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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.”
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.”
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.
MultiChoice-owned pay TV operator DStv has appointed marketing and sponsorship firm Playmakers as its lead sponsorship and activations agency.
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.
MultiChoice Africa has appointed Reatile Tekateka as executive head of corporate affairs for its pan-African arm.
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.”
Pay TV operator MultiChoice has rolled out a pop-up channel offering WWE content on its DStv platform.
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.
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.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has added Discovery’s entertainment channel Real Time to its DStv and Gotv services to be aired all over the continent.
Rolling out today, Real Time features programmes that depict real-life stories, crime, medicine and nature.
According to Amanda Turnbull, VP and general manager for Discovery in Africa and the Middle East, Discovery will be offering world-class content to more African viewers including a personalised channel targeted at the modern African woman and her family.
She said: “Discovery is incredibly excited to present Real Time to a broader audience in the market and to further diversify and expand the brand’s local portfolio offering.”
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice’s CEO of general entertainment, said: “MultiChoice is excited to welcome the new channel which will give viewers access to a wide variety of entertaining television shows from Discovery.”
Real Time was recently added to DStv for its subscribers in South Africa, to the Chinese StarTimes in Africa and also to the StarTimes StarSat brand in South Africa.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has launched a mobile app that allows its customers of its digital terrestrial platform, GOtv, to make changes to their accounts.
MyGOtv is available as a free download via the iOS and Android app stores.
MultiChoice CEO John Ugbe said the app would enable customers to manage their accounts, including the ability to make payments, check balances, change packages and manage viewing preferences.
“The new app will form part of the numerous digital platforms that are innovative and functional to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of our valued customers,” Ugbe said.
“And with the start of season four of reality TV show Big Brother Naija, customers get 100 additional votes to keep their favourite housemate in the competition when they vote via the MyGOtv app.
“By enabling customers to independently manage their accounts, we expect to see a reduction in queries and queues at call centres, thereby freeing up our customer-facing staff to provide improved one-on-one support to those customers who require it. Our goal is to provide an accessible, affordable and efficient platform for self-service to improve overall customer experience when engaging with GOtv.”
Ugbe added that he functionality of the app would be continuously worked on and updated to adapt to technological advancements and improve the user experience.
Pay TV operator MultiChoice has held its first meeting regarding its decision to lay off almost 2, 200 employees.
The cuts will affect those working in the company’s call and walk-in centres. They come as part of a strategic realignment of its customer service delivery model, after customer feedback indicated that MultiChoice subscribers prefer using digital platforms to telephone or walk-in services.
Stakeholders attending the meeting included representatives from the Communication Workers Union, the Media Workers Association of SA and the Information Communication Technology Union, as well MultiChoice’s own Work Place Forum.
MultiChoice group executive for corporate affairs Joe Heshu said: “We respect the spirit that prevailed in the meeting, which was one of open conversations and candour. As a responsible employer, we are empathetic to the plight of the employees who are being consulted as part of the proposed restructuring process.
“We are encouraged that the relevant labour unions share the same views around ensuring the well-being of our employees as we consult on a very difficult process.”
In an effort to exercise due diligence in ensuring it remains compliant with the letter and the spirit of the Labour Relations Act and in agreement with unions and employee representatives, the company has agreed to offer voluntary severance packages and other benefits to affected staff.
Reality TV show Big Brother Naija, which starts its fourth season on June 30, has revealed the winner of this year’s show will receive a N30m cash prize and a total prize worth N60m.
This is an increase on last year’s show when winner Miracle Ikechukwu Igbokwetook home N45m worth of prizes.
John Ugbe, CEO of the show’s broadcaster, MultiChoice, said: “Each edition of Big Brother Naija significantly improves on all aspects of the previous season and this year is no different.
“The winner of season four will walk away from the house with a N30m cash prize and a top-of-the-range SUV, amongst many other exciting prizes.
“The Big Brother Naija winner will also emerge as the most popular and marketable personality on the continent, as the show is known to launch prominent careers in arts, entertainment and other supporting industries.”
In addition, the winner will win a trip to Dubai, a home makeover, a year’s supply of Pepsi and One Africa Fest VIP experience, a year’s supply of Indomie noodles and Munch it, a new Oppo smartphone and also a bonus prize of two VIP tickets to a European football final, courtesy of BET9ja
Showmax and DStv owner MultiChoice is planning to produce 52 local movies and 29 dramas in the next year.
The news was announced alongside the publishing of the South Africa-based pay TV firm’s latest financial results, which revealed it had made a profit of seven billion South African rand from revenue of 50.1 billion rand.
The company has pledged to increase its spend on local general entertainment by 40% in 2022 compared to this year’s outlay.
MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said: “Our growth is exceptionally pleasing, especially in the current economic climate, and a clear indication that our strategy is working.”
In an effort to differentiate itself from Netflix, the company is also planning to offer more sports content on Showmax.