Sunday, March 18, 2018

M-Net oddly keeps the media covering Idols on Mzansi Magic at bay and away from the 14th season's Theatre Week in Port Edward.

South Africa's press covering television has apparently been kept away at more than arms' length this weekend during the last part of the filming of the Theatre Week of the 14th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

As in previous years, 90 Idols finalists from across South Africa were whisked away this week to the Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward in southern KwaZulu-Natal.

Unlike previous years however there wasn't any communication from M-Net about it to journalists covering the show at all, nor media invitations to members of the press like in the past to come and sit in and cover this usually infamous part of the reality singing competition series.

In previous seasons journalists sat in and watched contestants perform and get critiqued while the remaining contestants got whittled down in dramatic fashion.

The 14th season of Idols will kick off on Mzansi Magic in July.

Previously M-Net would invite journalists along to bank stories and do interviews - under embargo - for when the show, produced by [SIC] Entertainment, would reach Theatre Week's on-air broadcasting date on Mzansi Magic. But apparently not this year.

This week the top 90 Idols finalists and the production again descended on the Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward with judges Randall Abrahams, Somizi Mhlongo, Unathi Msengana and presenter and co-executive producer ProVerb (Tebogo Thekisho).

It follows the various regional auditions in several South African cities since the beginning of this year after the 13th season finale in which Paxton Fielies was crowned the winner and the Idols runner-up Mthokozisi Ndaba fled the stage after being unable to cope with his defeat.

It's not clear why M-Net didn't reach out to the usual group of press consistently covering the show to once again take a red theatre seat in the Wild Coast Sun auditorium where they get to see some of the show, and get some insight into what's happening during Theatre Week in Port Edward. The result will be less exposure for this part of Idols when it airs on Mzansi Magic.

In America the broadcast of the 16th season of American Idol kicked off last week.

The Voice UK undergoing a format change for its 8th season set for 2019, allowing bigger groups to audition.

The 8th season of The Voice UK that will be broadcast in 2019 is undergoing a format change with the 7th season that is currently being shown on ITV Choice (DStv 123).

The 8th season in 2019 will allow for bigger groups beyond solo artists to take part during auditions, for instance duos and trios.

"We know there are many talented trios out there across the United Kingdom and we want to offer them the chance to show off their vocal harmonies on The Voice UK stage," says Katie Rawcliffe, ITV Studios' creative director.

The 8th season of The Voice UK has now entered its "Knockout" round, shown on Sundays at 18:00.

"It's going to be tense, it's going to be nerve-wracking, but most of all it's going to be hugely entertaining," says Katherine Wen, ITV Choice channel director.

MultiChoice Malawi upgrades to DStv HD5 decoder.

MultiChoice Malawi has upgraded to the DStv HD5 decoder that is now being rolled out and replacing the 4S and 4U DStv decoder models.

The new HD5 decoder is the 5S and 5U models that doesn't have a removal smartcard slot.

"The biggest difference is that it is our first decoder that will not make use of a smartcard," says Chimwemwe Nyirenda, MultiChoice Malawi sales and marketing manager, in a statement.

The number used when adding this DStv decoder to an account, or calling the customer care centre for support is the IUC number on the sticker underneath the decoder.

The DStv HD5 decoder supports SD video through AV out and HD video via HDMI. Dolby Digital/Surround Sound is via HDMI only. The new HD decoder has a DStv B6 remote which can be used to switch on and off a TV set.

StarTimes Ghana warns broadcasters, public over illegal piracy of Ghana Premier League matches.

China's StarTimes in Ghana is warning broadcasters and the public in the West African country over illegal broadcasting piracy of Ghana Premier League matches, saying broadcasters are not allowed to steal and rebroadcast matches, that rebroadcasting on social media is illegal, and that even radio commentary of matches are not allowed either.

"'StarTimes is by this communique calling on all media houses to desist from broadcasting the Ghana Premier League matches without the requisite license," says Akofa Djankui, StarTimes Ghana head of marketing in a press statement.

''As the official broadcaster of the Ghana Premier League and other GFA products, we hold the exclusive rights to the airing of the content live on radio, television and online streaming."

"'StarTimes is aware that a number of media houses run commentary on radio and use unauthorized viewing systems (websites/Facebook) to stream the matches live. 'This practice of airing matches without any license from the official broadcaster infringes on the broadcaster's right."

''StarTimes together with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) will take strong and active measures towards the enforcement of our copyright and will pursue criminal and civil actions against any media house and journalist who supply unauthorized footage and audio commentary from the various matches.''

The cash-strapped SABC spent over R740 000 of SABC TV licence fee payers' money on a brand-new Audi Q5 for the controversial former SABC board chairperson, Mbulaheni Maguvhe.

The cash-strapped SABC spent over R740 000 of SABC TV licence fee payers' money on a brand-new Audi Q5 2.0 TDI for the controversial former SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe, while the South African public broadcaster was in serious financial trouble.

The Sunday Times revealed that the SABC forked out over R700 000 for Mbulaheni Maguvhe's new luxury German ride in July 2016.

The current SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini doesn't get a car.

The controversial Mbulaheni Maguvhe doggedly refused to resign as all of the other former SABC board members resigned, and eventually left in December 2016 during a parliamentary ad hoc inquiry into the shocking state of affairs at the SABC, its board, and its rotten state of financial and management affairs.

Mbulaheni Maguvhe tried to thwart the inquiry and transparency into the SABC with an attempt at a court interdict that was dismissed and he was ordered to personally pay the court costs.

Parliament found that Mbulaheni Maguvhe and others allegedly lied during the parliamentary's inquiry into the SABC.

In a written reply to a question from the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party, the former minister of communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, says the SABC paid more than the standard cost of R620 000 of what a Audi Q5 sold for at the time, because of added extra's.

These included R119 000 in additional vehicle perks that were added to the price of Mbulaheni Maguvhe's new SUV, including alloy wheels costing R24 000, a sunroof of R18 000, R8 870 on a parking assistance system, R4 623 for tinted windows, xenon lights costing R11 000, atowbar for R10 000, and an electronic "luggage system" costing R5 500.

