GUPTA LEAKS: WHAT ANN7 WOULD HAVE BEEN

Sunday, November 19, 2017

SABC News crew, including foreign editor Sophie Mokoena, immediately deported back from Zimbabwe to South Africa after trying to get into the country after military coup.


An SABC News crew from South Africa trying to get into Zimbabwe to cover the Zimbabwe coup against the old dictator Robert Mugabe was abruptly deported back to South Africa and denied entry on Friday 17 November.

The Zimbabwe government didn't give any reasons for barring the SABC News journalists and crew entry into the country.

South African news channels - eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 - have been trying to play catch-up since Wednesday when news of the military coup first broke - trying to compete with the first-hand on-the-ground reporting from international TV news channels.

CNN International excelled and was the best in biz with its Zimbabwe coverage with at least two correspondents on the ground in Harare, while Sky News also reported from the ground in Zimbabwe, alongside Al Jazeera that has a news bureau in the troubled Southern African nation.

The news crew from the South African public broadcaster was deported after landing at the Robert Mugabe International Airport.

The SABC's foreign editor for SABC News Sophie Mokoena, reporter Noma Bolabi and others were barred from entering Zimbabwe.

MultiChoice to drop Guptas' controversial ANN7 channel from DStv in June 2018 according to reports; says it's not currently negotiating to keep ANN7 on DStv.


With Sunday newspaper reports saying that MultiChoice plans to drop the controversial ANN7 (DStv 405) channel from its DStv bouquet in June 2018 when the existing contract expires, MultiChoice on Sunday told TVwithThinus that MultiChoice has not been approached by ANN7 for renewal of the contract and that MultiChoice is not in possible renewal negotiations.

On Sunday the Afrikaans Rapport newspaper reported that the biased so-called "news" channel, slammed for driving racial division in South Africa and known for its ongoing litany of on-air blunders and mistakes, will disappear from DStv during June when the current contract between MultiChoice and ANN7 expires.

Afrotone Media Holdings is now the new holding company for ANN7 and The New Age with Mzwanele "Jimmy" Manyi as executive chairman.

So far more than 12 500 DStv subscribers have signed an online petition at petitions24.com .

The thousands of angry people are demanding, and explaining why, they want MultiChoice to get rid of ANN7.

DStv subscribers are saying that they don't want to be forced to pay for a channel where money is paid by MultiChoice to the highly controversial Gupta family whose involvement with South African State Capture has been exposed, and that is damaging South Africa with biased so-called "news".

In the past week The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) also asked MultiChoice boss Mark Rayner in an open letter to get rid of ANN7 and to come clean about MultiChoice's dealings with ANN7.

Further leaked emails from the Gupta leaks two weeks ago have shed further light on the insider contract negotiations and dealings between MultiChoice and ANN7, with MultiChoice paying hundreds of millions of rand of DStv subscribers' money to ANN7 for the channel to provide its distorted so-called "news" coverage.

On Sunday Rapport said that MultiChoice will dump ANN7, primarily due to the ongoing brand damage ANN7 is inflicting on the DStv brand by proxy.

According to the report MultiChoice has not Mzwanele "Jimmy" Manyi, nor has he made any effort yet to get in touch with MultiChoice.

ANN7 that has been used for personal on-air vendettas against politicians not aligned with the tarnished president Jacob Zuma, has also been a bottom-feeder in terms of TV news channel ratings on DStv.

MultiChoice in a quick response to a media enquiry on Sunday morning told TVwithThinus that it is not currently negotiating to keep ANN7 on DStv.

"We have a legally binding channel carriage contract for the ANN7 channel."

"We cannot comment on the terms of the contract (including the duration of the agreement) as it is subject to confidentiality clauses."

"We have not been approached by the owners of ANN7 for the renewal of the contract and we are not in negotiations for the renewal of that contract. Timelines for negotiations for the renewal of contracts vary from contract to contract and are dictated by different situations and circumstances."

"We are furthermore unable to cancel a contract prior to its expiry unless there is a clear breach of that contract."

"As we have stated previously, DStv is a platform that relays many local and international news channels, representing a wide spectrum of views - for instance SABC News, eNCA, ANN7, CNN, Sky News and many others."

"We don't have editorial control or any involvement in running the operations of any of these news channels, including ANN7."

E! Entertainment investigating Ryan Seacrest misconduct claim of behaving 'inappropriately' with an E! News stylist.


E! Entertainment (DStv 124) is investigating a misconduct claim against Ryan Seacrest from a stylist who used to work on E! News with Ryan Seacrest, claiming he behaved "inappropriately".

According to a stylist who worked at E! News a decade ago while Ryan Seacrest was an anchor on the show, he behaved inappropriately, although the details of what allegedly happened is not yet known.

"Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her," says Ryan Seacrest in a statement.

He was the co-anchor of E! News on E! Entertainment from 2006 until 2012.

"If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry. I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result."

"I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that's core to who I am."

"Throughout my 25 years in the entertainment industry, the majority of my co-workers have been women, and I've endeavoured to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy, as that's how I believe it should be."

"I'm distraught that anyone or any situation would call that into question. I'm proud of my workplace reputation, and believe my track record will speak for itself. I’m an advocate for women. I will continue to support their voices," says Ryan Seacrest in his statement, who is back as the host of the revived American Idol.

E! publicist Joanne Park says E! is investigating the misconduct claim.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Talk with Kwangu producer confirms DStv Zambia yanked the show off Zambezi Magic after government interference; part of 'scary reality about censorship on the continent'.


As the MultiChoice and Zambia TV censorship scandal continues, the Talk with Kwangu producer Tarryn Lee Crossman confirms that the Zambian government interfered with DStv Zambia and M-Net in Zambia and ordered the show off the air, as she opened up about "scary reality about censorship on the continent".

MultiChoice and M-Net, Africa's largest TV platform, has a growing free speech and censorship problem as more and more African nations and authorities that doesn't support democracy and free speech are ordering content off the air.

The latest shocking MultiChoice Africa censorship debacle revolves around the show Talk with Kwangu that has seen its content forced off the air on M-Net's Zambezi Magic channel on DStv, a channel available in Zambia and some other Southern African nations outside of South Africa. 

Zambia's information minister Kampamba Mulenga initially claimed no Zambian government interference, but she blatantly lied. Now she claims blissful ignorance of not really knowing what's going on.

Talk with Kwangu producer Tarryn Lee Crossman is however speaking out about what really happened while Kampamba Mulenga now says her people were "misinformed" on the issue.

In a facebook posting Tarryn Lee Crossman says Talk with Kwangu that had UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s wife, Mutinta, among others on the show, did indeed upset the Zambian government.

The show was therefore ordered off DStv Zambia's Zambezi Magic channel.

"We produced a talk show for Zambezi Magic, Talk with Kwangu Wa Liwewe. It was a current affairs show that highlighted where Zambia is 53 years after independence," says Tarryn Lee Crossman.

"Two of the 9 shows were slightly controversial, looking at issues of press freedom and police brutality."

"In one show we featured Hakainde Hichilema's wife, speaking about his arrest. This has made the Zambian government very upset and the show has subsequently been pulled by DStv."

"I am sure this was a very hard decision for them to make, but it is also a scary reality about censorship on the continent," says Tarryn Lee Crossman.

Ngoza Kasunga Matakala, MultiChoice Zambia managing director, says "M-Net commissions a variety of producers across Africa to produce programming for its entertainment channels, however, not all of the programming goes on air."

