'I WAS AN ORDINARY HLAUDI'

   

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Baba loves him so much, but not even the SABC knows what to call Hlaudi Motsoeneng anymore, telling viewers his 'current employment status is uncertain'.


While the SABC has dramatically ramped up glowing coverage of its controversial and embattled [insert job title here] Hlaudi Motsoeneng through its SABC News division since June, Friday evening presented a particular problem, since not even the SABC knows anymore how to refer to its caustic dear leader.

Friday presented a vexing new problem for SABC News executives.

Unable and unwilling to pass on an opportunity to once again thrust the latest Hlaudi Motsoeneng public speaking podium speech on-screen for its audience, it presented a problem the SABC never quite encountered before - what to call him when it gives him fawning exposure.

SABC news staff on Friday were ordered to go big with Hlaudi Motsoeneng's latest off-topic speech at Mandoza's funeral, but the SABC itself no longer knows what to name and call him.

It made it even more confusing - and from an academic and media studies point of view even more interesting when examining it from a news values perspective.

The SABC was and is willing to put someone on air and give a very selective outtake from that person's utterances exposure as news reporting during its TV news bulletin.

Yet the SABC is unable to say or itself explain why legitimately it is doing so. Why give exposure within news reporting to someone who you don't know, and admit you can't confirm, what role and position he speaks from?

On Friday evening in its flagship TV news bulletin in English and in other broadcasts on SABC3, SABC News and the SABC's other channels, the SABC had no idea itself what Hlaudi Motsoeneng now is.

It comes after the Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday ruled that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as permanent chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC is invalid.

On screen on Friday evening the SABC and SABC news staff didn't know what to put in the lower third banner under Hlaudi Motsoeneng's name where SABC News must identify someone to viewers.

The SABC only typed "SABC".

In the report, the SABC - inserting Hlaudi Motsoeneng's comments about the SABC weirdly inside the story reporting about Mandoza's funeral - had to admit and simply said that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's "current employment status at the public broadcaster is uncertain".

SABC board members are now trying to appoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting COO" through a back-door proposal that already led to a new barrage of criticism and a new round of legal action.

INDIAN SUMMERS. MultiChoice adds Bollywood film titles in Hindi and Tamil to its DStv BoxOffice video-on-demand movie rental service from 12 October.


MultiChoice is adding Bollywood film titles in Hindi and Tamil to its DStv BoxOffice video-on-demand (VOD) movie rental service from 12 October.

MultiChoice has now made the DStv BoxOffice functionality available to all DStv subscribers in South Africa with an active HD PVR or DStv Explora, with a film rental that cost R35 per new release.

Previously DStv BoxOffice was only accessible through the green button on the DStv remote control to DStv Premium, DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers.

MultiChoice says DStv subscribers with an Explora can now choose from a selection of 30 BoxOffice films.

New Bollywood films in Hindi and Tamil with stars like Rajnikanth, Sharukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra will cost R35, with older films that will also be added later that will cost less.

"BoxOffice is the most convenient way for our customers to access the latest blockbusters and we're thrilled that all our customers can now experience this service," says Mark Rayner, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa.

"No doubt, the addition of Bollywood movies will bring extra excitement to our customers' summer".

Invalid SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng hijacks Mandoza's funeral to launch into yet another inappropriate rant: 'Problem with transformation is black people'.


The SABC's belligerent [job title unknown] Hlaudi Motsoeneng hijacked the funeral of kwaito star Mandoza on Friday, launching into yet another jaw-droppingly inappropriate rant from the podium that the controversial public broadcaster enfant terrible is known for, this time blaming black people for the lack of transformation,

Instead of talking about the dead Mandoza (real name: Mduduzi Tshabalala) and doing a proper tribute to the celebrity who passed away, a finger-waving Hlaudi Motsoeneng usurped the funeral proceedings by talking about, and making it about himself, and his work at the SABC, vowing he will not be taken away.

While funeral speakers were told to limit their tributes to 2 minutes, the SABC's caustic nkalakatha launched into an off-topic rant of 13 minutes, exactly as he's often been seen doing at SABC press conferences, The New Age Breakfast briefings on SABC2 and in Morning Live interviews where he interrupts and keeps a stream of consciousness going without any intervention.

"When people talk about transformation, they speak English. I don't speak English. I speak implementation. There is difference between speaking English and speaking intelligence. Some of us intelligence is in our blood," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"I have been observing when people have been saying 'Hlaudi is out'. You can't decide for my future. I will decide for my future," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the funeral.

