Tuesday, December 1, 2015

M-Net apologises and says it's sorry for 'offensive and wrong' Our Perfect Wedding episode on Mzansi Magic that celebrates 'rape culture entertainment'.

The M-Net channel Mzansi Magic and the production company Connect TV are apologising for broadcasting the shocking Sunday episode of Our Perfect Wedding featuring a groom who confessed how he targeted children for sex, saying the content “was clearly offensive and wrong”.

A massive viewer furore followede the broadcast of the shocking Our Perfect Wedding episode on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) on Sunday, leading to Absa abruptly pulling out as sponsor of the show as well as complaints to and an investigation by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).

Viewers slammed the show as "a disgusting shame" and romanticising "rape culture as entertainment".

Mzansi Magic has now said it is pulling all repeats of the specific Our Perfect Wedding episode that’s also made available on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up video-on-demand service and pushed to subscriber’s decoders. 

Our Perfect Wedding showed "Fanie" telling viewers how he sexed school children as a 28-year old taxi driver and how his now wife had to compete for his attention.

Our Perfect Wedding
on its official Facebook said bride Bavelile – as if she was in a reality show – “has outwitted, outplayed and outlasted all the women vying for Fanie's affections".

"Mzansi Magic and its production company, Connect TV, wish to apologise for airing the episode of Our Perfect Wedding that was broadcast on 29 November," the pay-TV M-Net that supplies channels like Mzansi Magic to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

"While we strive to produce quality, compelling content for our viewers, we realise more should have been done in the production and airing of this particular episode as its subject matter is clearly offensive and wrong".

"While the airing of our programmes does not mean we condome the behaviour included in them, we are reviewing our processes to ensure that this type of content is not a part of our programming schedule in the future".

China and South Africa call for greater media cooperation at Naspers and StarTimes' 1st China-Africa Media Leadership Summit.

China and South Africa echoed their mutual and growing media appreciation and called for even greater media cooperation between the two countries at the start of the first ever China-Africa Media Leadership Summit held in Cape Town today.

The media summit, with South Africa's Naspers and China's StarTimes as co-organisers, comes on the eve of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation taking place in Johannesburg on 3 and 4 December, with China's president Xi Jinping visiting South Africa after a two day visit to Zimbabwe.

More than 200 professionals and delegates from South Africa, from across Africa and from the People's Republic of China – 43 countries in total – are attending today's summit at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) with representatives from newspapers, TV, radio and new media organisations attending. 

China and South Africa kicked off the media summit with both countries calling for greater media cooperation.

Jeff Radebe, the minister in the presidency, who called the summit a "historic moment" for Chinese and South African media, urged South Africa media to "take the splendid opportunity" to establish new "win-win strategies" to strengthen Sino-African relationships and asked China to help with media capacity development in Africa and South Africa.

Kang Yong, the Chinese consul-general to Cape Town said China has been Africa's largest trading partner since 2009. 

"[China's TV news channel] CCTV News has set up a news production centre in Africa; StarTimes has more than 6 million subscribers across Africa. I sincerely hope that Chinese and African media can work together to tell our stories together."

Kang Yong said that China and Africa in the past had been much maligned in international news coverage and said he hoped that Africa and China can set up more channels and platforms for "pragmatic cooperation" since these countries "have to tell their own stories".

Pang XinXing, president of the StarTimes pay-TV group said the media summit should be held on a regular basis to build media cooperation between China and African media.

Jiang Jianguo, minister of China's State Council Information Office (SCIO) said Chinese and African media should stand together to condemn terrorism.

"I hope Chinese and African media will innovate in the pursuit of journalism and report on the real stories of the context between African and Chinese people and how Chinese cooperation has benefitted people on both sides".

He said China's StarTimes and South Africa's Naspers have set good examples with mutual investment in Africa and China.

China has become Africa's largest trading partner and has offered loans totaling $32 billion to African nations the past two years.

Mzansi Magic and Our Pefrect Wedding slammed for glamourising 'rape culture as entertainment'; Absa abruptly pulls its sponsorship as Mzansi Magic pulls the episode.

Viewer fury has engulfed M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel over the show Our Perfect Wedding that shocked viewers are slamming as a "disgusting shame" and said is "romanticising rape culture" with Absa that immediate withdrew its sponsorship of the show.

The barrage of complaints comes as the M-Net channel aired the last two episodes - this past Sunday's one taking things even further than the previous Sunday - proudly glamourising a groom who told of how he met his wife when she was just 14 and preyed on young girls.

Our Perfect Wedding showed "Fanie" telling viewers how he sexed school children as a 28-year old taxi driver and how his now wife had to compete for his attention.

