Monday, January 16, 2017

After its first news channel failure, the SABC wanted to turn SABC3 into its new TV news channel not knowing it couldn't, reveals former chairperson dr Ben Ngubane.

After the expensive flop and abrupt shuttering of its struggling first TV news channel, SABC News International, the SABC set its sights on SABC3, wanting to turn its struggling and smallest terrestrial TV channel into its new news channel - unaware that it's not allowed to do so because SABC3 has a commercial TV licence.

The former SABC board chairperson, dr Ben Ngubane, now the chairperson of Eskom, revealed to parliament on Friday in the ongoing inquiry into the beleaguered state of affairs at the South African public broadcaster, that after the failure of SABC News International, the SABC wanted to turn SABC3 into its new news channel.

Instead of turning SABC3 into its new news channel, the SABC eventually signed the now controversial MultiChoice deal to supply a new stand-alone TV news channel to DStv, SABC News (DStv 404).

Together with the old rerun channel SABC Encore (DStv 156), the pay-TV operator paid the SABC hundreds of millions of rand for the two SABC packaged channels to be carried on DStv, with exclusive access to the old library titles from the SABC archives shows on SABC Encore.

SABC News International was started in 2007 by the SABC's former head of news, dr Snuki Zikalala at a cost of more than R85 million but abruptly shut down three years later at the end of March 2010.

The massive cash drain of SABC News International - to the tune of over R80 million per year - on the SABC's already precarious operating budget was one of the big crippling factors that brought the SABC to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

But the SABC was absolutely adamant to have a TV news channel and next looked to transform one of its existing three TV channels in its second attempt to create one: SABC3.

SABC3 is however the SABC's only commercial TV channel, with SABC1 and SABC2 licensed as its public broadcast service (PBS) channels.

'We couldn't use SABC3'
In parliament's special ad hoc committee investigating the SABC, dr Ben Ngubane revealed that the SABC's previous head of news who was also acting SABC CEO, Phil Molefe "went to India to look for partners to start the 24-hour TV news channel".

"Things get started. Phil Molefe wanted the 24-hour news channel, but to use SABC3 as the 24-hour news channel. When he came back, after a long process, we found that in fact we couldn't use SABC3 because it's a commercial TV station in terms of its licence".

Dr Ben Ngubane said "I did not bring the Guptas to SABC".

"I was aware that Phil Molefe had gone to India to meet a broadcasting company. He came back and sought a mission to convert SABC3 into 24-hour news. And we declined that."

Dr Ben Ngubane said Phil Molefe "also went to London on the same quest to turn SABC3 into 24-hour news".

SABC News (DStv 404) was eventually launched in August 2013 on DStv promising "multilingual programming" delivered "to audiences in all 11 South African official languages". In April 2015 the SABC removed all bulletins in other languages and made SABC News an English TV news channel.

The SABC's 2017 AFCON schedule disruption for soccer means millions of viewers will lose access to the shows they want to watch from today.

With the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) soccer tournament kicking off, the South African public broadcaster is from today kicking its biggest scripted entertainment shows to smaller SABC channels that can't be received or seen by millions of viewers.

The SABC's latest big schedule disruption will likely again cost the broadcaster not just viewers and TV ratings but also much-needed advertising income.

From today millions of South African viewers will lose access to the shows they want to watch on the SABC as the public broadcaster once again disrupts its TV channels' schedules for the 2017 AFCON tournament in Gabon with matches that's broadcast live and delayed on SABC1.

The SABC similarly disrupted its prime time schedules across SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 in previous years to broadcast the African Cup of Nations but is going further this year with even more bizarre cross-channel programming swops.

The move will put its most-watched shows out of reach of millions of viewers, unable to access shows like Generations, Uzalo and others even if they want to view it.

Although each SABC channel supposedly has its own brand, on-air image and caters to different viewer demographics, the SABC with programming disruptions like for AFCON, treats its channels as if they're the same and interchangeable.

