Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The SABC invites TV producers to its discussion of the public broadcaster's local content needs on Wednesday with existing and new content producers.

The SABC wants to discuss the public broadcaster's additional new local content needs with existing and new South African TV producers on Wednesday, 4 May, with producers outside of Johannesburg who can watch a video feed of the meeting at regional SABC offices tomorrow.

New and established TV producers are invited to attend the SABC's discussion on local content on Wednesday 4 May at the SABC's M1 Studio at the public broadcaster's Auckland Park headquarters.

The local content meeting will start at 11:00 and continue until 14:00 on Wednesday.

The meeting will be beamed countrywide to regional SABC offices, with TV producers who are welcome to attend at the broadcaster's provincial offices in Kimberley, Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Mahikeng, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Bloemfontein and Tswane where they can follow the video feed.

Interested TV producers can contact the SABC's Vuyo Mthembu at

The local content discussion is part of the SABC's plan for proposed new "language-based" TV channels the SABC wants to broadcast as part of its digital terrestrial television (DTT) bouquet.

The SABC's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng says the SABC is still looking to secure funding in order to run and programme the channels.

The SABC wants to start a Sotho TV channel catering to Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi languages.

A Nguni TV channel will include Zulu, Xhosa, Siswati and Ndebele languages.

A third new language-based TV channel will focus on Tsonga and Venda language speakers.

A fourth SABC TV channel will be for Afrikaans viewers.

The SABC is also working on establishing its SABC Sport brand as a separate sports channel.

SABC to further scale back its already reduced international content on its TV channels in favour of more locally produced programming.

The SABC will scale back the already reduced international content on its three entertainment TV channels even further in favour of locally produced programming.

The volume and number of international shows and movies – mostly American – on SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 will be reduced even more as the public broadcaster tries to replace foreign programming with more local programming in different languages.

Since 2009 when a cash-flow crisis brought the struggling South African public broadcaster to the brink of financial collapse, the SABC the last seven years has largely given up on trying to bring its audiences contemporary international fare in the form of buzz-carrying hit shows and newer movies.

Two years ago the bulk of the international content that remained – mostly on SABC2 and SABC3 – were pushed to late prime time and late night timeslots on the SABC channels' schedules.

On SABC2 viewers for instance have to wait until 22:00 and 23:00 to see old series and seasons of international dramas like The 4400, Smallville, The Vampire Diaries and Person of Interest, while the latest season of shows like The Amazing Race that used to be on SABC3 found a new home on pay-TV channels like The Sony Channel (DStv 127).

South African viewers who want to see a selection of the latest quality foreign fare from Britain and America in terms of documentaries, hit series, films and kids' shows realised that they had to pay for it by becoming subscribers to available pay-TV services like MultiChoice's DStv.

Now the SABC will cut back its already reduced international content even further.

"There are those international content, within the organisation, we have taken a decision to remove international content and come with local content," said the SABC’s controversial chief operating officer (COO), Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Annually the past few years, and something that's still ongoing although decreasing, the SABC lose millions of rands in what is referred to as "content impairment costs".

Part of this content impairment costs are international programming that the public broadcaster must buy in dollar through its acquisitions division, some of which it then fails to schedule and broadcast in time according to screening rights contracts, and then loses.

Buying less international content means a reduction on content impairment costs on the SABC's balance sheet in favour of local content commissioned by the public broadcaster that it not only owns but can also repeat multiple times and sometimes license to other broadcaster for residual income.

Acquiring less and cutting down on its already reduced international content offering, the danger however is that the SABC’s existing relationship with various international content distributors could possibly deteriorate further.

The international TV content acquisition game is not just about what broadcaster will pay the highest broadcasting licensing fee or the most for a studio content output deal, but also about business relationships, the strength of ongoing existing relationships as well as personal dealmaking.

Hollywood studios and international content distributors will often sell shows and make output deals because of a better existing relationship with a trusted broadcaster that carries more weight.

In 2012 SABC3 for instance announced that it had the international reality show The Impossible, although in fact a better and more trusted relationship with M-Net saw the pay-TV broadcaster secure and acquire the show.

