Tag Archives: South Africa

Auditions held for Big Brother Mzansi S3

Online auditions have begun for season three of South African reality series Big Brother Mzansi, following M-Net’s announcement it was renewing the show for another season.

South Africans who are articulate, interesting, reveal enthusiasm for the project, have a willingness to share their most private thoughts in an open forum and can stay 100 days in a camera-filled house can apply by uploading a two-minute video of themselves showing why they should be one of the contestants.

Big Brother Mzansi will run as a 24/7 channel on MultiChoice’s DStv, with daily highlight shows on M-Net’s Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

Formerly known as Big Brother South Africa, the show aired its last season in 2015. It is one of 69 adaptations of the Banijay-owned format worldwide and 2021 marks 20 years since the first ever Big Brother South Africa.

Auditions are being held until November 6.

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MultiChoice showcases SA at Expo 2020

Pay TV company MultiChoice has announced plans to put South Africa centre stage during the World Expo 2020 taking place in Dubai this weekend.

Imtiaz Patel

With MultiChoice being the official broadcast partner of Team South Africa, the company will host live performance One Night with Mzansi at the Dubai Opera on October 17. This will showcase the best of SA’s talent as they share their craft with the world through storytelling, performance and music.

The live show will be hosted by South African actor Nomzamo Mbatha and will feature performances by local favourites like Mi Casa, Blaq Diamond, DJ Maphorisa, Daliwonga and Ami Faku.

Production companies including Tshedza Pictures and The Bomb Shelter, both of which have worked closely with MultiChoice over the years, will be present as well as artists including Sho Madjozi, Pabi Moloi, Thando Thabethe, Coenie de Villiers, Mzansi Youth and Drakensberg Boys Choirs.

According to the pay TV company, there will also be a content showcase of all of South Africa’s events on October 18 and 19 to reveal its talent and highlight the country’s beautiful natural assets and availability for business.

MultiChoice’s group non-executive chair Imtiaz Patel said: “MultiChoice has chosen this strategic direction as its contribution to national efforts to kickstart the South African economy and contribute to job creation interventions.

“South Africa’s attractiveness in the creative and cultural sector has, over the past few years, emerged as a key growth opportunity for the country, and as a platform on which to position and showcase its natural beauty and diversity using the international film and multimedia stage.

“The World Expo 2020 is therefore a platform to showcase the country’s assets, both natural and people, to, amongst others, the international business, investor, creative and tourism sectors. Both the creative and cultural as well as the tourism sectors have been hardest hit by the pandemic and the exposure at the World Expo 2020 can give these sectors a much-needed boost.”

The event, themed Think South Africa, Think Opportunity, will invite international guests to visit, explore and experience the gateway to Africa. The group will leverage its more than 20 million subscribers and 100 million viewers across the continent to promote the South African story of resilience and constant re-invention to global audiences until the end of March 2022.

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Love Nature, PBS pair for SA migration doc

The Ocean’s Greatest Feast

International natural history channel Love Nature and US broadcasting group The WNET Group, part of the PBS network, have coproduced a South African feature documentary about the annual sardine run off the east coast of the country.

The Ocean’s Greatest Feast will debut on PBS, Love Nature’s linear and streaming platforms, Sky Nature in the UK, Italy and Germany, France Télévisions and SVT in Sweden.

Produced by Durban-based Earth Touch, the doc follows billions of sardines as they travel up the east coast of South Africa to Mozambique between May and July, providing a moving banquet for an array of marine predators.

Blue Ant International, which like Love Nature is part of Blue Ant Media, handles international pre-sales and licensing outside coproduction territories for The Ocean’s Greatest Feast.

Carlyn Staudt, global general manager of Love Nature, said: “The cutting-edge technology and techniques that Earth Touch uses in The Ocean’s Greatest Feast not only showcases never-before-seen perspectives, but results in an incredibly breath-taking and compelling story about the creatures who play a part in this natural phenomenon.”