"With regard to the Zambezi Magic schedules, at no stage has there been any engagement with government regarding content on Zambezi Magic," says Ngoza Kasunga Matakala.

Simon Witbooi appointed as channel head of Afrikaans community channel OnseTV on StarSat.


Simon Witbooi also known as Hemelbesem has been appointed as channel head of the Afrikaans community channel OnseTV that recently launched on StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat satellite pay-TV platform.

Simon Witbooi, an artist, musician and poet who has also been a presenter on SABC2's Afrikaans magazine show Pasella, doesn't have any discernible broadcast management experience.

OnseTV launched on StarSat on channel 462 on 29 September.

"The management of OnseTV is very pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Witbooi to the position of channel head for OnseTV effective from November this year," says Jaco Ferreira, OnseTV CEO in a statement.

OnseTV says Simon Witbooi "posesses highly developed skill and understanding of digital content application in both the linear broadcasting as well as IP environments".

Little is known about OnseTV.

Neither StarSat nor OnseTV bothered to share with media any content plans or programming-specific line-ups or any programmatic publicity material.

Discovery appoints Susanna Dinnage as the first global president for Animal Planet as its American side is folded into the global division.


Discovery has appointed Susanna Dinnage as the first global president for Animal Planet (DStv 183) as the American part of Animal Planet is being absorbed into the global Animal Planet management as part of a reorganisation.

Susanna Dinnage based in London in the United Kingdom will now report to David Zaslav, Discovery CEO and Discovery Networks International chief executive and president Jean-Briac Perrette.

It means that Animal Planet will now be run globally from London.

Susanna Dinnage has been the president of Discovery UK and Ireland as well as the chief content officer for Discovery Networks International.

Running Animal Planet globally, Susanna Dinnage will be in charge of developing and commissioning animal programming.

"The animal kingdom and natural world give us all such joy and, in times of uncertainty, there is no better antidote than to spend more time immersed in the wonders of the world around us," says Susanna Dinnage in a statement.

"I look forward to bringing new talent and more adventure and reflecting the worldwide love of animals to every screen on Animal Planet. With a team based in London and New York, this is a great opportunity to work with a wide range of production companies across the world."

"As Discovery continues to strategically pivot and deliver our content to consumers across all screens and services, it is more important than ever that our brands are structured and managed in a way that best exploits their global potential," says David Zaslav.

"We are confident that this new global model, combined with Susanna's expert leadership and the worldwide appeal of our animal content, will maximize Animal Planet's power across linear channels and create new digital opportunities around the world."

Jean-Briac Perrette says "Susanna's creative prowess, commercial expertise and deep understanding of consumer viewing preferences across diverse markets has driven success for Discovery's international business for many years. This new structure will expand Animal Planet's strong heritage and affinity among passionate superfans across the globe".

National Geographic greenlits new docu-drama series, Valley of the Boom, tracking Silicon Valley's boom-to-bust story in America's 1990s.


National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) has ordered a new 6-episode scripted and documentary hybrid series, Valley of the Boom that will track the 1990's technology boom  - and bust - in the famed American tech-start-up region known as Silicon Valley.

Valley of the Boom has been created by Matthew Carnahan who will also be the director and showrunner, and will produce it together with Arianna Huffington who started The Huffington Post.

"The provocative world of Silicon Valley has long dominated headlines and captured the public's imagination," says Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president and head of global scripted programming for National Geographic.

Valley of the Boom will premiere globally on National Geographic in 171 countries, including South Africa.

"We cannot wait to tell this timely, wildly unpredictable and captivating story of the early days of the dotcom boom and bust with showrunner Matthew Carnahan and his signature irreverent blend of drama, comedy and pathos."

Valley of the Boom will function like the MARS series, where a dramatised story is being played out, interspliced with real-world commentary from experts.

"We wanted to make something as disruptive and exciting as the people and the tech that came out of the Valley during this period, so this is a wild, hybridized, rule-breaking look at a truly remarkable time and place," says Matthew Carnahan.

"National Geographic has allowed us tremendous creative freedom, and I’m excited about making something truly new and different."

Arianna Huffington says "Silicon Valley and the technology that came out of it dominate our world in so many ways, both physically and culturally".

"But we can't understand the present without understanding how we got here. So I’m thrilled to be partnering with a master storyteller like Matthew Carnahan."

Nickelodeon cancels School of Rock as well as Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.


Nickelodeon (DStv 305) has cancelled two shows - School of Rock as well as Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.

"Nickelodeon is not moving forward with production on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn and School of Rock," Nickelodeon said in a statement.

"We are extremely proud of each series, and thankful to the casts and crews for their work. The remaining episodes for both shows will continue to air on Nickelodeon through 2018."

School of Rock was based on the 2003 Jack Black starring film of the same name.

Travel Channel launches the second season of Durban Beach Rescue with a draft - does it perhaps need a raft?


Maybe a raft is in order for Scripps Networks Interactive's Travel Channel (DStv 179) that on Thursday did a media launch in Durban for the second season of Durban Beach Rescue while it sent out a 2-page press release to the rest of the media covering television awkwardly marked "draft".

Media didn't know if they're supposed to use something marked "DRAFT" in grey.

Later, after a media enquiry, Travel Channel reissued the press release without the "draft" watermark.

The Travel Channel on Thursday also had a media launch for the second season of Durban Beach Rescue in Durban.

Media covering television didn't know and wasn't told about it but saw it when photos were posted on social media.

For the first season of Durban Beach Rescue Travel also did media launches but only in Durban and Johannesburg.

The second season of Durban Beach Rescue, produced by Ruby Rocket Media and executive produced by Bronwyn Berry, will start on Travel on Monday 27 November at 20:00 with double-bill episodes.

The 12-episode second season will continue to capture the day-to-day challenges of Durban's lifeguards on the Wedge, uShaka, Umhlanga man and Bronze beaches in KwaZulu-Natal and even further north to Ballito.

"This time around the show is less about the crowds and more about the characters who work tirelessly to keep the holiday-makers safe."

Here is a teaser trailer of the second season of Durban Beach Rescue:

Actresses and female crew of The Royals on E! Entertainment slam suspended showrunner Mark Schwahn over ongoing sexual harassment on set.


Actresses and female crew members of the drama series The Royals on E! Entertainment are now speaking out to - detailing the ongoing and shocking sexual harassment from the series creator and showrunner Mark Schwahn who has been suspended this week.

Mark Schwahn was suspended after a barrage of sexual harassment allegations against him, made by the female cast and crew of his previous and longrunning series One Tree Hill.

In a joint statement on Thursday, signed by 25 actresses - including The Royals regular Merritt Patterson as well as several guest-starring and recurring actresses and crew members - they slam Mark Schwahn over the "repeated unwanted sexual harassment of multiple female members of cast and crew".

On Wednesday The Royals star, Alexandra Park, in a statement said that "I too, have been exposed to this reprehensible behaviour".

In a statement Elizabeth Hurley says "I feel sick to hear now that people were unhappy at that time and didn't dare speak up".

"It's totally unacceptable for anyone to work in a place where they feel unsafe. Measures must be put in place in every industry so that anyone who is experiencing intimidation can seek help."

Filming on the 4th season of The Royals, produced by Lionsgate Television and Universal Cable productions, ended in September. It's not yet known if the show has been renewed for a 5th season.

Here is the statement of The Royals actresses and female crew:


Upon reading a statement from the ladies of One Tree Hill, a statement from their Royal sisters could not possibly go unwritten.