"And let me tell you, if I leave the SABC it will not be the first time. I left the SABC. I came back stronger and stronger. I hear people saying 'Hlaudi stress'. Hlaudi is stress free. I don't know stress. Maybe you are stress yourself because Hlaudi is delivering."

Hlaudi Motsoeneng slammed black people as "the problem" of transformation.

"We can't discuss transformation after 20 years. Actually, who's the problem in South Africa? The problem is black people. If you ask black people, they complain about transformation but they are in charge for this transformation. How do you complain about yourself?"

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he introduced the SABC's 90% local content decision alone and nobody else and kept ranting, telling funeral director Mzwake Mbuli after 10 minutes of talking "just give me 3 minutes my brother, this is 90% [I'm talking about]".

"For the first time I was called by two president [sic] in Africa. I'm not going to mention their names. I'm going to meet them. They said to me, 'Hlaudi, now we want to use South Africa as benchmark because we want to introduce 90% in our countries."

"I have my own belief. And my belief is unique," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"When I was born, I was an ordinary Hlaudi. And I'm going to make sure an ordinary employee delivers."

"You know what is good about me - and I'm not boasting. When SABC dismissed me, because I was empowering workers at the SABC," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng who told those attending Mandoza's funeral to "pay your TV licence".


■ Mzwakhe Mbuli, a poet who also organised the massively flopped Thank You SABC Concert, further ruined Mandoza's funeral with his own relentless barrage of inappropriate comments, praising the SABC at Mandoza's funeral that was held at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto.

Mzwakhe Mbuli slammed people who commented on Mandoza's weight and allegedly spread rumours that he had died [while he was still alive] and warned people to "pray and apologise to God".

After less than 2000 people pitched at the Orlando Stadium that can hold 40 000 and that Mzwakhe Mbuli said he would fill as the SABC broadcast scenes of an empty stadium, Mzwakhe Mbuli used the funeral podium to slam those who said the concert was empty, saying it was an insult to say things like that.

"Mandoza did not perform at an empty stadium. You must apologise for that too," said Mzwakhe Mbuli.

Some SABC board members plan to 're-appoint' invalid Hlaudi Motsoeneng as 'acting chief operating officer', decision slammed by board member Krish Naidoo.


Here is the draft letter that was leaked to TV with Thinus on Thursday by SABC insiders.

SABC board members - including Hlaudi Motsoeneng who isn't supposed to be an employee of the SABC anymore according to the Supreme Court of Appeal (so how can he vote?) - were asked this week to vote him(self) "back" into the SABC as "acting chief operating officer (COO).

On Monday after a protracted court case that the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng kept appealing, the Supreme Court of Appeal found Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as permanent COO invalid.

After the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling, some SABC board members - in a plan spearheaded by SABC board chairperson Obert Maguvhe to keep the "rare skill" Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC, hatched a plan for a "round robin" vote to vote Hlaudi Motsoeneng back as "acting COO".

The Public Protector in her February 2014 found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is a liar

The Public Protector in her February 2014 found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng "should never have been appointed at the SABC".

The Public Protector in her February 2014 found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng was directly involved in several instances of gross maladministration, dramatic salary increases for himself and others that ballooned the SABC salary bill, and implicated him in getting rid of everyone at the SABC who testified against him at an earlier disciplinary hearing.

In the draft resolution sent to SABC board members, as part of a convoluted back-door plan, the minister of communications Faith Muthambi is asked to reappoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting COO.

The department of communications says it hasn't yet received such a letter.

"Since the next board meeting is scheduled for 28 October 2016 the board is requested to recommend that the Honourable Minister approves the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the acting COO for the period 19 September 2016 to 18 December 2016 on a Round Robin basis," says the draft document.

"The appointment will be tabled at the next board meeting for ratification."

SABC board member Krish Naidoo in reports said the SABC board's plan is illegal and that he didn't vote yes to support the resolution.

Krish Naidoo told The Times and EWN radio that "when a court says Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not be COO and you appoint him acting COO, it means you haven't applied your mind".

"The SABC is an important institution. The president and the ANC should open their mouths now and say something decisive".

Krish Naidoo slammed other SABC board members saying those who voted in favour of appointing Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting COO" are "acting contrary to the rule of law".

