Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Killing Patton about mysterious death of World War II general is the next Bill O'Reilly book turned into a TV adaptation by the National Geographic Channel.

The National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) is expanding its "Killing" docu-film franchise and is picking up Killing Patton as the next book-to-TV adaptation from the Fox News Channel (StarSat 261) anchor Bill O'Reilly.

Killing Patton as the 5th made-for-TV movie follows after Killing Reagan was announced exactly a month ago.

Killing Patton, produced by Scott Free Productions for the National Geographic Channel, will be a 4-hour miniseries and will be based on the book published by Bill O'Reilly in 2014.

Killing Patton revolves around the death of the World War II General George S. Patton who died under mysterious circumstances in the months after the end of the war.

"Scott Free Productions and National Geographic Channel have done a brilliant job bringing to life the towering historical figures in my Killing series, and I'm very confident our continued partnership will yield a gripping film about General Patton's tragic death," says Bill O'Reilly in a statement.

Anthony Peckham who is writing the script is also the executive producer, together with Bill O'Reilly, Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Mary Lisio, Teri Weinberg and Charlie Parsons.

"With their unique historical insights, absorbing narratives and A-list talent on screen and behind the scenes, the Killing films have proven must-see hits with audiences all over the world," says Tim Pastore, National Geographic's president of original programming.

"We are very excited to be re-teaming with Bill O'Reilly and Scott Free to add Killing Patton to our scripted slate."

"We’re also thrilled to have screenwriter Anthony Peckham come on board to help bring this project to life, especially given his past successes in delivering iconic characters to the big screen that have garnered critical acclaim and resonated with audiences around the globe".

BREAKING. MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International removes Animal Planet from DStv Compact; makes Travel Channel more widely available.

MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International are taking Animal Planet (DStv 183) away from DStv Compact subscribers from 10 December but are making Scripps Networks International's Travel Channel (DStv 179) available to DStv Compact and DStv Family viewers.

MultiChoice Africa and Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region are removing Animal Planet from 10 December from DStv's channel line-up in Nigeria where subscribers last month were outraged over a transgender show on Discovery CEEMEA's other channel, TLC Entertainment.

In South Africa meanwhile, Animal Planet is tiered upwards and will only be available to DStv Premium and DStv Extra subscribers from 10 December.

Taking Animal Planet away from DStv Compact subscribers is part of a "new packaging strategy for Discovery's channel portfolio," says MultiChoice in a statement.

Last week Discovery CEEMEA held its annual upfront in South Africa but said nothing about the pending Animal Planet change on DStv.

The Discovery World (DStv 187) channel, another Discovery channel available on DStv, was interestingly completely left out of the upfront and even its channel logo was nowhere to be seen. It instantly sparked speculation over whether Discovery World is going to be removed from MultiChoice's DStv platform in 2016.

Asked if the Discovery World channel will be discontinued in 2016 and why the channel was removed from the upfront, Discovery CEEMEA isn't giving a definite answer and says it "wanted to concentrate the story on less channels this year to increase the impact on the audience, and we were very pleased with the results".

Meanwhile making Animal Planet a more exclusive channel is part of "a new approach, to be announced shortly, that will align these services with DStv customers in a way that will deliver superior value to fans of Discovery's brands all over Africa," says MultiChoice.

MultiChoice says DStv Compact subscribers who watched Animal Planet can watch similar programming about wildlife and exploration on the Discovery competitor National Geographic on channels like the National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) and Nat Geo Wild (DStv 182).

Meanwhile Scripps Networks International's Travel Channel will get a wider distribution from 10 December when the channel is opened to DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers. The channel is currently only available to DStv Premium and DStv Extra subscribers.

Shiz Niz on celebrates a milestone 500th episode today at 16:00 as South Africa's longest-running hip hop TV show; will look back today at highlights.

The show Shiz Niz will celebrate its milestone 500th episode today at 16:00, looking back at highlights from previous episodes, as well as standout performances.

Shiz Niz, produced by Red Pepper Productions, is the longest-running hip hop show on free-to-air television, and has done a lot to raise awareness, grow the popularity of, and promote the local South African hip hop scene.

This afternoon viewers will be able to look back at the humble beginnings of Shiz Niz presented by Morena Sefatsa's older brother Mbuso Sefatsa.