An annual SABC TV licence fee currently cost R265. It means that the full SABC TV licence fee money of 2 792 people would have been needed to buy the Audi Q5 for the SABC that is a public broadcaster and is supposed to carefully and with due diligence use money to do the best public broadcasting it can.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told The Sunday Times that the SABC board has now made a decision to "sell the car and the process is underway".

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Funeral today for Alph Modiba, former SABC News Polokwane TV assignment editor, who died on Monday after a horrific car crash in November 2017.

The funeral will be taking place today of Alph Modiba, a former SABC News Polokwane TV assignment editor who died on Monday, 12 March, after 4 months in hospital following a car crash in late-2017.

Alph Modiba's funeral service is taking place today at the Lebalangwe Village in Hammanskraal.

Alph Modiba worked at the SABC's regional office in Polokwane in the Limpopo province for the past 12 years.

Alph Modiba was hospitalised on 4 November 2017 after he was involved in a horrific car accident between Polokwane and Hammanskraal.

Alph Modiba worked at SABC News for about 36 years that included stints in KwaZulu-Natal, Johannesburg and Pretoria where his family lives. He was a political reporter in his earlier career and did coverage of the late president Nelson Mandela in the early 1990's.

He was arrested in August 2006 after he was pulled over and became embroiled in an altercation with traffic police after allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign and gave a false name, false house number and a false street name.

Friday, March 16, 2018

M-Net's weekly investigative magazine show, Carte Blanche, this Sunday at 7pm looks at illegal land invasions, the 'impossible' minimum wage, and interviews Mhlengi Gwala after criminals tried to saw off his legs.

M-Net's weekly investigative magazine show, Carte Blanche, on Sunday at 19:00 will be looking at illegal land invasions in South Africa, how impossible it is to live on South Africa's so-called "minimum wage", and there's a profile interview with Mhlengi Gwala after criminals tried to saw off his legs.

Illegal Land Invasions
Illegal land invasions across Gauteng are causing widespread panic, amidst continued political discussions about land expropriation without compensation.
President Ramaphosa has made it clear that nobody has the right to illegally occupy land or infringe on the property rights of others, but this has done little to appease terrified land owners who say irresponsible political utterances are turning the debate into a chaotic free-for-all. 
Some property owners have meanwhile moved off their
properties, saying they fear for their lives and cannot rely
on the police for assistance.
Producer: Sophia Phirippides
Presenter: Macfarlane Moleli
Researcher: Siniketiwe Hlanze

Minimum Wage
Over 50% of South African workers are living below the breadline of R992 per person, per month. Government is addressing this by implementing a new income benchmark of R3500 as a minimum wage.  
Experts believe it’s a step in the right direction to help alleviate poverty, but some trade unions say this will only help entrench existing conditions for low-income employees. Can the majority of South African workers really survive on this minimum wage?
Producer: Sophia Phirippides
Presenter: Macfarlane Moleli

Mhlengi Gwala: Road to Recovery
When three assailants stopped triathlete Mhlengi Gwala during his late night training session, little did he know that the brutal chainsaw attack which followed would change his life forever.  
Now after multiple surgeries to save his legs, Gwala has begun the long road to recovery.  
Doctors believe it could take up to two years before he’s fully back on his feet, and even then, there are no guarantees that he will ever be able to race again.  Carte Blanche meets this remarkable survivor.
Producer: Carol Albertyn Christie
Presenter: Nhlanhla Sehume
Researcher: Sinethemba Nogude

M-Net's The Wedding Bashers replaces two presenters with Zola Nene and Bernelee Daniell, adds 4 specials from April before the 2nd season starts in June.

The Wedding Bashers on M-Net (DStv 101) that is returning for a second season in June is replacing Cindy Nell-Roberts and Siba Mtongana with the former Miss South Africa Bernelee Daniell and celebrity chef Zola Nene.

The second season of The Wedding Bashers for which people can enter now, will start on 3 June on M-Net at 17:00 covering more diverse and eclectic South African weddings, but before that the show produced by [SIC] Entertainment will be doing 4 special episodes from Sunday 29 April.

The Wedding Bashers Specials ... With Love will start on 29 April at 18:00 in which the presenters do all of the wedding planning themselves for 4 couples about to get married and who hand over the reigns to the presenters for their big day.

While wedding planner Zavion Kotze and socialite Denise Zimba are back for the second season, Bernelee Daniell and Zola Nene are replacing Cindy Nell-Roberts and Siba Mtongana.

In petition, 116 SABC News staffers warn over ongoing allegations of victimisation, political interference, Hlaudi enforcers and sex for jobs at the public broadcaster.

The SABC is silent over a petition, signed by 116 SABC News staffers, warning that political interference at the SABC continues, that "there is a re-emergence of reprisals against those who stood for the truth and for an independent broadcaster", that "victimisation of staff who stand for ethics continue" and that allegations of "sex for jobs" at the SABC should be investigated.

The SABC was asked for comment on Thursday, but the broadcaster declined the opportunity to comment.

SABC staffers in the petition - signed by 116 infuriated and extremely concerned SABC staffers including key SABC News staff like editors, producers and technical personnel - states that they fear that the SABC is still being ruled by enforcers of the fired former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and that victimisation and political interference in their jobs to bring the public the news, continues.

In the petition that was sent to SABC top management in mid-February, staffers say they have deep concerns and are furious over developments in the SABC News division.

The 116 staffers in the petition given to SABC top management by the Bemawu trade union, say that the SABC newsroom "is still being led by enforcers" of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, "some of whom continue to disregard the changed editorial environment that calls for conscience and professionalism such as Sophie Mokoena's unethical instruction to staff not to ask any question on president Jacob Zuma's recall in a recent ANC press conference".

SABC staffers said that "political interference continues" at SABC News, demand the "removal of the current compromised presidential corps team" and wants to know from the SABC's top executives why "the SABC continues to employ disgraces and discredited executives who propped up the previous regime.These people, such as Theresa Geldenhuys, who has been promoted to head of governance and compliance, were found liable for serious transgressions by parliament's ad hoc committee".

The SABC staffers in the petition warned that "there is a re-emergence of reprisals against those who stood for the truth and for an independent broadcaster".