Our Perfect Wedding on its official Facebook  said bride Bavelile - as if she was in a reality show - "has outwitted, outplayed and outlasted all the women vying for Fanie's affections".

Our Perfect Wedding, produced by Connect TV owned by Basetsana Kumalo of SABC3's Top Billing fame, stoked the fires of viewers' discontent while none of the tone-deaf M-Net executives, commissioning editors and on-air quality control checkers apparently saw anything wrong with broadcasting the latest episode in the middle of the national 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse campaign.

At least once complaint has been formally laid with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) over Our Perfect Wedding and Absa abruptly pulled its sponsorship of the show on Monday that viewers slammed for condoning and glamourising statutory rape.

"We have withdrawn our sponsorship of Our Perfect Wedding with immediate effect. We have informed Mzansi Magic," says Byron Kennedy, Absa's head of media.

In a statement the Change Drivers' Network and the Sexual Reproductive Justice Coalition of South Africa slams Mzansi Magic and Connect TV, saying "considering the rate of sexual abuse in South Africa, it is disturbing to note how Our Perfect Wedding normalises this behaviour and turned it into a love story".

"It is unacceptable and as young leaders who deal with such issues every day, the ACTIVATE! Network demands that action be taken in this regard".

"Rape culture is so normalised and in a country like ours with the type of statistics around rape and gender based violence it is highly disturbing what we were shown on Mzansi Magic," says dr Tlaleng Mofokeng.

"Perverts and self confessed paedophiles get rewarded with a TV show on Mzansi Magic and nobody in the production saw anything wrong with the narrative."

"We are meant to be standing up for women and children who are abused. How is this episode in anyway assisting with this? How is this empowering to black women and children to stand up for what is right?"

"When we air shows that use content of rape and rape culture as entertainment we spit on the face of the law and people who are abused," says Tlaneng Mofokeng.

Mzansi Magic didn't bother to respond to specific questions regarding Our Perfect Wedding in a media enquiry from TVwithThinus following the barrage of viewer outrage and complaints over the shocking show.

Mzansi Magic late on Monday night suddenly said on its website that it would now "like to apologise for airing the segment that has upset our viewers", that the channel takes the concerns of viewers seriously and that the M-Net provided channel to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform has "taken the decision not to broadcast the episode again".

A few hours earlier on Monday afternoon Mzansi Magic's publicity division issued a tepid, general statement, saying Mzansi Magic "note and acknowledge the concerns from our viewers regarding the Our Perfect Wedding episode" and that the programme's premise is to "celebrate love and the journey that couples take".

While Mzansi Magic initially sold and marketed Our Perfect Wedding to viewers as kasi escapism and light entertainment, the M-Net channel is trying to put a documentary spin on it, saying "our reality shows reflect society as it is. In the case of this episode, the couple's past brought up uncomfortable social issues which the family and community who were initially against the relationship, found a way to resolve".

Mzansi Magic says "we are committed to telling stories that impact our viewers and build our communities whilst challenging society". Mzansi Magic says the channel doesn't "condone any unlawful behaviour".

Monday, November 30, 2015

TV newsers Joy Summers from M-Net's Carte Blanche; Yusuf Omar and Philip Owira of eNCA win category prizes at Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.

Several TV newsers won prizes at the 2015 National Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards with accolades for eNCA (DStv 403), M-Net (DStv 101) and Carte Blanche.

Joy Summers won her second award in one year for the same story. M-Net's Carte Blanche investigative magazine show won for the story "Bobbroff's Fall from Grace" as the winner in the category for Best TV feature.

The same Carte Blanche insert won earlier this month at the Legal Journalist of the Year Awards.

The Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards judges said the insert was "a victory for consumer journalism told very effectively through the medium of television. It demonstrates a thorough investigation into the legalities and finances of the complex process of personal injury claims and how they get abused".

Philip Owira from eNCA won in the category for Best TV news insert for "Rhodes has Fallen. The judges called it "a brilliant piece".

The overall Editor's Choice Award was given to eNCA's Yusuf Omar.

Yusuf Omar will join the Thomson Foundation in the United Kingdom for The Summer Convergence Course in August 2016 and will get one week's work experience at a British media organisation.

Avalanche of animation for the holidays as M-Net Movies Family goes with animation movies; DStv adds Turner's Hoolee as continent's first kids pop-up channel.

An avalanche of animation fun is coming to DStv subscribers with pay-TV broadcaster M-Net turning its M-Net Movies Family channel on DStv into an animation family movie channel from 4 December while the Hoolee channel kids channel starts on 1 December.

M-Net is turning the M-Net Movies Family (DStv 105) channel into an Animania channel from Friday, 4 December in a special animation movie festival that will continue until Friday 15 January 2016.

M-Net Movies Family will show animation movies all day long from Friday, including box office hits like Frozen, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, the Ice Age movies and Disney hits like Cars.