The Vuzu AMP (DStv 114) presenter and SA's Got Talent judge Lalla Hirayama also presented Shiz Niz and viewers will be fascinated by how she has always had "mad" talent.

Today's Shiz Niz episode on will look back at previous episodes and performances and the presenters will talk to some of the Hip Legends who will share with viewers what they think of the Shiz Niz journey and the development of hip hop in South Africa.

"Hip hop has come a long way in South Africa," Shiz Niz producer Pontsho Mdakane tells TVwithThinus.

"You know that it's a significant genre when ventures such as Fill Up the Dome are opened by the minister of sport Fikile Mbalula and congratulated by the president. Shiz Niz has played a part in growing this genre in the past 500 episodes."

DStv subscribers irritated over problems with on demand service after software issues; MultiChoice apologises for DStv Catch Up problems.

MultiChoice is apologising to DStv subscribers over problems with its on demand DStv Catch Up service, saying new software is to blame for viewers not getting all their programming and that it is working on the problem.

DStv subscribers are angry over certain titles and episodes that have not been available as promised on DStv Now and on the DStv Catch Up service on their DStv PVR's over the past few weeks.

"We started experiencing challenges with delayed titles a few weeks ago when we installed a new automated workflow system," MultiChoice told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry.

"As with many software deployments - even though it was tested beforehand, we encountered some unforeseen issues."

"We apologise to our customers for not having all titles regularly on the DStv Catch Up service at the moment. We know how popular this service is amongst our customers."

"Our technical teams are working non-stop to ensure all delayed titles are delivered. We're confident the service will be back to normal very soon," said MultiChoice.

Last week Elemental Technologies announced that its signed a deal with MultiChoice to help the satellite pay-TV platform with the launch of a time-shifted subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service.

It's not clear whether its the integration of this software and technology that's to blame for MultiChoice's problems with the DStv Catch Up service.

Elemental, an Amazon Web Services company, said that its helping MultiChoice with its "forthcoming SVoD service" and that it will help MultiChoice to drive its video-on-demand workflows, optimise the delivery of live streamed content and support MultiChoice's future time-shift SVoD offer.

"This new offer will support MultiChoice DStv Box Office and MultiChoice DStv Catch-up such that premium subscribers can watch the latest movies, sports and television shows up to seven days after they air," said Elemental Technologies.

"MultiChoice does not have a time-shifted SVoD service, not are we planning to launch something like this anytime soon," MultiChoice told TV with Thinus in response to Elemental's press release.

Miners Shot Down wins International Emmy despite South African broadcasters refusing to show the harrowing documentary in their own country.

The hard-hitting South African documentary film Miners Shot Down telling the story of the Marikana miners who were gunned down by the South African Police in August 2012 has won an International Emmy despite South African broadcasters refusing to show the documentary in South Africa.

Filmmaker Rehad Desai's harrowing Miners Shot Down was one of three South African productions that was nominated for the 2015 International Emmy Awards.

Miners Shot Down produced by Uhuru Productions won in the documentary category telling the story of how the South African police massacred the miners in the shocking incident which left 44 miners dead.

Neither the South African public broadcaster, the SABC, nor the commercial free-to-air or pay-TV broadcaster M-Net has shown Miners Shot Down, although it has been shown on Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) and the community TV station, Cape Town TV (CTV).

In a statement the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party said "the SABC should air Miners Shot Down in order to give South Africans the opportunity to see it".

"Despite repeated requests from both the filmmakers and widows of the Marikana miners, the SABC has refused to air it. The unwillingness of the SABC to air the documentary raises serious questions about whose interests they are trying to protect," says the DA in a statement.

Monday, November 23, 2015

British actor Idris Elba dumps South Africa and History channel on DStv over visa drama with daughter; media screening of new documentary ruined.

Actor Idris Elba has dumped South Africa and a History (DStv 186) channel event, and will no longer be flying here for the scrapped media launch for a new documentary after drama over an unabridged birth certificate for his daughter.

The British actor who had visited South Africa several times before and famously portrayed Nelson Mandela in 2013's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has now become the latest high-profile star to jettison South Africa over the country’s controversial and unresolved visa regulations requiring unabridged birth certificates for minors.

The extremely confusing and cumbersome unabridged birth certificate requirement has hammered South Africa's tourism industry the past few months, inflicting massive damage on the already dwindling number of overseas visitors.