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SABC boards SA-Ivory Coast sci-fi copro

Johannesburg-based production company Known Associates Entertainment (KAE) and Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI), the national broadcaster of Ivory Coast, have signed a deal to co-develop and coproduce a sci-fi drama series.

Joel Phiri

South African public broadcaster SABC has pre-bought Ambre (6×60’) to air in 2022, while RTI Distribution is handling sales internationally. KAE is best known as the producer of the SA version of Ugly Betty.

Ambre is produced by Matchbox Multimedia director Lebone Maema, co-created by Maema and Ivorian writer Binta Dembele and will be shot in South Africa and in Ivory Coast with actors from both countries. The language mix will comprise equal proportions of English and French, according to the producers.

The show is a futuristic action thriller about courage, hope and the heroism of youth in desperate times, according to KAE, and “epitomises the company’s vision for creating premium African global content.”

The story is anchored in the love of hip-hop music and informed by the controversial history of chemical and biological weapons in Africa, all wrapped up in the mysticism of Zulu healer Credo Mutwa’s literature.

Maema described the show as “in the vein of American Gods and Black Earth Rising.”

KAE chairman Joel Phiri said: “Through this deal, a South African production company supported by a national broadcaster will work directly with a francophone West African national broadcaster, as well as international partners, on this milestone coproduction. We are going big, superhero big, big budget-big and we are looking forward to finding other global broadcasters and distribution partners.”

Ana Ballo, director of RTI Distribution, added: “It is a real pleasure but also a real challenge to pull off such an ambitious project with our South African partner and counterparts. We really hope that this project will be backed up by both governments and by private sector sponsors to reach the level we are aiming for.”

“We continue to seek meaningful partnerships on the continent where we can co-create new formats and stories that drive African storytelling. Our aim with this partnership is to create an environment to maximise opportunities for the best ideas, talents and partnerships in an increasingly competitive and global environment,” added Renée Williams, head of local productions at SABC.

KAE was co-founded by Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri and Dan Jawitz and is the prodco behind SABC1’s hit show Ubettina Wethu, adapted from Yo Soy Betty La Fea, on which Ugly Betty is also based.

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MultiChoice, YES train 300 young people

Pay TV company MultiChoice has partnered with the Youth Employment Service (YES) to train more than 300 learners as part of its continued commitment to South Africa’s youth.

Joe Heshu

The learners will take part in programmes, dubbed learnerships, that will involve the training of 225 young people in information and communications technology and internships where 75 technical and vocational education and training students will intern across a diversified portfolio that includes HR, finance, marketing, law and IT.

They will also receive employment opportunities, either with MultiChoice or externally.

Joe Heshu, group director for corporate affairs at MultiChoice, said: “The main objective for this programme is to create work opportunities for youth who have previously not been afforded the opportunity. It is our contribution to responding to youth unemployment in a meaningful way that impacts our communities.

“MultiChoice has long been an advocate for South Africa’s youth, providing mentorship opportunities and a platform for young people to tell their stories. This year we have deepened our commitment to the youth and through partnerships such as the one with YES we hope to continue to have a meaningful impact on the lives of young South Africans.”

This is the second year MultiChoice has taken in a cohort of learners as part of the programme and has created more than 400 new job opportunities as well as100 sports coaching learnerships through its Let’s Play initiative.

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Trace TV unveils training platform in SA

Music video channel Trace has launched a free vocational training platform named Trace Academia in South Africa.

Olivier Laouchez

The platform was launched by Elisabeth Moreno, South Africa’s minister for gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities; Olivier Laouchez, co-founder and executive chairman of Trace; and Trace Academia’s joint MD Prejlin Naidoo.

Trace Academia has been designed in response to the high rate of unemployment in South Africa and the African continent. The platform will educate and empower young South Africans with skills needed to find or create jobs.

Aimed at training over 25 million young people by 2025, the locally produced training courses have been created in collaboration with leading companies, institutions and experts to ensure that the skills provided are well matched to market needs. There will also be trainings on soft skills, entrepreneurship, job acquisition and others.