Although the M-Net Movies Family channel is only available to DStv Premium subscribers, some of the movies will be made available on MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up video-on-demand service which means that lower-tiered subscribers of the pay-TV service will also get access to it.

The Toy Story and Shrek films together with Despicable Me and James and the Giant Peach as well as many others will compete with Turner Broadcasting System's Hoolee channel starting on 1 December and running on DStv across Africa until the end of January 2016.

Hoolee (DStv 197) will be for DStv Premium, DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers and MultiChoice Africa and Turner Broadcasting call it "the continent's very first pop-up children's channel".

MultiChoice and Turner Africa didn't release any programming schedule or programming line-up to the press ahead of the channel's launch on Tuesday but Turner Africa said Hoolee's programming will be "truly amazing".

Hoolee will show animation movies and animation shows, ranging from shows like Sonic the Hedgehog, Zig & Sharko and The Adventures of Puss in Boots, to the third season of Dragons set before the events of the How to Train your Dragon movies.

Films include Beethoven's Christmas Adventure, Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Power, Babe: Pig in the City, The Borrowers and Balto II: Wolf Quest!

Hoolee content will include shows from Turner and Warner Brothers productions as well as exclusive acquisitions.

China's Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit on Tuesday in Cape Town will be slight awkward as Naspers works with StarTimes competing with their own MultiChoice in pay-TV sector.

Tuesday in Cape Town with the first Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit ever to be held on African soil will undoubtedly carry a level of awkwardness bubbling under the surface although everybody involved will probably just smile and wave; smile and wave.

Tomorrow Cape Town will host the inaugural Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit, co-organised by South Africa's Naspers media conglomerate and China's StarTimes group.

The slight level of awkwardness that will permeate the gathering of hundreds of media types, dignitaries and media representative from across the African continent and from China originates from the subtext.

Naspers is onboard as co-organiser of the event given the media-conglom's massive interest and growing investment in China. The other co-organiser in StarTimes.

Naspers' own pay-TV ventures and brands are all in direct competition with China's StarTimes own fast-growing TV business in South Africa and across the African continent.

Naspers' M-Net, MultiChoice, GOtv and new subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) ShowMax in South Africa that is set to expand beyond the country's borders in 2016 are rivals to StarTimes across Africa and with StarTimes Media SA in South Africa running the StarSat satellite pay-TV service.

Thus while Naspers has its own pay-TV divisions in Africa, it is doing the Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit in South Africa in conjunction with its biggest competitor on the African continent.

More than 200 professionals and delegates from South Africa, from across Africa and from the People's Republic of China - 43 countries in total - will attend Tuesday's summit at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) with journalists, editors, marketers and ad buyers from newspapers, TV, radio and new media organisations attending.

The conference with the theme of "A New Era of Win-Win Cooperation between China and Africa" will discuss growing media exchanges between Africa and China as China steadily ramps up development investment and media spend across the continent.

China has become Africa's largest trading partner and has offered loans totaling $32 billion to African nations the past two years. Chinese investments are received with open arms especially in places where Western countries have not ventured, while China looks to solidify and expand its commercial foothold across the continent.

China invited representatives from a vast number of countries to South Africa for the summit - including often-overlooked African nations like Ethiopia, Benin, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Togo, Liberia, Comorin, Chad, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire and a dozen other African countries.

China and StarTimes want to strengthen media business relations with all of these countries.

StarTimes with more than 4 000 employees has already set up subsidiaries in 28 African countries and says in its Sino-Africa Media Leadership Summit memo that it "enjoys profound capital strength and financing ability" and sees Africa's digital terrestrial television (DTT) and pay-TV market "as an important part of its long-term development strategy".

After Tuesday's media summit, the focus shifts to Johannesburg on Wednesday and Thursday where China is set to make some further investment announcements.

Tuesday's Naspers and StarTimes media summit is a precursor to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation taking place in Johannesburg on 3 and 4 December, with China's president Xi Jinping visiting South Africa after a two day visit to Zimbabwe.

M-Net facing class action case over alleged racial discrimination; pay-TV broadcaster says its Magic in Motion Film Academy is not breaking any laws.

M-Net is facing a class action complaint over alleged racial discrimination and excluding white students from its Magic in Motion Academy, while the pay-TV broadcaster says its rules are not breaking the law.

M-Net has become embroiled in a growing race row at the start of the second year of its Magic in Motion Academy (MiM Academy).

The MiM Academy started as a brand-new corporate social investment (CSI) initiative this year and has done terrific work in 2015 to expose South African film students, working as interns, to the South African television business by getting hands-on experience across a range of M-Net, kykNET and Mzansi Magic channels' productions.