Programmes specifically commissioned for a specific SABC channel and tailored to a specific viewer demo are moved to other channels where the audience demographic - although there is some overlap - is completely different; a move the SABC infamously refers to as its "transversal strategy".

In reach however, the SABC's three terrestrial TV channels are not the same.

SABC1 has the biggest footprint of the SABC's channels - meaning its broadcasting signal can be physically received by the most TV households in South Africa. SABC2 is accessible to millions fewer households, while SABC3 has the smallest reach of all three of its channels.

From today the SABC is moving its two biggest shows overall in terms of ratings, Generations and Uzalo to SABC3 and SABC2.

Another big ratings grabber, Skeem Saam, is also moved from SABC1 to SABC2 (similar to what the SABC did previously).

During previous AFCON tournaments Generations was moved to SABC2. Now it will be moved from the biggest to the smallest channel for an extended period of time. It will mean the loss of millions of viewers for the SABC for this show, for weeks, until 5 February.

A ratings drop-off is also expected for Uzalo and other moved shows.

As a local prime time soap Generations also replaces High Rollers on SABC3 which is another SABC local soap and a local TV production, for an extended period of time.

■ 2017 AFCON matches and coverage from 17:30 daily, until midnight.

■ Skeem Saam (Mondays to Fridays) and Uzalo (Mondays to Wednesdays) move from SABC1 to SABC2 but retain their timeslots on the new channel of 18:30 and 20:30

■ NCIS on Mondays at 20:00 and Afrikaans drama on Tuesdays at 20:00 have been dumped and will only return in February in new timeslots.

■ The Tswana/Sotho TV news bulletin (Mondays to Fridays) that used to be at 18:30, moves to 18:00.

■ High Rollers has been dumped and is replaced by Generations (Mondays to Fridays), now in the timeslot of 19:30 (its timeslot was 20:00 on SABC1).

Former Big Brother Nigeria housemate, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, to be the host of second season of M-Net's Big Brother Naija on DStv.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, a former housemate in the first season of Big Brother Nigeria in 2006, will be the host of the new second season of the renamed show Big Brother Naija starting on Sunday 22 January on M-Net channels on DStv and GOtv in Nigeria.

Since his screen time in Big Brother Nigeria, the young lawyer presented several TV shows on public Nigerian television over the past decade, including Friend or Foe, Greatness TV and others, as well as on pay-TV channels like Rubbin' Minds on EbonyLife TV on DStv and is a co-presenter on The Spot and Men's Corner.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu survived a near-fatal car crash in December 2015.

"We are particularly excited to have Ebuka as host of Big Brother Naija," says John Ugbe, the managing director of MultiChoice Nigeria in a statement.

"This was the platform that unearthed his potentials and propelled him to stardom. He has over the years grown to become a prominent face on the Nigerian pop culture and entertainment scene while also lending his voice to youth empowerment initiatives".

Big Brother Naija will run for 78 days with 12 housemates.

With increasing TV censorship in Nigeria where conservative subscribers of MultiChoice's DStv in the West African country have become more vocal the past two years about what they don't want anybody to see, the second season of the show won't have any "shower hour" visuals.

Veteran actress Marga van Rooy dead at 75 after battle with cancer.

The veteran TV, film and stage actress Marga van Rooy died on Sunday afternoon at 14:20 after a battle with cancer. The Afrikaans actress was 75.

While appearing in film and on stage, Marga van Rooy reached fame through South African television in multi-year roles the previous two decades on shows like Egoli on M-Net, Vetkoekpaleis on SABC2 and later Molly & Wors on kykNET (DStv 144).

Besides television she appeared in Afrikaans comedy films like Nommer Asseblief, Lipstiek Dipstiek, Panic Mechanic, Die Windpomp and recently 'n Paw-Paw Vir My Darling.