It's estimated that South Africa's tourism industry will incur an estimated loss of R16 billion in 2015 alone as people who wanted to visit the country with their children opt for less onerous administrative and visa requirements and fly somewhere else for holiday.

According to sources I spoke to, A+E Networks UK that runs channels like History on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, invited some media for a special screening of a new Mandela documentary in which Elba pays homage to Nelson Mandela and his dad.

A+E Networks together with Elba would have screened and watched the new documentary, Mandela, My Dad and Me with some media in Johannesburg on Monday and Tuesday and Idris Elba would have done interviews before the documentary's broadcast later this month on History.

This will now no longer happen after the star at the last minute discovered he couldn't bring his daughter, Isan, along because of a lack of an unabridged birth certificate and decided not to fly to South Africa.

Already inside the airport in London, he decided to make a U-turn and go back home with his daughter.

A+E Networks Africa's screening for some members of the press has been abruptly cancelled as well as a press conference and interviews. 

"A huge mess. It's highly embarrassing for A+E Networks and the History channel in South Africa," a source told TVwithThinus on Sunday.

"Idris was travelling with his daughter and only at the last minute it came to light she did not have the correct paperwork to enter South Africa," Anthea Petersen, A+E Networks regional director for Africa told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry.

"The trip to South Africa had to be cancelled as a result. We apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused."

Mandela, My Dad and Me is a Green Door Pictures, Shine North, Woodcut Media, Bob & Co production and is distributed by Content Media. In a statement Elba said that that he is "thrilled to bring the film to Africa".

Karabo Mogane wins 11th season of Idols on M-Net and Mzansi Magic, says 'don't look at your circumstances. See what you want to be and it will come to pass'.

After garnering the bulk of the 16 million votes cast in the last week of Idols on M-Net and Mzansi Magic Karabo Mogane (24) from Mbombela in Mpumalanga was announced the winner of the 11th season of the reality singing competition on Sunday night in a live broadcast from Carnival City in Johannesburg.

Karabo Mogane triumped over Mmatema Moremi (23) from Zebiedela in Limpopo and wins a recording contract from Universal Music South Africa, as well as other prizes.

The first album of the former Stellenbosch student will be available within the next two weeks from 11 December, the quickest an Idols winner has ever released a debut album.

Karabo Mogane who will be in studio recording from 25 November to 1 December to record his album, plans to sing a wide range of music going forward.

Idols that was already renewed for a 12th season in 2016 a few months ago, set a new voting record this year with an astonishing 78.8 million votes cast, surpassing the 24.3 million votes of 2014's 10th Idols season.

Asked, M-Net declined to say specifically how many of the 16 million votes Karabo Mogane got during the final week to score the victory and said the specific voting figures would only be released next week.

"Right now, I'm excited, I don't know what's really happening, I'm really happy. And I thank God for the opportunity. For here forth I will release my album, gig as much as I can, make sure that I'm relevant and that people can see me," said Karabo Mogane on Sunday night.

He said he planned to invite all the other top contestants for a concert to Nelspruit to perform at the Mbombela Stadium for the community and to raise money for orphans and widows.

He said the Idols experience has changed him and his life tremendously.

"From where I was and where I am now my life has changed tremendously. I've become a better performer, I've learnt so much from all the mentors and going overseas and going to England for the very first time. Just a great experience," Karabo Mogane told TVwithThinus.

His advice for people who want to enter Idols in 2016 is "if it's your dream, own it. Live it, each and every single day. Whatever you confess with your mouth, if you keep on saying it and believe in it, it will come to pass regardless the circumstances."

"Don't look at your circumstances but always think ahead. See what you want to be, and it will come to pass," said Karabo Mogane.

He said he wants to use the prize money to renovate his parent's house and to buy his dad a car. "Even second-hand its fine, right?" he joked.

With the first season of The Voice South Africa starting in January on M-Net (DStv 101) the pay-TV broadcaster declined to say at the press conference on Sunday night whether the 12th season of Idols will again be shown on M-Net and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) as a co-production or move to just Mzansi Magic next year.

"Idols has done phenomenally well on both M-Net and Mzansi Magic," said Gideon Khobane, the M-Net director for general entertainment channels.

