Gazette.

In a statement RT says "Sara has declared she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of truth. We show all sides of the story, even if everyone else has already decided which side is to blame".

Sara Firth's resignation on Friday follows Liz Wahl who shockingly quit on-air on RT in March this year.

Sara Firth spoke to Christiane Amanpour on Amanpour on CNN International (DStv 401). "It was the final nudge, watching RT handling it".

"There's not that journalistic network in operation where you can trust that what's getting put on air is verified and true," said Sara Firth.

"It's a very difficult situation with RT. I've worked there for five years. RT is always called the Kremlin propaganda channel. But that's quite a lazy assessment of what RT is. It's a very complex thing and there is a lot more going on there than that".

"There's wonderfully talented people and there's so many people who really believe in getting the truth out there. And for RT to exist, there is Russian bias, there is misreporting and I've been inside that. So I've felt it. I've felt what that's like".

"At the same time I don't think you counter that by doing the same thing and worse. And I felt that's what we've been doing," said Sara Firth.

"It's such a shame that it has to be such a struggle for us to be able to do our jobs properly. And I cannot emphasise enough how talented and driven and ambitious and honest so many of the people who work at RT every day are".

"But the truth is truth and facts are fact and they exist. I wish that RT would acknowledge that sometimes".

"Our tagline is 'Questioning more'. We're just not doing it," said Sara Firth.

Sam & Cat on Nickelodeon cancelled after just one season after backstage drama with Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande.

Sitcom Sam & Cat on Nickelodeon (DStv 305) has been cancelled after just one season following ongoing backstage drama and tension between stars Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande, and Ariana Grande's fame and behaviour that started to overshadow the show.

The highly successful sitcom which was a viewership hit around the world on Nickelodeon is done and production has been shut down four episodes before the end of the first season's 40 episodes.

So successful was Sam & Cat that the first episode order was increased from 20 episodes to 40, but now only 36 were produced. Jennette McCurdy from iCarly and Ariana Grande from Victorious continued playing their first shows' characters, Sam Puckett and Cat Valentine.

Backstage problems at Sam & Cat reportedly started earlier, centred around the two starts not getting along and both arriving later and later to set, but in March this year Jennette McCurdy publicly accused Nickelodeon of unfair treatment and being a no-show at the 2014 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.

Nickelodeon doesn't want to talk about the Sam & Cat cancellation, nor the on-set drama, saying in a short statement only that "Nickelodeon will not be producing more episodes of Sam & CatWe are very proud of the show and its very talented cast and we wish them all the best".

Friday, July 18, 2014

TOLDJA! StarSat adds StarTimes Sport 2; FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 replacing Setanta Africa and Setanta Action from 8 August.

On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat is adding StarTimes Sport 2 as a new TV channel on channel 241 from Saturday 19 July, while the Setanta Africa and Setanta Action channels are being rebranded to FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 respectively from 8 August.

As part of the new sports channel addition and rebranding, StarSat is changing the channel numbers of its sports channels which will now be located between channel numbers 241 and 251.

FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 will become channels 244 and 245 from Saturday 19 July, although the name change from Setanta will only happen from 8 August.

On Wednesday TV with Thinus reported about major sports channels additions and changes coming to StarSat when news leaked about major sports content developments at the Woodmead based satellite pay-TV provider.

StarSat is however not adding a StarTimes Sport 1 or StarSports 1 channel but getting FOX Sports (and the content produced for those new channels), and then a StarTimes Sport 2 channel.

StarSat says StarTimes Sport 2 will carry "diverse sporting programmes" although a schedule has not yet been released.

The StarTimes Sport 2 channel is also launching in the rest of Africa as a new TV channel created by China's StarTimes Media specifically for Africa, as well as a new StarTimes Swahili channel that will launch in August.

StarTimes Sport 2 will show soccer like the International Champions Cup, European Qualifiers, French Ligue 1 and the Summer Football season.

ODM tells TV with Thinus StarTimes Sport 2 will run for 24 hours per day.

FOX International Channels (FIC) which didn't respond with answers to a media enquiry TV with Thinus made earlier in the week regarding the sports channels that FIC provides to StarSat, will be rebranding Setanta Africa and Setanta Action to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.

FOX Sports will broadcast French Ligue 1, Ederevise, Belgium Pro League, FormulaE, English Championship, Liga MX, Major League Soccer and Coupe de la Ligue.

FOX Sports 2 launched in America a year ago in August 2013.

