Tag Archives: MultiChoice

MultiChoice prepares for Ultimate Love

MultiChoice Nigeria has unveiled a new relationship-focused reality show, auditions for which are being held this month.

John Ugbe

Ultimate Love will see eight single men living with eight single women in a house in an isolated location for two months, with the participants hoping to find life-long love.

Paired up based on mutual attraction, the contestants will engage in series of locally inspired activities as they attempt to emerge as the ultimate couple.

Similarly to Big Brother, the housemates will be closely monitored by live television cameras and personal microphones as they interact daily with a counsellor.

Viewers will have the opportunity to vote off their least favourite couple on a weekly basis, while the winning couple will be rewarded with a lavish traditional wedding ceremony and a fully furnished home, among other prizes.

Single men and women aged 23 and above who have an active subscription to DStv or GOtv can register to take part in Ultimate Love by clicking here. Auditions are being held from November 22 to 30.

MultiChoice Nigeria CEO John Ugbe said: “Reality TV shows are immensely popular because they showcase real people experiencing real-life situations, thus connecting with viewers and fans on a personal and relatable level. There are fewer things realer than love, and Ultimate Love, our new and exciting reality show, celebrates this.

The show will air live, 24/7 on all DStv and select GOtv packages starting February 2020.

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DStv adds three factual channels

MultiChoice-owned pay TV operator DStv has added three factual channels to its line-up.

Yolisa Phahle

The new networks are CBS Justice, which will replace A+E Networks UK’s Crime + Investigation channel; factual entertainment net CuriosityStream, which was launched by Discovery founder John Hendricks; and Euronews, which returns to the platform it left a few years ago.

MultiChoice general entertainment CEO Yolisa Phahle said: “We’re thrilled to finally announce the launch of these channels that will expand the line-up of new programming for our DStv customers to enjoy.

“CuriosityStream will give our viewers informative entertainment that the family can enjoy together, and it’s with great pride that we are able to launch CBS Justice, a new true crime channel which is part of the CBS AMC Networks EMEA portfolio of channels. We’re also delighted to expand our viewers’ choice of news and actuality programming with Euronews.”

CuriosityStream will feature factual programming including original and exclusive films and series, with titles ranging from Deep Time History and The History of Food to Age of Big Cats and Breakthrough.

CBS Justice will feature a curated selection of original and acquired programming, including original productions The Real Prime Suspect, Donal MacIntyre’s Murder Files, Secrets of a Psychopath and Evidence of Evil; plus acquisitions Cold Justice, Fame Kills and Stalker.

Clint Stinchcomb, president and CEO of CuriosityStream, said: “CuriosityStream is thrilled to premiere on DStv, collaborating with MultiChoice as our inaugural bundled distribution partner in Africa. Viewers are hungry for high-quality, engaging and entertaining factual shows, and CuriosityStream is proud to offer our channel to this important media market.”

Louise Cottrell, senior VP, affiliate partnerships for AMC Networks International UK, added: “This new launch highlights the growing demand for true crime content in the region, and we are thrilled to offer MultiChoice’s DStv customers exclusive access to authentic documentaries and series for the first time on CBS Justice.”

Carolyn Gibson, chief revenue officer at Euronews, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with DStv to reach even more households on the African continent.”

 

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MNet scraps 2019 award shows

African pay TV group MultiChoice’s flagship channel MNet has announced it will not be televising two of its own award shows this year.

The Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) and DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards (DMVCAs) will not be aired due to the inability to find sponsors to share the production costs that come with mounting the shows.

The AMVCAs, which started in 2013 to promote and recognise African TV and film productions from across West, East and Southern Africa, had its sixth edition in September 2018 in Lagos. The DMVCAs, which began in 2017 to promote and recognise South Africa’s entertainment industry, had its second edition in November 2018.

According to MultiChoice Africa, the AMVCAs might return in the future while the DMVCAs will take place some time in 2020.