Acting SABC CEO James Aguma gives Hlaudi Motsoeneng a secret R11.4 million bonus not approved by board as some SABC board members plan to 're-appoint' Hlaudi.


The acting SABC CEO James Aguma this week paid the controversial and famously matricless executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng a shocking and secret R11.4 million bonus that wasn't approved by the full SABC board as plans are underway to "re-appoint" Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting chief operating officer after the Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday found his appointment as COO invalid.

The shocking R11.4 million bonus James Aguma secretly authorised and paid to Hlaudi Motsoeneng - two payments of R5.7 million - is for "securing" the highly controversial MultiChoice deal for the SABC to provide the little-watched SABC News and SABC Encore channels to DStv.

The eye-popping R11.4 million payment James Aguma ordered the SABC to make to Hlaudi Motsoeneng comes as the SABC in this coming week will declare yet another loss of hundreds of millions of rand in its latest financial report.

Meanwhile some members of the SABC board in a plan that doesn't have full SABC board approval, is seeking the "re-appointment" of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as "acting chief operating officer (COO).

"Acting COO" is a job title Hlaudi Motsoeneng has had several times before - after the Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday found his permanent appointment as COO invalid after a protracted court case the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng dragged out as long as it could.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party in a statement on Sunday says it will "take the re-appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as 'acting' COO back to court. We have been left with no other option following the deplorable decision taken by the SABC to undermine the Western Cape High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal."

"This decision is a slap in the face of the rule of law and is a desperate attempt to allow the Hlaudi Motsoeneng 'wrecking ball' to continue his disastrous reign at the public broadcaster." 

"This madness needs to be stopped," says the DA. "Our precious public resources should be spent on building a reputable, fair and well-run public broadcaster and not on the propping up of its single greatest impediment."

The Sunday Times on Sunday reported that the secret R11.4 million bonus to Hlaudi Motsoeneng was "made without the knowledge of the SABC board" with some SABC board members calling the massive bonus pay-out "fraud".

James Aguma, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to detailed questions.

Also on Sunday City Press reported on the bonus pay-out that the full SABC board "had never approved" any bonus for Hlaudi Motsoeneng for the controversial MultiChoice SABC channels contract, according to SABC board members speaking on condition of anonymity.

Again Hlaudi Motsoeneng and SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago declined to comment.

City Press also reported that, according to sources, Hlaudi Motsoeneng will be "re-appointed" as "acting" COO at the SABC and willalso replace Bessie Tugwana as the head of corporate affairs in the position she was just moved to a month ago.

The plan is apparently to move Bessie Tugwana to the newly created SABC position as group executive for special projects.

SABC's botched 2016 Paralympics broadcast worsened by 'badly negotiated' contract with SuperSport that saw SuperSport ordering the SABC to cut back to limited coverage.


Following the SABC's bad 2016 Olympic Games coverage, its botched 2016 Paralympics coverage largely imploded due to a bad SuperSport contract that allegedly saw SuperSport order the South African public broadcaster to scale back its coverage to the marginal content seen on the SABC.

SuperSport and the SABC didn't respond to media enquiries about the SABC's Paralympics coverage and the deal the broadcaster made with SuperSport.

City Press on Sunday reported that SuperSport ordered the SABC to stick to the contract for limited 2016 Paralympics visuals use after SABC producers who were not clearly briefed on what the signed contract allowed, started broadcasting more Paralympics content that what was allowed.

The SABC wasn't allowed to broadcast the opening (or closing) events of the 2016 Paralympics from Rio de Janeiro live since it was prohibited by the contract signed with SuperSport, but SABC staff who were not properly informed about the stipulations of the contract showed too much live coverage.

Hannes du Buisson, president of the Broadcast, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) trade union, is quoted in City Press, saying the SABC's deal with SuperSport was "so badly negotiated" that it only allowed the SABC "quick in-and-out live broadcasts when South Africans were competing".

SABC staffers who were not told by SABC executives what's allowed and what's not under the strict SuperSport Paralympics contract, rushed to "began broadcasting everything, using four live feeds" until SuperSport sent the SABC a letter ordering the public broadcaster to immediately stop and to stick to the contract.

"The SABC crew was sent back home," said Hannes du Buisson.

Meanwhile ratings for the 2016 Olympic Games on SuperSport and the SABC during August were a flop during August with very few Olympic broadcast events that were showed on either the public broadcaster on on SuperSport's channels across MultiChoice's DStv platform that managed to lure anything close to a sizeable TV audience.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BREAKING. South African comedian Trevor Noah to host the first MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 in Johannesburg on 22 October.