Despite hearing rumours about his behaviour on One Tree Hill, those of us involved from the early stages went into the filming of the pilot hoping they were just that – rumours.

By the time we wrapped, this had irrevocably proven not to be the case. It became all too apparent reading their statement earlier this week that the betrayal and anger so many of us had experienced during our time on The Royals is not exclusively ours.

And we were angry then, and we are angry now.

This statement is a collection of voices from those women involved in The Royals who would like to finally respond to the behaviour of our showrunner. Who felt the inclination to abuse his power and influence in an environment where he had it over women who felt they did not.

This manifested itself in the repeated unwanted sexual harassment of multiple female members of cast and crew.

Where we should have been excited to meet new female cast and crew members, we felt nauseating concern in case they too should have him track down their mobile number.

Where we should have offered our friends who auditioned for The Royals scene help and advice, we offered warnings about the man they would meet in the room.

More than all of this, where we should all collectively have felt pride over jobs hard won and roles much loved, we felt undermined as artists and creatives. And in many cases, no more than a sum of body attributes.

Whilst voraciously condemning the actions of one man, we would like to make note of our gratitude to others. Thank you to so many of The Royals men who ensured we were never alone in social situations with him and took two steps towards us for his every one.

Thank you to the friends, loved ones and partners who supported us at the time and ever more so now in coming forward.

But thank you most of all to the women of One Tree Hill, whose solid gold backbones have moved us enormously. To you we doff our crowns.
Kind regards
The Ladies of The Royals.
Hatty Preston, Sophie Colquhoun, Alex Watherson, Lydia Rose Bewley, April Church, Annalise Beusnel, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Florence Chow, Charlie Jones, Isabella Artitzone, Jade Armstrong, Rachel Walsh, Tania Vernava, Bonnie Vannucci, Merritt Patterson, Kate Benton, Jerry-Jane Pears, Jodie Simone, Kate Royds, Leonie Hartard, Lisa Mitton, Marie Deehan, Alice Woodward, Rachel Lennon, Kimberly Macbeth.

SABC1 to broadcast Cassper Nyovest's first two 'Fill Up' performances on Saturdays, starting with Fill Up the Dome on Saturday 18 November.


While rapper Cassper Nyovest is attempting to fill up the FNB Stadium with an upcoming performance, the SABC's SABC1 channel has announced that it will broadcast two of the rapper's previous "Fill Up" performances on Saturdays. 

SABC1 will broadcast Cassper Nyovest's Fill Up The Dome concert on Saturday 18 November at 20:00.

SABC1 will broadcast Fill Up Orlando Stadium, that took place in 2016, on Saturday 25 November at 20:00.

"SABC1 as a channel that prides itself with supporting youth development took a bold decision to partner with Cassper Nyovest’s Fill Up Orlando Stadium in 2016. It was through this particular partnership that the channel also attained licence rights to broadcast the two previous events starting with the first one, Fill Up The Dome on Saturday 18 November".

"For us, it is not only for the purpose of viewer entertainment but to encourage every South African child to dream beyond their fear and challenges and to work hard to achieve those dreams," says Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC TV head publicist.

Premier Soccer League (PSL) agrees to extend the deadline for bids for broadcasting rights after the SABC asks for an extension.


The SABC has asked the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to extend the bid deadline for broadcasting rights so the public broadcaster can put together a possible tender offer and the PSL has agreed to extend the deadline.

The broadcasting rights are up for the Premier Soccer League in Sub-Saharan Africa for the 2019 to 2024 season.

So far it's been held by MultiChoice's SuperSport for the past decade after the SABC failed to put in a bid 10 years ago when its existing deal expired and the public broadcaster lost the rights.

Currently the SABC sub-licensed broadcasting rights so that public access broadcasting viewers can see some of the matches.

PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza on Wednesday after the league's annual general meeting in Sandton revealed that the PSL decided to extend the deadline for bids after the SABC requested more time.

Last week the SABC in parliament was asked whether it would be putting in a bid for the PSL broadcasting rights and told parliament's portfolio committee on communications that it would put together and submit a tender.

The PSL put out the broadcasting rights tender at the beginning of this month with an original deadline of 10 November.

"We briefed the members of PSL about the broadcasting rights which were supposed to be finalized on Wednesday but we've had to extend the deadline until Friday."

"This was prompted by SABC asking for an extra week because of the appointment of its new board. We gave them that extension to make sure that they get the equal chance."

"But what was also unique was that this time around we got applications from Vodacom‚ Telkom and Kwesé Sports. So it will be quite interesting to see what will be the outcome of these bids."

The PSL broadcasting rights include linear television - both pay-TV and public broadcasting, IPTV, internet streaming and mobile broadcasting of league matches.

Thousands of concerned DStv subscribers want clarity from MultiChoice boss Mark Rayner on DStv's continued business with the slanted ANN7 channel, says OUTA.


The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) in a letter to MultiChoice boss Mark Rayner says thousands of concerned DStv subscribers want the pay-TV platform to drop the Gupta-linked ANN7 (DStv 405) that is associated with biased content and slanted reporting.

Outa wrote to Mark Rayner, questioning MultiChoice's "morality of DStv's continued business transactions with ANN7", and asking Mark Rayner to please respond on behalf of MultiChoice to the "growing demand for clarity of your organisation's position with ANN7".

MultiChoice was asked for comment about Outa's open letter to Mark Rayner about clarity on MultiChoice's position on ANN7.

MultiChoice says "we confirm that we received the letter from Outa. We've contacted them and we'll be meeting them next week to discuss their concerns."

Outa CEO Wayne Duvenhage says DStv subscribers are forced to pay for ANN7 and are directly funding the channel.

Further leaked emails from the Gupta leaks last week shed further light on the insider contract negotiations and dealings between MultiChoice and ANN7.

Hundreds of millions of rand of DStv subscribers' money is being paid by MultiChoice to the channel known for its distorted news coverage with ANN7 that that has been accused of inciting racial division in South Africa.

Unrelated to Outa's open letter, so far more than 12 500 DStv subscribers have signed an online petition at petitions24.com, that wasn't started by Outa, demanding and explaining why they want MultiChoice to dump ANN7 and that they don't want to be forced to pay for the slanted channel that they say is damaging South Africa.

MultiChoice as a pay-TV service is supposed to keep clients happy. It's not clear what exactly MultiChoice is doing about the thousands of DStv subscribers who are vocally complaining about ANN7.



Outa says ANN7 was "allegedly initiated with taxpayers' money and set up to support a political bias driven by the politically connected Gupta family".

"We believe the recent actions to cease doing business with Gupta companies by the banking institutions and and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange - ostensibly due to the Gupta family's deep involvement in State Capture and alleged money laundering - is sufficient for DStv to review its "business as usual" stance with ANN7."

Outa says "adding weight to this call is the growing dissatisfaction of ANN7's seemingly biased content and slanted reporting on current political affairs."

Outa says "ANN7 peddles 'fake news' and pro-Zuma propaganda, with the channel openly attacking those who take umbrage on matters of State Capture and corruption linked to Jacob Zuma,his family and friends."

"We remind you of the plight suffered by Bell Pottinger, KPMG, SAP, McKinsey and others, who believed that hiding behind confidentiality and contractual clauses would suffice as reason to continue their unacceptable conduct."

Outa is pleading with MultiChoice "to do the right thing" and to heed "the call by civil society, for greater transparency and decisive action against entities that conduct themselves in a manner that minimises South Africa's prosperity".

Rachel Kalidass quits SABC board, says they want to force through corruption-linked Alan Mukoki as CEO; says SABC created a 'cleaning up committee' to deal with 'bad publicity' of his appointment.