The MiM Academy is overseen by the veteran producer and director Bobby Heaney as the academy's director.

M-Net is allegedly excluding white students from applying for one of the 20 internships for 2016 - up from 12 positions this year - saying that applications are "strictly EE (Employment Equity) qualifying candidates only – black, coloured and Indian". Applications close on 11 December.

Trade union Solidarity announced that it will now file a class complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) about what it says is "M-Net's discriminating Magic in Motion internship" programme.

"M-Net indicated that only black, coloured and Indian persons would be considered for an internship opportunity. This opportunity excludes all white persons," says Dirk Groenewald, the head of Solidarity's Centre for fair labour practices.

"Our complaint to the HRC is based on the prohibition by law of quotas and absolute limitations as well as the reservation of jobs."

"The explanation M-Net offered to Solidarity is unacceptable and serves as confirmation that they are excluding all white persons, and therefore, they are acting in breach of the law."

"It is totally unacceptable that M-Net supports and implements such discriminating practices. We will request the HRC to give its urgent attention to the matter and will also argue that M-Net should do away with those practices," says Dirk Groenewald. "We also have a social obligation to stand up against those racist practices".

In a statement M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle says M-Net is not breaking the law and that M-Net "rejects Solidary's claim that out internship programme does not comply with the Employment Equity Act".

Yolisa Phahle says M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy initiative is in line with the Employment Equity Act "which requires us to remove barriers to employment - which is exactly what Magic in Motion does".

"Magic in Motion is one of several interventions we are making to transform the sector, including significant investments in local content and the development of local film production companies."

"We will continue to play a role in building an electronic media sector which is truly representative of all South Africans," says Yolisa Phahle.

Friday, November 27, 2015 on MultiChoice's DStv finally upgraded to high definition quality; local weekday soaps Rhytm City and Scandal! added to DStv Catch Up.

Sabido's and MultiChoice have finally agreed to upgrade the South African free-to-air commercial TV channel's signal from SD to HD on the DStv satellite pay-TV platform. also signed a deal with MultiChoice to add its daily local soaps, Rhythm City and Scandal! to the DStv Catch Up service from 1 December.

DStv Catch up already contains some of the SABC's weekday soaps like Generations and 7de Laan in a contract with the SABC, as well as kykNET's (DStv 144) Binnelanders and Villa Rosa. is being broadcast in high definition (HD) from today on DStv. upgraded its signal to HD in October 2013 and has been broadcasting the high definition version for the past two years on Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) free-to-air satellite platform.

While the HD version of was available the past two years, MultiChoice as well as On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa running the StarSat pay-TV satellite platform didn't switch to the better version for their respective subscribers.

There's been no announcement from MultiChoice but Monde Twala, channels managing director praised the upgrade deal, saying it will enrich DStv subscribers' viewing experience.

"All of our distinctive blend of authentic, compelling shows are filmed in HD. We are certain that his new development will give the channel a new edge and add value to our broad audience across all platforms".

In 2016 will roll out a new second "season" of the telenovela Ashes to Ashes and dramas Z'bondiwe and Umlilo have also been renewed for second seasons. will also bring viewers a new local travel show Double Up, a new local action thriller Heist, and picked up the Jongo local superhero drama.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

History on DStv to broadcast the hour-long, rush-documentary, Terror: Seven Days in Paris this Sunday; follows the aftermath of recent Paris attacks for a week.

History (DStv 186) will broadcast a rush-documentary, Terror: Seven Days in Paris this Sunday at 20:30 about the recent terror attacks in Paris, France in which 130 people died.

The hour-long documentary produced by NBC Peacock Productions will be rebroadcast on History on Wednesday 2 December at 22:10.

"This special documentary puts the Paris attacks in a wider context," says Rachel Job, the director for programming for History at A+E Networks UK in London.

"With exclusive footage and first-hand accounts from the people of Paris, alongside expert opinion, we look at how recent acts of terror have changed the course of history."

Terror: Seven Days in Paris looks at the Paris massacre framed against growing international terrorism.

The documentary was quickly produced as two camera teams started doing interviews with witnesses, doctors, the owner of the Bataclan concert venue and various international terrorism experts immediately after the Paris attacks and continuing for seven days afterwards.

The documentary team also filmed the dawn siege by police – and its aftermath – in the Parisian quarter of St Denis on Wednesday, 18 November.

Terror: Seven Days in Paris recalls other major acts over recent years that have had a significant global impact, including 9/11 in New York and Pennsylvania; the Madrid bombings in 2004; 7/7 in London in 2005; the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015; the Russian plane brought down in Sinai; and the strikes in Beirut, which took place on 12 November 2015, the day before the Paris attacks.