Marga van Rooy died after a battle with cancer the past two months after she underwent surgery in December 2016. In November 2016 she was still appeared on stage in the play Daa Gaat die Bruid.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Andile Ncube to present E! Entertainment's The Search: E! Host South Africa, Terry Pheto judging; while Urban Brew alums show up in the Urban Brew produced show.

Andile Ncube is the presenter of E! Entertainment's new presenter search, The Search: E! Host South Africa that will start in February looking for a South African presenter for the channel while actress Terry Pheto will be the main judge.

Meanwhile several faces who are already known TV presenters and who worked for the production company before - the same production company now doing the show for E! - form part of the 8 contestant group.

Ordinary South Africans were not allowed to enter for the show seeking "up-and-coming talent from across the country".

The Search: E! Host South Africa, produced by Urban Brew for the African channel feed of the NBCUniversal International Networks channel on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform, will start on 1 February at 20:55.

Similar to SABC3's Top Billing Presenter Search and Presenter Search on 3 and Discovery Networks International's TLC's Next Great Presenter, the 8 contestants live together in a mansion and are whittled down through weekly TV tasks to test their television presenting skills.

Raising eyebrows from a production perspective is that several contestants chosen for The Search: E! Host South Africa has previous TV experience with Urban Brew Studios across various of its productions - the company now doing the presenter search show for E! Entertainment (DStv 124).

Included in the 8 contestant group for The Search: E! Host South Africa are ANN7 news reader Abigail Visagie, Hotel Rwanda actress Mosa Kaiser, former SABC1 YO.TV and Mzansi Insider presenter Katleho Sinivasan, Sian Moss, HashtagRadio presenter Juan-Martin Jordt and former SABC1 YO.TV presenter Jessica Tims.

Also included are the TV presenters Danine Naidoo and Ayanda Nhlapo who both presented shows on the [ED] channel on DStv.

The [ED] channel was also produced and packaged until the end of November 2016 by Urban Brew Studios - the same production company now producing The Search: E! Host South Africa that raises interesting conflict of interest and credibility issues.

Besides [ED], YO.TV where Katleho Sinivasan and Jessica Tims had gigs is an Urban Brew produced show; as was SABC1's One Day Leader where Jessica Tims is a presenter.

E! didn't immediately respond to a media enquiry on Friday seeking comment about why people who have been involved with Urban Brew as TV presenters before have been included in this presenter search show done by the same company.

It's likely that The Search: E! Host South Africa in 2017 will probably add fuel to the fiery existing and ongoing #OpenUpTheIndustry debate about why there's a perceived lack of brand-new TV presenter faces in shows on South African screens, with existing presenters constantly being used and re-used again and again.

In late 2016 Colin McLeod, the managing director for UK and emerging markets at NBCUniversal International Networks said The Search: E! Host South Africa will be "a once-in-a-lifetime chance for up-and-coming talent from across the country to pursue this unique opportunity" to represent E! in Africa.

There were no public auditions for South Africans to become contestants in the show, with the 8 who were pre-selected through a casting process according to criteria that according to E! included "presenting experience, pop culture knowledge, and a passion for the E! brand".

Guest judges who will appear in The Search: E! Host South Africa to help choose the best TV presenter include fashion designers like David Tlale and Gert-Johan Coetzee, as well as Mzansi Magic's Idols presenter and co-producer ProVerb and TV and radio presenter Bonang Matheba who will be the first guest judge.

Similar to the other presenter search shows - this being E!'s first South African reality series - cameras will capture the tension and drama among the The Search: E! Host South Africa contestants in the Johannesburg based mansion.

The camera mansion includes a "glam-room" where contestants have their own make-up artists and stylists as they compete against each other to become E!'s presenter face in South Africa.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Greta van Susteren joins MSNBC from FOX News; will start on Monday 9 January with new hour long show, For the Record with Greta.