"Victimisation of staff who stand for ethics continues. Here we cite the cases of David Magae, Boitumelo Koroge, Elvis Presslin, Mandisa Mazwi, Thandeka Gqubule, Phuthego Mojapele among others".

The petition also calls for an investigation into the alleged "misuse of SABC funds at a time when we are on economic austerity". In the petition, staffers also "demand an investigation into alleged sex for jobs at the Mpumalanga office and everywhere else where such allegations have been made".

SABC News channel turmoil
Furthermore, according to the petition, "For the past 6 months, our news division has fallen prey to unprofessionalism mainly due to poor leadership and management by the acting head of news and current affairs, Kenneth Makatees" that the staffers say "has been reminiscent of the Hlaudi-style of management".

According to staffers he has been moved to the SABC's SABC News (DStv 404) channel broadcast on MultiChoice's DStv.

"We demand a proper advertising of the post and his removal from the Johannesburg newsroom as his presence is bound to destabilise the newsroom and hamper progress," the petition states. "Management must bear in mind that he was previously removed through a petition from the erstwhile SABC Africa (TV channel)".

The SABC staffers in the petition further demanded  "the immediate removal of acting head of the news channel, Tebogo Alexander" for allegedly undermining executive producers, "threatening reprisals on his subordinates instead of resolving newsroom issues professionally", the intimidation of contractors with dismissals, bullying of his colleagues and "absolutely no professional mannerism or leadership skills".

The 116 SABC News staffers called on the SABC management "for an investigation into his behaviour and his track record as a manager at the SABC where there is a pattern of reported harassment of staff and abuse of power and position against his subordinates".

SABC News staffers wanted to know why shows are suddenly and unilaterally being pulled off air on the SABC News channel.

"Staff was told Rights and Recourse would be removed from the channel 404 schedule as from 31 March. However on Friday 23 February the team was told that their last show would be broadcast on Sunday 25 February without further clarity".

Question Time was also cancelled. "It is worth noting that this programme has annoyed news management in the past with its editorial independence and refusal to accept illegal instructions," the petition notes.

In the petition staffers also "demand the speedy appointment of a permanent head of the TV News Resources department which continues to be run unprofessionally without any sense of accountability by those who act in that position".

SABC: It's an internal matter
The SABC was asked for comment about the petition. The SABC then asked for specific questions, in order to respond adequately to the media enquiry.

The SABC was then asked why was Theresa Geldenhuys appointed as head of governance and compliance if she was found liable for serious transgressions during parliament’s inquiry into the SABC?

The SABC was asked about staffers saying there a “re-emergence of reprisals” against them and victimisation of staff who "stand for professional ethics" and if the SABC can comment on this.

The SABC was asked why Kenneth Makatees was moved to the SABC News channel, and if the SABC can comment on the petition that asked for the immediate removal of Tebogo Alexander as the acting head of the SABC News channel, and if this has happened.

The SABC was asked why shows like Question Time and Rights and Recourse on SABC News were cancelled,and asked if the SABC has any comment on SABC staffers saying that Sophie Mokoena gave "unethical instruction to staff not to ask any question on president Zuma’s recall in a recent ANC press conference".

The SABC was also asked if in general if there is anything the SABC wants to put into context or perspective in response to the petition as a whole.

SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago said in response to the specific questions in the media enquiry that "this is an internal matter and we will not comment until all the internal processes are exhausted".

Below is the petition in its entirety: 