The SABC says it has established "in-house production capabilities" to produce more of the new local content that the public broadcaster wants to put on SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3, as well as some planned new "language-based" TV channels for digital terrestrial television (DTT).

"We are getting rid of RFP book," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng, explaining that the SABC is getting rid of its Request for Proposals book – the document it used to issue annually to the South African TV production sector specifying what shows it wanted that production companies could then pitch for.

"SABC we dictate for people what kind of content they should pitch which kills the creativity within those individuals. So we are saying allow people to come with their own creativity and their own ideas so that we can compute with other broadcasters," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The SABC says in a press statement that it "remains committed to serving the millions of South Africans with informative, educational, entertaining and compelling content".

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng shades local rapper AKA: 'Viewers know the singer because of the SABC. Without SABC there is no AK'.

The SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng says rapper AKA would be nothing without the SABC.

On Monday the public broadcaster's limelight-loving chief operating officer (COO) once again went on one of his own channels to talk about some of the SABC's grandiose new plans but when viewers indicated they're more interested in AKA's upcoming appearance, he threw serious shade at the local rapper.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng on Monday went on SABC2's Morning Live to talk about the SABC's new plans for new TV channels for an interview marred by sound problems that anchor Leanne Manas apologised for.

Leanne Manas told viewers they can ask Hlaudi Motsoeneng questions about the SABC's new TV channels plans, as well as for the SABC's chief financial officer (CFO) James Aguma who hardly got any talk time and had little specific to say during the segment.

"I quickly had a glimpse at Twitter to see if there are any questions you would like to ask the COO and CFO. Please do. This is your platform right now," said Leanne Manas.

"But it seems that people are too excited that AKA is coming to visit us so I don't know guys if you can compare to AKA at this point. So it looks like that's all they want to talk about."

The professional anchor then cleverly tried to open and give the SABC executives what is called an "easy in" by creating a link to a comfortable talking point by saying "that's local content. The power of local content."

Hlaudi Motsoeneng abruptly replied: "But they know the singer because of the SABC. Without SABC there is no AK," he said, leaving out the last letter of the stage name of the rapper whose real name is Kiernan Forbes.

Leanne Manas laughed awkwardly as Hlaudi Motsoeneng continued.

"And this is what we are say. We are calling  local content. So at the SABC we want to make sure that we cater more local content."

"Remember Leanne, we have put more than R600 million to cater for local content. People see many changes within the organisation especially because we have been concentrating using English. Now we are going to use other African languages which is good for the country."

Pick n Pay over grandmother 'break and pay' incident: 'We should have handled the situation better' says family retailer.

Pick n Pay says the retailer should have handled a situation better where an extremely traumatised grandmother and her grandson on Saturday were reduced to tears on the floor in Mitchells Plain after he broke a chocolate and store security and management demanded she pay.

After the shocking incident that quickly went viral on social media, consumers have raised concerns about how the "family" retailer handled the matter.

Parents and caregivers are also raising concerns about whether it's "safe" to still go to Pick n Pay, fearful and scared over what will now happen if they or minors break or damage something in a Pick n Pay and are held liable.

A distraught Lentegeur grandmother was captured on the Pick n Pay tiles, holding her crying grandson in her arms, surrounded by Pick n Pay security in Mitchells Plain after the youngster broke a Dairy Milk slab.

After her grandson initially took the chocolate and asked his grandmother if he could have it, she told him to put it back. The child did put it back but also broke the chocolate.

Pick n Pay security then demanded that she pay for the damaged product.

The grandmother became emotional and said she doesn't have the money with the situation that quickly escalated because Pick n Pay didn't handle it properly.

With a growing number of bystanders, security and store management, emotions kept building up and a disastrous scene ensued that Pick n Pay managed badly and reflected negatively on the retailer.

Pick n Pay admits that the incident was unacceptable and that the retailer is very sorry for any distress caused.

"We have now met with our customer from the store in Mitchells Plain," Jarrett van Vuuren, general manager of Pick n Pay in the Western Cape told TVwithThinus on Monday.

"We have apologised and stressed that our franchise should have handled the situation better," he said.

"Our customer is happy with our response and considers the matter to be resolved. We are pleased that she will continue to shop in our store."