After scheduling conflicts and too little time last year ahead of his debut as the new host of The Daily Show in 2015, Trevor Noah is now ready and his diary open enough to host the upcoming MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 taking place on Johannesburg on Saturday 22 October.

After criticism about the American comedians hosting an African awards show like Marlon Wayans and Anthony Anderson, Viacom Africa executives who considered and tried for Trevor Noah last year, have now managed to snag the South African stand-up comedian for the award show that is moving from Durban to Johannesburg's Ticketpro Drome.

The MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 will be broadcast live on 22 October on MTV Base (DStv 322) and MTV (DStv 130) at 21:00 with the 2-hour broadcast in front of an expected crowd of 15 000 people that will include performances by Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Ycee, Yemi Alade, Babes Woduma and Alikiba.

"I'm a huge fan of African music and entertainment and it's going to be a massive pleasure celebrating them both at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 in my own home town of Johannesburg," says Trevor Noah in a statement.

Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN Africa) says "Trevor Noah is an outstanding entertainer, and testament to the amazing talent that Africa has to offer the world".

"To have him host the MAMAs, our annual celebration of Africa music, creativity and achievement is a powerful and inspiring message. We are delighted that out first ever show in Johannesburg will be presented by one of the city's most loved and admired personalities."

Nigerian consumer hate against MultiChoice again bubbling up as DStv subscribers say Nigeria 'must protect citizens from exploitation of these foreign companies'.


Ugly and simmering Nigerian hate over pay-TV operator MultiChoice is once again bubbling up after the nasty consumer and political antagonism earlier this year in MultiChoice's second biggest African market, with DStv subscribers in Nigeria saying the Nigerian government must "protect its citizens from exploitation of these foreign companies".

After the raid on MultiChoice Nigeria's head office in Lagos in October 2015, followed by Nigerian politicians in February this year slamming "the menace of MultiChoice" and the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council (CPC) ordering onerous and draconian adjustments, Nigerian DStv subscribers are angry again.

Unable to understand that MultiChoice's DStv is a premium, pay-television service, Nigerians are once again lashing out  at the pan-African pay-TV operator demanding free TV channels and furious that their pay-TV gets cut off "as soon as your subscription expires".

While MultiChoice Africa last month told TV with Thinus the pay-TV operator remains committed to Nigeria and won't pack up and leave as many other South African and intercontinental companies have been doing, DStv subscribers in the West African nation seem to harbour strong negative sentiments about MultiChoice that it sees as a "foreign" company.

With a litany of published complaints and subscribers' venting, DStv subscribers in Nigeria are once again apparently up in arms, saying "the Nigerian government has to stand up and protect its citizens from the exploitation of these foreign companies".

The avalanche of complaints come as even Nigeria's CPC now says MultiChoice in Nigeria has complied with the onerous additional conditions demanded of it - things like toll-free customer care telephone numbers and the ability to switch off DStv and not pay for weeks at a time.

While these MultiChoice consumer "privileges" are unique to Nigeria, clueless Nigerians are again venting their anger, saying things like they "don't think this is how they [MultiChoice] operate in other countries such as South Africa".

Ironically, they're right - the new set of consumer conditions imposed on the pay-TV operator the past few months in Nigeria provides Nigerian DStv and GOtv subscribers with benefits not available in other African countries.

Nigerian DStv subscribers like Erica Ovuakporoye are for instance saying that since she had subscribed to DStv she "had a nasty experience".

Erica Ovuakporoye is apparently under the impression that she's forced to pay for pay-TV and doesn't understand that as a consumer with free will that she can cancel a service if she's not happy with it and had a "nasty experience".

The continuing nasty negative narrative from Nigerians against MultiChoice feels odd.

It feels as if MultiChoice is being made a scapegoat as an easy punching bag for larger consumer issues playing out in Nigeria amidst a worsening economy.

Keep in mind that it is also in Nigeria where increasing TV censorship - specifically of content on MultiChoice from international channel providers - has meant that complaining and irrational Nigerian DStv subscribers have forced content off the air for the entire Africa in at least 3 instances in just the past few months.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

TOLDJA! The Voice South Africa returns to M-Net for a second season that will start in January 2017; adds a city as auditions kick off in October.


The Voice South Africa will be back on M-Net for a second season that will broadcast from January 2017 and with audition that will start from October.