12 February 2018:
This petition serves to register our deep concern and infuriation with current developments in the News Division. This is despite the achievements of the Ad-Hoc committee’s inquiry into the SABC in 2016. This petition appeals to the board to urgently meet staff and address the following concerns;
A year since Parliament’s Ad-Hoc Committee issued its significant and binding recommendations for change at the SABC:
  • We are yet to see the end of impunity where those who were responsible for violating our editorial standing in society through their unlawful conduct and enforcement of political instructions, are held to account.
  • The SABC’s newsroom is still being led by enforcers, some of whom continue to disregard the changed editorial environment that calls for conscience and professionalism such as Ms Sophie Mokoena’s unethical instruction to staff not to ask any question on President Zuma’s recall in a recent ANC press conference.
  • Political interference continues, the latest known having been reported to the board recently without response or action against the implicated party. Instead, those who sought to report it are portrayed as liars.
  • We demand the immediate removal of the current compromised presidential corps team and the institution of an editorially independent team that represents the interest of the SABC as the voice of society, and not embed itself with the presidency.
  • Other than James Aguma and Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC continues to employ disgraced and discredited executives who propped up the previous regime. These people, such as Theresa Geldenhuys, who has been promoted to Head of Governance and Compliance, were found liable for serious transgressions by the ad hoc committee.
  • Management and the board promised to deal with the issue of enforcers speedily a year ago, however to date, they are yet to act. [Following a motion of no confidence against the said enforcers, management and the board pleaded for patience as they were dealing with the matter, but nothing has come of it].
  • We are told that they will also be investigated by the SIU, but it boggles the mind how the SIU that investigates criminal behaviour can also make a finding on editorial issues.
  • There is a re-emergence of reprisals against those who stood for the truth and for an independent public broadcaster. Victimisation of staff who stand for professional ethics continues. Here we cite the cases of David Magae, Boitumelo Korogo, Elvis Presslin, Mandisa Mazwi, Thandeka Gqubule, Phuthego Mojapele among others.
More than once, the SABC has been compromised editorially and our credibility and integrity will continue to be questioned. Our presidential correspondent compromise us editorially by sheepishly failing to call the executive to account, despite this, no one has been held responsible.
  • We demand that the political editor and news management be held accountable for making decisions that compromise us editorially
  • We demand an investigation into why the SABC failed to cover the address of the newly-elected ANC president at Nasrec, despite us having the staff and equipment at the venue.
Mismanagement of the newsroom
For the past six months, our news division has fallen prey to unprofessionalism mainly due to poor leadership and management by the Acting Head of News and Current Affairs, Kenneth Makatees.
  • Mr Makatees style of management and leadership has been reminiscent of the Hlaudi-style of management. He has imposed his preferred guests on Media Monitor staff, insisting on his involvement in the invitation of guests to Question Time, and micro-managing the newsroom and thus undermining his managers.
  • We hear that he has now been moved to channel 404, we demand a proper advertising of the post and his removal form the Johannesburg newsroom as his presence is bound to distabilise the newsroom and hamper progress.
  • Management must bear in mind that he was previously removed through a petition from the erstwhile SABC Africa.
Channel 404
We demand the immediate removal of Acting head of the news channel, Tebogo Alexander for:
  • Undermining of EP’s
  • Threatening reprisals on his subordinates instead of resolving newsroom issues professionally
  • Intimidation of contractors with dismissals
  • Bullying of his colleagues
  • Absolutely no professional mannerism or leadership skills
His behaviour disregards the rights and dignity of employees as outlined in the Constitution of South Africa and the LRA. We call for an investigation into his behaviour and his track record as a manager at the SABC where there is a pattern of reported harassment of staff and abuse of power and position against his subordinates.
Cancellation of Programmes on Channel 404
In a display of the lack of management skills from the top of the News Division for five years, there has been no performance agreements or an understanding of what the shows aim to achieve. However teams have worked diligently to produce and broadcast these programmes. Suddenly and without professional and scientific rationale as well as consultation, programmes are being unilaterally pulled off air.
Affected staff has been told to ‘slot’ themselves into other shows. These are important decisions which must be done according to administrative procedure i.e. in a consultative thus professional manner.
We demand that no show be taken off air until the newly appointed GE can make her own decisions based on rationale and factual basis, informed by a news strategy, which has been consulted with the news staff. The SABC newsroom must be protected from personal vendettas and whims by some in management.
While we believe that management is within its right to decide on programme changes, but they need to be done in professional consultation with fellow managers and supported by rational reasons if they are to be cancelled.
The following programmes at issue are also the only audience interactive programmes on Channel 404;
Rights and Recourse – Following a meeting with Acting-GE: News Kenneth Makatees, staff was told that Rights and Recourse will be removed from Channel 404 schedule as from March 31 2018. However, on Friday the 23rd of February 2018, the team was told that their last show would be broadcast on Sunday the 25th of February without a further clarity.
Question Time – In the six months that Kenneth Makatees has been Acting as GE: News, he neglected to meet the Executive Producer about the programme’s performance. The Executive Producer had to hear from colleagues in the corridor about its cancellation before he was officially told by his line manager. The market intelligence figures show that this programme is the highest performing on the platform, therefore the decision to cut it is surprising. However, it is worth noting that this programme has annoyed news management in the past with its editorial independence and refusal to accept illegal instructions.
National Government events versus ANC party events
Radio Current Affairs programmes were told that they will not travel to Parliament during SONA citing financial reasons. We would accept this if all events were treated equally. However, there is a precedent set where we over deploy to ANC events but have financial constraints when we have public events like SONA and BUDGET. We broadcast for the country and not the party. Eighty people were deployed to East London during the ANC’s January 8th statement. However, when it came to the crunch time of the broadcast – the team in Johannesburg had to take over; despite an over deployment.
We call for an investigation into this misuse of SABC funds at a time when we are on economic austerity. Similar incidences such as the Cuba trip (to cover the death if former Cuban leader Fidel Castro) must be investigated.
We wish to register concern about potential compromise of the process of appointing a Regional Editor in Kwa-Zulu Natal. We are aware of the fact that the process had to be halted because one of the interviewing panel members was conflicted and had not declared this. We call for a transparent recruitment process, free of undue influence where the best candidate must be appointed.
  • We also call for an investigation into Senior news management appointments, both in the national office as well as the regions.
  • SABC’s recruitment policy has been ignored in the appointment of a Provincial Editor in Limpopo. The appointment whose interviews, if any, were done secretively was made despite an on-going grievance procedure with the Acting/GCEO
  • We demand an investigation into alleged sex for jobs at the Mpumalanga office and everywhere else where such allegations have been made.
Staff Vetting for National Keypoint
We demand a halt to the vetting process which violates our constitutional right to privacy and dignity. The SABC as a National Keypoint is a matter that needs further deliberation and until such time, we will not allow our rights to be violated in this manner.
We request an investigation into the irregular and inconsistent decisions to renew some contracts for the News technical team, and decline to do so for others where reasons provided defy logic.
We also demand the speedy appointment of a permanent head of the TV News Resources department which continues to be run unprofessionally without any sense of accountability by those who act in that position.
 HR Responsiveness
There are cases that remain unresolved for many years, despite the knowledge of News HR. We demand responsive HR department that is willing and able to resolve issues of workers without any bias.
 SABC’S Editor-In-Chief
Following a number of concerning pronouncements about the expected role of the newly appointed COO, we wish to remind management that in terms of the 2004 editorial policy which is currently in force, the editor in chief of the SABC is the CEO and not the COO. The News department is headed by the GE News who reports to the CEO. We therefore demand clarity on the role and responsibility of the COO in light of the fact that the matter regarding the decision to cut programmes has been referred to the COO.
We urgently request a meeting between the board and staff to discuss the issues raised above.
Yours sincerely
The undersigned (signatures on attachment)


The Walt Disney Company restructures to create a worldwide division for its international operations and its upcoming streaming service launching in 2019.

The Walt Disney Company has restructured to create a worldwide division that will encompass its international operations and its upcoming stream service that is likely to launch in 2019 as Disney looks to grow more internationally.

It's not yet clear how the Walt Disney restructuring will affect the FOX Networks Group and the FOX Networks Group Africa (FNG Africa) in the light of Disney buying 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets. That transaction still needs to clear the approval of American regulators.

Under the restructuring, the Walt Disney International regional managers, including Rebecca Campbell, president for Disney for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, as well as those in Latin America and Asia, will now report to Kevin Mayer who has been appointed as the chairperson of the new unit that will be known as Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.

"Delivering our great stories and characters directly to consumers on all high-quality devices around the world will provide the company with meaningful new revenue streams and opportunities for growth," says Kevin Mayer in a Disney statement.

Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International will be responsible for Disney's upcoming subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service that when it launches in 2019 may or may not be available in Africa and South Africa (and will have implications for for instance the new Star Wars live action series).

Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International will also be responsible for Disney's ESPN+ direct-to-consumer offer, Disney’s shareholding in Hulu, worldwide distribution of content from Disney's Burbank studio and the domestic American TV channels, international networks businesses, global advertising sales and the technology unit BAMTech.

Disney has channel carriage agreements with for instance MultiChoice in South Africa and Africa for its pay-TV channels and sells a raft of content - TV and film - to broadcasters ranging from free-to-air broadcasters like and the SABC, to pay-TV broadcasters like M-Net.

Also moving over in the Disney restructuring is Janice Marinelli, currently president of Disney-ABC Home Entertainment and Domestic Television. She will now lead global distribution of film and television, plus the Movies Anywhere digital locker operation, and will report to reports to Kevin Mayer.

Disney senior vice president Agnes Chu, who is currently overseeing original programming for the Disney SVOD service, is moving to the new unit and will continue in her role.

The as-yet-unnamed Disney streaming service will launch witth content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm content, as well as original programming.

"With our unparalleled studio and media networks serving as content engines for the company, we are combining the management of our direct-to-consumer distribution platforms, technology and international operations to deliver the entertainment and sports content consumers around the world want most, with more choice, personalisation and convenience than ever before," says Bob Iger, Disney CEO.

The Walt Disney reorganisation is effective immediately.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

As the DStv contract termination dispute over Glow TV grows, the Nismedia Group takes MultiChoice to court while MultiChoice remains adamant that it's dumping the Indian entertainment channel at the end of March.

More information is coming out about the ugly DStv contract termination dispute over the Indian entertainment channel, Glow TV (DStv 167 / OpenView HD 140 / StarSat 570) that MultiChoice decided to dump at the end of March, with the Nismedia Group that has gone to court to try and stop MultiChoice from axing the channel.

At the beginning of March TVwithThinus reported that MultiChoice is dumping Glow TV at the end of March.

Glow TV that was started and run by Kagiso Media and that launched in October 2013, has been taken over and is now owned by the Nismedia Group that took it over in July 2016, with Urban Brew Studios helping with managing some aspects of the channel.

MultiChoice says it's contract with Glow TV is coming to an end. It's not clear why MultiChoice didn't want to renew the Glow TV contract.

Glow TV has been South Africa's first attempt at a free-to-air digital TV channel dedicated to Indian and Eastern inspired programming. The channel has been sourcing content from India, the United Kingdom, America and Brazil.

Meanwhile Glow TV viewers are outraged about MultiChoice's plan to dump Glow TV at the end of the month.

"I have always seen great potential in GlowTV and the need for Eastern-inspired content in Southern Africa," says Nazeer Noormohamed, the head of the Nismedia Group.

"Our entry from print into the television sector, gave Nismedia a new and exciting national and international footprint."

"DStv has claimed that they will not be renewing the contract with Glow TV at the end of March 2018. Following this, Glow TV launched an urgent application against MultiChoice in the Johannesburg High Court. The court outcome outlined that the dispute needs to be referred for arbitration, as per the terms of the Glow TV/DStv contract," says Nazeer Noormohamed.

"While MultiChoice attempted to obtain an order that the arbitration should be finalised by end-March, this was not the order of the court. Until the final outcome of the legal process is pronounced, we have been advised by our attorneys that MultiChoice is compelled to keep Glow TV on their platform," says Nazeer Noormohamed.

"We have received an influx of support from our loyal viewers regarding this matter, for which we are most thankful. We will continue to bring our viewers the best content that has them riveted to their seats".

Meanwhile MultiChoice remains adamant that Glow TV will get dumped at the end of the month.

In response to a media enquiry asking about MultiChoice's contract termination dispute with the Nismedia Group over Glow TV, MultiChoice told TVwithThinus that "Glow TV’s contract will come to an end in March and they will stop airing on DStv at the end of March 2018".

The third season of UnREAL is starting on Lifetime on 16 April at 8pm, this time with a suitress looking for a mister right in the show-within-a-show.

The third season of the show-within-a-show drama series, UnREAL, will start on Lifetime (DStv 131) on 16 April at 20:00 just a few weeks behind America that is currently on the 3rd episode.

Lifetime has started with another rebroadcast of the second season of UnREAL since 12 March, that will be followed by the third season from 16 April.

As with the first two seasons, the third season also has 10 episodes and this time revolves around Everlasting's first Suitress, Serena, looking for a man.

Everlasting is on the verge of cancellation, producer Rachel is on a psychological "detox" and "cleanse" and just speaks in brutal truths, while the executive producer Quinn and everybody else have their own issues as usual.

Comedy Central International commissions 6 digital short form originals, including a 2nd season of the South African YouTube personality Josh Pieters' show, Josh Investigates.

Viacom's Comedy Central International is expanding its digital programme offering with 6 new short-form originals for YouTube and social media, including a second season of the South African YouTube personality Josh Pieters' show Josh Investigates.

"What works for us is content that speaks to that 18 to 34 audience. One of the areas that works for our audience, and resonates in multiple territories, is sketch," says Claire McArdle, vice president of comedy for Comedy Central International.

The South African YouTube personality Josh Pieters will be back for a second season of Josh Investigates in which he will explore such topics as feminism, artificial intelligence and whether anyone really cares about politics.

The team behind the online sketch comedy series Comic Relief Originals will produce Modern Horror Stories, a mixture of spoofs, satire and parody sketches skewering contemporary problems.

The London-based stand-up comedian Sofie Hagen will do Sofie’s Sex Stories, where she sits in her bedroom with her funny friends to talk about their sexual escapades, with the stories humorously retold through various mediums, including a puppet show and animation.

The British comedian Sophie Ducker is seen in What I Wish I’d Said, in which comedians get to re-live an embarrassing moment, but this time find the perfect response.

The standup comedian Fin Taylor anchors a political game show Fin Taylor Plays Bullshit Bingo, where he deflates the overheated rhetoric around issues of the day, from Brexit to clean eating. He’ll travel to locations and interview individuals who don’t realize they’re contestants, and call them out on their performance.

Made Up News is an antidote to the news industry’s credibility gap. It features trustworthy news anchors, correspondents and guests discussing the day’s biggest headlines, with experts and fake-news experts going head to head in an attempt to get to the heart of the story.

Disney Junior renews Mickey and the Roadster Racers for a 3rd season.