Greta van Susteren who abruptly left FOX News in September 2016 amidst the swirling sexual harassment scandal that engulfed then FOX News boss Roger Ailes, is joining MSNBC (StarSat 263).

Exactly as was reported earlier this week, Greta van Susteren is joining MSNBC from this coming Monday, with the official announcement late on Thursday coming a day after news that Megyn Kelly is dumping FOX News and joining MSNBC.

Greta van Susteren will start on Monday 9 January with her new weekday, hour long show, For the Record with Greta. At FOX News Greta van Susteren - who South African viewers also saw before on CNN International before jumping to FOX News - presented On the Record with Greta.

For the Record with Greta at MSNBC replaces the Bloomberg Television show With All Due Respect that was cancelled in early December and that was simulcast on MSNBC.

MSNBC in a statement says For the Record with Greta is part of MSNBC's makeover and its "strategic shift to a break news focus during the day".

Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, says in the statement "Greta is a true pro with a proven record of tough journalism. Her broad range of experience and sharp news judgment will be of great value to MSNBC as we build on our momentum going into a new year and a new administration".

Greta van Susteren in the statement says "I'm thrilled to start my next chapter at MSNBC. The network is the right destination for the smart news and analysis I hope to deliver every day, and I look forward to joining the talented journalists and analysts I respect there".

Obi-Wan Kenobi coming to Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD in a final duel with Darth Maul on Tatooine.

Obi-Wan Kenobi will make an appearance on Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD (DStv 304) when the third season continues after the midseason break, in a (final?) epic light saber duel against Darth Maul.

What makes it newsworthy is that Obi-Wan Kenobi will appear as his older, Alec Guinness version. The younger character as portrayed by Ewan McGregor previously appeared in Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars The Clone Wars.

Maul has relentlessly been seeking Obi-Wan Kenobi and got his answer in the last episode by again using and exploiting the Character of Ezra Bridger: "a desert planet with two suns" - a reference of course to Tatooine.

We don't know when in the remaining set of episodes Obi-Wan Kenobi will appear, or when he and Darth Maul will fight in their "rematch" of sorts - but it will be a big pay-off.

Maul was first re-introduced back into the Star Wars narrative in Star Wars The Clone Wars since The Phantom Menace, and since then questions abound about his "new" final fate.

Of course Obi-Wan Kenobi was only really "discovered" by Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, meaning that sooner or later, if Maul does find Obi-Wan (and now we know he does), he surely can't remain alive to tell anyone about it.

The Star Wars Rebels third season midseason trailer is filled with all kinds of must-seen amazingness:

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central on DStv moves to a new later timeslot of 9:55pm from 2017.

Comedy Central (DStv 122) is moving The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to a later timeslot of 21:55 from 2017 for South African and African viewers.

It is the first timeslot change for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah since the version of the show with Trevor Noah as its host started in September 2015.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah returned on 4 January 2017 to Comedy Central in America and on MultiChoice's DStv and is no longer broadcast at 21:00 but 21:55.

South African and African viewers are still being shown the latest episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah broadcast on Comedy Central in America, within 24 hours on Comedy Central Africa.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is broadcast Tuesday to Fridays.

Comedy Central Africa and Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) didn't want to give a reason for the latest timeslot shift, but it very likely has to do with the mercurial nature of The Daily Show that often stops and takes production breaks, making it very difficult to guarantee stability in the form of 4-day a week new content during the 21:00 prime time timeslot.

With The Daily Show moved an hour later, VIMN Africa's Comedy Central Africa bosses can plan better and strip more "regular" 5-day a week, weekday "new" content during the hour that creates more stable ratings.

Girl Meets World on The Disney Channel cancelled after just 3 seasons; 'complete sadness' that 'show is over'.

Girls Meets World on The Disney Channel (DStv 303) has been cancelled after just three seasons.

The Boy Meets World spin-off that finished filming its third season won't be back for a fourth season.

