Tag Archives: South Africa

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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