The traumatised grandmother who feels highly embarrassed over the incident doesn't want to talk to the media.

Monday, April 25, 2016

M-Net Edge live screens Game of Thrones' 6th season premiere at Ster-Kinekor countrywide in South Africa as fans flock to see what happens to Jon Snow.

Eager fans flocked to Ster-Kinekor cinemas countrywide this morning at 03:00 to find out if Jon Snow remains dead in the 6th season premiere of the popular fantasy drama series Game of Thrones that M-Net Edge broadcast at the same time as the new season made its debut on HBO in America.

White Walkers, Khaleesi's and other characters (sadly, or luckily no dragons) from the hugely popular fantasy drama series made their appearance as throngs of fans queued for seats in the early hours of Monday morning to see the first episode that will be broadcast on M-Net Edge (DStv 102) on Thursday 28 April at 21:00.

M-Net and Ster-Kinekor created a great fan experience with flame artists, cosplay characters and even a harpist as attendees indulged in free snacks, coffee and Play energy drinks.

MultiChoice is also making Game of Thrones episodes of the 6th season once again available instantly after broadcast on the DStv Catch Up service, similar to what it did for the 5th season. M-Net also added the new companion talk show, After the Thrones to the M-Net Edge schedule.

While fans enjoyed the live Game of Thrones screening, Capetonians were ready to get their swords out when the DStv decoder decided to hibernate a few minutes after 03:00 and shut down with groans from the cinema audience.

The episode resumed within a few minutes when the DStv decoder was switched back on (and a "White Walker" won a DStv Explora as Best Dressed character).

Viewers left out a collective gasp at the end of the first new episode with a shocking and unexpected revelation about the Melisandre character.

SABC promises 5 new TV channels - 4 channels catering to different language groupings and SABC Sport as a separate TV channel.

The SABC is planning to launch 5 new TV channels - 4 channels catering to different language groupings as well as SABC Sport as a separate TV channel.

The plan for new language segmented SABC TV channels comes after years of the public broadcaster unsuccessfully trying to launch SABC4 and SABC5 as regional language channels catering to the northern and southern regions of South Africa respectively.

The SABC's four language segmented channels will be run in addition to the existing SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and the SABC News and SABC Encore channels, the last two of which are packaged for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

The additional new TV channels, when launched, will be available on the SABC's digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform and will also have to be available on various pay-TV operators' bouquets as part of the existing "must carry" rules as mandated by the broadcasting regulator, Icasa.

The additional new channels are a far cry from the ambitious 18 TV channels the SABC told parliament in 2011 it wanted to launch with the advent of DTT in South Africa.

The new TV channels plan comes as the SABC's latest new CEO, Frans Matlala remains suspended since November 2015, and with the SABC that reported a staggering loss of R403 million for the last reported financial year.

It's not clear where the struggling SABC that is under great financial pressure, will get the money to run the additional new channels and to produce the costly programming needed for the channels.

A single TV channel requires 8 760 hours of content per year. With the existing SABC channels filled with repeats and rebroadcasts already, its highly unlikely that the SABC will be able to programme multiple further channels scheduled with just brand-new local content.

The SABC that has not given specific channel names or any launch dates, says one TV channel will primarily be the Sotho TV channel, catering to Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi languages. Zulu, Xhosa, Siswati and Ndebele will form part of a second Nguni focused TV channel.

A third channel will focus on Tsonga and Venda language speakers. A fourth SABC TV channel will be for Afrikaans viewers.

The SABC is also working on establishing its SABC Sport brand as a separate sports channel.

Reporting the news on the SABC, SABC2 Morning Live news reader Lebo Thinane made a Freudian slip, telling viewers that the "several language based TV channels will serve the ANC's audience".

Meanwhile local content will be increased for SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3. The SABC's controversial chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng says most of the new content will focus on languages the SABC marginalised like Afrikaans, Tsonga and Venda.

"As the public service broadcaster we continue to thrive in ensuring that all national languages achieve equal treatment as per our constitutional obligations," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng in a statement.