The show finally confirming end of December rumours and tweeted that "it is with incredible pride in our work and complete sadness that things end, that I report to this wonderful audience that our show is over".

In a statement about Girl Meets World's cancellation after just over 70 episodes, The Disney Channel says "we are proud that for over 70 episodes Michael Jacobs, April Kelly and the talented creative team, cast and crew entertained viewers with an authentic and heartfelt look at navigating adolescence".

The series' finale will be broadcast in America on 20 January, and later in the year in South Africa in The Disney Channel on DStv.

The third season's final episode of Girl Meets World will serve as a reunion of sorts, with the Boy Meets World cast that will show up.

Eric (Will Friedle), Shawn (Rider Strong), Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), Mr. Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), Cory's parents (William Russ and Betsy Randle), Minkus (Lee Norris), and the Morgans (Lindsay Ridgeway and Lily Nicksay) will all appear in the last episode.

CNN forced to apologise after threatened with defamation lawsuit after Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is called a paedophile on New Day.

CNN has been forced to apologise after it was threatened with a defamation lawsuit after Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was called "a paedophile who lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London" on CNN's Ameritrash morning show New Day seen globally on CNN International (DStv 401).

The Americentric New Day, like The Lead with Jake Tapper, Erin Burnett OutfrontState of America with Kate Bolduan and others, is one of several bad "news-lite" shows that's been taking over the CNN International schedule in an ongoing and misguided CNN Domestic programming creep that's all steadily worsening CNN International's programming offering.

More and more filling the CNN International schedule with trash-talking and opinionated "infotainment" blabber-programming of often dubious news value, shows like New Day doesn't really serve African or other international viewers watching on platforms like MultiChoice's DStv across the African continent.

At its most damaging these shows are negatively impacting CNN International's news credibility with its bad mistakes, and at its least damaging a lot of its mindless content is simply wasting time and is irrelevant for specifically African and other international audiences.

The CNN New Day apology came after Wikileaks, on Twitter, threatened to take legal action against CNN for alleged defamation over Julian Assange being called a paedophile, unless CNN, within 48 hours, broadcast "a one-hour show to "expose of the plot".

CNN then apologised for New Day, where the former CIA counter-terrorism official Philip Mudd made the comments, saying "an analyst on our air earlier today asserted that Julian Assange was a pedophile, and regrets saying it".

"In fact, CNN has no evidence to support that assertion. Assange is currently wanted for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegation there, and no evidence suggests that the women involved were minors. We regret the error".

CNN also deleted a tweet that included a video clip from its New Day show.

In late-2016 CNN used the on-air chyron "Alt-right founder questions if Jews are people" on The Lead with Jake Tapper, that was also broadcast on CNN International, for which CNN was heavily criticised.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Megyn Kelly dumps FOX News and jumps to NBC News in a new deal giving her a weekday daytime show and a Sunday night programme.

Megyn Kelly (46) is dumping FOX News (StarSat 261) and moving to NBC News in a new multi-million dollar contract with her last appearance on FOX News in her show The Kelly File that will be this Friday, 6 January 2017.

Megyn Kelly will get a hourlong daytime weekday show from NBC News, as well as a Sunday night prime time slot. The daytime show won't be like the traditional American talk shows.

As with daily and weekly programming like NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, CNBC and MSNBC (StarSat 263) that's broadcast in South Africa, isn't a given that South African viewers will now get to see Megyn Kelly in the coming year, although she won't be reporting specifically for and appear on MSNBC.

Megyn Kelly will be a part of NBC News' breaking news coverage, and do American political and special events coverage.

In April 2016 Megyn Kelly said that what she wants to do is "a little Charlie Rose, a little Oprah, and a little me all together".

After 12 years at FOX News Megyn Kelly just wants to get away following the sexual harassment scandal of former FOX News boss Roger Ailes, although Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan who now run FOX News and 21st Century Fox, tried their best to persuade her to stay.