People interviewed in Terror: Seven Days in Paris include Dr Christophe Pudhomme who treated survivors and suspected terrorists in the police shoot-out in St Denis; Dr Michel Bonnot; Raafiaa Benabid who was was making dinner for her family in her flat above La Carillon bar where seven people were killed; and Daniel Habrekon, the owner of the Bataclan concert venue where 89 people were murdered during a rock concert.

Educational channel [ED] on DStv will show Rehad Desai's Emmy award-winning documentary, Miners Shot Down, this Sunday 3 times during the day.

Miners Shot Down, the International Emmy award winning South Africa documentary of filmmaker Rehad Desai about the Marikana massacre by the South Africa police will be broadcast this Sunday 29 November on [ED] (DStv 190) on DStv in South Africa and across the African continent.

Ordinary South Africans haven't seen Miners Shot Down since the SABC and refused to shown Miners Shot Down on the public broadcaster and South Africa's only free-to-air commercial TV channel.

Miner Shot Down has been shown on [ED] before in 2014, as well as earlier this year on Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) and the community TV station, Cape Town TV (CTV).

Miners Shot Down won the International Emmy Award on Sunday night in New York in the documentary category.

Yesterday and eNCA (DStv 403) condescendingly said it would broadcast Miners Shot Down but won't pay to show it and that it would broadcast the Emmy award winning documentary "if Rehad Desai drops us a free copy".

Miners Shot Down will be rebroadcast on [ED] this Sunday 29 November at 10:55, 14:55 and 18:55.

"It's an opportunity for South Africans to tune in to a documentary that has the whole world talking," says Roberto Carletti, [ED] station manager.

"As the first channel to air the documentary as far back as July 2014, we feel it's only fitting to repeat it. There's been growing viewer demand for the documentary in light of the recent success at the International Emmy Awards."

"Heeding these calls is in line with [ED]'s vision of empowering viewers through the dissemination of knowledge."

ShowMax set to expand outside of South Africa in 2016 to 3 other continents; Naspers' VoD service signs distribution deal with Samsung and Telkom

Naspers' new video-on-demand (VoD) service ShowMax plans to go global and to expand outside of South Africa soon in 2016 into at least three other continents, the business news wire service Bloomberg reports.

Asked about ShowMax's global expansion plans and roll-out, the VoD service that launched in August told TVwithThinus it had no comment.

According to Bloomberg, ShowMax will launch in North America, across territories in Europe and in Australasia in 2016.

According to Bloomberg, ShowMax will make its video streaming service accessible outside of South Africa from next month by giving access to Afrikaans content from December, and will add West African content in 2016.

Netflix plans to launch in South Africa sometime during 2016.

At the moment in South Africa, ShowMax, Times Media Group's struggling VIDI, MTN's FrontRow and China's PCCW Global that launched in September are all competing against each other as VOD service.

Naspers’s fledgling video-on-demand (VOD) platform, ShowMax, will be expanded to three new continents in the coming year, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

Samsung is meanwhile also silent about ShowMax's addition to its range of Smart TV's as an app.

ShowMax has signed distribution partnerships with Telkom and Samsung in South Africa and is also negotiating with Vodacom.

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy embroiled in a race row; trade union Solidarity slams pay-TV broadcaster over exclusion of white students from internship positions.

M-Net and its Magic in Motion Academy has become embroiled in a row about race with trade union Solidary slamming M-Net, saying the South African pay-TV broadcaster is unfairly discriminating by allowing no white students to apply for academy internships.

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy (MiM Academy) that started last year has been doing wonderful work with the veteran producer and director Bobby Heaney as the academy's director.

For its second year, M-Net is expanding the landmark internship programme from 12 to 20 positions to give film and TV graduates much-needed and in-depth practical experience as they work closely with some of South Africa's top producers and TV shows.

According to M-Net, applications for the film Academy that closes on 11 December are "strictly EE (Employment Equity) qualifying candidates only – black, coloured and Indian".

According to Dirk Groenewald, the head of Solidarity's Centre for Fair Labour Practices, M-Net's film academy doesn't comply with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act.

"It boils down to nothing but the total exclusion of white people and amounts to a quota system."

"The said legislation prohibits quota systems. Moreover, the courts, including the Constitutional Court, have already found that the use of a quota system as well as the exclusion of people based on the grounds of their skin colour is unlawful".

Dirk Groenewald says Solidarity asked M-Net to amend the Magic in Motion advertisement in order for whites to also be allowed to apply for the internships. Solidarity plans to lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission if the MiM Academy requirement isn't changed.

Dirk Groenewald says it is allegedly not the first time that MultiChoice has reserved vacant posts for certain race groups only.

"Multichoice has already advertised a significant number of posts exclusively for specific race groups. It is clear that the race problem at MultiChoice is far more significant than initially thought."