The SABC is under pressure to maintain its TV audience share that's under pressure as subscription and satellite television in South Africa keeps growing, with MultiChoice's DStv and Platco Digital's OpenView HD aggressively adding viewers year after year and with On Digital Media (OMD) and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat also in operation.

The SABC failed to meet its commercial revenue targets according to its latest financial report, citing increased TV industry competition. The SABC told parliament it will no longer present its commercial plan publicly out of fear over competitors.

The SABC said SABC News bulletins will now "have a segment that is dedicated to news from provinces" and that the public broadcaster wants more local content that reflect various provinces.

The SABC is also dumping the use of all external marketing agencies for marketing campaigns and will do it in-house.

The SABC is also dumping print advertising and advertising on all platforms outside of the SABC for vacancies. With immediate effect the SABC will only advertise available jobs on the SABC's TV and radio stations and its own digital platforms.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

SABC remains livid over satirical Twitter account of its controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng; says if found SABC will deal 'in harshest way possible'.

The SABC remains livid about a satirical Twitter account of its controversial Auckland Park boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with the public broadcaster again "warning" the public that it's fake and saying it will deal "in the harshest way possible" when it finds out who is responsible for it.

The parody Twitter account of Hlaudi Motsoeneng with the handle @SABC_COO sprang up in May 2014 and has since been serving up wry commentary and words of appreciation to followers and SABC "citizens", clearly indicating that it's a "parody/satire" account from "Awkward Park, Johannesburg".

The SABC's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng achieved meteoric rise inside the South African public broadcaster and is embroiled in a protracted court case regarding his appointment as chief operating officer (COO) following a scathing report from the Public Protector in February 2014 implicating him in several instances of maladministration and for lying about having a matric certificate.

In September 2015 Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he wants social media in South Africa like Facebook and Twitter "to be regulated" and what people can say on it.

The SABC has not been able to identify the person running the account or to shut down the satirical Hlaudi Motsoeneng Twitterer sharing hilarious bon mots with followers.

This week the "fake" Hlaudi told followers things like: "Those asking, yes, I do watch DStv in my office, but obviously only for the purposes of learning how SABC can improve its broadcasting," and "Many have asked if we are broadcasting the EFF manifesto launch. The answer is no. Instead we will be screening Sarafina".

Messages with bite shared on the satirical account range from things like "SABC is happy to announce exclusive book & broadcast rights to the story of President Zuma & his life of service, The Long Walk to Nkandla", to "For those asking, no, I don't smoke the devil's lettuce. My eyes are red from sleepless nights running SABC".

"He [Hlaudi Motsoeneng] doesn't have a Twitter account," says SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"All of the things that are said there, are not his. He has said it very clearly that he is not on social media, deliberately so."

"We are taking it very seriously, especially if you look where its him saying we're not going to do the EFF manifesto and in the space of that we'll do Sarafina. People are just being malicious and they're damaging the brand SABC."

"We want to say to them we're taking this very seriously as the SABC. We will then have to follow up on this people and if this people are found we will deal with them in the harshest way possible," said Kaizer Kganyago.

"If we find out who it is, then we'll open a case because it's just pushing malicious information that damages the brand. People must understand that the brand SABC has got value and because of that value we have to get worried."

"Don't believe what you read in those Twitter pages because this is not ... we've got an official page of the SABC. If there's anything we want to we will say it there. We're a public broadcaster, if there are messages we want to send out we will come here and send them out like that," Kaizer Kganyago told SABC News.

"Our image is much more important than people who are trying to fool around. Maybe for them it's a joke but for us it isn't."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

ANN7 worker James says Indian staff are favoured at the TV news channel, 'Indian workers have wifi' while employees are allegedly being mistreated.

The never-ending real-life personnel drama behind the scenes at ANN7 (DStv 405) continues unabated, with an ANN7 worker called "James" who on Wednesday evening spoke out about how Indian staff are allegedly favoured at the news operation and have access to wifi, while other employees are allegedly also being mistreated.

Infinity Media's struggling ANN7 known as "Guptanews", is part of the bigger Oakbay Investments.

Oakbay is facing a banking crisis after South African banks said they are withdrawing their banking services at the end of May.