TV with Thinus previously surmised that a channel like FuelTV on StarSat might be changed to FOX Sports 2, but FOX International Channels at the time said there was no plans to change FuelTV into FOX Sports.

Of course that's true - it was the Setanta channels, not FuelTV getting changed.

FOX Sports 1 will focus mainly on soccer, broadcasting more than 2 000 hours of content every year with live coverage of major soccer leagues. FOX Sports 1 will also carry daily news programming and a wide range of football-related magazine shows and other soccer content. 

FOX Sports 1 will also bring subscribers live matches sport highlights, news, self-produced programmes, special programmes and exercise education. FOX Sports 1 will cover different sport disciplines such as soccer, tennis, rugby, golf, motor-racing, cricket and extreme sports.

FOX Sports 2 will offer international sports, including Euroleague Basketball, Formula E Motor Racing, DTM touring cars, National Rugby League, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, kickboxing and boxing. 

In addition FOX Sports 2 will show extra football content, including delayed coverage of league games, as well as alternative live coverage from competitions such as the Spanish Copa del Rey and additional club channels.

"We are thrilled with the launch of FOX Sports in Africa which is the culmination of a process that began last year with the acquisition of Setanta Africa in October 2013," says Alessandro Tucci, the seenior vice president and general manager of FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) in a statement.

"We're very excited about StarTimes Sport 2," says Ian Woodrow, StarSat's head of content in another statement.

"StarTimes Sport 2 will afford subscribers opportunities to catch some of the leading sporting events from  around the globe. We believe it will inspire our subscribers to get moving and experience some of the best movers and shakers that the sporting world has to offer."

The addition of StarTimes Sport 2 and the rebrand-addition of FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 will help to bolster StarSat's sports offering to existing and potential StarSat subscribers which has been lackluster since it launched as TopTV in May 2010.

Before ODM launched TopTV in 2010, it promised a 24-hour TV news channel and a TopSport channel, but ODM backtracked shortly before the pay-TV service's launch and said the news channel would no longer be happening, and the TopSport channel later.

The self-compiled sports channel never materialised and ODM never acquired sports rights for other channels like its Top One channel.

Although ODM added channels like Setanta Africa, FuelTV, Setanta Action, Extreme Sports, Euro Sport News and others to TopTV and later StarSat, it also lost channels like Manchester United's fan channel, MUTV, and remained unable the past four years to come up with a strong sports, or sports channel offering.

StarTimes Sport 2, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 now signal the first real start from ODM and its Chinese content and investment partner, StarTimes South Africa, to produce and funnel real sports content and coverage to StarSat subscribers, combined with the help of FOX International Channels.

ANN7 tells South African viewers that Malaysian Airlines airplane MH17 shot down over the Ukraine border 'was shot dead'.

image from @5hikar_Ramchand

On Thursday evening ANN7 (DStv 405) reported to South African TV viewers that the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 "was shot dead". Not shot down, but "shot dead".

The Infinity Media run 24-hour TV news channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform has been known for its numerous highly embarrassing on-air gaffes since the channel launched in August 2013.

On MSNBC (StarSat 410) the American 24-hour TV news channel put an unverified caller on the air during its Malaysian Airlines coverage, pretending to be a witness of the Flight MH17 disaster.

The caller called Krystal Ball "a dumbass" after he said "it would appear that the plane was shot down by a blast of wind from Howard Stern's ass".

MSNBC cut to a commercial and refused to explain how the person ended up speaking on air.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

BREAKING. M-Net grabs brand-new drama Extant with Halle Berry, instantly slots it in to start on Wednesday at 21:30.

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M-Net has grabbed and secured the broadcasting rights to brand-new drama Extant with Halle Berry and will start broadcasting it instantly from Wednesday 23 July at 21:30 on M-Net (DStv 101) in line with the South African pay-TV broadcaster's excellent new turbo-charged roll-out strategy of acquiring and broadcasting not just premium foreign content, but also quicker.

With Extant moving into M-Net's Wednesday night slot of 21:30 immediately, everything after it will one hour later on the schedule.

CSI XIV will start at 22:30 with a new episode, Ray Donovan II will follow at 23:30 with a repeat episode, House of Cards II will follow with a repeat episode at 00:30, and The Leftovers I will follow with a repeat episode at 01:30.

Extant will repeat on M-Net on Thursdays at 15:15 and on Sundays at 16:00.

Extant was created by Steven Spielberg who is also the co-executive producer. The well-reviewed drama which did respectable numbers when it started last week in the United States follows Molly Woods (Halle Berry), an astronaut who returns to Earth after an "incident" in space.