Asked why M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy internship positions decided to exclude a certain race group, M-Net told TVwithThinus that the focus of the film academy is on previously disadvantaged communities.

"As the MiM Academy is one of M-Net's corporate social investment initiatives, the focus of the initiative is on previously disadvantaged communities".

"However, whilst it is targeted to a pre-determined demographic requirement in line with powerful national transformation objectives, there are also positions and development opportunities at M-Net that are open to a wider pool," says M-Net.

"In this way, M-Net is focused on maintaining its multi-cultural, diverse talent complement".

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

OPINION: The ugliest and most awful thing and eNCA have EVER said - and why even an Emmy winning filmmaker can't pay the rent with 'exposure'.

One of the ugliest and most disgusting things were publicly stated today in South Africa's television industry in a publicly released press statement.

And no, it surprisingly didn't come from the SABC's corporate affairs office, but from and eNCA (DStv 403).

Sabido's TV channels said it will will take an Emmy winner and a South African filmmaker's documentary and show it - but won't pay for it and only if these commercially-run channels can get it for free.

Well, "exposure" doesn't pay my rent and probably also not the salaries of the TV executives at and eNCA who I presume are not paid in bags of mealies either.

It's from eNCA and that condescendingly gloated and noted today that the Emmy winning filmmaker Rehad Desai is "welcome" to "drop off a copy at our studios" of his documentary film and that eNCA and would then "gladly" do so [broadcast it] "for free".


Rehad Desai just won the 2015 International Emmy award for best documentary for his harrowing documentary film, Miners Shot Down.

I was writing about television long before became a TV station.

I was there from before and have covered it since it's little brother on MultiChoice's DStv started - the eNews Channel that transformed into eNCA and its ongoing journey. eAfrica. eNews Africa. OpenView HD.

I've seen them launch and grow and I've tracked them all meticulously since as I do all South African television.

While the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster stooped pretty low in the past with disgusting, erratic and downright crazy behaviour and said some very destructive and disturbing things, what and eNCA said on Tuesday ranks as my all time worst public remarks from these Sabido channels. Ever. 

And yes, that includes even HCI's Yunis Shaik and his notorious, alleged missive of " I work for a living sucking dick!"

Make no mistake about it: What and eNCA said is what they want the public to know.

They chose their words and specifically want people and South Africa's TV industry to know - hence a public statement - that they won't pay for Miners Shot Down but that yes, they will show it - just not pay for it.

On Tuesday there was no congratulations or positive remarks from and eNCA supporting someone who is working in, supporting, winning for South Africa on the world stage, and trying to earn a living while doing so and making that one thing that all TV channels and broadcasters hold most dear: TV content. 

Instead and eNCA decided to eviscerate Rehad Desai [who I've never met] and his Miners Shot Down documentary which has won numerous, numerous awards, saying in so many words that his documentary film is worthless.

We only pay for something that has value, right?

It was dirty, low ball and aggressive attack by and eNCA in my view on a filmmaker and a South African one at that who just won an International Emmy, one totally uncalled for and way below and eNCA's maturity level as people as as a business.

I get what and eNCA probably tried to do: Scared of growing negative sentiment, and with public pressure building over the circulation of a public petition calling for Miners Shot Down to be shown on the SABC and, my guess is that and eNCA wanted to distance themselves from appearing politically biased.

My guess is that and eNCA wanted to show that they're not not showing Miners Shot Down due to any political agenda, influence or leanings but purely because they don't want to and because during negotiations the price for the product - in this case an Emmy winning local documentary - was too steep.

Instead and eNCA now come across as just plainly disgusting and cheap - just like Mfundi Vundla of SABC1's Generations who can't fathom why actor's can't be cheaper and why they apparently don't come for free.

Every single person - yes, even those working in television - work for money. Apologies for stating the probably obvious, but apparently it's not so obvious to and eNCA.

"Exposure" doesn't pay your bills even if you work in media or the content generation or creative industries. 

The executives as well as the the corporate affairs and marketing and public relations people at and eNCA all know that very well, but on Tuesday they decided to throw Rehad Desai under the bus in a very big way - and by implication all of South Africa's local content producers.

I hate it, and I hate that and eNCA did that and in such a terrible, pathetic, thoughtless and dismissive manner.

Filmmakers and South African TV and film content producers deserve better and and eNCA should go to their own broadcasting eAcademy and get an education. and eNCA deliberately chose to send a rotten, untrue and extremely wrong message to South Africa's TV and film industry: That there's instances where we as oh so mighty TV people who need content and work in the content business will "gladly" take your content and will show it ... if we don't have to pay for it.

Oh, and you should be glad because it's "exposure".