Laouchez said: “To build Trace Academia, we’ve combined our expertise and experience in entertainment with cutting-edge learning approaches adapted to the realities and cultures of Africa. The young people we have worked with in building the platform find the content highly engaging.

“In fact, in a recent study of 17- to 25-year-olds in SA, Kenya and Nigeria, 96% said the app would motivate them to further their education or improve their employment prospects. We believe that Trace Academia has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of young people in South Africa and across the continent.”

According to Trace TV, Trace Academia will be launched in the rest of the world by the end of this year, with more courses to be produced with leading companies, institutions and experts globally. The Trace Academia application can be downloaded on the Apple App store and Google Play store.

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Netflix backs $1.9m SA film deal

Global streaming platform Netflix has partnered with Johannesburg-based National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) to invest US$1.9m in the production of South African micro-budget feature films.

Ben Amadasun

The move is aimed at supporting the South African film industry’s recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as alleviate the pressure filmmakers face in raising additional funding and ensure job creation.

SA publication Business Tech noted that each partner will contribute R14m (US$950,000) towards the production of local films that will receive exclusive debuts on Netflix.

The partnership will entail the funding of six local films including four by emerging filmmakers with budgets capped at R4m and two feature films by established filmmakers capped at R6m.

Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s director of content in Africa, said: “The past year has been incredibly difficult with the pandemic hitting so many industries around the world. The creative community that we are a part of has supported us through the good times so we want to help them continue to create the stories our members love. Now we’re excited to take this a step further with this joint fund with NFVF for above-the-line talent.”

NFVF CEO Makhosazana Khanyile added: “The inclusion of digital platforms into our traditional processes can only profit the industry further. We hope that this is a start of a long and fruitful relationship.”

The submission portal for funding will go live on April 1 and all filmmakers can apply here in accordance with the eligibility criteria.

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BritBox to launch in South Africa

BritBox, the joint-venture streaming service from BBC Studios and UK commercial broadcaster ITV, will launch in South Africa in the second half of 2021.

Paul Dempsey

The territory will be the ad-free SVoD service’s fifth worldwide, following launches in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

Last year BritBox announced a global roll-out that would take the service into 25 new territories, bringing audiences a collection of UK shows and box sets, drama premieres and live events, as well as original commissions.

Both ITV and the BBC have an existing relationship with TV audiences in South Africa, where they used to operate linear channels ITV Choice and BBC First respectively. The launch of BritBox will enable consumers to retain access to UK content following the recent closure of both TV channels.

BritBox debuted in North America in March 2017 and announced it had surpassed 1.5 million subscribers in October 2020. It launched in the UK in November 2019, followed by Australia in November 2020.

Martin Goswami

BritBox operates as a 50/50 JV between BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster, and ITV.

Martin Goswami, group strategic partnership and distribution director at ITV, said: “The launch of BritBox in South Africa is yet another step in the platform’s trajectory towards international expansion. We’re delighted to bring the service to a brand new territory and continue towards establishing BritBox as a premium VoD brand across the world.”

Paul Dempsey, president of global distribution at BBC Studios, said, “We know that South African audiences have a real connection to British television and we can’t wait to bring them even more great shows, on demand, that we know they will love.”

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South Africa signals the end of analogue

The South African government will soon start the process of switching off its analogue TV signals as part of its transition to digital broadcasting.

Cyril Ramaphosa

The move was announced recently by the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, who said he anticipates the process will be done province-by-province and will be completed by the end of March 2022.

“The completion of digital migration is vital to our ability to effectively harness the enormous opportunities presented by technological change,” he said.

“The country’s digital migration process has suffered many delays, with South Africa ultimately missing the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union for completion of the process.”

He added that the licensing of high-demand spectrum was at an advanced stage.

“We hope that the ongoing litigation on the licensing matter will provide legal certainty and will not unduly delay the spectrum auction process. The primary aim of digital migration is to release valuable spectrum that will be used to provide new services such as wireless and other broadband services,” Ramaphosa said.