Oakbay is desperate to find a new banker, failure of which will result in employees at ANN7 and elsewhere not getting paid and the possible closure and collapse of entities like ANN7 which is carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service and which could possibly go dark and shut down after May.

Now it increasingly looks as if Oakbay workers are being exploited as a pawn to get the South African government and South African banks to "help" so that "job losses" of 7500 workers don't happen if the banking cut-off deadline arrives.

Instead of being referenced by other media for its news, ANN7 constantly remains in the news itself.

The news channel on DStv that was voted "worst employer of the year" by Cosatu in 2015, continues to be the subject of ongoing, sensational stories on an almost daily basis.

With numerous stories and allegations of human resource problems behind the scenes at ANN7 ever since it launch and the months before, right through 2014 and 2015, this year continues the eye-popping "theatre of the absurd" that is ANN7. 

On just one day - today - ANN7 is in the news itself for three different stories, all hugely damaging to ANN7's reputation, credibility and image as a news brand. 

On Wednesday morning for instance ANN7 employees Phuti Mosomane and Robbie Rousseau, the general manager of Sahara Computers (an Oakbay company), suddenly begged FNB, Standard Bank, Absa and Nedbank to reopen the company's bank accounts in an "open letter".

"We are not rich people. We are not politically connected. We have not captured the state. We have never offered any politician a job. We do not know if any of the allegations against the Gupta family or Oakbay management are true."

"We do not care. All we care about is providing for our families.If you do not open Oakbay's bank accounts we cannot be paid and Oakbay cannot pay its bills".

On Wednesday afternoon - and you can't make this up - there was a protest and ANN7 employees and Sahara computer employees chased protesting ANC Youth League members away from the ANN7 and The New Age headquarters in Midrand. 

ANN7 employees meanwhile demanded that Phuti Mosomane and Robbie Rousseau retract their letter and said it's not true that they didn't care about the allegations of state capture by the Gupta family.

ANN7 employees wanted to know why the ANC Youth League is suddenly fighting for Indian people and not for black people. 

Then, an anonymous woman working at ANN7 called radio station 702, furious about the letter and saying The New Age and ANN7 workers are not agreeing with the letter and its sentiment.

"We are now being used to fight a political war".

On Wednesday evening the total weirdness engulfing ANN7 continued when an employee identified as James called The Money Show with David Whitfield on radio 702, slamming ANN7 as a place where "employees are tired of being mistreated".

"The Indian workers that are hired at ANN7 have wifi but the South Africans – who absolutely work their butts off – to try and make sure that we produce quality news, don't get that," said James. 

"There's a mistreatment of the staff for example, the editor who knows nothing of South African news - ," said James.

"I don't think the banks are going to want to do business with Oakbay. We are asking for investors to look into ANN7. We are trying to distance ourselves from the letter."

"All we're asking is outside investors to invest in ANN7. I'm talking from the lady who cleans the floor right through to the biggest anchor at ANN7 - they're willing to produce quality news. All they need is the right investor," said James.

"There are a lot of workers who are distancing themselves away from that letter."

Meanwhile another ANN7 worker who talked to News24 claimed that Oakbay management "treat us like dogs and then they expect us to speak on their behalf. That is nonsense".

Oakbay is suddenly being repped by the controversial British PR agency Bell Pottinger who had clients like Syrian president Bashar al Assad's wife, fracking company Cuadrilla, repressive governments ranging from Thailand and Egypt to Bahrain, and even the paralympic killer Oscar Pistorius.

Yet another pan-African TV news channel, africanews, launches across Africa; euronews' new African sister channel now streaming live for free online.

Yet another pan-African TV news channel, africanews, launched across the African continent today at 17:00 with africanews that can be watched not only on TV in some African countries (South Africa excluded) but is also streaming for free in SD or HD on its website.

Africanews, broadcasting its TV news channel in English and French and anchored in its Pointe Noire studios in Congo-Brazzaville, is an offshoot of the European euronews that MultiChoice carried on DStv and then dumped in late 2014 after 6 years.

