Friday, April 18, 2014

BREAKING. M-Net has The 100; spacey new teen youth drama set on a post-apocalyptic Earth earmarked for M-Net Series Showcase for June.

You're reading it here first. 

It is a good Friday: I can exclusively break the news that M-Net has the broadcasting rights to the great new science fiction youth drama The 100 - and I can reveal that it will start on 4 June at 20:00.

The excellent The 100 revolves around a group of teenage convicts send to Earth to test - after mankind found refuge in a cobbled together space station nicknamed "The Ark" following a devastating nuclear war - whether the planet down below is habitable again.

The kiddies would have died anyway. For the smallest "crime" you're thrown in jail and then pushed out of an airlock because there's too many people, and resources are dwindling fast.

While the kids are "given" a chance to live - jettisoned, and making it to Earth (well, not all of them), they struggle from the first moment. Things change fast on a changed Earth in this type of Lord of the Flies meets Hunger Games drama.

There's also major drama happening up there on the space station - intrigue, intrigue! - as the leaders and doctor all have kids down below and an evil guy has a plan to "save humanity" by killing most of humanity left on the space station!

M-Net tells me the first season of The 100, which started in mid-March in America, is earmarked for M-Net Series Showcase (DStv 113), meaning DStv subscribers will be able to watch it in high definition (HD).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

BREAKING. DStv blackout of SABC channels on Friday due to 'complete failure of MultiChoice head-end equipment', back-up failed too.

You're reading it here first.

The blackout this Friday evening of all of the SABC's TV channels on DStv was due to a complete failure of MultiChoice head-end equipment, as well as a failure of the back-up system to work, TV with Thinus can reveal.

The millions of DStv subscribers on Friday suddenly lost SABC1 (DStv 191), SABC2 (DStv 192), SABC3 (DStv 193) and SABC News (DStv 404) which all suffering an unexplained blackout.

SABC1, SABC2 and remain the most watched TV channels on DStv.

The SABC channels' blackout on DStv was due to a breakdown of the uplinking fascility between the SABC and MultiChoice. It resulted in a signal loss of the SABC's TV channels on DStv, although the analogue broadcast of the channels were unaffected.

On Monday MultiChoice was unable or unwilling to say what went wrong and why.

Asked again on Thursday, MultiChoice declined to explain the incident - basically the how and why of why the SABC channels were cut and why the uplinking system failed.

The SABC however tells TV with Thinus "there was a complete failure of MultiChoice head-end equipment".

This head-end equipment for uplinking belongs to MultiChoice but is housed at the SABC. This head-end equipment is also fully under MultiChoice's control and is controlled remotely - for instance any sort of customization or settings.

MultiChoice is also responsible for the back-up or redundancy system should there be such failures.

The SABC says "on Friday it appeared that the back-up too could not be used".

Fresh TV, Gauteng's new youth focused TV station, is now looking for programming and TV show proposals.

Fresh TV, a new youth TV channel based in Gauteng for the youth of Gauteng, is now calling for programming proposals from anyone - hoping to showcase the lives, cultures, challenges and achievements of young people living in that province.

Fresh TV says its aim will be to provide a platform that unify the young people of Gauteng by offering them a "home" where they can share their ideas as well as voice their various issues.

"Despite the youth of Gauteng being diverse in terms of culture, religion, language and lifestyle, issues such as education, crime and unemployment affect everyone," says Mxolisi Batayi of Fresh TV.

"Although we as the youth have many difficulties, we have just as many accomplishments and opportunities. We live in an environment of social networks, cyber craze, fancy gadgets, cutting edge fashion and our very own lingo".

"This youth TV channel aims to be a true reflection of who we are, where we are and where we want to be. Fresh TV is here to provide a home for the youth of Gauteng, and aims to display our culture, subcultures, abilities, challenges and achievements," says Mxolisi Batayi.

Fresh TV is now looking for programming proposals and proposals for new TV shows from young and aspiring producers as well as production companies.

Fresh TV wants programmes that are ready as pilots in especially the genres of entertainment - including game shows, religion, magazine shows, reality teen-centred TV shows, as well as education.