“It will also lead to efficient use of available spectrum since digital broadcasts only require a fraction of the spectrum required for broadcasting services. Digital broadcasting will bring more television channels, more content and allow more choice for consumers.”

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Netflix cancels Queen Sono due to Covid

African original Queen Sono was cancelled due to Covid-19

Global streaming platform Netflix has cancelled African original series Queen Sono, reversing its initial decision to renew the show due to “trying times” under Covid-19.

The six-episode first season of the South African crime drama series was filmed across multiple countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania and was released on February 28 this year.

The show was created by director and screenwriter Kagiso Lediga and produced by Diprente Films. It followed the story of intelligence agency field operative Queen Sono (played by Quantico star Pearl Thusi) who sets out to uncover the mystery behind her mother’s death.

In April, the show – Netflix’s first African series – was renewed for a second season but the streamer has now reversed that decision.

Lediga explained: “We wrote a beautiful story that spanned the continent but unfortunately could not be executed in these current trying times.”

In a statement, Netflix said: “We’ve made the difficult decision not to move forward with season 2 of Queen Sono. We are incredibly proud of the Diprente team for sharing their audacious vision and bringing it to life with Netflix.

“A huge thank-you to our fans across the world for the love shared for our first African original series. Netflix is also grateful to the amazing efforts shown by the cast and crew for their stellar efforts in creating this show for our members around the world.”

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MultiChoice SA changes leadership

South African pay TV operator MultiChoice has announced changes to its top management team.

Nyiko Shiburi

The company has appointed Nyiko Shiburi as CEO of its South African operations. Shiburi started his MultiChoice career at DStv Mobile as a project manager in 2007 having been involved in decoder and broadcast technology product development.

“He ably dealt with macro issues such as economic meltdown, drought that impacted electricity supply, tax issues, currency devaluations, regulatory issues, acquiring new licences, political and people challenges, and has shown resilience and nimbleness,” said MultiChoice group CEO Calvo Mawela.

“Shiburi has been the company’s regional director for southern Africa for the past two-and-a-half years and has had to navigate the complexity of multiple territories and multiple businesses each uniquely different and uniquely complex.”

Fhulu Badugela, a former group executive head of human resources at MultiChoice Africa and operations director at M-Net, has been appointed regional director for southern Africa markets.

Calvo Mawela

“[Badugela’s] leadership and broader MultiChoice Group exposure has seen Fhulu achieve a great track record of leading operational excellence and enabling a high performance culture, and will help us drive forward the MultiChoice Africa Holdings business turnaround,” said Mawela.

Marc Jury takes up the role of CEO of the SuperSport division, responsible for managing negotiations and acquiring all sports-related programming across the SuperSport channels as well as overseeing the marketing of that content.

He was previously head of commercial and marketing for Cricket SA, commercial executive at sports marketing firm SAIL, MD for IFM Sport Marketing Surveys SA and an account director at United Media Entertainment Group in London.

“Marc has always had a great affinity to sport and this, together with his passion for motivating people and getting the best out of those around him, makes him the best candidate for the role,” Mawela added.

Lastly, Clement O’Reilly takes over as group executive head of human resources, while Gideon Khobane, current CEO of SuperSport, is now group executive for general entertainment, which is responsible for programming across all the pay operator’s platforms.

Shiburi and Jury will assume their new roles on December 1.

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South Africa revamps Broadcast Act

South Africa’s department of communications and digital technologies has proposed a revamp of the country’s Broadcasting Act in an effort to boost the powers of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

In a white paper published recently, the department said: “The Broadcasting Act will change to the South African Broadcasting Corporation Act and government will amend the legislation to reflect the public broadcasting service role to be played by the SABC in the growing audiovisual content services market in South Africa.”

The amendments will include changes to the TV licence fee section of the Act and proposes broadening the definition and the collection system for television licences and strengthening enforcement mechanisms and penalties for non-payment.

Although the current Broadcasting Act already allows the SABC to pursue much stricter punishments for people who fail to pay their licence fee, this is rarely enforced.