With Sabido and eMedia Investments' eNCA (DStv 403) channel that gave up on self sourced, on the ground reporting in Africa in 2015, and with the Nigerian-based Arise TV news channel that abruptly imploded and went off the air in January, true pan-African channels like africanews are looking to find audiences who want to see and hear first-hand reporting on what is really happening in various African countries.

africanews will primarily be competition for China's CCTV News (DStv 409 / StarSat 266), as well as for the Lagos anchored TVC News (also streamed live on its website) available on StarSat channel 270 and on DStv in some countries.

Interestingly MultiChoice doesn't currently provide any true pan-African TV news channel for DStv subscribers in South Africa like TVC News or africanews.

Funnily enough, africanews in its look and on-screen presence (OSP) blatantly copies TVC News' look and colours of yellow and black.

Also not stated but very obvious is how africanews is hilariously using South Africa for the heavy lifting in its glossy africanews promo video.

It's South African places, cityscapes, buildings, people and news events that show up most prominently and takes up the most space in its glossy promo video to sell africanews' coverage of the continent and to give Africa a "progressive Western" type look, especially as far as infrastructure is concerned.

africanews kicked off with a staff of 85, representing 15 nationalities, doing rolling live news coverage and will be doing news magazine shows like Football Planet, The Global Conversation, Timeout Africa and daily focused segments on entertainment and culture and business news.

News blocks will also be segmented, for instance The Morning Call between 06:00 and 10:30 with Hannane Ferdjani and Robert K'Odingo, The Network and Business Africa.

Veronica Narkwor Kwabla is africanews deputy editor.

africanews, funded through a mix of distribution and carriage agreement income, advertising and production revenues, looks to expand its language offering in future but is launching across Africa with English and French.

"It all began with the recognition that the rising African continent is an incredible source of news and that there is a great pool of talent that lacks a quality media environment," said Michael Peters, CEO of euronews and africanews.

"The question was simple," said Michael Peters in a "press conference" launch that was broadcast today on the channel and on africanews' online video feed.

"Was it like about doing like everyone else, meaning launching euronews Africa, or whether its about doing something totally different - africanews."

"africanews is the biggest bet no-one has ever done in the industry and the only stupid guy who decided to launch a new brand which is nuts - euronews. Can you imagine the amount of money, of time, of attention that you need to build a brand like euronews."

"And my decision is to say, I won't use the euronews brand like all the others are doing. I'm creating a new brand that will become the sister brand of euronews. This is a bet that no-one has done in the industry," said Michael Peters.

"We want to implement a media organisation called africanews that will be the voice of the African continent in Africa, and the rest of the world."

"africanews is here to give an African perspective about news, whether its African news or world news. This is another bet. What is a pan-African perspective? We have the same problem in Europe.What is a pan-Europe perspective?"

"You have a lot of African media who are pan-regional, rather than pan-continental. So you have a lot of pan-regional media who are extremely strong in the Francophone side of Africa, or strong in the Anglophone side of Africa, or the West of Africa, or the East of Africa."

"But until now there is no one real pan-continental brand that is able to speak to people in at least French and English and I hope soon in other languages. So we try to offer to the viewers, the consumer, a real pan-African view," said Michael Peters.

"This [africanews] is not the project of European people trying to impose any European views on the market."

"africanews will have to make money. The business plan is to be break even in 5 years time. For the launch of today we already have advertisers who trusted us.

MTV's successful new fantasy drama series, The Shannara Chronicles, renewed for a second season; no episode order or starting date given.

The Shannara Chronicles has been renewed for a second season by MTV, although the recently completed first season has not yet been shown on MTV in South Africa and across Africa or on any other of MultiChoice's channels on DStv.

The fantasy drama series based on the fantasy novels of the famed fantasy author Terry Brooks.started at the beginning of the year and just concluded its 10-episode, first season run as MTV's first drama series.

Interestingly, The Shannara Chronicles ranked as the highest grossing digital download for a single season on MTV in the channel's history in America, accomplishing the goal of attracting more, new and new younger viewers to the brand.

In January Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) told TVwithThinus that "it is very likely that we will be airing The Shannara Chronicles on MTV in Africa" but so far nothing has come of it.

VIMN Africa said "we do endeavour to air American series as close as possible to the United States premieres, so we will be able to update you shortly about the premiere date for the series on DStv".