In a shock-move that again brought a renewed perception of instability to the SABC board, board member Rachel Kalidass quit in protest against what she says is the new SABC board's bulldozer plan to appoint the fraud and corruption linked Alan Mukoki as new SABC CEO.

Rachel Kalidass who said she feels she is being victimised as a SABC board member for voicing dissent, said in her shocking resignation letter that the SABC board decided to create a "cleaning up committee" to deal with the "bad publicity" when news comes that Alan Mukoki is to be appointed as the new SABC CEO.

Alan Mukoki was Land Bank CEO when shocking looting took place and the bank became insolvent as more than R2 billion was diverted to other spending that was earmarked to help emerging farmers. Alan Mukoki has faced an investigation for fraud and corruption for alleged mismanagement of the Land Bank's finances.

On Thursday the SABC was once again engulfed in controversy over Rachel Kalidass' resignation.

In her resignation letter, addressed to president Jacob Zuma, she explained how SABC board members are determined to allegedly push through Alan Mukoki's appointment.

Alan Mukoki has no broadcast management experience whatsoever in film, TV and radio with the SABC that is in dire need of experienced top executives.

A 2007 Deloitte & Touche forensic audit found that Alan Mukoki and his executives had - without board approval - diverted almost R2 billion meant for emerging farmers.

These included luxury golf estates, a sugar mill, equestrian estates and residential developments. Some of the beneficiaries of irregular loans were Alan Mukoki's business associates and politicians.

Alan Mukoki resigned and was given a R4.5 million golden hand-shake payout.

Alan Mukoki is married to Johanna Makgalemele, the sister of Tswelopele Productions owner Basetsana Kumalo. Tswelopele Productions provides a variety of shows for the SABC ranging from Top Billing and Pasella to Expresso and Tropika Island of Treasure.

Rachel Kalidass said Alan Mukoki's appointment as SABC CEO would be a conflict of interest.

Rachel Kalidass said she believes that the appointment of Alan Mukoki would hinder "the restoration of stability and integrity at the SABC".

The SABC posted another R977 million loss end-September with the Auditor-General(AG) that has described the SABC as "commercially insolvent".

"Despite the GCEO candidate having allegations of fraud and corruption leveled against him during his previous employment, as well as a conflict of interest with a significant SABC content service provider, the majority of board members were in favour of having him appointed as the SABC GCEO," wrote Rachel Kalidass.

"I specifically requested for my dissenting view to be recorded, which was received with great hostility by some of the board members present."

"Given this fundamental difference of opinion between me and many of the board members, I feel that it would be best to resign with immediate effect, as opposed to being side-lined and victimised, which I feel is now occurring".

Rachel Kalidass said the SABC board decided to "set up a "cleaning up committee" of board members' with media experience which would respond to the anticipated "bad publicity" following his appointment".

Parliament's portfolio committee on communication is set to meet with the SABC next week Friday, but the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party on Thursday said it will ask for the date to be made earlier due to the latest crisis that has engulfed the SABC following Rachel Kalidass' resignation and her revelations about Alan Mukoki.

Phumzile Van Damme, DA member of parliament in a statement said "Rachel Kalidass' resignation is a sign that the bad times are back at the SABC".

"It is deeply worrying that the decline at the SABC is following the same pattern as it did with the previous board," said Phumzile Van Damme.

"A candidate in Hlaudi Motsoeneng was forced through despite objections from some SABC board members, some board members' resignation, or were dismissed following their objections, resulting in a terminal downward spiral culminating in the SABC inquiry".

"The SABC is showing all the signs of going down that same road unless the decline is arrested immediately".



On Thursday afternoon the SABC scrambled to arrange a SABC board press conference at short notice for 17:30.

The SABC News (DStv 404) channel carried the beginning of the press conference where 9 SABC board members were present, but abruptly cut away after 15 minutes when the press started asking questions.

During the press conference SABC board members didn't deny that Alan Mukoki is the preferred candidate for SABC CEO and slammed Rachel Kalidass.

New SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said the SABC board is "unified". He looked bad, since Rachel Kalidass' resignation and what she said, showed that the SABC board isn't unified.

Bongumusa Makhathini slammed Rachel Kalidass, saying "we're not going to allow rogue kind of people who get out of the board and go out there because they could not express their views in a structured and in a confidential manner".

The SABC in a statement on Thursday evening said "the process of appointing SABC executives remains unconcluded".

"Once a decision on executive appointments is finalised, the public will be fully taken into the board's confidence, and we will take pride in announcing the team that will manage the turnaround that we firmly believe will bring the SABC back stronger than ever before."

"Work done by the interim board has already ended the steady monthly losses, and is now focusing on the other major financial concern - marshalling forces to address the substantial remaining debt accrued during previous times."

"Rachel Kalidass' self-characterisation as a victimised whistle-blower is incorrect," says the SABC.

"She participated in aboard discussion in which no allegation of illegality was committed or contemplated."

"She then disclosed its content outside the board while the process was ongoing; giving the impression that it had been completed. Her conduct constituted a breach of board confidentiality."

Executive shake-up at MultiChoice as pay-TV giant makes Calvo Mawela new CEO; and moves Mark Rayner, Yolisa Phahle and Fahmeeda Cassim Surtee.


Naspers Video Entertainment announced a MultiChoice top executives shake-up on late Thursday afternoon with Calvo Mawela as new MultiChoice South Africa CEO, M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle in a newly-created position as "CEO of general entertainment" and Fahmeeda Cassim Surtee upped as new DStv Media Sales South Africa CEO.

All the appointments and executive position changes are effective immediately. 

Firstly Calvo Mawela is taking over as MultiChoice South Africa CEO from the accomplished Mark Rayner who goes back to being MultiChoice South Africa chief operating officer (COO), a position he served in previously.

Naspers says Calvo Mawela will be responsible for MultiChoice South Africa and DStv Media Sales in South Africa, and will focus on "strategic developments in the pay-TV industry".

Calvo Mawela - not that well known in South Africa's broadcasting industry as Mark Rayner and Yolisa Phahle - was in charge of regulatory affairs and policy for Naspers Video Entertainment and began his career at signal distributor Sentech.

Mark Rayner returns to the position of MultiChoice SA COO, a position he held before moving to the CEO position. Naspers says he will focus on "ensuring product and operational excellence that will give DStv customers the best entertainment experience".

In an odd move, Yolisa Phahle, accomplished as M-Net CEO, is now moved to a new title of "CEO of general entertainment". Naspers did't clarify what that means or what the job entails.

It's also not clear if M-Net will get a new CEO, whether the position is vacant, or getting shuttered,or what as "CEO of general entertainment" what exactly Yolisa Phahle will now be in charge of. 

Naspers only says "in her new role, she will continue to ensure that our customers have access to world class local and international entertainment".

In another stratifying move, the accomplished Fahmeeda Cassim Surtee is promoted to the position of CEO of DStv Media Sales South Africa.

Chris Hitchings will however remain and continue as "overall" CEO of DStv Media Sales, according to Naspers.

Gideon Khobane will continue to head up the sport pay-TV division as SuperSport CEO.

"This is a strong leadership team who can to take us into our next phase of growth," says Imtiaz Patel, Video Entertainment chief executive in the statement announcing the executive changes.

"While the pay television business faces technological shifts, regulatory and competitor challenges, the core focus remains delivering the best local and international content to our customers, anytime, anywhere on any device."