“The AMVCAs requires huge funding to make happen, as well as an alignment between the production, competition and commercial teams, as well as staging it in Nigeria, where there are limited venues capable of a production of this scale,” MultiChoice said.

 

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Patel takes MultiChoice non-exec role

Imtiaz Patel, executive chair of African pay TV group MultiChoice, will be switching to a non-executive role in October 2020.

Imtiaz Patel

The announcement was made shortly after MultiChoice revealed it had added 1.2 million active subscribers in the first half of 2019 and had also upped its operating profit to R4.9bn (US$328m) from R4.1bn in the previous period.

MultiChoice said Calvo Mawela, the group’s current CEO, will assume “full executive responsibility” after Patel’s move.

Patel joined MultiChoice subsidiary SuperSport in 1999 and in March 2005 was appointed CEO.

He was named group CEO of MultiChoice South Africa in 2010. In October 2015, he became CEO of video entertainment for parent company Naspers and then MultiChoice executive chairman early this year.

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DStv retains A+E Networks channels

MultiChoice Group’s pay TV operator DStv has announced it will no longer remove two A+E Networks EMEA channels from its platform.

Yolisa Phahle

The History and Lifetime channels will remain but Crime + Investigation has been cut off.

MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner revealed the group has signed a new multi-year contract. “We’ve reached an agreement with A+E Networks for terms that we think are acceptable to our DStv subscribers for both History and Lifetime, but Crime + Investigation is still ending,” he said.

“Two further channels from another provider will be announced before the middle of November as a replacement for Crime + Investigation, as well as another factual documentary channel. We’re just finalising technical launch plans so that we can be clear on a launch date.”

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, added: “We are excited to have reached this agreement as it allows us to ensure we meet our commitment to get the best programming for our customers, based on commercial terms that make sense and provide a value for money offering to customers. We are pleased that Lifetime will also now be available to our Compact package customers.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and feedback and have their best interests in mind as we continue to work hard to improve our entertainment offering.”

“We are pleased to have agreed a long-term renewal of our flagship brands, History and Lifetime, in Africa with our partner DStv. As part of this renewal, the new distribution of Lifetime in Compact presents an exciting opportunity to reach millions of new viewers with our unique programming offering”, said Dean Possenniskie, MD of A+E Networks EMEA.

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Mohammed vows to end TV monopolies

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has revealed the government intends to put a stop to the country’s broadcasting monopolies because of the effect they have on the TV industry’s potential.

Lai Mohammed

He made the announcement at a recent a meeting with online publishers in Lagos, adding that he had implemented reforms and inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission reform implementation committee to impose stiffer penalties on those who violate broadcast regulations.

“A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable,” Mohammed said.

“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talent and discourage creativity. The clearest example of the creative energy that can be unleashed when monopoly is totally broken can be seen in the telecommunications industry.”

As part of the shake-up, MultiChoice’s current monopoly over the live airing of important sporting events will end.

“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices. You cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access. Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out,” Mohammed added.

Although DStv has the monopoly on the live broadcasting of the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League in Nigeria, a source within the ministry suggested the new era of liberalisation is expected to allow sporting events to be accessed by other pay TV and free-to-air platforms.

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MultiChoice covers IAAF championships

Pay TV operator MultiChoice has launched a pop-up channel covering the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships  on GOtv.

From now until October 8, GOtv Max subscribers can watch the 17th edition of the championships, which begin in Doha, Qatar, today.

World record-holding athletes such as Ethiopian duo Yomif Kejelcha and Genzebe Dibaba are among those competing, said GOtv, adding: “Subscribers can take advantage of the GOtv StepUp offer to upgrade or renew the GOtv Max package by paying a reduced fee of N2,600. The offer runs until 31st October, 2019.”

The channel is available on StarTimes 37.

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DStv Now streaming service blacks out

Streaming service DStv Now crashed suddenly during the broadcast of the opening match of the Rugby World Cup 2019 between NewZealand and South Africa on MultiChoice’s SuperSport channel.