That didn't happen.

Now the show has been renewed for a second season while South African viewers missed out on following the first season as the rest of the world.

In the drama series Austin Butler as a half-human, half elf, goes on a quest with an elf princess (Poppy Drayton) and the last druid (Manu Bennett) to help save the elf kingdom when their magical tree that keeps the demons at bay, starts dying.

No episode order, nor starting date for the second season of The Shannara Chronicles has been announced - nor what story the second season will tell. 

The other books in the novel series deal with completely other characters in other eras, and the first season ended where the book ended.

"This dream team delivered a beautiful, groundbreaking show with compelling stories and character journeys which brought in new viewers.  I can't wait to see what season 2 brings," says Mina Lefevre, the executive vice president and head of scripted development at MTV in America in a statement.

"We're thrilled to continue the momentum established in season 1," says Jenna Glazier, the executive vice president of television series at Sonar Entertainment.

"Along with the ongoing support of MTV, the entire creative team is poised to raise the bar even higher in season 2".

South African television viewing remains stable in total although less people are watching SABC1, SABC2 and on a weekly basis.

South African television viewing remains stable in total, although less people are watching SABC1, SABC2 and on a weekly basis, according to the latest All Media and Products Survey (AMPS) for January to December 2015.

The South African Advertising Research Foundation's (SAARF) latest AMPS figures were just released (which will also be its last of South Africa's largest national survey since it started in 1975).

While the Living Standard Measure (LSM) audience segmentation tool is largely outdated and will be replaced by some new, as yet unannounced currency, LSMs is still what basically everybody is the biz refers to and uses to make and track those elusive audiences and ad buys.

Despite a number of declines for individual TV channels in South Africa like SABC1, SABC2 and, television in total remained stable at 91.8%.

This is despite the decline in weekly viewership of three terrestrial TV channels, the total community TV sector, and a general loss of weekly TV viewers in the Western Cape.'s weekly viewing dropped from 67% to 65.1% - plunging due to a decline in viewers tuning out in large urban areas in specifically the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. viewership losses were seen across both males and females.

SABC1 likewise saw a drop in its weekly audience figures: down from 76.9% to 75.4%. SABC1 lost viewers in large urban areas and the Western Cape tuning out.

SABC2 also shed viewers with its weekly audience dropping from 72.1% to 70.4% - driven by losses in large urban areas, the Western Cape and Limpopo and female viewers tuning out.

Although at a lower percentage, SABC3's weekly audience remained stable at 55%, despite losing viewers in the Western Cape in the LSM8 to LSM 10 demographic - the wealthier viewers.

The weekly viewing of M-Net's terrestrial channel managed to remain stable at 6%.

Weekly audience levels for total community TV in South Africa dropped from 10.4% to 9.4%, due in part to losses in large urban areas and female viewers.

Viewership of Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) is growing. The weekly audience rose with audience numbers now at 195 000 per week, or 0.5% - up from 0.2% previously. This viewership increase comes from all community sizes, from the Western Cape and North West and from both more women and men turning in to the free-to-air satellite platform.

The total weekly audience of On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa's StarSat remained stable, although extremely small, at 0.6%.

Viewership of MultiChoice's DStv remained stable with an even weekly audience figure of 39.9%.

Interestingly, according to AMPS Dec 2015 only 1.4% of South Africans watch television online or over their cellphones per week.

Sky's Sky1 announces a brand new fantasy drama series series, The Last Dragonslayer, based on Jasper Fforde's novel.

Britain's pay-TV operator Sky just announced that it's commissioned a brand-new drama series for Christmas time that will start filming this month, The Last Dragonslayer based on Jasper Fforde's novel.

A bit Harry Potter, a bit A Series of Unfortunate Events, the drama will follow the 15-year old Jennifer Strange (Ellise Chappell) in the Ununited Kingdoms who becomes the apprentice to the last Dragonslayer in a modern world but one where magic exists.

The Last Dragonslayer will start in Christmas this year on Sky's Sky1 channel.

Sky1 is Sky's flagship channel, very similar to M-Net (DStv 101) on MultiChoice's DStv. It's therefore almost a sure bet that M-Net will pick up this show and broadcast it sometime in 2017.