Disney Junior (DStv 309) has renewed its animated series Mickey and the Roadster Racers for a 3rd season.

In Mickey and the Roadster Racers Mickey Mouse and his friends, along with their unique transforming vehicles, go on humorous high-spirited races around the globe, as well as hometown capers in Hot Dog Hills.

Off the racetrack, Minnie and Daisy also run their own successful business as Happy Helpers, solving problems for anyone in need of a helping hand. The stories are designed to impart social and emotional lessons about friendship, teamwork, optimism, and good sportsmanship. 

Since its January 2017 premiere, Mickey and the Roadster Racers has reached over 157 million viewers worldwide and is seen in 158 countries in 32 languages.

A+E Networks doing a monumental 'The History 100' project as a set of 100 film documentaries on History that will be exploring the past 100 years.

A+E Networks is doing a monumental "The History 100" project -  a set of 100 film documentaries that will be broadcast on History (DStv 186), exploring the past 100 years.

"The History 100" is a working title that will be 100 films, focusing on the "most compelling historical events of the last 100 years".

The first 8 of the 100 films will come from documentary filmmakers like Barbara Kopple, Charles Ferguson, Daniel Junge and Werner Herzog and subjects will look at the history of the video game industry, the battle between Coke and Pepsi; America's Watergate political scandal; the former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as the Mercury 13 group of prospective female astronauts and the debate it started around gender equality.

"The only way to understand today is to see it in the context of yesterday and History is committed to scouring the past for the most gripping, fascinating stories," says Eli Lehrer, the executive vice president of programming for the History channel.

"Our dynamic and diverse array of award-winning storytellers will bring the history of the past 100 years to life through the fresh voices and perspectives in these groundbreaking documentaries."

Here's a rundown of the first of the films that will be forming part of "The History 100":

Meeting Gorbachev (working title)
Director Werner Herzog meets Mikhail Gorbachev for a series of exclusive one-on-one interviews with the man who ended the cold war.
Using Gorbachev’s personal archives as well as interviews with key political players from the last 30 years, this will be a deeply humanizing portrait of an enigmatic man who’s still viewed as a traitor by many Russians.

Desert One (working title)
Director Barbara Kopple tells the story of Operation Eagle Claw: the attempted Delta Force mission to end the Iran Hostage Crisis.
On November 4, 1979, hundreds of Iranian students took up arms and took the American Embassy by storm, and the subsequent attempt to end the hostage stand-off would result in the death of eight American soldiers and contribute to the electoral victory of Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter. 

Rocket Women (working title)
Producer Jane Root tells the story of the very first would-be women astronauts, the Mercury 13. 
At the height of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, Nasa's Randy Lovelace embarked on a secret experiment: he recruited over 20 women to undergo NASA’s radical physical exam – the toughest in the world at the time.
When many of the women passed, with some even outperforming the men, it opened up a whole new chapter in America’s space story and ignited an early public debate on gender equality.

Game On: The Improbable and Shocking Story of the Video Game Business (working title)
This is the untold story of the personal battles that gave rise to the $100 billion video game industry.
Director Daniel Junge looks at the brilliant innovations, colossal failures, and ego-driven rivalries of the video game business on a massive scale.
It is a 50-year-long, multi-generation epic featuring corporate coups, industrial espionage, secret burial grounds and the promise of unimaginable riches being just one cartridge away.

Director Charles Ferguson tells the story of the conspiracy led by President Richard Nixon and his White House staff and how they were brought to justice.
New interviews with journalists, senior Nixon administration officials, members of congress, and prosecutors – combined with archival footage and newly sourced information from the Nixon White House tapes – will bring a fresh perspective on this complex story.

Where is Angel? (working title)
This documentary will take viewers inside Air Force One on one of the most fateful days in U.S. history – 9/11.
From this unique vantage point, viewers will experience the struggles of our nation’s leaders, and members of the civilian and military chain of command, as they grapple with the unforeseen nature and extent of the deadly attack.

Cola Wars (working title)
This film will explore how two of the most powerful companies in the world, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have used advertising campaigns, publicity stunts, and other cutthroat tactics in an incalculably expensive bid to each be the top purveyor of beverages to consumers.
It is a story that speaks volumes about who we are as a people, shedding an illuminating - and not always flattering - light on why and how we make the decisions we do.

Axis of Addicts (working title)
At the outset of World War II, the Nazis harbored a secret. In spite of their talk of racial, spiritual and physical purity – they were an axis of drug addicts. 
It wasn’t just those in the trenches on drugs, Hitler and his High Command were chasing a state of supreme human function via uppers, downers and everything in between.
This documentary will explore the origin, impact and lasting effects of the state-sponsored drug use that helped build – and eventually burn – the Third Reich. New sources of information, including never-before-seen historical records, reveal the extent of the Nazi party’s reliance on drugs to power their war effort.

Speed Demons (working title)
This this two-hour special highlights the innovative, fearless and larger-than-life renegades who devoted their lives to pursuing the world’s most perilous speed records – and breaking them. Featuring interviews with fanatical "speed demons", the show chronicles the history of speed through the eyes of those most passionate about it. The program will also follow the inimitable Ed Shadle, a speed record holder, as he makes a pulse-pounding attempt to set the first speed record in 20

Hot Rods & Muscle Cars (working title)
This two-hour special tells the story of the rise, fall and resurrection of the hot rod culture in America, born underground by mavericks who loved speed, power and engineering. 
Highlighting the most iconic, pavement-shredding muscle cars in history – the outlaw cars that broke all the rules – the program will feature the rebels who built them, the renegades who drove them and the indelible imprint they left on American culture

Truck Wars (working title)
Since their inception at the turn of the last century, pickup trucks have continued to develop, with manufacturing titans such as Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet competing to build the best of the best. 
In an hour-long special, automotive experts, designers and historians weigh in on the most influential trucks of the past 120 years, covering everything from early Fords based on the Model T and wartime 4×4 Jeeps, to the 1950s luxury Chevy Cameo and the more recent, truly hardcore, high-powered desert truck, the Ford Raptor.
This adrenaline-filled special will explore how these heavy-duty vehicles developed, defined off-roading and forever altered the automotive landscape in America.