MultiChoice said there was “a problem with the influx of fresh logins on the platform which had to be individually verified.” A message on the channel read: “Sorry, we are unable to play this video right now, something went wrong on our side.”

The streaming service has crashed repeatedly, leaving subscribers unable to watch the premiere episode of the final season of Game of Thrones on M-Net (DStv 101), the finale of The Bachelor SA on M-Net, the English Premier League final, Formula 1 racing and The Voice SA.

Stacey Venter, marketing specialist at MultiChoice’s Connected video division, said: “We are aware of the issues with DStv Now and understand how frustrated our customers are feeling.”

MultiChoice corporate affairs representative Nthabiseng Serote said: “We would like to apologise to some of our DStv Now customers who were unable to access the platform for the Springbok Rugby World Cup 2019 match against the All Blacks. All customers that were logged in ahead of the start of the match were able to view the game seamlessly.

“Our engineering team has been working tirelessly ahead of the Rugby World Cup to ensure preparedness for a record number of online viewers. Our DStv Now app goes through a series of checks during a user’s login to verify the user, their password, package etc. This verification process is quite critical to ensure that our customers are able to have access to the platform for their entertainment requirements.”

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MultiChoice reopens branches

Pay TV operator MultiChoice has begun reopening its Lagos branches after it closed several offices in response to the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa’s Gauteng province.

MultiChoice was one of a number of South African companies to shut branches following the violence but its outlets in Mushin, Surulere and some other parts of Lagos have now reopened – although some remain closed.

The news was confirmed by a member of staff at the Lagos offices of MultiChoice-owned platform DStv, who said: “Some branches reopened on Saturday, but by Sunday morning all [DStv] branches had reopened.”

Describing the looting and vandalism that took place as part of the xenophobic attacks, he added: “Although the office was looking well set and activities going on smoothly, the workers told our reporter that hoodlums last week went away with some television sets and damaged some valuables.

“Those hoodlums entered, scattered the whole place, damaged our air conditioner outside, forcefully removed one of the televisions on the slab and smashed it on the floor. We all ran for our lives. The police later came and chased them away. We are back now, activities have commenced. You are safe here.”

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MultiChoice shuts Nigeria, Zambia branches

Pay TV operator MultiChoice is among the South African companies to have closed branches in Nigeria and Zambia after being targeted in protests against the xenophobic attacks in South Africa’s Gauteng province.

Joe Heshu

A recent spate of xenophobic violence and looting, mainly directed at immigrant-owned shops across Johannesburg, has led to protests against South African-owned businesses elsewhere in Africa. In response, MultiChoice has closed its offices in Nigeria’s Lagos and Zambia capital Lusaka.

MultiChoice head of corporate affairs Joe Heshu said the branches would remain closed until the situation stabilises.

“We have had to shut branches and offices to safeguard customers and staff until further notice. MultiChoice is committed to uniting Africans through our programming and cultural initiatives. We advocate equality and condemn all forms of discrimination. The ongoing violence in South Africa against foreign nationals is against the spirit of Africa and counter-productive to the decades of work done by African leaders and well-meaning organisations to unite the continent.

“We are a proudly African company and although our story began in South Africa, today we represent the African continent in all its diversity through our presence across the region. We embrace and celebrate the diversity of varied nationalities, traditions, cultures and religions from across the continent and beyond.

“This is demonstrated through our multinational staff complement, our multicultural supply chain, as well as the local and international content that we showcase on both our DStv and GOtv platforms. We believe Africa’s full potential can only be realised through dialogue, peace and unity. This is a sombre period for every African on the continent and beyond, and we urge all our customers, followers and stakeholders to shun violence.”

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BBCS creates new BBC Lifestyle feed

BBC Studios (BBCS) has announced plans to create a separate BBC Lifestyle commercial channel that will be broadcast across Sub-Saharan Africa, in countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Sarah-Jane Harling

From September 1, advertisers in those countries will be able to reach modern female audiences through the channel feed, which is available across sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice’s pay TV service for DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus and DStv Compact subscribers.