"What we do know is there will be a season 12 of Idols next year and there will be The Voice SA next year. We haven't made any announcements yet or any final decisions regarding it. We just want to see how the last voting went and ratings. There's enough space in South Africa to do both shows because we've got so much talent," said Gideon Khobane.

Asked by TVwithThinus how the pay-TV broadcaster can explain the massive jump in voting from 24 million votes last season to almost 79 million votes this year, Nkateko Mabaso, the M-Net director for local entertainment channels said he attributes it to "how the Idols brand has grown".

"There's a lot more people who are obviously engaging with the brand, so that's the primary reason. The other reason is that the production company has done a tremendous job to put the show together and it just gets better every year," said Nkateko Mabaso.

"There's a much bigger audience out there," said Gavin Wratten, Idols' co-executive producer.

"Mzansi Magic has grown phenomenally well, so to be on both channels, you've got such a huge audience. Most of it is down to the contestants. The whole Top 10 this year worked incredibly hard. The better the contestants, the better the season."

M-Net said it will be making several announcements later this week regarding local shows and local productions on M-Net (DStv 101) and what the channel's plans are for the upcoming year.

Auditions for the 12th season of Idols will start on 30 January 2016 in Durban and then move to Pretoria (6 February), Johannesburg (28 February) and Cape Town (5 March).

Friday, November 20, 2015

SABC again at war with itself as new - and now suspended - SABC CEO Frans Matlala fights back against his suspension and exposes shocking lapses of corporate governance.

The beleaguered and pathologically ill SABC is once again at war. With itself.

Barely four months after finally appointing its next CEO - the embattled South African Broadcasting Corporation's 9th since 2009 - Frans Matlala is now out of his seat and fighting against the SABC, battling the SABC over his suspension and exposing rot and shocking alleged lapses of corporate governance at the public broadcaster.

Through his lawyer, Joe Mothibi of Norton Rose Fulbright, Frans Matlala wrote to the SABC on 17 November demanding that the SABC reinstate him and immediately lift his shocking suspension by this Tuesday.

If this doesn't happen, Frans Matlala plans to take the SABC to the High Court.

Frans Matlala's legal representation told the SABC that the public broadcaster did not follow legal process to suddenly suspend him.

"Our client views your conduct to be unreasonable, unlawful and not in the best interest of the SABC," Frans Matlala's lawyer told the SABC.

Lacking any transparency over the reasons for the SABC top boss' suspension, the SABC which is in the business of communication and is ostensibly supposed to be a public broadcaster, is refusing to say why yet another SABC CEO has abruptly been suspended.

Now Frans Matlala has become the next SABC CEO, similar to several in the recent past few years, to not only be suspended, but to fight back against the SABC once again being damaged and torn by revelations denting its already tattered image as a public broadcaster in the eyes of ordinary South Africans.

While the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng has not been suspended after almost two years since the Public Protector's scathing report implicating him in gross maladministration and abuse of power, Frans Matlala got barred from SABC doors after just four months.

Frans Matlala claims that he was helping Treasury who asked his help with an investigation into the shocking R40 million new SABC studio ordered by Hlaudi Motsoeneng that was never put out to tender.

The new SABC studio of R39 380 000 excluding VAT was quickly constructed for use of Rugby World Cup coverage and for use by the SABC News (DStv 404) channel to do news coverage.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng - currently himself the subject of an upcoming disciplinary hearing and who last month went on a "voluntary leave of absence" without being suspended - admitted that the studio contract never went out to tender as it's supposed to.

According to Frans Matlala, the SABC's chairperson Obert Mbulaheni Maguvhe ordered him on 11 November to stop helping Treasury with the investigation into the SABC studio procurement process.

It's not clear why the SABC chairperson would prevent a SABC CEO to help with a Treasury investigation. SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to a media enquiry on Thursday why the SABC board and chairperson wanted Frans Matlala to stop helping the Treasury investigation.

In another bombshell relevation, Frans Matlala is directly criticising the SABC, saying the process to appoint the attorneys of Werksmans Attorneys to act in the disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng is flawed. Again, no comment from the SABC's Kaizer Kganyago asked about this.

Frans Matlala says he was given no chance to make any representation before he was abruptly served his suspension letter, and was suspended after the controversial minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, gave the greenlight.