"For 2016, an adaptation of Jasper Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer holds all of the ingredients for the perfect seasonal treat for the entire family; wizards, dragons, a kick-ass heroine and the perfect magical cast led by Ricky Tomlinson, Ellise Chappell and John Bradley," says Cameron Roach, Sky commissioning editor in a just-released statement.

"Adapting Jasper Fforde's madcap world and unique characters, screenwriter Tom Edge has forged an exciting, fast-paced family adventure that is both compelling, endearing and emotional," says Pete Czernin of Blueprint Pictures.

The Last Dragonslayer will be directed by Jamie Stone with  Laura Hastings-Smith as series producer.

Netflix grabs new time traveling drama series, Travelers, with Eric McCormack, in which heroes team from the future tries to save mankind's future.

Netflix has grabbed a new time traveling drama series entitled Travelers with Will & Grace's Eric McCormack that will be a co-production with Canada.

Travelers, created by Stargate SG-1's Brad Wright, will be broadcast on Canada's Showcase channel, and on Netflix in the rest of the world, including South Africa.

Travelers will start in mankind's future with a twist on the time travel yarn and be a cross between Quantum Leap, Legends of Tomorrow, Heroes and Alphas.

Hundreds of years into the future, the last surviving humans are able to send individuals' consciousness back through time into people living now.

Like Quantum Leap's Dr. Sam Beckett, these individuals "disguised" inside currently living people, have to work together secretly as a team to perform missions to prevent a terrible tragedy from resulting in mankind's disastrous future.

Eric McCormack will be the FBI special agent Grant MacLaren as the team's leader.

Mackenzie Porter will be Marcy, a clever but disabled woman in the care of her social worker (Patrick Gilmore).

Then there is Trevor (Jared Paul Abrahamson), a high school quarterback; Carly (Nesta Marlee Cooper) who is a single mom in an abusive relationship and the drug addicted student Philip (Reilly Dolman).

Wendy Williams on BET decides to help the konfused Bette Midler with a flow chart and everybody else who can't keep up with the Kardashians.

Wendy Williams decided to help and jumped in with a family tree chart for Bette Midler who's konfused - and for everybody else who can't keep up with the Kardashians.

"Bette Midler can't keep up with the Kardashians," Wendy Williams told viewers in the latest episode of her talk show The Wendy Williams Show on BET (DStv 129) and hauled out a flow chart to explain how Rob and Kylie are both 

"Now that Blac Chyna and Rob are engaged, Bette's confused about their family tree," said Wendy.

Bette Midler tweeted earlier, saying: "Rob Kardashian's engaged to the mother of the child of Kylie Jenner's boyfriend? They'll share a stepchild. Somebody send me a chart!"

Wendy Williams showed how Rob and Kylie will be both uncle and aunt, and stepdad and stepmom to Blac Chyna's son, King Cairo, she had with Tyga.

"It's very, very difficult for me to understand either," Wendy told her studio audience.

"Bette, just so that you can keep up with everything going on, we've got your address and I'm mailing this to you."

South African media conglom Naspers dumps the Rand for the Dollar as its new reporting currency; is restating its financial information back to 2014.

South Africa's Naspers that incorporates Africa's biggest pay-TV operator MultiChoice, announced a change in its reporting currency, dumping the South African Rand for the American Dollar, saying that in future it will report all of its earnings in the greenback instead of the South African currency.

In a statement Naspers says that it will change the presentation currency in its consolidated financial statements from Rand to Dollar with effect from the financial year ended on 31 March 2016.

Naspers says that over the past 100 years, the group has evolved from a single-country newspaper business and early investor in pay-TV to a video entertainment leader and global internet and e-commerce group.

"Coupled with the evolution of the business, the group's shareholder base is now largely comprised of foreign investors to whom financial reporting in Rand is of limited relevance. Internally, the board also bases its performance evaluation and many investment decisions on Dollar financial information".

Naspers is also summarising and restating its financial information in dollar for the financial years ended 31 March 2015 and 2014, as well as for the 6-month interim periods ended 30 September 2015 and 2014.

Naspers dividends will continue to be declared in rand.