People, producers and production companies who are interested, can email for more information as well as to submit proposals. The closing date for submissions is Thursday 24 April at 18:00.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) 'deeply concerned' over 'act of censorship' at SABC: 'The SABC should be encouraging debate, not limit it'.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) tells TV with Thinus it is "deeply concerned" by what appears to be "an act of censorship" by the SABC's decision not to broadcast a Democratic Alliance political advert and says "the SABC should be encouraging robust debate, not seeking to limit it".

"MMA is deeply concerned by what appears to be an act of censorship and clear limitation of freedom of speech by the SABC's decision not to broadcast a Democratic Alliance advert that is strongly critical of the ANC," says MMA director William Bird.

"It is during an election period that politicians are more likely to be more strident in their views and critiques of parties. It is during this time that we expect, as citizens, to hear our political parties asserting and putting their views and policies forward".

"Yet the SABC has taken away the ability of the voter to decide for themselves whether to accept or dismiss the DA's critique or not," says William Bird.

"The SABC has provided four main reasons for its decision. For such an important decision to be taken it is critical that we evaluate the reasons."

"The first reason put forward by the SABC is: It is our view that the reference in your television advertisement to police killing our people is cause for incitement to action against the police services".

"While almost certainly calculated to reflect badly on the ANC, and while it may be a generalisation, given the events at Marikana or the death - broadcast on SABC - of Andries Tatane at the hands of the police, it can hardly be said to be untrue nor can it be said to constitute incitement to violence".

"The second reason put forward by the SABC: “The Electoral Code of Conduct includes a clause prohibiting the publication of false information about other candidates or parties".

"The line in the advert is: “200 million rand has been spent on upgrading the Presidents Private house.” Given that the issue of Nkandla is on the national agenda, and given that it has already been the subject of an Inter-Ministerial Task Team and the Public Protector, and given that the amounts have not at any stage been disputed - except that they are in fact higher than R200 million - it seems difficult to argue that the information is false".

"The third reason put forward is that, “the Code of Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) does not permit attacking another product to promote your own".

"Given that we are in an election period which is about making informed choices, where political parties and politicians routinely attack each other's "product" it seems most unlikely that this concept would be applied," says William Bird.

"The final reason put forward is:”We are also of the view that the SABC will not permit personal attacks on any party member or leader by any other party, as is being done in the advertisement in respect of president Jacob Zuma".

"This is extremely difficult to sustain given the nature of political rhetoric and occasions where personal attacks by leaders from all parties are reported in the news, as they should be. In the current instance it is an advertisement and not news and viewers should be credited with the ability to discern between the two".

William Bird says Media Monitoring Africa is "deeply disappointed by the SABC's decision".

"The SABC should be encouraging robust debate, not seeking to limit it. We have seen too many reports in the media in the run up to these elections where different political parties have complained about bias at the SABC".

"MMA has monitored the SABC's coverage of all democratic elections and we are currently monitoring their news and current affairs".

"We have noted in all our previous reports how despite views to the contrary the SABC has managed to perform exceptionally well in many instances but also the content of their programming in previous elections has been overwhelmingly fair".

"We will soon be releasing a fairness assessment of the news coverage across all media being monitored and will be among the first to highlight concerns around fairness if content should they arise".

"We believe the decision not to broadcast the advert will fundamentally undermine perceptions of fairness of the SABC".

Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) calls for 'immediate investigation' into 'regressive' SABC and "blatant censorship".

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) says it is "exceedingly disconcerted" about the a growing number of problems and issues at the beleaguered South African public broadcaster, and the organisation is now calling for an "immediate investigation" into the "regressive" SABC.

"The Freedom of Expression Institute is exceedingly disconcerted by the series of occurrences involving the SABC, including the banning of radio and television political advertisements and the violation of the right to personal privacy through alleged staff surveillance," says the FXI in a statement.

"The FXI views the arbitrary banning of the advertisement through vague interpretation of the prescribed electoral regulations and the use of the draconian National Key Points Act as insouciant acts of blatant censorship".

"The FXI condemns the political interference that is clearly the root cause of the confusion at the SABC," says the institute.

"The Institute further condemns the use of the draconian National Key Points Act (NKPA) to  target and effectively silence journalists from blowing the whistle on maladministration within the public broadcaster".

"The reports of staff communication surveillance are alarming and much like the NKPA, do not belong in this era of South African democracy," says the FXI.