On Facebook Megyn Kelly wrote "while I will greatly miss my colleagues at Fox, I am delighted to be joining the NBC News family and taking on a new challenge".

"I remain deeply grateful to Fox News, to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, and especially to all of the FNC viewers, who have taught me so much about what really matters."

The announcement of Megyn Kelly's departure caught FOX News off guard who had no immediate statement of its own.

Later Rupert Murdoch issued a statement saying "We thank Megyn Kelly for her 12 years of contributions to Fox News. We hope she enjoys tremendous success in her career and wish her and her family all the best."

On Tuesday night's show of The Kelly File on FOX News (StarSat 261) Megyn Kelly at the end closed her show saying "Finally tonight a personal and professional note from me to you. After more than a dozen years at FOX News, I have decided to pursue a new challenge. This was a tough decision for me because I love this show, our staff, my crew, my colleagues here at Fox, and you. All of you."

"will be leaving Fox News at the week's end and starting a new adventure, joining the journalists at NBC News who I deeply admire. I will be doing a daytime show there as well as a Sunday night newsmagazine, and you'll also see me there on the big nights, for politics and such."

"I am very grateful to NBC for this opportunity and I am deeply thankful to Fox News for the wonderful 12 years I have had here."

In a staff email, NBCUniversal News group chairman Andrew Lack told workers - many caught by surprise by the announcement - that he's "pleased to share some good news with you. Later this year, Megyn Kelly will join NBC News."

"Below is the full announcement that will go out to press momentarily. But in short, she’ll anchor two programs: a new hour-long daily daytime news program and a Sunday prime time news magazine."

"Megyn is an exceptional journalist and news anchor, who has had an extraordinary career. She’s demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we’re lucky to have her. I know she'll be a fantastic colleague; please join me in welcoming her to NBC News.

In a statement from NBC News, NBC News says "Megyn Kelly will become anchor of a new one hour daytime program that she will develop closely with NBC News colleagues."

"The show will air Monday through Friday at a time to be announced in the coming months. As part of the multi-year agreement, Kelly will also anchor a new Sunday evening news magazine show and will become an important contributor to NBC's breaking news coverage as well as the network's political and special events coverage."

In the statement Andrew Lack says "Megyn Kelly is an exceptional journalist and news anchor, who has had an extraordinary career. She's demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we're lucky to have her."

The SABC's SABC Encore channel on DStv is ONCE AGAIN in breach of its MultiChoice contract as it fails to provide proper programming information.

It's no secret that the beleaguered South African Broadcasting Corporation is the problem child sitting in the back of the class struggling to keep up.

2017 is starting off awkwardly for the SABC due to utter laziness and incompetence, with the SABC once again in blatant breach of its MultiChoice contract for SABC Encore (DStv 156) - the apartheid era library channel it supplies to DStv.

Paying DStv subscribers who want to know what is showing on SABC Encore and want actual programme and episode information can't get it for a string of shows since the SABC failed to give that information to MultiChoice, although MultiChoice is paying the SABC to do so.

Once again the SABC Encore programming schedule on the DStv electronic programme guide (EPG) for 2017 simply shows "Channel did not supply programme information".

Keep in mind that this is not new content - it's old stuff. The SABC's programming, library and publicity staff can't even bother to watch their own programming to write short synopsis and programming info, or can't be bothered to provide and send it through.

The result is of course that the SABC shows just how much little it values its own channel and how dismissive it is of SABC Encore - it's own product.

While the SABC treats SABC Encore like irrelevant trash it presumably wants viewers and DStv subscribers to care about the channel that MultiChoice is paying the SABC millions of rands for. Yet it can't bother to do the very basics of providing apt programming descriptions and episode synopsis.

The SABC's incompetence icon and famously matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng signed the MultiChoice contract in which the SABC undertook as part of the contract, to provide programming information for SABC Encore.