The Act reads: “Specifically, a person who fails to comply with any lawful demand made by an inspector is guilty of an offence in relation to each television set in respect of which the offence is committed and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding R500 in relation to each such offence or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”

The SABC stated that TV licence fee cash collections were severely impacted during the coronavirus lockdown as its usual collection methods were closed. “Cash for all the revenue streams started to improve slightly in the month of June, the period where many restrictions were eased and suppliers were able to operate,” it said.

“However, owing to the economic climate that has had an effect on licence holders’ disposal of cash, compliance levels have not improved and are expected to steadily decline for the remainder of 2020.”

The SABC stated that TV licence fee collections are pursued on a monthly basis despite all the challenges faced. It added that there are plans to minimise the shortfall in cash collections.

“Licence holders who have not made payment during the renewal phase will be referred to debt collectors 60 days after the renewal date. This is the only recourse available to the SABC to pursue payments from non-compliant licence holders.”

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MTN rolls out 5G in South Africa

Mobile operator MTN has launched its commercial 5G network in South Africa, which will provide customers with access to the new service in over 100 sites across the country.

Godfrey Motsa

The telecommunication company is stepping up its digital revolution with the next generation of mobile technology, which promises to bring about “exponential improvements” to the country’s economy, according to MTN.

During the company’s live-streamed launch event, MTN South Africa CEO Godfrey Motsa said: “Today, from MTN’s birthplace of South Africa, we are stepping up our digital revolution with the next generation of telecommunication technology, demonstrating to all South Africans that 5G is no longer just an idea. It is here, it works and it has the capacity to bring about exponential improvements to our economy, and to the lives of the people we serve.”

The launch of the network is due in part to SA telecoms regulator ICASA’s allocation of temporary spectrum, which currently covers specific parts of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Durban and other smaller cities and towns.

Giovanni Chiarelli, MTN South Africa’s chief tech and information officer, said: “Our 5G strategy has been years in the making and we are confident that we have built a strong foundation to grow and support our 5G ecosystem. One of the key innovations driving the broad roll-out by MTN has been a strategic approach to dynamic spectrum sharing, as these deployments overcome the challenges of lack of dedicated 5G spectrum.”

According to the company, the regulator had allowed certain telcos additional spectrum in order to aid South Africans during the Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped the country tighter than any other in Africa. MTN’s 5G service runs on four spectrum bands, making it easier for network technology to migrate from older tech to 5G as well as cover smaller towns and rural areas.

Since the advent of cloud-based game-streaming, the main drawback for platforms in South Africa was always connection speeds. “Cloud gaming will do to gaming what video-on-demand has done to TV; it’s a complete game-changer only this is a game-changer that will be delivered by 5G,” the company said during its launch event.

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Armoza goes on Date in Reverse in SA

Date in Reverse follows a relationship’s most meaningful moments backwards

A South African broadcaster has commissioned a local version of Israeli dating show format Date in Reverse, after striking a deal with Armoza Formats.

Afrikaans lifestyle channel Via TV, part of Naspers-owned Media 24, has greenlit a local version of the format, which ITV Studios-owned Armoza picked up for distribution in 2016.

Created by Volley Formats, Shenhar Productions and Daniella Slavik, Date in Reverse sees two singles looking for love get to experience a relationship’s most meaningful moments, but all backwards.

For instance, they head from the bridal bed to the wedding reception, then from the first family get-together to the first weekend getaway. This culminates with each participant deciding whether or not they are willing to show up for their ‘first date.’

The news comes after Via also produced three seasons of Armoza’s Marry Me Now. The same channel also acquired factual entertainment format The Ex-Team from Armoza last year.

“The whole world has gone mad for dating-as-social-experiment formats and so have we. We’ve been playing around with the idea of sinking our teeth into a big, new dating format and when we stumbled upon Date in Reverse, we fell in love almost instantly,” said Izelle Venter, channel head at Via TV.