As previous suspended and then fired SABC board members earlier this year has said, Frans Matlala reiterates that the SABC board does not have a quorum to suspend him or to start disciplinary proceedings against him - the unstable SABC board is gutted and has been rocked by several resignations and firings directly done and influenced through Faith Muthambi.

The SABC's spokesperson Kaizer Kgangayo, asked if this is a correct allegation, didn't respond.

Frans Matlala says he wrote directly to president Jacob Zuma to apologise for the huge embarrassment of the SABC earlier this month when the SABC's Twitter feed wrote "WHAT.THE.F-!!!" after reports over a R4 billion Zuma jet to be procured for the South African president.

Frans Matlala says SABC policy and his contract states he as SABC CEO is the main point of contact between the public broadcaster and the government.

Yet his suspension includes a charge that he was allegedly "not authorised" to be in contact with Jacob Zuma.

The SABC was asked if it can please explain why there seems to be this discrepancy between what Frans Matlala's contract and SABC policy states, and why Frans Matlala would be charged in his suspension for doing something he is allowed, and supposed, to do.

The SABC didn't respond.

With the now fracturous relationship between Frans Matlala and the SABC and the collateral damage once again being inflicted on the battered SABC brand, it's not clear whether the suspended CEO who had previously been a consultant for the SABC, will remain - or for how long.

With a clearly damaged relationship, and given what has been happening with multiple SABC CEO's in the past, it's likely that the environment and relationship between the dysfunctional SABC top executive and SABC board and Frans Matlala has now suddenly become too toxic for him to really return and serve out the remainder of his contract.

The same mess and in-fighting and political interference that keeps plaguing the SABC and that has once again engulfed the upper management echelons of the SABC is once again further destabilising the public broadcaster and exposing shocking alleged lapses of corporate governance inside the public broadcaster.

The SABC, lurching from crisis to crisis, just posted a R401 million loss in its latest financial report, doesn't have an on-site COO and sits with 6 vacant seats on the SABC board which haven't been filled for months.

The latest row between the SABC and it's own suspended CEO makes clear exactly how gutted and (once-again) completely rudderless South Africa's public broadcaster is in a massive storm.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

David Mbeha from Namibia wins TLC Entertainment's Next Great Presenter search; says 'I made a promise to my mother that I will really pursue this dream'.

A beaming David Mbeha from Namibia has won the TLC Next Great Presenter search competition, with the Namibian from a small town saying in a moving speech that he made a promise to his mother to pursue his dream of becoming a TV presenter.

David Mbeha will now become the on-air presenter of the 4-part show TLC Top 10 starting on TLC Entertainment (DStv 172) on Thursday, 3 December.

TLC Top 10 as a new programming strand on TLC Entertainment will broadcast over the course of 4 episodes some of the most popular programming on the channel since 2011 with David Mbeha introducing and talking about it.

David Mbeha who won the lion's share of the vote beating Mpiwa Bagwasi from Botswana and Star Khulu from South Africa in the top 3.

He was announced the winner on Wednesday night at a swanky programming upfront presentation at Level Three in Johannesburg where Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region held the factual entertainment brand's annual content preview for 2016.

As part of his presenting prize David Mbeha wins a holiday for two to the island of Bali, as well as a feature article in the January 2016 issue of South Africa's Cosmopolitan.

"I grew up with this huge dream of one day wanting to be a TV host. Coming from a very small town in Namibia where nothing much really happens, I really want to go on to work with a brand that strives to find and celebrate everyday differences," said David Mheba.

"TLC Entertainment is a brand that is passionate, and tells riveting stories, and has such unique content - content that you would never find on any other channel."

"Last year in June I made a promise to my mother that I will really pursue this dream, and chase it no matter what, to become a TV presenter. And that is what I have really done from day one. And tonight I've fulfilled that dream," said David Mbeha.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BREAKING. SABC CEO Frans Matlala abrutptly suspended after just 4 months on the job pending an investigation; SABC top management basically gutted.

Top management instability and scandal continues to rock the SABC with the beleaguered South African public broadcaster that has suspended the new SABC CEO Frans Matlala with immediate effect pending an investigation that the SABC doesn't want to talk about.

The SABC's acting chief operating officer (COO) and head of news Jimi Matthews is now taking over as acting CEO.