On page 25 of the controversial MultiChoice SABC contract, the SABC signed and agreed that "the SABC shall provide MultiChoice South Africa at the SABC's cost with monthly programming highlights and programme information on the channels, including the programme sequence, title, synopsis, duration and details of the programme production" at least 90 days before the start of the month in which it will be shown.

Clearly the SABC isn't doing this and is in breach of its contract with MultiChoice - even on the very day of broadcast, MultiChoice is forced to tell DStv subscribers the SABC "did not supply programme information".

According to the MultiChoice SABC contract, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the SABC signed that it will ensure its programming information the broadcaster provides to MultiChoice "shall be as accurate as possible".

While the SABC is in breach of its contract with MultiChoice, DStv subscribers who has to pay for it and casually scroll through the line-up, just want to know Mokgonyana Mmatswale is about and what the specific prime time episode will be about - but they can't because the SABC fails to do its job.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Entries open for M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy 2017, looking for 12 TV and film student interns; Magic in Motion Expo also returning with new scholarship programme.

Entries has opened for M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy for 2017, the pay-TV broadcaster's one-year practical internship programme for TV and film students.

Entries close on 31 January 2017, with M-Net who will choose 12 students who completed their 3-year diploma or degree in film and TV or a related studies in 2015 or 2016, with at least a C pass mark.

The internship primarily takes place in Johannesburg and the greater Gauteng and South Africans from all race groups can apply. Successful interns must be willing to move to Johannesburg for the duration of the internship programme.

2017 will be the 4th year that M-Net is running its Magic in Motion Academy.

The chosen 12 interns will receive hands-on training in producing, directing, cinematography, production commissioning, concept creation, script writing, sound, art direction, editing, post-production and more during the course of the year as they work and get practical experience across multiple M-Net shows across all of M-Net's various TV channels packaged for MultiChoice's DStv.

At the end of the year, M-Net will again choose three of the interns to produce their own films with funding from M-Net, with their work that could be broadcast on some of the M-Net channels.

The Magic in Motion Academy begins in May 2017, again under the guidance of Academy director Bobby Heaney and M-Net's CSI and skills development manager, Ashika Kirpal.

Besides the Magic in Motion Academy, M-Net will again host its hugely popular 4-day Magic in Motion Career Expo showcasing the exciting world of film and TV and the jobs available inside it to school children across South Africa.

M-Net will also announce details about a new scholarship programme soon.

"As M-Net celebrates 30 years as the pay-TV pioneer on the continent, we understand the importance of investing in stories for Africans, by Africans, and we are once again showing our commitment to taking talented youngsters under our wing to bring more local content to life," says Yolisa Phahle, M-Net CEO.

"It is so deeply humbling to be able to give the new generation of filmmakers, producers and writers an opportunity to learn the skills that could make their dreams a reality," says Yolisa Phahle. "Graduates from our two previous classes have proven themselves and have gone on to become successful professionals and entrepreneurs".

More details can be requested from MagicInMotion@mnet.co.za and the entry form and entry criteria for the Magic in Motion Academy 2017 can be found here online:


Saturday, December 31, 2016

SHOCKER. Chinese news channel CCTV on MultiChoice's DStv and ODM's StarSat suddenly switches to CGTN without warning.

CCTV, the Chinese  Central Television News channel carried on MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa's StarSat pay-TV platforms has suddenly switched to CGTN - without any warning or any announcement.

"CGTN" stands for China Global Television Network.

Neither MultiChoice nor StarTimes seems to be aware of the abrupt change - the electronic programme guides (EPGs) of both African pay-TV services still call channel 409 on DStv and channel 266 on StarSat CCTV - and both continue to show and carry programming information for CCTV - not CGTN.

The embarrassing CGTN switch is off to a very bad start: CCTV - China's state broadcaster couldn't bother to issue any press release or notification to the media ahead of the "rebrand" of its international TV news service - and neither did MultiChoice or StarSat who don't seem to know about it at all.