Uh-oh ... Molly discovers she's pregnant. Clearly some form of alien presence or alien baby is growing inside her.

Extant is set in the future although the drama is vague about what year, her "son" on Earth for instance is an android, a bit like the movie A.I which Steven Spielberg also did.

SABC internal memorandum: Schizophrenic 'SABC2 schedule only survives on 7de Laan and Muvhango; other than that prime time schedule is weak'.

The SABC2 schedule only survives on two pillar programmes - the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan at 18:30 and the Venda soap at 21:00, "other than that the prime time schedule is weak".

So wrote Leo Manne, the SABC's general manager for the public broadcaster's TV channels in an internal memorandum he prepared on 30 June to Veronah Duwarkah, the SABC's group executive in charge of television, as "motivation for schedule changes risks and mitigations".

The SABC's has come in for sharp criticism and scorn from viewers after permanently moving the bulk of Afrikaans programming and the SABC's only daily Afrikaans TV news bulletin from SABC2 to SABC3 permanently.

SABC3 however has the smallest national footprint of all of the SABC's TV channels, making the programming unavailable and inaccessible for millions of South African TV households who can't watch it even if they want to because they don't receive the broadcast signal.

"The schizophrenic nature of the SABC2 schedule" according to the internal memorandum and the content offering to two very unrelated audience segments - being Sotho and Afrikaans viewers "has seen overtake SABC2 as the second most watched TV channel in South Africa over the years to the third most watched with consistent declines continuing".

"Ignoring these declines will severely compromise the viability of the SABC TV network to deliver against its set audience and revenue targets," reads the internal SABC memorandum.

Although the SABC earlier this week said Afrikaans has nothing to do with the dramatic scheduling changes, in the internal memorandum Leo Manne writes that "despite a very strong lead in from 7de Laan, the 19:00 Afrikaans news has been losing audiences over the last couple of years".

"The Afrikaans block of programing at 19:30 to 20:30 which includes the Afrikaans dramas on Tuesday and 50/50 on Mondays loses even more audiences".

"At 20:30 the Sotho news bulletin struggles to perform because of a very weak lead-in from the Afrikaans content".
The SABC's total share of TV audience during primetime for the months of March, April and May 2014, with and even DStv which is a pay-TV offering outperforming entire channels like SABC2 and SABC3 according to the SABC's internal memorandum.

According to the internal memorandum, the SABC's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, held a SABC content summit in November 2013 where the SABC Television division presented its strategy forward for the next three years, and which included looking at trends and factors influencing the changing viewing patters across the South African TV landscape.

Schedule and content decisions for SABC Television were proposed and approved at this SABC content summit in November 2013.

How the SABC's various TV news bulletins fare and compare in terms of viewership (AR's or audience ratings) in the month of May 2014, compared to other TV channels and programming, according to the SABC's internal memorandum.

On SABC1 "18:30 is the weakest part of the prime time schedule and hence the introduction of anew local soap offering," says the memo.

As can be seen from the graphic above, the yellow column in the back row is the Nguni TV news bulletin on SABC1. 

" The Nguni bulletin is the strongest bulletin on the network and moving it to the 19:00 slot [on SABC1] would weaken the strong bulletin," according to the SABC's internal memorandum.

On SABC3, the SABC memorandum reveals that "the one hour news block has lost significant audience share between 18:30 and 19:30 creating a very weakened lead in for Isidingo at 19:00 despite it being the third best performing program in prime time after Days and Bold".

"The shortening of the 18:30 news bulletin will be revived in the schedule followed by an improved Isidingo and then followed by the Afrikaans News," Leo Manne wrote in the internal memorandum.

"The movement of the Afrikaans drama's and other content will, within a year of this strategy, ensure a very competitive and advertising attractive audience of LSM 8-10 audiences, while SABC1 and SABC2 deliver mass audiences in LSM 5-8".

The SABC was and is also well aware that SABC3's footprint is smaller and that moving the Afrikaans TV news and other content to SABC3 would take it out of reach of some viewers, but calls it a "current minor challenge".

"The roll out of both digital terrestrial television (DTT) and direct-to-home satellite (DTH) within a year will ensure that any areas not covered by our current transmitter network are filled," states the internal memorandum".

"This current minor challenge though cannot and should not deter the SABC from protecting its current business as it builds for niche multi-channel and platform digital future where special interest groups can be adequately served".

In written media enquiries TV with Thinus asked the SABC whether the broadcaster wants to comment on the memorandum and its content or explain anything about it. The SABC declined to respond.