Jimi Matthews who himself was accused of assault charges earlier this year was already standing in for the embattled and highly controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng who is facing a disciplinary hearing and went on "extended leave".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng went on "extended leave" following a recent order of the Supreme Court of Appeal, coming more than a year after the February 2014 report from the Public Protector which directly implicated Hlaudi Motsoeneng in abuse of power and maladministration at the SABC.

Frans Matlala took over in July as the umpteenth SABC CEO after several SABC CEO's were fired and resigned in previous years without finishing their contract terms.

Frans Matlala is the SABC's 9th CEO since 2009.

Management and executive instability as well as political interference continue to rock the struggling public broadcaster which reported a loss of R403 million for the latest financial year.

Meanwhile a a long-delayed process has been delayed even further to try and replace just two out of 6 long-vacant positions on the SABC board.

The firing of SABC board members causing some of these vacancies are itself the subject of a legal challenge in the North Gauteng High Court

Meanwhile the process to find replacements for the most "recent" empty seats on the SABC board hasn't even started yet. Besides the two positions of which the replacement process is delayed due to a parliamentary strike, there's 4 further empty SABC board positions.

The SABC top management structure and SABC board is totally gutted: the SABC is now without a CEO and a COO, along with several empty seats on the SABC board, while several other top executive positions at the SABC also remain unfilled.

"The board of the SABC today suspended with immediate effect the group CEO Frans Matlala pending an investigation," is all the embattled SABC managed to put out to the media in a terse statement todayby SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"The SABC’s group executive for news and current affairs, Jimi Matthews, will be acting CEO during this time," said the SABC in the statement.

"The organisation will not comment further on this matter, until all processes are finalised," said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, refusing to say why Frans Matlala was suddenly suspended, further deepening the ongoing management crisis at the SABC.

The SABC remains riddled with top management turn-over and financial problems, personnel unhappiness, accusations of political interference and an unstable SABC board with numerous vacancies.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party was quick to react to the latest chapter of the SABC's ongoing crises, with Phumzile Van Damme, the DA's shadow minister of communications saying in a statement that the suspension of SABC CEO Frans Matlala "was carried out with virtually no reasons provided to parliament and the public".

She called on the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi to "come clean" on the reasons for Frans Matlala's sudden shocking suspension.

She said Faith Muthambi must "urgently provide the reasons for Frans Matlala's suspension and urgently fix the permanent state of chaos in order to restore much lost credibility to the SABC".

Time again for the best annual TV upfront in South Africa as Discovery Networks CEEMEA gets ready to showcase what viewers will see in 2016.

The best annual TV upfront in South Africa – the one from Discovery Networks International – is once again set to wow TV and ad execs, TV critics and ad buyers today.

Discovery is set to trot out its on-screen TV talent and executives as it previews its upcoming channel content for the 2015 festive period and the whole of 2016.

The past few years Discovery Networks South Africa's annual programming upfront has constantly ranked tops among all TV channels and broadcasters, followed by Disney South Africa and then BBC Worldwide South Africa.

The three, with Discovery far in the lead, are the only ones who bring a level of razzle-dazzle and provide a lot of programming information at annual upfront events most other local and international TV channels and broadcasters don't care to invest in or do.

Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region remains the only of the TV content providers in South Africa and operating in the Africa region that not only does an annual upfront, but at their showcase event also rolls out high-level executives, local and international TV talent and gives advertising executives and the media a detailed, year-long glimpse of what the next year holds across all of its individual channels.

On Wednesday evening, after a selection of stars from across the various Discovery channels have done media interviews, Discovery Networks CEEMEA is once again set to show the South African TV biz not just why its necessary to do a programming upfront and to create buzz around your TV shows, but how to properly do your show-and-tell.  

Discovery Networks CEEMEA will once again take the 250 invited media and advertiser guests through the programming highlights for the whole new year for each of its channels like Discovery Channel, Discovery World, Animal Planet and TLC Entertainment at its upfront at Level Three in Johannesburg.

Tonight Discovery will also announce the winner of its TLC Next Great Presenter campaign who will present the 4-part series TLC Top 10 in December.

Besides on-screen Discovery channels' stars like magician Troy Von Schneibner, the "Lion Queen" Andi Rive and Whitney Thore of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, a phalanx of Discovery executives are once again jetting in to South Africa.