Four months ago in May, TV with Thinus explained why M-Net will definitely bring back The Voice South Africa for a second season.

Similar to the surging Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), The Voice SA provides M-Net as a sister pay-TV channel on DStv in South Africa with brilliant numbers in the same two extremely sought after metrics that make producers happy and that money can't buy.

Firstly there's positive critical buzz in the press and social media. Secondly there's phenomenally strong viewer engagement that translates into "trending" and direct online music sales on iTunes and massive viewer voting numbers.

Besides actual linear TV ratings (that's also great for Idols and The Voice SA) these additional factors nowadays heavily influence the renewal of especially these types of reality format shows where their success are measured not just by viewership alone but the amount of helium generated from online and mobile viewer engagement that helps with lift.

Case in point - wannabe contestants for the upcoming second season will be able to submit a song online for a possible "fast track" to the selection committee.

The Voice SA is again looking for exceptional South African talent 18 years and older with a unique sound and solo singers as well as duos from any musical background who can enter. There's no upper age limit.

Similar to Idols, contestants have to sign a document stating that they don't have any existing contract with any recording company.

"The phenomenal talent from The Voice SA season 1 has set the bar incredibly high, and we are looking forward to opening doors for more fantastic talent who deserve to become household names," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

Auditions for the second season of The Voice SA will start in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday 12 October at The Beach Hotel on Marine Drive with the city that has been added to the audition cities list for the first time after vocal requests from viewers during the first season who were upset about the exclusion.

Cape Town is next on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October at Belmont Square in Rondebosch, followed by Durban on Wednesday 19 October at the Growth Point Kings Park Stadium.

Johannesburg follows on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October at Sasani Studios in Balfour Park where The Voice South Africa and the other African countries' versions like The Voice Angola have been being filmed.

Urban Brew Studios executive Markus Davies was a juror for Current Affairs and News category for International Emmy Awards 2016.

Markus Davies, chief content officer at Urban Brew Studios was a juror of the International Emmy Awards this year for the category of Current Affairs and News.

Markus Davies was also a juror in the semi-final round of the International Emmy Awards in 2015.

In June Markus Davies was part of the judging panel for the Current Affairs and News category in Cologne, Germany.

"Being able to be in a position to judge some of the world's best content is always a fantastic honour, but it comes with real gravitas and responsibility," says Markus Davies in a statement.

In 2012 he produced a documentary called Battle Ground Afghanistan that was nominated by National Geographic to contend for a Prime Time United States Emmy in the category of Current Affairs.

Trish Taylor, Urban Brew CEO says "Markus who has been involved in the film and television industry since 1996, has extensive experience in film making and this honour is well-deserved and comes as no surprise to us".

"Markus, who is a producer and director, is also an active participant in the global broadcasting business with a finger on the pulse in the industry and as such we believe a compelling Emmy Awards juror."

Organisers of disastrous Thank You SABC Concert: 'We do not define success by numbers', slams 'vicious media' for making whole thing 'a Mandoza cancer story'.


Organisers of the disastrous Thank You SABC Concert that turned into a spectacular flop two weeks ago at the Orlando Stadium now say "we do not define success by numbers" and now blames the "viscious media" for turning it into a "Mandoza cancer story like when Princess Diana was chased and died".

The shocking show that was put up as a self-indulgent celebration of the controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng's abrupt decision in May for 90% local music on the SABC's radio stations lurched from chaos to crisis in the few days since the concert was announced on a Tuesday for the upcoming Saturday and turned into a highly embarrassing flop that inflicted further brand damage to the SABC's already tarnished public reputation.

As artists billed to perform and even the SABC choir were no-shows at the infamous concert, artists said they were not paid and pulled out, while only around 1 000 people showed up in the stadium that can hold 40 000 people for the expensive flop that started hours late.

Before the show, organiser Mzwakhe Mbuli who did the concert with the controversial concert promotor Morris Roda, promised to "fill up the stadium and fill up the stomachs of the artists" with 100 artists - none of which were made good on.

The SABC helped to hype the "record breaking" nature of the Thank You SABC concert beforehand, with Mzwakhe Mbuli going as far as saying that "what we are doing must go to the Guinness Book of Records," because the SABC is better than CNN International, the BBC and Al Jazeera that "never had a concert where people in London or artists in London will say 'Thank you CNN or BBC".

Mzwake Mbuli is now explaining the Thank You SABC Concert failure, telling SABC News that "we do not define success by numbers".