Sales for the BBC Lifestyle feed will be managed by MultiChoice’s DStv media sales arm on behalf of BBCS and advertisers targeting South African and SADC audiences will be able to reach those upmarket audiences on the current BBC Lifestyle feed.

“This will enable advertisers to target client needs through a combination of traditional advertising spots and tailored creative solutions,” said BBCS in a statement.

Cookery, entertainment series and aspirational design shows on BBC Lifestyle will include Come Dine With Me South Africa, Dinner Dates, Bake Off: The Professionals and the newly commissioned First Dates South Africa, which are watched by Kenyan and Nigerian audiences.

Sarah-Jane Harling, advertising account director for Africa at BBCS, said: “This is a significant step to offer brands the opportunity to align with BBC Lifestyle’s premium global and local content and extensive reach across Sub-Saharan Africa.

“With its unique mix of entertaining programming, the channel now offers dedicated ad breaks for South Africa and Africa, and remains a very attractive environment for advertisers operating on the continent.

“It enables BBC Lifestyle to assist brands wanting to specifically reach aspirational households in South Africa as well as consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa separately.”

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MultiChoice academy sees first graduates

The MTF graduates pictured at Nairobi Film Centre in Kenya

The MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) film academy, which launched in Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya last May, has held its first graduation ceremony, honouring 20 students from its East Africa hub in Kenya.

As well as receiving certificates from the Kenyatta University accredited training programme, the students have various landed placements and internships at institutions such as the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) in the US.

Other students’ next moves include a Bollywood production internship with Nihilent in India; a Nollywood production scriptwriting internship on an Africa Magic series produced in Lagos; training for an infinite AVID media composer licence; and working towards an AVID Pro Tools licence with Jasco Broadcast Solutions.

“Those who made the cut have certainly proved their potential, and all the graduates’ hard work during the programme has led to this moment,” said Njoko Muhoho, MTF East Africa director.

“It was truly a privilege to witness as the students worked diligently and demonstrated exactly how important a programme such as the MTF academy is for the preservation of Africa’s creative film and TV industry. I couldn’t have been prouder of the students for the work they have so far put in, and for what lies ahead of them.”

Maharage Chande, MultiChoice director for the Northern region, added: “We’ve encountered some challenges as we travelled our way along this journey, but with the remarkable support of our stakeholders, partners and supporters, we soldiered on and have emerged stronger for the creative industry as a whole.”

Cheryl Uys-Allie, MTF director, said: “From the outset, we at MultiChoice believed that working in partnership with creative organisations across the continent and beyond would contribute towards making this initiative a success for the students and broader creative industry.

“We truly thank the partners who have come on board to contribute towards equipping our emerging creatives with the technical skills they need to expertly navigate our industry. As the old African proverb says, ‘If you want to run fast, go alone. If you want to run far, go together.’ It’s our hope that we will see more partners joining us to ignite Africa’s creative industry further.”

MTF has partnered with various institutions and organisations to ensure the success of the initiative and also with the world-renowned NYFA.

The MTF was launched to support and grow Africa’s creative film and TV industries by offering training opportunities to young emerging filmmakers. Successful applicants won a place on a 12-month fully funded training programme run by three regional academy directors, Muhoho (East Africa), Berry Lwando (Southern Africa) and Femi Odugbemi (West Africa), who each took on 20 students.

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SuperSport, SABC sign PSL deal

MultiChoice’s SuperSport and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have signed a five-year deal giving the latter free-to-air rights to South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Calvo Mawela

Discussing the deal, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa said: “Our duty is to deliver on our promises and resolve issues raised by our people.

“Thus, I am happy to announce that all parties have concluded an agreement on commercial terms with the SABC allowing them to broadcast Premier Soccer League matches on television for our people.