"The Institute calls for an immediate investigation by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications into the motivations and prudence of the decision to implement such regressive measures on the SABC".

BREAKING. New ensemble show, Outnumbered, coming to Fox News Channel from 28 April on weekdays at 18:00.

Fox News Channel (StarSat 405) just announced that a brand-new weekday ensemble show, Outnumbered, will start on the American 24-hour TV news channel from 28 April at 18:00 (South African time) on weekdays.

Outnumbered will have four women and one man as presenters, with Harris Faulkner and Sandra Smith alternating as lead presenters. Other women who will join Outnumbered on Fox News Channel include Kimberley Guilfoyle, Andrea Tantaros, Jedediah Bila, Katie Pavlich and Kirsten Powers.

The only man on Outnumbered will be different every day.

"Outnumbered combines a distinctive group of FOX talent with unique experiences and insights that will make for compelling news programming," says Jay Wallace, the senior vice president of news at Fox News Channel in a statement.

"We look forward to once again pushing the envelope with the addition of this new show and are confident the revised line-up will only strengthen the Fox News Channel brand".

BREAKING. SA broadcasting regulator orders SABC to start airing the Democratic Alliance political TV ad which it banned, immediately.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator on Wednesday night ordered the SABC to start broadcasting the paid-for political TV commercial of the Democratic Alliance (DA) immediately which the South African public broadcaster unilaterally banned last week.

The case was also postponed indefinitely tonight because the beleaguered and chaotic SABC unexplicably dumped its legal team between Tuesday evening when the case was first heard, and tonight.

Yesterday evening the SABC was unable to give basic answers to basic questions from the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

On Wednesday evening the SABC and its new legal team - now Terry Motau representing the SABC, with lawyer Ronnie Bokwa from Tuesday evening gone - arrived and suddenly requested "more time to prepare".

CCC chairperson Wandile Tutani however was having none of the SABC's unprepared mess and ordered the SABC to start broadcasting the "Ayisafani" TV commercial "with immediate effect".

South Africa's next general elections is set to take place on 7 May in 20 days' time, but will take place within a growing concern regarding major, undue and direct political interference into editorial matters at the SABC.

Political parties and South African civil society are vocal about widespread abuse at the struggling SABC and are accusing the public broadcaster of being blatantly politically biased in favour of the ruling party, the ANC.

The SABC unilaterally pulled the paid-for political advert off the air last week after showing it three times, claiming that it incites violence, that it contains statements not proven regarding Nkandlagate and claiming that one "product" can't attack another "product".

On Wednesday evening it suddenly came to light that the SABC got rid of, and now has a new legal team in place - suddenly begging for more time to provide the basic information, screening decisions and documents under which it felt it was okay to ban the advert.

On Tuesday evening the SABC and its then legal team - now suddenly gone - struggled to give any answers to basic questions the CCC asked, like whether the SABC screened and rescreened all political adverts consistently and in the same way as it did with the DA commercial.

The SABC was also asked whether it had a checklist for all TV commercials shown on all of the SABC channels and to provide a copy. The SABC couldn't answer the CCC's basic questions.

Other broadcasters have had no problem airing the TV commercial.

With the looming elections only weeks away, the CCC didn't want to postpone the urgent case brought before it any further and ordered the SABC's new legal team back to get answers, ordered the SABC to reinstate and start broadcasting the commercial immediately, and postponed the case indefinitely.

The CCC said the SABC must show the TV commercial and that the case will resume once the SABC has further "investigated the facts" and decide to return.

The DA political party in a rush press statement following the regulator's decision says "We maintain that the banning of the 'Ayisafani' advertisements was unlawful and unconstitutional".

"No amount of further preparation on the part of the SABC's legal team will change that. We stand ready to defend our advertisements at a future hearing".

SABC1 revives dating game television; format game show Take Me Out is set to start in July with presenter Phat Joe Kambule.

SABC1 returns to the blind dating game; the public broadcaster's TV channel is set to broadcast Take Me Out, a format game show from July.

Presenter Phat Joe Kambule, seen on the channel's magazine show RGB will be the host of Take Me Out.

Take Me Out has seen versions done in Australia, Britain, the United States, Ireland and the Philippines. The aim of the show is for a man to try and get one of 30 women to agree to go on a date with him.