Mzwake Mbuli has now turned around and blames a lack of sponsors for the concert's flop, telling SABC News "It is unfortunate that we did not get funding. We ended up either thinking:  Should we go ahead or not? We soldiered on; we continued".


'Vicious media turned it into a Mandoza cancer story'
Mzwake Mbuli also turned on the media in a tirade on how the media didn't cover the Thank You SABC Concert correctly. 

"The media is vicious. The whole thing became a Mandoza cancer story. Not being sensitive to the family. The Mandoza cancer [was like the] Princess Diana chase until she crashed and died. Mandela it was announced long before his actual death".

"With Mandoza, the cancer thing. It was all about Mandoza is terminal. Wednesday. Thursday. Every call; email is about Mandoza. The audience, the people who attended the festival on Saturday, it was big news: 'Mandoza dead. Mandoza dead.'

'You can imagine the pressure. Then later Mandoza came. The print media on Monday asked who forced Mandoza to perform. Now then they changed the story because there was nothing tangible they could find corruption, scandal."

"Then they changed, saying the minister of communications Faith Muthambi, herself went to pick up Mandoza at home to prove and dispel the rumour that Mandoza is alive. The minister came wearing in black, she was late, she was coming from a funeral," said Mzwake Mbuli.

"Mandoza phoned after the whole hullabaloo after him having cancer, midweek, Mandoza himself called he wanted to perform. Mandoza came with his wife, with his children."

Mzwakhe Mbuli said another similar concert could take place again "provided big business, those with dollars, will come forward, and give us money upfront. Then we will book artists and celebrate".

Friday, September 16, 2016

SA'S DIGITAL TV SHOCKER: The 'secret' R800 South Africa's TV viewers don't know they'll have to pay just to keep watching their free television.


Tens of millions of South African TV households literally have no idea that they're going to be forced to pay around R800 and more just to keep watching the free TV they've been watching as the country's long-delayed and derailed switch from analogue to digital television drags on.

More than a year after South Africa's department of communications missed the international deadline of June 2015 to complete the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT) - a process known as digital migration that's already fraught with several allegations of corruption that's being investigated - the South African government finally revealed in parliament on Thursday the shocking cost to TV households of the very expensive exercise.

South Africa's TV households without satellite television - people who watch the SABC, e.tv and community TV stations without DStv, M-Net, StarSat or OpenView HD - are going to be forced to fork out hundreds of rands to buy a decoder known as a set-top box (STB) and in many instances also a new antenna.

Without it, viewers will eventually be cut off and no longer be able to receive free-to-air channels like SABC1 for instance.

While the government is set to give free STBs away to only the poorest of the poor households - around 5,2 million TV households - it leaves millions of South African TV households who are going to discover that they have to pay out of their own pocket hundreds of rand just to keep watching their Generations, Muvhango and Rhythm City on the SABC and e.tv when the existing analogue TV signals are eventually switched off.

In its presentation to parliament, the department of communications revealed that about 650 000 STBs without any encryption system have been manufactured in South Africa and have been delivered to the South African Post Office. The Post Office will have to help with distribution.

These STBs that were ordered and manufactured in bulk cost the government (including VAT) R687,94 (CZ Electronics), R689,26 (BUA Africa) and R689,26 (Leratidima) each.

Ellies satellite dishes cost R441,71 and antennas from Temic Manufacturing and QEC cost R135,09 and R177,70 each.

The costing gives a shocking indication of what South Africans who don't qualify for a DTT subsidy will have to pay commercially when they are forced to buy a STB and an antenna for their TV sets.

While most new flatscreen TV sets now have DTT tuners already built-in, millions of South African TV households who don't qualify as poor enough but already have a TV set, simply don't have the expendable income to buy a new flatscreen costing thousands or even the R800 to buy a STB and antenna.

Further complicating the already convoluted and delayed process is ongoing legal action further hampering the DTT roll-out process.

These already manufactured STBs - around 650 000 - were made without a built-in encryption system known as (CA) conditional access.

e.tv took the government to court over the lack of a CA system in STBs and in May this year won its digital TV box encryption case in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The minister of communications Faith Muthambi decided to appeal the decision further and is taking it to the Constitutional Court in a case that is set to be heard on 17 February 2017.

If Faith Muthambi's appeal here fails as well, the already manufactured STBs that's cost the government R305 million so far - some of which have already been handed out to poor households - will be the wrong ones that doesn't have the encryption features broadcasters like e.tv and others might use in future to protect their content and broadcast high definition (HD) TV channels.