“I would like to thank all the participants – MultiChoice‚ the PSL and the SABC – for their positive approach which ensures that ordinary South Africans are able to access football in our country. We recognise the importance of sport, and in this instance football, in promoting national cohesion and commend all stakeholders involved.”

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza expressed his satisfaction over the willingness of the sports ministers and SABC to facilitate a commercial agreement that ensures the sustainability of the PSL as one of the top 10 football leagues in the world.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela added: “We remain committed to the long-term investment in sports in South Africa and the rest of Africa. In the previous financial year, MCG invested over R2.3bn in sports on the continent.

“An important element of the investment is in sports broadcasting and sponsorship rights, which provide critical revenue streams for sports bodies that filter down to every tier and have an undeniable impact on the development of sport.”

SABC Group CEO Madoda Mxakwe said: “In line with our public mandate, we are pleased to have reached an agreement in the interest of the South African public. Most importantly, this commercially viable deal is aligned to the goal of having a financially sustainable public broadcaster.

“The SABC will continue to discharge its public mandate in a manner which is not only sustainable for the organisation, but ensures that the South African public have access to sports of national interest such as the PSL.”

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ICTU calls strike over MultiChoice job cuts

MultiChoice workers are making plans to stage a nationwide strike to protest at job cuts at the company.

The move comes weeks after MultiChoice revealed its intention to retrench more than 2,000 employees in its call centres and walk-in customer service centres.

According to the Information Communication Technology Union (ICTU), the underpaid workers of MultiChoice SA have decided to stand up for their rights even though the strike will affect all of MultiChoice’s 7.7 million DStv customers in South Africa who have made payment or service queries.

“This strike comes at the time when MultiChoice has deployed new integrated billing system on August 21 and it is experiencing its own failures,” the ICTU said.

“It is expected that the strike action will be adding fuel to the fire and ICTU will not stand on the sidelines and allow workers to be retrenched for fictitious reasons.

“What irritates workers most is that MultiChoice has secretly entered into a third-party agreement to service clients to perform current functions yet they claim technological usage is the reason to retrench.”

Joe Heshu, MultiChoice’s executive for corporate affairs, expressed disappointment at the strike call and said that the group would continue consulting with labour on the proposed restructure in the customer care division.

“This would be under the guidance of the commissioner appointed by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, in line with the Labour Relations Act,” said Heshu.

“The threatened strike action is not only unprotected, it is also illegal. We call on all parties to act in a manner that will ensure the best outcome for impacted employees.”

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MultiChoice airs Championship games

MultiChoice’s Supersport channel has acquired the rights to broadcast live games from the Sky Bet Championship and Carabao Cup during the 2019/20 football season.

The Sky Bet Championship, which is second highest division in English soccer after the Premier League, will be broadcast on all DStv packages and available to GOtv Max and GOtv Plus customers.

The teams featuring in the league’s 2019/20 season include Leeds United, Derby County, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City.

The Carabao Cup is an annual knockout competition and includes all 92 clubs within the top four levels of English football. Fixtures for round two of the competition take place on August 27 and 28 and comprise Queens Park Rangers versus Portsmouth, Fulham versus Southampton and Nottingham Forest versus Derby County.

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DStv partners with Playmakers

MultiChoice-owned pay TV operator DStv has appointed marketing and sponsorship firm Playmakers as its lead sponsorship and activations agency.

Simon Camerer

The company was selected after a pitch from the Playmakers team convinced DStv it would be the best partner.

Playmakers Group MD Matt Ellenbogen said: “Winning the DStv account is an important win for Playmakers. DStv is the leading broadcaster on the African continent, with an incredible bouquet of content and world-class in-house production capabilities. DStv has very exciting ambitions to grow their business and we look forward to partnering with them to help them achieve these goals.

“A large portion of sponsorship value is driven through broadcast and content. This is a space that is changing rapidly at the moment. We believe our new partnership with DStv will also keep us closer to what is developing in the broadcast and content space.”