“Relationships and dating are part of our DNA and Date in Reverse ticked several boxes for us. Not only does it speak to global viewers’ current fascination with ‘dating experiments’ but it is also conducive to lean TV production – which is something we aim for with all of our shows.”

“Via is a great fit for this unique dating format and we look forward to seeing many more versions around the world,” added Louise Melzack, senior sales director of APAC, Nordics, the UK and Africa at Armoza Formats.

Other recent format deals in South Africa for Armoza include Cape Town prodco The TVSmiths last year signing a deal to make local versions of primetime entertainment show I Can Do That! and comedic factual entertainment series The Gran Plan.

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MultiChoice unveils innovation fund

Pay TV company MultiChoice has launched an innovation fund aimed at helping small businesses in the video entertainment industry and technology sectors.

Calvo Mawela

An extension of MultiChoice’s existing enterprise development trust, established in 2012, the fund will enable innovators to bring their ideas and dreams to life.

Focusing on businesses led by young people and women, the new fund will address the gender gap and youth unemployment in South Africa while ensuring increased and sustained diversity and inclusion in industries such as tech, film and media. Part of the goal of the innovation fund is to expand on the 11 women-owned and four-youth-owned businesses it has already supported.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice group CEO, said: “The video entertainment industry and indeed the world as we know it is on a fascinating digital trajectory and we need to ensure we are ahead of the pack if the continent’s entertainment industry is going to continue to grow sustainably and be globally competitive.

“We anticipate that our innovation fund will spur original thinking and exciting new ideas that will lead to breakthrough moments for these growing entrepreneurs.”

According to MultiChoice, successful beneficiaries will be afforded relevant financial support tailored to the specific circumstances of each case.

“We want to partner with South Africa’s most exciting entrepreneurs, giving them the tools, skills and financial support to bring their original ideas to life,” Mawela added.

“We hope to help create cutting-edge solutions and competitive businesses that will shape the future of South Africa’s technology sector and the video entertainment industry. By investing in and developing entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas, MultiChoice is helping to shape the industries of the future.”

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MTV Shuga drama returns to Nigeria

Drama series MTV Shuga, which recently premiered its new season in South Africa, is making its way to Nigeria and is in search of new talent.

Produced by award-winning producer Tope Oshin, MTV Shuga addresses issues affecting young people such as sexual health, gender-based violence, contraception, family planning and other social issues. In the show, participants who will be judged based on their originality and acting skills.

Auditions will be held on April 4 at the Classique Event Centre, Ikeja, Lagos and registration can be done here. Interested people must be Nigerian, aged over 18 and be ready to provide a valid photo identification and a headshot photo.

Georgia Arnold, executive director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, said: “We are excited to bring back the public auditions for the new season of MTV Shuga Naija.

“Our aim is to continue using relatable storytelling to educate and empower young people about social issues like contraception, sexual health, family planning and gender-based violence. We can’t wait to discover amazing new talent to join the MTV Shuga family.”

Over the years, youths have been able to make more informed decisions based on the viewing of this drama series, according to Alex Okosi, executive VP and MD at Viacom International Media Networks and BET International.

“MTV Shuga provides an important narrative for our African youth with socially relevant content that resonates globally. This call for auditions is a platform for young talent on the continent to open up the industry with diverse storytelling.”

Talent that has come out of MTV Shuga includes Timini Egbuson, Emmanuel Ikubese, Bukola Oladipupo, Helena Nelson and Jemima Osunde.

MTV Shuga, a long-running drama series and multimedia campaign that was pioneered in Kenya in 2009, is a multi-sectorial partnership led by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and is supported by MTV Base Africa, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund and other NGOs.

Set to be on screens in September 2019, the show is aired on Viacom international channels around the world. The content is also offered rights-free to third-party broadcasters and content platforms, and used as a teaching aid by educators, healthcare workers and grassroots HIV/AIDS organisations around the world.

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DStv viewers demand pay-as-you-view

Nigerian subscribers to pay TV operator DStv have expressed their dissatisfaction with the services offered by parent company MultiChoice and are calling for a change in the law.