"Calvo Mawela and Mark Rayner are an impressive team who will steer MultiChoice South Africa into the future."

"Their combination of strategic and operational skill and experience complement each other. Calvo Mawela is well-positioned to drive strategy and growth in our South African operations. He has a rich and varied experience in broadcasting and a proven track record in managing complex issues in South Africa and the rest of the continent."

"Mark Rayner has proven himself to be able to get the best out of the business operationally. His focus will be to deliver the best experience to customers in the best possible way, making sure we achieve our business objectives, including financial and customer satisfaction targets, and drive efficiencies."

Gallo Record Company: Idols finalist Paxton Fielies didn't steal anybody's song - leave the young girl alone!


While controversy and scandal is swirling around the Cape Town Idols top two finalist Paxton Fielies who allegedly stole someone else's song, Gallo Records has come out to defend the distraught 16-year old saying she didn't steal anybody's song.

The 13th season of Idols will come to a climactic end this Sunday in the live finale on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) with either Paxton Fielies or Mthokozisi Ndaba who will be crowned the winner, but fears are growing that an alleged song stealing scandal could be costing Paxton Fielies votes -something she is completely innocent of.

Scandal erupted after Paxton, singing her debut single "Demonstrate" in English, got accused of plagiarism.

A Twitter storm erupted after @ultboysrepubIic slammed the upcoming star for not giving credit to the Korean pop group Rania who sang a similar version of the song in South Korea in 2015.

"The kpop girl group Rania/BP Rania released a song on 5 November which was titled ‘Demonstrate’. Recently on the show SA Idols, the contestant Paxton performed a song titled ‘Demonstrate’ which seen below is almost completely the same as the original performed RaNia," said @ultboysrepublic.

"Not only is the song being performed without credit to the original artists who sang it or the writers/composers, it is also being sold without any kind of credit."

The outrage was immediate and, typical Twitter, the mob encircled the poor Idols finalist.


In a statement Gallo Record Company says "Paxton’s song rights were approved by the composer and their publisher" saying Paxton Fielies did nothing wrong.

"This version is in English and has different lyrics. It was presented to us as it has never been released in English before. All approvals are in place."

"It has come to attention that certain individuals on social media have accused Paxton of plagiarism and theft based on her debut Idols single “Demonstrate”. This is not theft. Paxton is the singer of the song only, she has not and does not claim to have written the song or to own the copyright."

"Very few people write their own songs when it comes to Idols," says Gallo Records.

"There is a difference between a composer or songwriter and a performer. Even big stars like Justin Bieber perform hits written for them by others. This does not mean they have stolen the song."

"Here are the facts: The song was presented to Gallo by the Publishers (Razor & Tie Music Pub. & Active Music Publishing) on behalf of their clients (Aimée Proal, Phil Bentley & Brian Kierulf who are the legitimate and original composers / songwriters of the song) for Idols consideration for the Top 3 as a single, since it was a perfect fit for Paxton, and had never been previously released as an English version. An English recorded version of the song did not exist."

"Gallo was unaware that any other previous version existed, in particular a version sung and released by a Kpop band in Korean, for the Korean market. In fact the written English demo version existed before any Korean version was adapted."

"Changes were done to the song and the English lyrics (by the original songwriter) for Paxton’s version."

"The Kpop version is also in fact not written by the band," says Gallo Record Company.

"They are also only the performers / singers of the song and as much as they say it's "their" song that only means they performed / sang a Korean version of it prior to Paxton’s English version and they did not write it either."

"It is written by the same composers and songwriters who presented the English version to Gallo and gave Gallo and Paxton their 100% approval and endorsement for Paxton to release."

"No rights infringement, no plagiarism, no theft. It is a talented young girl singing a song that was given to her to sing, presented to her label by the parties who wrote it, to release as her version in another language with lyrics reworked into English, with the approval of the publishers, songwriters and composers, who will also get paid, by earning royalty revenue from any commercial success."

"May we kindly request no further accusations or hate speech or slander directed at Paxton," says Gallo.

"Paxton is not on Twitter – there were a number of fake accounts that joined in the fray pretending to be Paxton, we have reported them and they have been suspended."

Cell C enters South Africa's crowded video streaming market with black.


Cellular operator Cell C has become the latest entrant in the crowded subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) arena, launching a new video streaming service called "black".

As a separate business from Cell C, black will try to eke out a spot in the very crowded South African streaming services market already populated by Netflix South Africa, Naspers' Showmax, DEOD, PCCW Global's ONTAPtv.com, PrideTV and Amazon's Amazon Prime Video.

Cell C says black will give users access to live streaming of five top European football club channels (ManU TV, Barca TV, Liverpool TV, Chelsea TV and Real Madrid TV), as well as services like sports betting and hotel bookings. Consumers not using Cell C can also access black.

Black is available on Android and iOS apps, but also has its own set-top box (STB) called the blackBOX that cost R1 500, with black that can also be accessed through web browsers at black.co.za. 

At launch black says it offers a video-on-demand offering of up to 5 000 movies, series, music and documentaries with international and local content.


On black customers can also watch local soaps from the SABC and international shows like Generations, Uzalo, Mary Kills People, Catastrophe, Power, High Rollers and Survivor’s Remorse, as well as catch up on previous seasons.  

A deal has also been signed between black and Fox Networks Group Africa (FNG Africa) to add its FOX+ streaming service in South Africa  for the first time. Under the deal, FOX will give black linear and on-demand content from 21st Century Fox.

It gives black access to content from channels like FOX and National Geographic that has until now only been available on MultiChoice’s DStv and StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media’s (ODM) StarSat satellite pay-TV platforms. 

Through black consumers will get access to 8 FOX channels from FOX+, with full seasons on-demand shows from 21st Century Studios, 20th Century Fox Television and FOX News Channel programming. TV shows range from Modern Family and Homeland to Empire and The Walking Dead.

Channels available through FOX+ include FOX, FOX Life, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX News Channel and BabyTV.

We are exceptionally excited to have signed this momentous deal, which will add to the premium content already available on the black platform,” says black’s content boss, Surie Ramasary, of the FOX+ deal.

“FOX is a natural content partner for black. Fox Networks Group are particularly proud to partner with Cell C as they undertake to revolutionise the mobile TV space, undoubtedly a key pillar in the future of entertainment,” says Adam Theiler, the executive vice president of Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa.

"Content services around the world are growing as fast as mobile did in its early days and true to Cell C’s form we are embracing content by bringing black to South Africans," says Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.

Customers can access black by using vouchers as well as debit and credit cards and Cell C subscribers will be able to pay using prepaid airtime.

Customers can buy blockbuster movies from R59 to own and watch as many times as they like, or rent them from R29 for 48 hours. 

"FLEXI Access" cost R10 per day up to R39 per month, with "FLEXI Premium" ranging from R39 per day to R99 per month. BTV Premium with access to 60 channels cost R189 per month with BTV Access with 18 channels costing R69 per month.

The football channels cost extra as a separate subscription ranging from R5 per day to R25 per month.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

As Zimbabwe military coup topples dictator Robert Mugabe, CNN International excels with reporting and coverage as South African TV news sheepishly looks on.

CNN International (DStv 401) proved by far the best on Wednesday on the African continent as TV news scrambled to cover the breaking and evolving news story of the military coup in Zimbabwe of the decrepit dictator Robert Mugabe.

As South Africa's unprepared and inept TV news channels eNCA (DStv 403), SABC News (DStv 404) and ANN7 (DStv 405) lurched to try and put some semblance of Zimbabwe coverage on, CNN International, Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) and Sky News News (DStv 402) ran circles around South African TV news channels who awkwardly proved incapable of measuring up. 