MultiChoice chief customer officer Simon Camerer added: “We’re excited to have Playmakers as one of our core agencies that will propel our business objectives through our various valued sponsorship and partnership properties. The Playmakers team delivered a pitch presentation that showcased thought leadership, a strong understanding of our business challenges and global trends shaping broadcasters today. We look forward to working with the award-winning agency and wish them all the best.”

With a team of more than 60 specialists from across the marketing sphere, Playmakers aims to lead from the front in developing thinking that challenges convention and solves clients’ business challenges, according to the company.

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MultiChoice names corporate affairs chief

MultiChoice Africa has appointed Reatile Tekateka as executive head of corporate affairs for its pan-African arm.

Reatile Tekateka

Tekateka was previously MD of PR agency Joe Public United. She will report to MultiChoice Africa CEO Hennie Visser.

Tekateka’s other previous roles include head of PR and communication at pan-African broadcaster Econet Media, while she has also had stints at Magna Carta and Liberty Group.

Visser said: “We are pleased with the appointment of Reatile, who brings within MultiChoice Africa an impressive professional footprint in Africa.

“Reatile will play a critical role in building and executing strategies that will assist MultiChoice Africa navigate diverse media, as well as a specialised and diverse set of skills and experience to navigate highly complex and regulated industries across diverse geographies.”

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MTF preps cinematography masterclass

Pay TV operator MultiChoice’s Talent Factory scheme (MTF) will hold a one-day masterclass in cinematography next week.

Taking place on Tuesday August 13, it will see award-winning film expert Christian Epps teaching directors of photography so they can move to the next level in their craft.

Epps’ career spans across major motion pictures, broadcast television, commercials, live theatre, dance, music videos and special events.

Interested persons can apply by sending their CV to [email protected] Applicants must have a minimum of five years’ work experience as either a director of photography or a cinematographer.

MTF academy director Femi Odugbemi said: “We recognise the importance of continuous improvement in visually telling our stories and Cinematography is a key pillar of that objective.”

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MultiChoice adds WWE pop-up channel

Pay TV operator MultiChoice has rolled out a pop-up channel offering WWE content on its DStv platform.

Gideon Khobane

Available now, the channel will give subscribers to DStv’s Compact, Premium and Compact Plus packages access to US wrestling giant WWE shows like SmackDown Live, Raw, WrestleMania and SummerSlam until the end of the year. DStv Access and Family subscribers have access until August 21.

With the WWE brand facing new competition from All Elite Wrestling in the US, it is on the lookout for markets in Africa to not only grow revenue but also acquire fans and a new audience for its content.

Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport, which is behind the pop-up, said: “WWE has proved to be an excellent acquisition for viewers all across the continent. The new pop-up channel is a natural evolution that shows the growth and excitement around the SuperSport broadcasts of WWE.”

SuperSport acquired the WWE licensing rights from e.tv in 2017.

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DStv adds news network

Pay TV operator MultiChoice Africa has introduced a new channel on its DStv platform across the continent.

Newzroom Afrika, a 24-hour news network, is now available to subscribers to DStv’s Access, Family, Compact, Compact Plus and Premium package.

The channel covers content ranging from breaking news to in-depth analysis, business, sports, expert panel discussions and unique insights into the African continent.

Newzroom Afrika co-founder and co-CEO Thabile Ngwato said: “We believe viewers are hungry for a different perspective that is fully independent and puts their interests first. We made sure, in designing our editorial structure and choosing the members of our editorial board, to hardwire the highest levels of rigour and independence into our newsroom.

“We are excited to be broadcasting into the rest of Africa, as this has been the plan from the very beginning.”

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment at MultiChoice, added: “We are proud to bring this news channel to more of our DStv customers across the continent. The addition of Newzroom Afrika will increase the diversity of voices and perspectives in Africa’s news media spaces.”

Newzroom Afrika claims to have unmatched remote broadcasting capabilities, cutting-edge systems and technology that allows for high-definition broadcast and enables journalists roam wherever the news takes them. It can be found on DStv channel 405.

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