SABC1's portfolio marketing manager for entertainment, Dichaba Phalatse says Phat Joe Kambule's "ability to connect with people and vast experience made him the natural selection" to host Take Me Out and that SABC1 is "excited" to see him"running around 30 single ladies helping them select a perfect date".

Kwêla on kykNET carries on, keeps host Coenie de Villiers and the set, as magazine show does a track change with Homebrew Films taking over.

Kwêla, the weekly Afrikaans entertainment magazine on Wednesdays at 19:30 on kykNET (DStv 144) is on air since the beginning of this month now being produced by Homebrew Films from Cape Town - following the shocking backstage wrangling at the end of 2013 which saw Pieter Cilliers Produksies (PCP) and kykNET end their longrunning contractual relationship of the show.

kykNET and Homebrew Films wisely worked together on a seamless as possible production transition for Kwêla.

They managed to keep Coenie de Villiers as the host as well as the set for now until a possible scenic change later in 2014. The Kwêla theme music and opening logo also remain in tact for now - as well as the overall look, feel and tonality of the magazine show.

Jaco Loubser is now executive producer; Erica Greeff is director.

The various Kwêla field presenters had to be jettisoned during the production company switch, with presenters Shemane Harris, Suzaan Steyn, Pieter Koen, Susan Booyens and Mandi du Plooy who are now gone.

In as new Kwêla faces are Therese Benade who is also now a content producer on the show and who was a field presenter for half a decade on Kwêla before (and is leaving behind her long running soap role in kykNET's Villa Rosa as vixen Astrid).

She is moving to Cape Town at the end of this month. She previously worked for Homebrew Films which produced the reality competition show Saktyd for kykNET in 2012 which was looking to find a new media worker for the Huisgenoot magazine.

André Weideman from Cape Town who did voice work for SABC2's Pasella, TV presenting for kykNET's car show La't Wiel and had a comedy role in kykNET's Parys Parys is another new on-air field presenter.

Johnny Davids from Cape Town who presented for the Afrikaans magazine show Kollig on sister channel kykNET & Kie (DStv 145), a show also produced by Homebrew Films, left that show to now do Kwêla.

Duck Dynasty starting on History on Monday 21 April - but daffy duck scheduling is sure to get DStv subscribers up in arms.

Duck Dynasty is starting its first season in South Africa on History (DStv 186) on Monday 21 April at 20:30 with multiple episodes and highly erratic and confusing scheduling which will see DStv subscribers struggle to keep up in order not to miss any episodes.

Duck Dynasty which already finished its 5th season in America last month, is a reality show following a wealthy family of duck hunters.

The Duck Dynasty scheduling on History is completely crazy - it's a given that DStv subscribers are going to struggle to ensure they're not missing out on an episode.

Duck Dynasty will roll out with 4 new episodes on Monday 21 April at 20:30, 21:00, 21:25 and 21:55.

History will then show further new Duck Dynasty episodes on Monday 28 April at 21:25 and 21:55.

On Monday 5 May there will again be double Duck Dynasty episodes at 21:25 and 21:55.

Then, from Monday 12 May, Duck Dynasty gets reduced to only one episode at 21:25 on History on this date, as well as only one new episode on Monday 19 May and Monday 26 May.

In June, Duck Dynasty will stay with the one new episode per week, but the time slot changes slightly from 21:25 to 21:20.

Duck Dynasty in June will see one new episode on Monday 2 June, Monday 9 June,  Monday 16 June and Monday 23 June at 21:20.

On Monday 30 June there is again suddenly two Duck Dynasty episodes back to back at 21:20 and then at 21:45.

Heavily hyped #PlsCallMe on Mzansi Magic Music with multiple weekly episodes, cut down to just one episode per week on Saturdays.

#PlsCallMe on Mzansi Magic Music (DStv 321) is more a case of please make it go away - Mzansi Magic Music has cut down and done away with the show's multiple weekly episodes which has been reduced to just one a week barely months after it launched at the end of January.

Mzansi Magic Music hyped the start of #PlsCallMe in January with the return to television of former Jam Alley presenter V-Mash, as well as Nestum and Phule Welsh with #PlsCallMe which appeared to be positioned as the channel's new flagship show and early primetime anchor.