'Minor challenges'
Faith Muthambi told parliament on Thursday that "the DTT project is being rolled out despite minor challenges".

"Challenges relate to lack of funding for a public awareness campaign, dual illumination [and] the establishment of a contact centre. On The South African Post Office, there is also risk issues".

Besides average South Africans being clueless that they're going to have to pay to keep watching free television, there's also controversy about the awarding of the STB tenders with an forensic investigation that was launched, as well as an investigation into a company that got a tender to do DTT public awareness campaigns.

As the department of communications has said for over a decade now with few actual DTT "deliverables" as South Africa kept falling behind with the switch to digital TV, Faith Muthambi again on Thursday told parliament that "the department is committed to work with all key role players to ensure that the broadcasting digital migration process is successfully implemented".

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sarah-Jane Mee replacing Eamonn Holmes as new anchor of Sunrise on Sky News; will broadcast from 17 October from Sky Central's new glass studio.


Sarah-Jane Mee will be the new main anchor of the breakfast morning show Sunrise on Sky News with Jonathan Samuels as co-presenter from 17 October with a new look for the programme.

Sarah-Jane Mee is replacing Eamonn Holmes who is leaving Sky News (DStv 402) along with a lot of longtime Sky News anchors as the TV news channel is cutting down costs.

Sarah-Jane Mee and Jonathan Samuels will anchor Sunrise from Mondays to Thursdays. Stephen Dixon will continue to host Sunrise Fridays to Sunday with Isabel Webster.

Sunrise with Sarah-Jane Mee and Jonathan Samuels will be broadcast from the new state-of-the-art, glass studio that Sky News has been constructing at Sky News' studios in Osterley in West London called Sky Central.

The new studio will give Sunrise a new on-air look.

Sarah-Jane Mee has been a familiar face on Sunrise, and Jonathan Samuels, a senior correspondent, has been further honing his skills as night-time sit-in anchor on Sky News.

Joining Sarah-Jane Mee and Jonathan Samuels will be sports presenter, Jacquie Beltrao and weather presenters, Isobel Lang and Nazaneen Ghaffar.

Sarah-Jane Mee started her career at Sky, left and returned to Sky News in 2008.

"I'm so excited about returning to the Sunrise hotseat; taking over from Eamonn is a real honour and I I feel privileged that I will be starting the day with Sunrise viewers around the UK and beyond, " says Sarah-Jane Mee in a statement.

"Live news is always such a thrill, you never know where the morning will take you and I looking forward to finding out.”

John Ryley, the head of Sky News, says "I'm delighted that Sarah-Jane is to anchor Sunrise. She's enjoying a stellar career here at Sky and will bring a fresh outlook to Sunrise, combining a lightness of touch with sharp journalistic nous; I know she will excel in her new role."

Production drama with impossible deadlines sees new Star Trek: Discovery launch inevitably postponed by months from January to May 2017.


It was inevitable and now the wholly unrealistic launch date of January 2017 of the latest new Star Trek: Discovery has finally been pushed out by months to May 2017.

After CBS and executive producer Bryan Fuller a few months ago announced mind-boggling production dates - saying that filming would start in September - this month - on Star Trek Discovery, it quickly became obvious that the unrealistic deadlines would never be met.

Without any proper Discovery ship designs - let alone actual ship and bridge sets construction (and up in Toronto, Canada where it would be filmed) - with no confirmed cast, with no female lead, with only 3 episodes' actual scripts, artistic issues like the shockingly bad new ship demo that producers suddenly said is not the final version and is being redesigned, and with no established editing and special effects departments, the insane Star Trek: Discovery announcements about when it would do what, started to feel like Hlaudi Motsoeneng's hot air SABC proclamations.

Also remember that Star Trek: Discovery isn't Bryan Fuller's only project - like Hlaudi Motsoeneng constantly darting off to Venda, Durban and Cape Town - Bryan Fuller is also furiously working on other shows like American Gods with divided attention.

With actual filming that had to start now in Toronto while basically very little else exists, CBS and the production company had no choice but to pull the plug on the already chaotic behind-the-scenes production madness to announce a postponement.

And chaotic behind the scenes at Star Trek: Discovery it surely is, although CBS is keeping a lid on what is really going on.

TV's business is also - very importantly - almost more than anything else it is a scheduling business (once again: Hlaudi Motsoeneng's SABC3's local content order is a flopsies because the forced scheduling caused a washout).