Some of the senior management set to show at this evening's Discovery Networks upfront are Kaisa Kieli (president and managing director Discovery Networks CEEMEA), James Gibbons (executive vice president for emerging business), Lee Hobbs (vice president of channels for emerging business), Debbie Brady (commercial director for emerging business) and Matt Brown (creative manager for emerging business).

SABC adds Systraat as the South African public broadcaster's first web series in the form of an Afrikaans animation show.

A new 'Laan' is coming to the SABC in the form of Systraat, the South African public broadcaster's first web series in the form of an Afrikaans animation show.

Systraat will be the the SABC's first animated Afrikaans sitcom series, as well as the public broadcaster's first show to roll out and be "broadcast" online first before its been shown on linear television.

Systraat ("Sidestreet") is produced by Stemmburg Television also responsible for the long-running Afrikaans music competition show Noot vir Noot and the more recent Musiek Roulette on SABC2.

Systraat's first episode will debut on 24 November at 21:00 online at YouTube on SABC3's YouTube channel.

Systraat's internet debut follows the second season of Clifton Shores, now retitled as The Shores, also currently playing out with a new episode weekly on YouTube as the South African TV industry starts to move more TV content to viewers through over-the-top (OTT) players and platforms.

Systraat follows the comedic exploits of the Afrikaans Kotze family and will have English subtitles.

"We're moving into a new digital age where television becomes on demand, so we thought we want to make this two firsts – the first South African animated sitcom but we also want to make it the first South African on demand show from the SABC and put that on YouTube," creator Carl Stemmet told the SABC.

"That's the perfect platform for it where people can watch it at anytime, anywhere, where ever they are in the world. We're reaching ex-pats who are sitting overseas as well who are hungry for local content and miss local content as well, so in this way we're reaching a much wider market."

According to Carl Stemmet Systraat's stories and humour will be very specific to South Africa. 

"The characters in the series are very identifiable as South Africans – and the situations they deal with: things like the matric dance that everyone has to go to, the braai competition that everyone wants to take part in, the rugby team at university that the oldest son wants to be part of."

"The other themes of father son relationships, squabbles at home, the love life at school and trying to get the girl's attention and social awkwardness, all that kind of stuff is universal," says Carl Stemmet.

Systraat revolves around dad Gys Kotze, an enthusiastic, yet somewhat dimwitted guy who sees himself as an inventor. His wife and mom Esbe Kotze is the strict one and then they have two sons. The older brother Werner is the jock and rugby player at university and the younger brother Hein is the awkward, social outcast and studious child.

Similar to The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy the main characters are surrounded by a collection of supporting characters ranging from the principal and rugby coach to butchery owner, a doctor and various other ones who pop up throughout the different webisodes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Can someone please just help MultiChoice and whoever is doing the DStv programming promos (and clearly not actually watching TV) to get it right?

Whoever is doing MultiChoice's in-house promos for various DStv programming clearly isn't watching television.

The embarrassing problems and actually very obvious mistakes continue unabated on DStv with problematic promos for programming from various channels that makes from cringe-watching and eye-rolling.

MultiChoice is quick for instance to run a promo to tell viewers to tune in for the "bloodsuckers" of the 7th season of The Vampire Diairies on Vuzu AMP (DStv 114) on Wednesdays at 21:30.

Whoever received and checked the promo at MultiChoice and then scheduled it for high rotation is clearly clueless and from looking at it, I can tell that no proper verification and quality control took place, and whoever made it doesn't know better or doesn't care either.

After I last month noted the embarrassing mistakes in DStv on-air promos don't think they've gone away.

Watch the DStv promo fillers for a while and you can almost invent a drinking game around it - like guessing what channel's programming promo will have a mistake, or what type of mistake it's going be.

It's sad that for instance a promo for MultiChoice is made to market DStv and Vuzu AMP, goes through several people, wrongly passes through several gatekeepers who presumably is tasked with checking every detail; and that it then ends up on air - and is wrong.

Who signs off on these mistakes? Who gets paid money to get stuff wrong? It's like continuing to bring the wrong food to someone's table in a restaurant.

On and in television, what is shown and what you show is your brand.

If it's wrong, then your brand is wrong and off-message. It speaks to your reputation, to whether the picture that is printed on the outside wrapper correlates to the product inside.