Hot Wheels (working title)
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of one of the most popular toys in the world – Hot Wheels – this special will tell the history of this iconic toy’s journey and the brand’s multi-generational influence on car culture and design.

The new version of the 1960's science fiction series, Lost in Space, is coming to Netflix on 13 April for 10 hour long episodes.

The new version of Netflix's Lost in Space, based on the 1960's American television science fiction series about a family's adventures in space as they try to find their way back to Earth, will start globally on 13 April - and with amazing movie budget special effects, looks nothing like the original show of 5 decades ago.

The first season of the new Lost in Space will have 10 hour long episodes and is set in the year 2046 when the Robinson family and their spaceship Jupiter 2 encounter a space-time anomaly and crashlands on an unknown planet.

Stranded without knowing where they are, they try to fix their spaceship as they encounter various kinds of mystery, a robot, and also have to deal with a saboteur in their midst.

Toby Stephens who was Captain Flint in Black Sails is the dad and leader, John Robinson, with Molly Parker as the mom, Maureen - a brilliant aerospace engineer.

Ignacio Serricchio is a blue-collar worker and a smuggler, Taylor Russell is Judy Robinson, the eldest daughter, Mina Sundwall is Penny Robinson the middle child, and Maxwell Jenkins is Will Robinson, the youngest Robinson child. As in the original, he's the most prone to seek out adventure and land in trouble, but to also save the family from dangerous encounters.

The nefarious Dr Smith who constantly tried to undermine and sabotage the Robinsons has undergone a gender change and is now portrayed by Parker Posey. Of course there's also the robot - now looking hugely different, and that in the original often shouted and warned "Danger, Will Robinson!"

Zack Estrin is the executive producer of Lost in Space, produced by Legendary Television, and he told Empire magazine that Lost in Space will be "optimistic" and be "more Star Wars than Star Trek. It's about discovery and adventure and wonder".

Toby Stephens told Collider that the new version "is fundamentally a story that it's a family that is lost in a difficult, life-threatening situation and how it challenges them and brings them closer together".

"That is essentially what the story of this is, it's just the context is a lot more modern. It's a more modern take on the '60s version. If you look at it now, it's charming, but it seems so innocent. Whereas this is a version that is for our time. I'm hoping it will still have humor and humanity in it, but it has obviously gotta be for a modern audience."

Besides the trailer for Lost in Space, Netflix also released a Lost in Space featurette to help flesh out the characters some more with the actors talking about family values and their characters.

The first season of Lost in Space was filmed last year in Vancouver and British Columbia.

The SABC has so far spend a shocking R22 million on the legal costs of its former COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and it may rise further.

The SABC has spent a whopping R22 million and counting on the legal costs of the South African public broadcaster's famously matricless former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng - more than the R15 million forked out on legal costs by the former president Jacob Zuma.

A reply from the former minister of communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party's member of parliament, Phumzile Van Damme, states that the SABC has paid millions of rand since 2013 in legal fees for Hlaudi Motsoeneng and that it might even increase "as other matters are ongoing".

Some of the legal fees include:
- SABC News anchor Vuyo Mvoko: R1 186 184
- Former SABC TV boss Verona Duwarkah: R505 985
- Helen Suzman Foundation: R1 659 490
- Democratic Alliance: R5 370 828
- Various SABC board matters: R4 990 985

"This R22 million by far exceeds the R15 million taxpayers have had to fork out on former president Jacob Zuma's legal fees," says Phumzile Van Damme.

"Just like the other litigious delinquent, Jacob Zuma, Hlaudi Motsoeneng must pay back this money to the public purse. The public should not have to pay for this one man wrecking ball's legal fees."

"In addition to the R21 million the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is pursuing in Hlaudi Motsoeneng's debt to the SABC, this R22 million must be added, making what he owes R43 million. Every single cent must be recovered from him," says Phumzile Van Damme.

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng left a trial of destruction in his wake. He flouted policy processes, demoralised, victimised and purged staff; brought the SABC's newsroom into disrepute and left the public broadcaster on the brink of collapse."

"The DA calls on the SABC to personally hold Hlaudi Motsoeneng responsible for this excessive amount of money, that can be much better spent on paying off its debts, investing in content development, finding new talent, informing and educating the public, and restoring the SABC's image as a credible and reliable news source," says Phumzile Van Damme.'s new soap, Imbewu: The Seed, gets slotted for a 9:30pm timeslot from 16 April as Leleti Khumalo goes from MaNzuza to MaZulu. has scheduled the free-to-air commercial channel's new Imbewu: The Seed for a 21:30 timeslot, with the KwaZulu-Natal set weekday soap that will kick off on 16 April as the only local soap in the timeslot.

Imbewu: The Seed that will broadcast Mondays to Fridays on, has a cast including Thembi Mtshali (MaNdlovu), Sandile Dlamini (Phakade), Mpumelelo Bhulose (Zimele) and Leleti Khumalo going from MaNzuza in SABC1s Uzalo to MaZulu.

It will be the only show of its type during the 21:30 timeslot as decided not to schedule Imbewu during the heated and strongly contested 20:00 hour.

SABC2's Keeping Score ends on 10 April and is replaced by old rebroadcasts a week before Imbewu kicks off.

Imbewu shares a lot of similarities with SABC1's Uzalo as the show that Leleti Khumalo used to be in before jumping to Imbewu and where she now, besides an on-screen role, also gets an executive producer credit.

Imbewu: The Seed is produced by Grapevine Productions, a joint venture between Videovision Entertainment, Word of Mouth Pictures and Luys Productions with Duma Ndlovu and Anant Singh.

Imbewu: The Seed revolves around two brothers - one leading a rural life, the other one rich in the city. One can't father children and the other one is asked to impregnate his brother's wife in order to ensure the legacy and dynasty of the family name.

Controversy already stirred over the show, shot on location in KwaZulu-Natal, before a single episode has been shown.

The anti-Indian group knwon as the Injenje Yaba Nguni Council in February threatened to burn down Anant Singh’s Videovision offices if Imbewu dares to portray racial tensions between Indians and other groupings. said that it found the "threat of violence against Videovision Entertainment disturbing, and should this materialise, it will be dealt with, within the confines of the law".