CBS plans and schedules better than the SABC. So when it sat down and planned Star Trek: Discovery to start shooting in September and then broadcast a first episode in early January, it did that, working on mapped out production schedules.

So clearly day-to-day deadlines and production deadlines went very wrong and now CBS and the TV show had to backtrack.

It's a big problem, since CBS wanted to use Star Trek: Discovery to launch and relaunch its CBS All Access video-on-demand (VOD) service in America, with Star Trek: Discovery that is being distributed in the rest of the world on Netflix.

Instead of starting in January 2017 as fakely and unrealistically promised, Star Trek: Discovery has now been pushed out by 5 months to May 2017.

Earlier this month, producers already started the process of tempering and trying to adjust down the expectations of the show - which means that they knew they would have a crap product given the production deadlines.

In fact, Star Trek: Discovery might still be - but hopefully won't - be bad, since the producers seemed to hint that the budget isn't as big to fully realise the vision of what Star Trek viewers expect the show to be.

It seems as if producers want Star Trek viewers to tone down their expectations and rather expect a Star Trek: Discovery that's close to the trash-bad Star Trek: Enterprise than the smoother high brow Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: DS9.

Star Trek: Discovery executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Bryan Fuller now say in a statement the show must be delayed by months to mid-2017 "to achieve a vision we can all be proud of".

"Bringing Star Trek back to television carries a responsibility and mission: to connect fans and newcomers alike to the series that has fed our imaginations since childhood."

"We aim to dream big and deliver, and that means making sure the demands of physical and post-production for a show that takes place entirely in space, and the need to meet an air date, don't result in compromised quality," they say in a statement.

The producers reveal that they misjudged what it would take to ramp up the production machine on the new iteration of the science fiction series that will have a 13 episode first season and suddenly got to a point where they realised it's not possible to film Star Trek: Discovery starting in September.

The actual filming of Star Trek: Discovery will now only start in November - two months later.

"Before heading into production, we evaluated these realities with our partners at CBS and they agreed: Star Trek deserves the very best, and these extra few months will help us achieve a vision we can all be proud of".

CBS TV Studios president David Stapf says in the same statement announcing the Star Trek: Discovery postponement: "They are building a new, very ambitious Star Trek world for television, and everyone involved supports their vision for the best timing to bring to life what we all love on the page".

BREAKING. The dishonest contestant Siyakha Tshayela dumped from Idols on Mzansi Magic with immediate effect amidst behind-the-scenes recording contract fight.


The dishonest Idols contestant Siyakha Tshayela has been dumped from the M-Net reality show on its Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel on DStv with immediate effect earlier today.

Siyakha Tshayela's axing by Idols producers comes comes after she was being not only dishonest with the producers and M-Net, but is also involved in a shocking and ongoing behind-the-scenes fight between her and an independent record label making her continued inclusion in the reality show untenable.

Siyakha Tshayela (23) is a full-time musician from Vosloorus in the East Rand and was included in the group of Top 16 Idols contestants as one of the 8 women vying to win the current 12th season.

While Idols contestants are told in no uncertain terms that they're not allowed to have any prior recording contracts with any recording companies and also sign paperwork to that effect saying they're not represented by any record labels - because they might end up having to sign an exclusive record deal with Universal Music South Africa - a month ago it suddenly came to light that Siyakha Tshayela is involved with an independent record company.

Siyakha Tshayela admitted to Idols producers SIC Entertainment producing the FremantleMedia format show, that she has had dealing with the independent record label before she entered Idols - with the record company that maintains that they actually made a record deal and signed a contract with her.

"Siyakha Tshayela has been withdrawn from the 2016 season of Idols with effect from 15 September as a result of a dispute between herself and an independent recording company," says Idols.

"Participants are required to sign an exclusive recording deal with the Idols appointed recording label when they enter the series."

"On 1 August Siyakha Tshayela informed us that she had entered into discussions with an independent recording company before entering Idols, but she maintained there was no contract in place. The recording company insists there is."

Idols says there's been "no resolution" to the behind-the-scenes fight.

"Due to conditions stipulated by the Idols format rights holder," says Idols - in this case FremantleMedia - "we are unable to continue with a contestant that is currently involved in a legal dispute of this nature".

Idols, M-Net and Mzansi Magic, and SIC Entertainment are slamming the door on Siyakha Tshayela, saying they wish her "all the best with her music career".