They are asking the federal government to force the Naspers-owned South African company to introduce a pay-as-you-view billing system.

This, they say, would ensure they get better value for their subscriptions, as they currently pay for services they do not receive.

Nigerian businessman Uzochukwu Nwafor told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN): “They need to put a regulation in place to help subscribers enjoy the money they paid to view the programmes.

“With that [pay-as-you-view] billing, we can save some money. I see subscribing to DStv programmes as a waste of money; it does not happen abroad or even in South Africa.”

Civil servant Silvanus Okonkwo also told NAN: “Many companies come to Nigeria and rip us off because our policies are not being implemented. Again, DStv does not have serious competitors and that is why the company is behaving as it pleases.

“The pay-as-you-go billing that telecommunications operators offer is supposed to be applicable to DStv,” he continued, adding that the National Assembly should concentrate on the number of subscribers available so that bouquet prices can be reduced.

Another DStv subscriber, Ishmael Lawal, said the decoder was not working properly as he usually receives poor signals. He said: “The company cuts off subscriptions two days before expiration without warning. Again, they keep repeating programmes when one had paid to get new and trending programmes.”

A source at the Consumer Protection Council said it had taken MultiChoice to court over the issue.

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BBNaija pair to star in Africa Magic novela

South African broadcaster M-Net’s Africa Magic network is to launch a telenovela starring two former Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) housemates.

Tokunbo Idowu aka TBoss

The show, titled Ajoche, will feature Tokunbo Idowu (popularly known as TBoss) and Bassey Ekpenyong. Both appeared in the 2017 edition of the Endemol Shine-owned reality format, shot in South Africa and branded See Gobe.

Idowu was a controversial character in BBNaija last year, going topless during the broadcasts and generating much discussion among BBNaija fans for her romantic liasons on-screen.

Ekpenyong, meanwhile, has found post-BBNaija success, appearing in Nollywood movies such as The Patient.

Ajoche is an original TV series that is set to premiere on Africa Magic Showcase. It will feature the former contestants alongside actors Femi Branch (Desperate Housewives Africa) and Hilda Dokuba (Stigma) as lead characters.

Announcing the show via Instagram, Africa Magic said: “We’re pulling out all the stops for another telenovela of EPIC proportions!”

The show is set to premiere on April 30 at 20.30 WAT and 21.30 CAT. It is exclusive to Africa Magic Showcase, DSTV channel 151 and it will air every weekday.

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Script to Screen returns for seventh run

Abuja-based High Definition Film Academy (HDFA) is preparing to launch the seventh edition of its reality TV show on March 24.

Script to Screen aims to train filmmakers by helping to develop their skills through direct mentorship and tasks.

Some 60 participants have been chosen from more than 20,000 applicants. Auditions were held in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, US, UK and Canada.

According to the organisers at the HDFA’s production arm, High Definition Film Studio, this year’s edition will tackle the issue of corruption in Nigeria, with the theme Corruption-Free Nigeria.

Participants will be divided into four teams that will undergo intensive training and lecturing from various mentors. They will also work with the organisers of the show to produce short films featuring top Nollywood actors.

Eviction will be held bi-weekly and viewers can vote for their favourite team. Participants with the lowest performance will be evicted by a jury.

Script to Screen’s 2018 jury and facilitators include Nollywood actors and producers such as Blossom Chukwujekwu, Nse Ikpe Etim, OC Ukeje, Bright Wonder, Teco Benson and Kalu Ikeagwu.

Asides from the filmmaking training, participants will also be lectured by MacArthur Foundation representatives on the issue of corruption in Nigeria.

Script to Screen’s finale will feature the premiere of six short films produced by the teams. The leading films will be awarded in categories including Best Screenplay, Best Filmmaker, Best Actor and Overall Best Short Film (Team Award). Each award comes with cash prizes.

The show begins on March 24 and ends on April 21 and will air on TV channels including Wazobia Max, STV, AIT and Africa Magic.

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