After years of budget cuts, closing news bureaux, cutting coverage and decimating its once capable African staff, eMedia Investment's eNCA came off as worst on Wednesday, putting up the thin semblance of that "trying to" coverage that is more expected of its lame duck counterparts SABC News and ANN7.

While Al Jazeera has a bureau in Zimbabwe, and with CNN International's David McKenzie reporting live from Harare and doing packages for various dayparts and shows across CNN International, it made the wanna-cover coverage on eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 seem utterly awful and embarrassing.

eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 reported from non-near Zimbabwe places that worsened the "look, we're not actually there" effect and kept reporting news that ordinary news consumers could find as fast and consume directly, as what the TV news channels did from the same online news reporting and publications.

The constantly trying to play catch-up coverage on eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 was cringe-worthy to behold.

Wednesday's fail leading to fail Zimbabwe coverage from South African TV news channels underscored exactly just how much they're not prepared, not budgeted and are not geared towards even remotely being able to cover big political and other breaking news in other Southern African countries bordering South Africa.

Even the struggle to find analysts and commentators revealed how awful South Africa's TV news channels actually are when it comes to big, international breaking news with a Southern African angle.

Once again CNN International, Sky News and other channels ran circles around eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 as influential and big names were quickly booked, linked up and appeared - some from inside Zimbabwe - on international TV news channels.

It all helped to worsen the "kindergarden" effect of eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 rummaging around for some semblance of Zimbabwe coverage relevance.

This is what you get after years of reducing instead of growing, cutting back instead of expanding, cocooning instead of reaching out and networking, and isolating yourself instead of setting up bureaus when you're a TV news channel but doesn't want to do what the mere existence as a TV news channel requires.

eNCA, SABC News and laughably bad ANN7 are not going to catch up tomorrow, the weekend or next week on Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe news and coverage. And that's sad.

Like the Southern Cape fire devastation earlier this year where eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 also looked shameful in its terribly bad and non-existent coverage, they can't simply flip a switch on Thursday and have their Zimbabwe coverage go from the flimsy superficial and reading wire services alerts on television to in-dept, on the ground and incisive reporting.

They've done little to improve and build newsroom systems that's responsive, able to act and mobilise any time of the day and to get reporters and camera crews to breaking news flash points in South Africa and Southern Africa.

They're likely going to continue to be shamed and embarrassed for doing "radio on television" when these big events occur because it's the most they've ever been able to be, and what they've been reduced to.

Both CNN International and Sky News in just 2017 have done more reports from inside Zimbabwe and from the South African side of the Zimbabwe border with David McKenzie and Alex Crawford than eNCA, SABC News and ANN7 combined.

That is absolutely great for CNN International and Sky News and prop up their credibility and viewers' belief that these are TV news channels they can instantly tune to when news happens there.

The terrible opposite holds true for eNCA, SABC News and ANN7, shining in mediocrity reading news reports under the safe and warm glow of comfy Johannesburg studios lights.

Congratulations to CNN International for fast mobilisation, having built networks and contacts, having gone and having kept going and being able to instantly depend on handlers and others to gain access and to report.

It's sad that in 2017 South Africa has three local TV news channels who would say they want to be and are news channels, but are not actually willing to put money, resources and on the ground original reporting behind what is core to what makes a real TV news channel be one.

DAILY TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 15 November 2017


Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ MultiChoice Zambia and M-Net censor Talk with Kwangu on the Zambezi Magic channel on DStv.
MultiChoice scramble to remove all marketing for Talk with Kwangu and a rebroadcast of the episode on DStv Zambia's platform after an episode in which a woman details Zambian government and police brutality and Kwangu talks about how media plurality in Zambia is non-existent.
- Meanwhile Zambia's information minister (Zambia still has something like an "information minister") denies that the government threatened DStv.


■ MultiChoice and M-Net, Africa's largest TV platform, has a growing free speech and censorship problem.


Lowly-paid reporters at ANN7 (DStv 405) feel traumatised.
- ANN7 workers complaining of "exploitation" by Indian senior editors in particular say they're told they can't be paid more "because of the structure of the company".
- Almost all black ANN7 anchors have considered quitting.
- Have the words "permanent trainee" inserted into contracts in order to justify low pay.
- Owner Mzwanele "Jimmy" Manyi refuses to answer media questions and puts the phone down in a reporter's ear.

■ Zimbabwe woman Rumbidzai Evelyn Sibanda guilty and fined
for illegally selling DStv decoders in Zimbabwe that have been registered with South African addresses to give Zimbabwe viewers access to DStv South African content and making as if she's a MultiChoice agent.

■ The BBC will now have to reveal how many complaints it gets from viewers every two weeks.
Angry BBC not happy about having to reveal the number of complaints it receives every 2 weeks, having to identify the shows that received more than 100 complaints, and having to explain the editorial issues raised by the complaints.

■ Watching too much TV is bad for you, even if you exercise.

■ The latest channels list of TStv in Nigeria.
Which channels are being pirated illegally?

■ I want to love Star Trek: Discovery but it's an absolute mess.

■ How The Good Doctor seen on M-Net (DStv 101) became the new TV season's breakout hit.

Silly Cell C with its 'black' video-on-demand attempt is making the same mistake as VIDI and Altech Node on its way falling into the same black hole.


O dear. Silly Cell C launching its attempt at a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service called "black" (talk about a hilariously misnomered name) is falling into exactly the same black hole and making the same mistake as the gone-like-the-dodo VIDI, Altech's Node and others.

Cell C, where big-talker Jose Dos Santos is the big kahuna at the cellular telecom company, now wants to do content.

Yet strangely, in venturing very wild westy and with cowboy diplomacy into this new area, Cell C either deliberately, or because it doesn't know better or care to know better, totally decided to cut out the South African press actually covering television.

Good luck with your black, Cell C.

And maybe give MultiChoice, M-Net or a few PR companies in South Africa who rep TV channels and have done publicity for channels a call. Maybe some new light and insight will dawn for what you black lack.

After frothing up tech coverage of black, Cell C did literally nothing to communicate to the media covering television - especially in a consumer market, that firstly, black exists and is launching, and secondly what actually black is and what the specific content there will be on this "black".

In television "black" - as any consumer would know from looking at a dead screen - means the absence of anything; the lack of content.

Why on earth Cell C would choose "black" as the name for a SVOD service beggars believe. Why not something like "Cell See" or something denoting colour?

TVwithThinus didn't know "black" is coming since Cell C couldn't bother to communicate - neither did any of the over 20 journalists and writers covering television who were asked.

And they still don't know and haven't heard anything from Cell C.

None of them are on on Cell C's radar, since Cell C either doesn't know about them, their publications or platforms, or probably just doesn't care and doesn't see any value in incorporating them in any type of earned media exposure strategy.

People watching television and subscribing to pay-TV and video-on-demand services in the real world, will either have to discover and hear about this "black" thing either through direct marketing and advertising from Cell C, or through the press.

Oddly Cell C couldn't so far be bothered to reach out and actually communicate through the consumer media about its black.

South Africa's TV critics are clueless about this "black" and likewise can't care less and Cell C doesn't seem to have any clue that it's possibly in its own "black" interest to actually communicate to these journalists.

This nonchalant, can't-care attitude doesn't affect the media and Those Covering Television. It will affect Cell C and its black.