MultiChoice Ghana doing a 'price freeze' on DStv and GOtv subscription fees as the latest African country outside of South Africa that won't be hiking monthly fees from April.

MultiChoice Ghana is doing a "price freeze" on the subscription fees for DStv subscribes and GOtv subscribers in Ghana with subscription fees that is being lowered for commercial DStv subscribers in the west African country where MultiChoice won't be hiking subscription fees on 1 April.

In contrast to South Africa where MultiChoice is again increasing hiking DStv subscription fees from 1 April, Ghana has joined the growing number of African countries where MultiChoice Africa has either lowered DStv and GOtv subscription fees the past few months, or kept it unchanged.

MultiChoice Ghana in a statement says "in the last two years we have offered the best value entertainment by combining both quality and variety at a reduced rate to ensure everyone has access to great family entertainment. Consistently we have remodeled our business and adjusted our pricing and content to best suit the varied lifestyle of our subscribers".

MultiChoice Ghana says it is doing "a price freeze on all DStv and GOtv packages for our residential subscribers however our commercial subscribers will get some decreases effective 1 April 2018".

Cecil Sunkwa-Mills, MultiChoice Ghana general manager also revealed that MultiChoice will be adding a 24-hour World Cup channel, SuperSport 13 (DStv 213) as "an appetiser" of the 2018 FIFA World Cup starting later this year in Russia.

All 64 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be available on all DStv packages.

Venda community takes Viacom Africa's Comedy Central to court demanding R20 million over footage of a musangwe fight allegedly aired with permission, and accompanied by alleged derogatory and humiliating remarks.

A general image of a musangwe fight

The Venda community through a local chief is taking Viacom Africa's Comedy Central (DStv 122) and MultiChoice to court demanding R20 million in damages over what it claims is the alleged unauthorised use of footage of a musangwe fight and the alleged derogatory and humiliating remarks that accompanied it in the Tosh.0 show that it was broadcast in.

Last year Comedy Central broadcast an episode of the satirical show Tosh.0 from comedian Daniel Tosh showing a musangwe or Venda bare-knucle fight in which one of the fighters is knocked unconscious and then revived when a local healer massages his penis to help him regain consciousness.

Daniel Tosh's alleged "humorous" voice-over in Tosh.0 of "It's Africa, where tribal boxing is just how they pass the time at lunch, since there's no food. They must be checking him for blood diamonds. Thanks for the filthy water, now he's got brain damage and malaria. No wonder the Aids is doing well over there," is what triggered the lawsuit, as well as the broadcast of the footage without the show and Comedy Central allegedly getting prior permission to do so.

Chief Lavhelesani Ronald Makuya and David Phume, a musangwe producer, have filed papers in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 15 December 2017 saying that the footage shown on Tosh.0 on Comedy Central in Africa contended, implied, insinuated and represented that Venda customs and traditions were dishonourable, disreputable and that the Venda people were of low character.

They're also arguing that Viacom and Comedy Central infringed on copyright and allegedly failed to seek prior permission to air the fight footage, in addition to degrading and humiliating the Venda community's customs and traditions.

Comedy Central Africa in response to a media enquiry about the court case tells TVwithThinus that "Comedy Central is aware of the filing of court papers in relation to the Tosh.0 clip that aired in January 2017. We are in the process of responding while we follow the due legal process".

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

TOLDJA! The Americentric channel, Kwesé Free Sports, from Econet Media's Kwesé TV will start on OpenView HD as its first real sports channel on Friday 16 March.

A day after TVwithThinus reported on Tuesday that OpenView HD will be adding the Kwesé Free Sports channel but with eMedia Investments not wanting to say more, OpenView HD on Wednesday issued a press release saying that Kwesé Free Sports will start on Friday 16 March 2018 on channel 110 at 11:30.

Why eMedia Investments and OpenView HD couldn't say that in response when TVwithThinus asked in a media enquiry on Tuesday, but then suddenly can a day later, is mind-boggling, but as already reported on Tuesday, Kwesé Free Sports will be OpenView HD's first real sports channel, although it's very Americentric.

Packed with American sports content from ESPN, Kwesé Free Sports is a great beginning into real sports content for OpenView HD and its existing viewers.

There might also be existing and former subscribers of MultiChoice's DStv who might switch to OpenView HD for the exclusive content like basketball that isn't available on SuperSport's channels on DStv.

Kwesé Free Sports is a pan-African free-to-air channel from Econet Media's Kwesé TV that is already available in more than 27 countries in Africa and shows the Premier League live, NBA, various FIFA tournaments including the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and leagues, NFL, AVIVA Premiership Rugby as well as sport themed magazine shows like ESPN's SportCenter.

ESPN is crawling back to Africa and using Kwesé TV to do so, after dumping the continent and MultiChoice in July 2013 during corporate downsizing. In the process ESPN burnt a lot of bridges and sentiment and destroyed its relationship with viewers who will not easily trust or return to ESPN's programming. 

OpenView HD says that "the demand for a dedicated sports channel on OpenView has been at the top of the OpenView viewers' requests, and the platform is delighted to have struck a deal with this dynamic sports channel". 

"Sport is one of the most talked about subjects in South Africa and giving our audiences a new experience on the platform is perfectly timed," says 
Ziyanda Mngomezulu, OpenView HD's head of channel acquisitions.

"We have had requests for a sports channel since the launch of OpenView and Kwesé Free Sports is the perfect choice for quality sport from around the world that our viewers will love."

Joseph Hundah, Econet Media president and group CEO says "This is yet another significant milestone for us as we introduce another premium Kwesé platform to the South African market following the launch of Kwesé Play in 2017."

"This increases Kwesé Free Sports' footprint to 27 markets. As a business premised on making world-class sports and entertainment content accessible, we are proud to deliver a dedicated sports channel beaming 24 hours of premium and in some cases exclusive sporting action."

Kwesé Free Sports will show WTA Miami Masters tennis, while baseball fans can watch Toronto Blue Jays second baseman and shortstop Gift Ngoepe make his mark in the South African history books in Major League Baseball. 

Motoring heads can get their fix of fast paced racing action in the Formula E, while basketball fans can watch the NBA season.