Now #PlsCallMe, a viewer music request show, has fizzled out to one episode a week on Saturdays at 18:00.

It appears potential viewers didn't even want to do the effort or waste the energy of interacting with a request show even if it doesn't cost them anything.

"Due to the nature of the television industry, we review our scheduling regularly and a decision was made to screen it once a week," Mzansi Magic Music tells TV with Thinus in response to a media enquiry as to why #PlsCallMe is suddenly down to one weekly episode.

Mzansi Magic says "#PlsCallMe is not the channel's flagship show".

M-Net looking for a research analyst for the M-Net and M-Net Series TV channels.

M-Net is looking for a research analyst for two of the South African pay-TV broadcaster's TV channel brands.

M-Net wants to appoint a research analyst for M-Net (DStv 101) and its three M-Net Series channels - M-Net Series Showcase (DStv 113), M-Net Series Reality (DStv 114) and M-Net Series Zone (DStv 115).

The research analyst, working at M-Net's Randburg headquarters, will have to do research about and gather market intelligence regarding TV programming and viewers for and of these TV channels.

FAILING 3D TV? More 3D TV channels shutting down globally than starting, as South African television still works on rolling out HD.

3D TV channels appears to be over and on the way out, with more 3D TV channels globally shutting down than starting up, as countries like South Africa is still focusing on getting to scale with a bigger roll-out and availability of high definition (HD) TV channels.

3D television broadcasting appears to be on the wane - done in by consumer reluctance to adopt the technology, but also cost as well as a lack of enough content. It means that the possible (if ever) roll-out of 3D TV broadcasts in South Africa remains but a pipe dream.

3D TV channels are mostly suited for sport broadcasts, showing movies done in 3D at the box office, like the recent Frozen, and natural history documentary programming featuring nature in the form of plants and animals.

A new report from IHS Technology notes that there's now more 3D TV channels closing down than starting in the world, with another one - which quietly shuttered in January on a Nordic pay-TV operator.

TV channels broadcasting in 3D started in 2010 but after three years the appetite for this programming has not seen fast growth and consumer and viewers adoption. Where 19 3D TV channels were launched in the world in 2010, it slowed by 2012 and last year more 3D TV channels were shut down than were started.

South Africa is still struggling to up the number of basic high defintion (HD) TV channels.

The free-to-air OpenView HD (OVHD) satellite platform from Patco Digital (a TV division of Sabido) has one HD TV channel in the form of HD.

On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat now runs two HD TV channels since the roll-out of its new HD enabled StarSat decoder on its pay-TV satellite platform: NBA TV HD and Star Bollywood HD.

MultiChoice's will be upping another of the SuperSport channels on its DStv satellite pay-TV platform to HD level when SuperSport 7 becomes an HD channel from 22 April.

DStv now delivers 14 TV channels in high definition. It also has high definition TV shows on its DStv Catch-Up video-on-demand decoders that's from TV channels like Disney for instance, which is still broadcast in standard definition (SD) in South Africa.

Bruce Tuchman becomes president of MGM movie channel available on both DStv and StarSat.

Bruce Tuchman is the new president of the MGM (DStv 140 / StarSat 142) TV channel which is seen in South Africa on both MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's StarSat satellite pay-TV platforms.

Bruce Tuchman is already the president of the AMC and the Sundance Channel Global movie channels, and is now adding president of the MGM channel to the list.

MGM is available in 130 territories worldwide.

SABC can't tell broadcasting regulator if all TV commercials are screened like the banned DA political ad; cant explain why it was played twice.

The SABC was unable to answer the South African broadcasting regulator's Compliance and Complaints Committee on Tuesday night after banning a paid-for political TV commercial, "Ayisafani", from the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party last week, and failed to say whether all TV commercials and all political TV commercials are prescreened, screened and screened again like what was done with the Ayisafani TV advert.

The SABC also failed to give a reason to the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (Icasa) as to why the DA political party's TV commercial was shown three times before it was removed.

Other TV channels such as eNCA say they have no problem with broadcasting the political TV advert.

The "emergency" public hearing held last night was adjourned so that the SABC can find and come up with answers for the Compliance and Complaints Committee and will resume again at 18:00 this evening (Wednesday).