There's 260+ linear TV channels and their shows as well as free-to-air, community and public broadcaster channels and shows that an exhausted press is constantly trying to cover with not enough time in a day to get to it all.

Then there's the other SVOD players also all fighting for media attention. Take a guess where Cell C's black is? Yep, there in a black, not-seen abyss.

The lack of proper media and press public relations will end up affecting Cell C and its black probably sooner than later. We've seen it before and will very likely see it again.

In a mavericky out-of-control and overheated SVOD biz, everyone and their brother is jumping to launch VOD services, totally unprepared and unwilling to invest in the work to properly communicate about it, not bothering to research who to communicate with, not caring to research what it should be communicating, and thinking consumers are going to buy a box because of a promise about content.

Consumers spend money and buy content because they want access to very specific shows and sport and entertainment.

VIDI, Altech Node and other failures marketed and sold a "brand name", forgetting - if it ever knew - that people don't and won't buy because of a thing, they will buy because of a show.

What exactly is on Cell C's "black"? We don't know. What exactly can you get on this "black? We don't know. Why is this "black" worth your money? We don't know.

Apparently Cell C also now has a R1600 set top box. Good luck with that.

If people don't know exactly that they can watch A and B and C, they won't be lured to Cell C. They're not going to buy a box of R1600 and they're not going to subscribe or try something called "black" not knowing what is actually on it.

As a telecoms player Cell C is moving out of its lane into the TV lane but so far couldn't bother to even try and do basic diligence on who and what the media are covering television, how it works in this lane and what the bare level minimum requirements are of what a SVOD needs to do and be when it comes to external communication.

Maybe Cell C and its black will learn but this isn't really an on-the-job kinda learning thing. You're already supposed to know.

Good luck with this black. Try not to fade into it.

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy is looking for 16 interns for 2018 for a year-long, paid, practical internship in South Africa's TV and film industry.


M-Net is once again looking for interns for its Magic in Motion Academy for 2018, a year-long, paid, practical internship for people who want to work in South Africa's TV and film industry and who are completing any 3-year degree in film and TV studies at the end of 2017 or did in 2016.

The 16 interns will have to live in Gauteng during 2018, must be South African citizens, and M-Net doesn't guarantee any employment at the end of the internship.

Interns will however get the chance to make valuable contacts and work across the entire range of the various M-Net channel's local productions during the year in various capacities and several of previous years' graduates are now working in the industry not just at shows produced for M-Net.

People who want to apply can visit mnetcorporate.dstv.com/2017/11/14/2018-magic-motion-applications to enter online before 31 January 2018.

"When M-Net began the Magic in Motion Academy in 2015, our aim was to build a sustainable and consistent talent pipeline that empowered hard-working professionals with the skills they need to transform the video entertainment sector," says Yolisa Phahle, M-Net CEO.

"Four years on, we're delighted to be calling for entries once again."

 Together with generous production companies who provide the interns with training placements and aided by tertiary institutions who motivate their brightest to enter the Academy, M-Net is committed to building on the accomplishments of previous interns.

"This powerful partnership remains at the heart of the Magic in Motion Academy," says Yolisa Phahle.

"These institutions and companies are invaluable in enabling the Academy to reach its full potential." 

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy is led by respected TV veteran Bobby Heaney as director.

The Class of 2018 will learn more about scripting, producing, directing, editing, production commissioning, concept innovation, sound, post-production and more.

Furthermore there will be Academy Master Classes led by the country's top TV executives will also expose the interns to the trends and technologies shaping the global entertainment landscape.

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy strives to deliver highly employable individuals who understand a variety of genres, ranging from drama and comedy to live shows and reality formats.

"The beauty of the Magic in Motion journey is that our interns learn that this is an industry that will reward hard work and they can effectively work their way up with an M-Net Original productions calling card," says Bobby Heaney.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cell C's new video-on-demand service, black, adds Fox' FOX+ VOD service and a selection of its existing channels in Africa.


Cell C's little publicised new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) attempt, black, has acquired the streaming rights for 21st Century FOX TV by adding FOX+, Fox's video-on-demand platform.

There's been no statement from either Cell C or Fox Networks Group Africa on Tuesday regarding FOX+.

In September at its latest upfront event, FNG Africa did pre-announce that it is working on rolling out its own FOX+ and NatGeo+ online video-on-demand streaming services in South Africa as well.

Since users have to pay for data - as they have for Netflix in South Africa, Naspers' Showmax, ONTAPtv.com and others - Cell C's black means that paying for expensive data to stream shows, and sport, makes black pretty much the same cost as for DStv or a monthly pay-TV subscription.

Not all FOX content will be available on FOX+ but will include shows from channels like the FOX News Channel, Baby TV, FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 currently available as linear channels on StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat.

It will also include the FOX channel, FOX Life and National Geographic channels that are available on MultiChoice's DStv platform and StarSat.

The deal means episodes from shows like The Walking Dead, Empire, Modern Family and Homeland will be made available on FOX+ for black, although the latest episodes and seasons will likely still have to be broadcast on DStv and StarSat first.

No word yet on when black as Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos' latest plan, becomes commercially operational or what other actual specific content is going to be available on the service.

Both VIDI and Altech's Node failed and shut down due to low uptake of these SVOD services.

The lack of communication about the content and what people can really specifically watch, means that consumers - who do go out and buy set-top boxes but access to content - never knew what was available, and never were persuaded to try these services.

It remains to be seen if this "black" - with Cell C that is similarly and oddly punting it as a generic service instead of what it has and what's actually on it - will attract customers, or if ti will go the way of VIDI, Node and the dodo.

New PwC study on pay-TV's growing problem with content discovery: 62% of consumer say they often struggle to find something to watch and pay-TV services are not helping enough.


Brand new research from a PwC study shows how one of pay-TV's problems that is steadily getting worse - the struggle of content discovery for users and finding what to watch - is not properly being addressed by subscription television services.

With more and more television available to watch, pay-TV should be doing more and more different things - not less - to help people find and discover not just new content, but the content they're interested in watching.

Not a week goes by that I don't hear from angry DStv, StarSat and other pay-TV users who bitterly complain that they're not getting their monthly DStv magazine that is due to them.

There's constantly some or other rumour floating that someone or somebody isn't allowed or won't get a printed DStv magazine TV guide, something a paying subscriber is fully entitled to as part of the subscription fee.

I hear from people who pay for television who will tell and show how the electronic programme guide (EPG) from DStv and StarSat is not working, is out of date or simply wrong for some shows or channels.

I hear from subscribers who complain that online guides are wrong and not far enough ahead in times, that they don't have data that's expensive to waste on trying to search confusing sites and schedules online.

I hear often that promos and adverts for shows on TV doesn't contain the written info, times and dates so people can know what the show is that the clip is from, or when it's on or what channel.

I'm often told of mistakes on DStv Catch Up (and I see many, many constantly myself).

The existence of all of these things - together - are extremely important to help viewers to find and discover content they will enjoy watching and their importance cannot be underestimated.

According to the new study - obviously done under American consumers but clearly relevant for all similar and less sophisticated pay-TV markets - at least half of consumers (55%) look for new content to watch at least once per week, with 83% looking for something new to watch a few times per month according to PwC's new content discovery report.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers agree that they often struggle to find something to watch, despite there being many choices available to them. Consumers also say that it is much harder to find something to watch on TV than to read or listen to.

If after only a few minutes a consumer can't figure out what to watch, 1 in every 5 people will just give up and resort to rewatching something they've already seen. Which then likely leads to complaints about repeats.