By the way, giving your content to a TV channel is what you should do according to them - meaning give it to them for free - should you, as and eNCA say in their statement to Rehad Desai "feel the film requires further exposure to a South African audience".

If I were Rehad Desai my gentle words to eNCA and would be ... "Go f* yourself".

Rehad Desai isn't a top 25 M-Net Idols contestant who doesn't know better and is singing for free to get "exposure".

Rehad Desai isn't a lowly job seeker entering the TV and film industry who have to work as an unpaid intern just to get desperately needed "experience" at some company to try and have something on the CV.

And Miners Shot Down definitely isn't Fanny By Gaslight and Walker, Texas Ranger and Backstage or Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid and all the other trash TV that has shown over and over and over and over many times because poor viewers have apparently not yet seen it enough.

Yet and eNCA have the eye-rolling audacity to say they don't want to show Miners Shot Down because there's been "no aspect to the Marikana tragedy we have not covered" and that they've done enough Marikana massacre coverage.

Well. Let me educate: Eating is never done. Growing up is never done. Life is never done.

In television and in the news business, the wheel never stops turning.

There's always space and place on the schedule for showing more, for bringing more perspectives, for showing more sides.

I'm venturing a wild guess here, but I thought that's the business eNCA is in and wants to be in.

Among all of the repeats on the schedule yet another Marikana programme will not seem odd. And how about Platco Digital's OpenView HD and its channels?

If I worked in TV, I'd think that a documentary like Miners Shot Down would be a nice pick-up for one of my locally packaged TV channels that desperately need new content on the bouquet like eAfrica+ or eMovies+ or eKasi+ to make it stronger and stand out a bit and to strengthen their individual channel propositions.

Furthermore and eNCA know that documentaries like Miners Shot Down are distributed by local and international distributors.

How platitudinal to go in a disingenuous sounding press release that "his office is welcome to drop off a copy at our studios". It doesn't work that way.

How about saying "congratulations Rehad Desai for producing an outstanding and award-winning documentary, and with persevering with a difficult story you wanted to tell. Previously our content executives couldn't successfully negotiate a deal to show Miners Shot Down but we would love to sit down again with the relevant representatives to see if we can bring this important piece of television to our South African viewers".  

That is apparently too much and too high-brow difficult for and eNCA who opted to rather go with the trashy and decidedly downmarket "we therefore extend an invitation to him to accept our offer of a free broadcast". 

It is so hugely offensive to me.

There's also huge irony in the fact that eNCA that continues to struggle in adequately telling the press on a consistent basis about its actual programming and what it is going to show, is quick to put out a press release about what it won't show (unless it gets it for free).

Yes, Mahala on e wasn't just a show on - it's apparently's attitude when it comes to procuring content.

With the often trashy advertiser-funded productions (AFPs) that litter's schedule (Hi Edgars! Hi Pick n Pay! Hi FNB!) it's actually a surprise that and eNCA didn't ask Rehad Desai to pay them.

Uhuru Productions should probably be glad that will show Miners Shot Down just for free instead of asking a fee. Phew!

(Don't forget that and eNCA also cut loose and threw away Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola - another programme that also managed to win an International Emmy and rightly was and should be a jewel in the crown of any channel's programming line-up. Perhaps Diprente Productions should have offered LNN to eNCA and for free...)

I really don't understand why and eNCA had to be so hard and harsh and trying soo much to be dismissive and disparaging. It's our TV industry you as broadcasters are shamelessly asking to give you content for free. and eNCA's press statement is as tone-deaf bad as the ANC spokesperson idiot on Monday who congratulated the Miners Shot Down "cast members" in a hollow statement filled with fake sentiment. (The documentary has no cast - only miners, police, killed miners and widows.)

Will and eNCA tell Steven Spielberg or George Lucas or Michael Moore that they will show one of their films for free? For the ... "exposure".

Dear and eNCA, go ask the WWE for their trashy wrestling content for free because its become too expensive. See what happens.

Yet sadly and eNCA have the audacity to publicly say and ask that of a South African documentary filmmaker. One whose work just got recognised internationally.

I often speak to TV and production executives off the record, often at the sidelines at TV events, and they always openly talk to me about what they might want, don't want, can't afford, just bought and are looking at. They also quite openly will say when certain shows or programming are bad and what they won't buy.

What I don't understand is why and eNCA had to come out and say publicly that they don't want something, but actually will want it if they can get it free.

Why publicly try and trash someone by deliberately saying you won't, and will show a locally made documentary but only if you can get it for free because the price previously was too expensive?

It's really low and unbecoming of TV brands like and eNCA.

And guess what and eNCA? Quality ain't cheap. Miners Shot Down is obviously quality, even if you want to make as if it's worth not paying for. It was judged by peers worldwide to be the best TV documentary in the world for this year. 