If you cared and actually followed or even watched the show you want other people to watch, you'd know that a cast pic of The Vampire Diaries with Nina Dobrev for the 7th season is passé (and wrong and old).

The dear Nina Dobrev left The Vampire Diaries at the end of the 6th season already - she announced it way back in April, and her final appearance was in mid-May. DStv didn't get the memo.

How do you prevent this? You employ and use people who actually watch television (there's lots of them), or you check things against and read this thing called "Wikipedia".

How on earth does a promo board for Veep from M-Net Edge (DStv 102) with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for instance make it to air on DStv (and get used often) saying "Vice president of the United" with a word missing, and get used for such a long time with nobody noticing, caring or correcting it?

To the point that Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character actually becomes the president in the story and the same promo still being used, saying, "vice president of the United" ...

A large part of television, like the fashion industry, like what Plascon and Dulux sell, like Pantene, is how things look. It's the currency. What does it mean and convey when what you show - like in a promo - is wrong and has mistakes in it?

Is it mere nitpicking? Is it overhyping? Why bother about the details of things? Why care? Why shouldn't everyone just be fine with generalised almost-right images and not-quite-right promos?

Think of what Coco Chanel once famously said: "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman."

On-air promos, especially on and for DStv should be impeccable. Just like the "real" content, for instance an episode of a show, it sells the brand too.

It's so incredibly painful to think that there's people who work in television who are not actually watching television, people working with television who don't really care about it, and people selling and marketing television who don't actually know or themselves engage with the actual content of it.

It's a shame.

Discovery Communications looking for Nazi treasure as it gets permission to film World War II train mystery that might yield precious artworks, gold.

Discovery Communications is looking for possible Nazi gold in Poland where Discovery got permission and access to film the investigation into a World War II armored train mystery.

In 2016 Discovery International Networks will show the investigation and process on one of the Discovery channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform that is taking place in that country and that will hopefully solve an intriguing historical mystery.

Discovery will be filming the investigation of the Department of geophysics at the University of Science and Technology (AGH) in the town of Walbrzych, looking into what might be buried at the potential final resting place of a German armored train that's been buried deep underground for 70 years.

According to speculation over the years, priceless artwork and gold could be onboard the Nazi train.

In a statement Marjorie Kaplan, president of content for Discovery Networks International says Discovery will "help chronicle what will no doubt continue to be a globally captivating story, and could be one of the most significant World War Two archaeological finds ever made".

"We are proud to have the world's eyes on Poland as we stand alongside our local partners to capture these events as they unfold. We look forward to sharing this story around the world in a way that only Discovery can through its global networks and rich heritage of capturing these monumental moments in history," says Olgierd Dobrzynski, the general manager for Discovery Networks Poland.

"Our experience and modern equipment will contribute to solving the riddle that has kept so many people around the world interested," says Prof. Janusz Madej, the chief of research expedition at AGH's Department of Geophysics.

Filling of 3 of 6 long-vacant SABC board seats delayed even further due to parliamentary staff strike and a delay with State Security Agency checking qualifications.

The long-delayed filling of vacant positions on the unstable SABC board is being delayed even further since the checking of the qualifications of the shortlisted candidates has not yet been finished and finalised.

The latest delay in getting the empty SABC board positions filled was revealed today by parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

Controversially, the process is of filling empty SABC board member positions is shockingly only for 3 out of 6 empty positions. While the process to fill 3 vacant positions, there is another 3 empty SABC board member seats vacant for months, of which the process hasn't even started for.

After the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi intervened with the SABC board and fired SABC board members while others quit, several positions have remained empty for the larger part of 2015 as the public broadcaster keeps lurching from the one crisis and scandal to the next.

The process of filling the empty SABC board seats which was readvertised last month, is continuing since the State Security Agency is still busy checking the shortlisted candidates.

The process has also been delayed due to the strike by parliamentary staff.

Joyce Moloi-Moropa, the chairperson of the portfolio committee on communications who herself will apparently soon be gone after she's given notice that she's quitting, told the committee on Tuesday that the process to fill the long-delayed SABC board positions will only be for the first three.

"Until such time the president brings the other three vacancies [under anybody's attention], this is all we are dealing with," said Joyce Moloi-Moropa.