Here's more alarming statistics: Consumers are begging to discover new, great content on their own. 87% of respondents said they regularly pick a TV show or movie to watch that they hadn't heard of previously.

Patience has dwindled. 74% of respondents know within a few seconds if they'll like a piece of content.

Shockingly, much of today's "quality" content goes undiscovered. 69% of respondents say they feel like they keep hearing about and seeing the same shows over and over again.

Consumers spend, on average, 42% of their time browsing through content because they don't know what they want to watch.

"Consumers are frustrated with the current content discovery process" the PwC research finds.

One plus point: While current pay-TV subscribers also agree that there's too much content available, they are more likely to enjoy (38%) the search for content and are less likely to be frustrated by it than consumers who only stream (23%)."

"Consumers also told us that the traditional channel guide is inherently effortless, making the search experience more relaxing - especially when someone is unsure of what to watch."

"What started as minor annoyance with traditional cable packages has morphed into consumer frustration with today’s ever-expanding video ecosystem," says the PwC study.

"Companies continue to create more content, introduce new distribution platforms, and fight for subscribers and attention, all the while creating more fragmentation and making it harder for the consumer to find something to watch."

"We've moved beyond search and recommendation to the need for personalized content that can help attract, retain, and satisfy the consumer," the PwC research notes. "Hence, the ability to adapt artificial intelligence (AI) and utilize data has become a driving concern for any company working with video."

"The best solutions will pair man with machine to help content publishers and providers stay
competitive and audiences dialed in to the content they care about most."

"Don't just tell me what, tell me why," the PwC study recommends. "Consumers are smart. They
know when they're being pushed content that is not in their best interest. Today's audience wants to understand the "why" behind the what."

"They are more likely to trust what you recommend if the suggestion comes with an explanation. Why does the show have a high rating? What are critics saying? How likely am I to enjoy this show? How did others like me rate it?"

37% of respondents say they don't want to waste their time on starting a new show they might not like, and they find personalized recommendations too risky. "Help consumers make the decision for themselves," says the PwC study.

2023 Rugby World Cup country announcement to be broadcast live on SuperSport on DStv and SABC on Wednesday 15 November.

The announcement about which country will be hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be broadcast live on Wednesday afternoon from 14:30 on SuperSport channels on DStv as well as by the SABC.

The announcement of which candidate country will be hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup - South Africa, Ireland or France - will be broadcast on Wednesday on SuperSport 1 (DStv 201), SuperSport 10 (DStv 210) and CSN from 14:30.

The announcement will be made by the World Rugby Council from London where South Africa will be represented by senior members of government and South Africa Rugby.

The SABC will be broadcast the announcement as well on SABC2, SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC radio stations (SAFM, Radio2000, RSG, and 9 other radio stations from 14:30 until 16:00.

RSG and Radio2000 will also do live crossings from the public viewing area at Sammy Marks Square in Tshwane from midday.

INTERVIEW. 'Show courage'. Riaan Manser talks about his new series, How to Adventure on Discovery Channel, fatherhood and shares his 3 golden rules for stepping out and tackling life.


"Show courage. Take the first step." So says the South African adventurer, Riaan Manser, who is taking everyday people on big adventures in his brand-new locally produced series How to Adventure starting on Discovery Channel (DStv 121) on Tuesday 14 November at 21:00.

Produced by Oxyg3n Media, in How to Adventure Riaan Manser takes South Africans out of their comfort zone, travelling across the country on interesting and nail-biting adventures.

From snorkeling with seals while keeping an eye out for sharks, to jumping off cliffs and bridges, deep sea fishing and mountain hiking, Riaan Manser will show viewers in 12 episodes that anyone can have an adventure, an in-between offers tips and tricks for rookie adventurers everywhere, drawing on his years of experience travelling the world.


"Riaan's travel tales have captured the imaginations of viewers worldwide and we are thrilled to present this 12-part series where he showcases even more of South Africa's magnificent scenery and the thrilling adventures the country has to offer," says Dilek Doyran, the Discovery Network International's vice president of commercial development and country manager for Africa

Speaking during a presentation session at the recent DStv Media Showcase for the press held at MultiChoice City in Randburg, Johannesburg, Riaan Manser said the show came about because "I always knew I wanted to do something where I could share adventure with other people".

"All of us like adventure. And we want to share it with other people, so very simply How to Adventure came about just with my idea thinking, 'How can I get other people to do adventurous things?"

"We've been growing in this How to Adventure journey in that we realised in having the person as the guest doing adventure, we actually learn more about them than when we interview them."

"We hope the first season is going to be incredible. We hope we're going to get even better. It's exciting and a new take on adventuring in television and we're proud that it gets showcased on Discovery," said Riaan Manser.


TVwithThinus asked Riaan Manser for his thoughts on the lack of local and quality local adventure programming, and as local TV is starting to master doing good cooking shows, what his advice is for TV makers to properly approach and do the adventure genre well.

"The mentality of South African production companies: We need to be challenged, we need to look at what other production companies are doing and that's the only way we criticise ourselves on what we producing and putting on."

"When a broadcaster takes it, it doesn't mean that it is the greatest ever, ever, ever put on TV. And if we're honest with ourselves - we're going to create local but we're producing international. And I buy into that idea."

"I'm not partnering with Rebecca Fuller-Campbell, Oxyg3n Media CEO, and with Discovery Channel because I'm hoping it's just going to be on TV over here in South Africa. We've got to make it big globally," said Riaan Manser.

"The advice I think is to just be yourself. People who want to do adventure shows have to be authentic. A lot of people are trying to be a Bear Grylls, or trying to be this or that. South Africans are better than that."

Riaan Manser says anything that you have in your life that you want to take on - a task or an idea, three things will dictate if that can happen.

"The first thing is courage. If you're not going to be brave enough to take on the task you're talking about, it's just not going to happen. We can stand around a fire and we can chat about things. I can tell you from experience if I didn't take the courage to take the first step, nothing will happen in my life."

"I'm not the bravest person out there, but I am the person that will act. That's the difference between me and other people. Show courage - whether in your life or relationship or anything you do.Take that first step. Courage. Be brave."

"The second thing is perseverance. Perseverance will decide whether something will happen or not. Not just your enthusiasm through the first stage, second stage and third stage. It's about seeing something through, persevering."

"And the last thing is having the wrong attitude. Something I've been so guilty of. It's cliched, but it dictates whether you're going to be successful or not."

"Next time you're sitting in an environment where you're not doing candyfloss and lollipop stuff, look around the room. And ask yourself what attitude you're going to have," says Riaan Manser.


TVwithThinus also asked Riaan Manser how he thinks fatherhood is going to change him and if he's going to become more cautious, careful and more risk averse in life. He's becoming a first-time dad with his wife Vasti of their son James.

"Ooh, tough question. I'm as naive as I was when I sat on a bicycle [in 2005 he became the first person to have circumnavigate the coast of Africa by bicycle]."

"People look at me now and I stand in front of audiences. You should have seen me at the V&A Waterfront in 2003 for that bicycle trip of mine, climbing on that bicycle - 5 people and a dog saying goodbye to me."

"There was no razzmatazz for me. I stood there and I said 'I'm going to absolutely make this."

"I think the naivety I took on that trip - hey, that son of mine, his name is James. And we're going to give him the same enthusiasm that I think I'm known for. And if I put on the nappies the wrong way, that's okay for the first few times, I think I'm going to get the hang of it."

Riaan Manser says he and the family plans to just stay home as he gets used to fatherhood.

(But just for a little while.)