What and eNCA said today in their joint statement ( a statement issued without even a subject line) doesn't build and doesn't support South Africa's TV industry. It belittles it. And that's wrong.

The irony of course is that and eNCA are a part of this TV industry.

So they're throwing mud and meanwhile slinging some of it at themselves, getting themselves dirty trying to throw shade.

For every established and up-and-coming documentary maker and TV producer and someone with a dream to make TV content in South Africa, I want to say, don't give up. Keep pursuing your dream. 

Rightly expect and demand to get paid for your work and your blood and sweat and tears and time and creative and intellectual property. 

Don't give up what you make for free to others who don't care even if it really matters and should be seen - because what you do and earning and making a living out of it, matters too.

Even if broadcasters like or eNCA show disrespect and make as if you're a lowly intern who made a movie with a shaky Sony handheld, or tell you that what you ask is too much, please never lose the respect and dignity you have for yourself and what you create. 

Keep doing what you love. Persevere.

And always stand up for yourself - even when you're undermined and shot down by people who should know better.

BREAKING. and eNCA doesn't want to pay to show International Emmy award winning Miners Shot Down; tells Rehad Desai to 'drop us a free copy'.

eNCA and says filmmaker Rehad Desai can drop the Sabido-run TV news channel "a free copy" of his International Emmy winning documentary Miners Shot Down and eNCA will show it – but won't pay.

In an extremely snooty and condescending statement, eNCA, one of the TV news channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, says Rehad Desai's office "is welcome to drop off a copy at our studios" and that eNCA and will "gladly" broadcast his documentary for free.

On Sunday Rehad Desai's multi-award winning documentary about the Marikana massacre won yet another award – despite the fact that it has not been shown in South Africa by the public broadcaster, the SABC, nor or M-Net.

The hard-hitting Miners Shot Down telling the story of the Marikana miners who were gunned down by the South African Police in August 2012 and produced by Uhuru Productions has been shown earlier this year on Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) and the community TV station, Cape Town TV (CTV).

Video-on-demand (VOD) services like Times Media Group's struggling VIDI and PCCW Global's have also added the documentary to their streaming catalogues.

With a growing petition circulation, calls have been growing for the SABC and to show the documentary in South Africa. While the SABC has been silent, and eNCA is now responding saying they will show it, but not if they have to pay for it.

People and production companies who produce content for broadcast, especially on commercial TV channels, are paid for their work in South Africa, as is the case internationally.

eNCA earlier this year however went through painful layoffs and downsized the business, closing bureaux and shuttering its entire African news division.

“Previously Rehad Desai wanted us to pay him to broadcast it. At the time we felt his price was too high and we had a documentary, feature stories and reports of our own,” says in a statement.

“We have not been asked by Rehad Desai to broadcast the documentary since the initial release. We therefore extend an invitation to him to accept our offer of a free broadcast should he feel the film requires further exposure to a South African audience," says says "There are no aspects to the Marikana tragedy we have not covered as a news organisation. eNCA and the SABC also broadcast the Marikana Commission of Inquiry at our own costs."

ANN7 news channel on DStv named the worst employer in South Africa, Sabido's and Telkom also shamed in Cosatu's list of worst workplaces.

ANN7 (DStv 405), the South African TV news channel from Infinity Media has been named the worst employer in South Africa by Cosatu, with Sabido's also shamed by the trade federation.

At its 12th congress held in Midrand, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) singled out ANN7, known as "Guptanews" as the worst employer in South Africa.

Over the past year and a half the Infinity Media run channel also based in Midrand has seen a spate of resignations from several on-air talent who've left since ANN7 launched, as well as production staff and journalists.

 The Gupta family-owned news television channel, ANN7, is now the worst employer in South Africa, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Infinity Media is co-owned by Oakbay Investments that belongs to the Gupta family.

ANN7 was nominated by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) that represents employees at the news channel.

"If you want to be recognised as a progressive media house, pay your workers correctly," Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told the Cosatu national congress.

The Gupta owned TV news channel has constantly remained more in the news for the eye-popping and tumultuous personnel and human resources drama happening behind the scenes at its Midrand based headquarters than for anything else.

In August an ANN7 journalist physically attacked and assaulted the channel's own news editor Abhinav Sahay in the ANN7 Midrand newsroom, and since then more people left like anchors Gladys Sithole and Nzinga Qunta.

Presenter Asanda Magaqa was fired in November 2015 and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled that ANN7 was guilty of unfair dismissal and ordered the channel to pay her R500 000.

Other bad employers according to Cosatu that made its list include another broadcaster - South Africa's only free-to-air commercial TV channel, as well as Telkom and the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, said Zingiswa Losi, Cosatu's second deputy president.