CGTN didn't immediately respond to media enquiries on Saturday about the abrupt change.

According to the new CGTN website  it was "launched by the national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) on 31 December 2016" [today], calling CGTN English its "flagship channel".

With its "CGTN English" moniker for its English language channel feed as well as adding words like CGTN French and CGTN Arabic for its other channel versions, CGTN seems to follow the naming convention of the Qatar-based TV news channel Al Jazeera.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report published in the South China Morning Post, China's president Xi Jinping on Saturday congratulated CCTV with the launch of CGTN, urging it to "tell China's story well, spread China's voice well, let the world know about a three-dimensional, colourful China, and showcase China's role as a builder of world peace".

CCTV/CGTN and China isn't calling the switch of CCTV News to CGTN a relaunch, replacement or a rebrand - its running a story with Xi Jinping who "congratulating the founding of CGTN".

In a badly reported on-air story, more fluff marketing piece than actual news, CGTN says "CGTN is much more than just a bit of rebranding", saying it "wants to provide the world with a fresh alternative".

CCTV News on-screen on DStv and StarSat suddenly carried the letters "CGTN" and its African coverage is sub-branded as "CGTN Africa".

The red from the CCTV News logo and on-screen look is completely gone, with CGTN now sporting gold and blue colours and new news intro's.

Part of the completely uprooted and replaced channel is a flurry of new programmes and programming strands and a new horseshoe anchor's desk.

CGTN also has a new slogan - it is suddenly: "See the Difference".

The CCTV Documentary English channel on StarSat channel 231 has been changed to CGTN Documentary.

CCTV and CGTN says it wants to deliver a new news perspective - but it already started off very badly, clearly not knowing how and not bothering to actually do better and improve its marketing and PR efforts.

The jarring "founding" of CGTN is a trash way of going about suddenly replacing one brand and look with a whole new one without bothering to tell the media about it.

Besides the cosmetic change, CGTN that had one chance to communicate its ... change ... couldn't be bothered to tell or report what else is actually changing - in perhaps its journalism.

A logo, name and branding change doesn't change the fundamental product - in this case a news product - in any real way.

Does CGTN have new content besides merely changing names of shows? Is it opening new global news bureaux, or hiring more journalists and reporters?

A "rebrand" doesn't help if what inside the wrapper is still exactly the same - which is what CCTV News did. With gold substituted for red, its seems to be still the same news.

Why change if you don't fundamentally come with a new product service offering? It will be interesting to watch CGTN in 2017 and beyond, especially its coverage of Africa, to see how the news channel and service perhaps improves it coverage.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Helga Palmer appointed as managing director at Endemol Shine Africa, replacing Sivan Pillay.

Helga Palmer has been appointed as managing director at Endemol Shine Africa in South Africa.

Helga Palmer's appointment at the production company comes three month's after the abrupt departure of Sivan Pillay as Endemol Shine Africa CEO Sivan Pillay who had been the managing director.

in South Africa Endemol Shine Africa produces shows like Clash of the Choirs for M-Net's Mzansi Magic and the troubled weekday soap Isidingo for SABC3.

"We are very pleased with Helga's appointment," says Moeletsi Mbeki, executive chairperson in a statement about Helga Palmer's promotion.

"She is a highly skilled professional who has a long and proven track record within the television industry. Her experience in business affairs and entertainment production places Endemol Shine Africa under strong leadership and paves the way for further growth."

Helga Palmer worked at Endemol South Africa before she became a commissioning editor at M-Net in 2003. She returned to Endemol SA in 2011.

In a statement Helga Palmer says "I'm honoured to be leading Endemol Shine Africa and the outstanding team here".

"We have ambitious goals for 2017 and I believe we are ideally positioned to further build on the company's track record of serving the market with a diversity of world-class content across scripted and unscripted genres."