Issue No 112, 31 August 2011

top story

  • Nigeria’s Iroko Partners has hit upon a way of distributing Nollywood content legally, making money and giving some of that money back to the artists who made it. In under a year it has generated around US$1 million in advertising revenues from 2.2 million views and is now expanding into offering music video clips on the same basis. Russell Southwood spoke to its CEO and founder Jason Chukwuma Njoku at Mobile Entertainment World in Cape Town last week. (see the interview video clip link at the bottom of this article).

    Jason Njoku is Nigerian-British and noticed how things were changing:” “Suddenly my mother stopped watching British TV and started watching Nollywood.” So Jason decided to go back to Lagos and set up a You Tube site to distribute Nollywood content legally, launching in November 2010. He now has 47 people working for him and has reached agreements for distributing over 800 movies:”We are buying more on a weekly basis.”

    Previously there were around 30 illegal sites distributing pirated copies:”We are the only legal guys.” When Njoku first approached the producers and directors they were extremely suspicious, but Njoku persuaded them to give it a try and they became really convinced when the first cheques started arriving.

    There were no digital copies and often the master copies of movies had to be re-mastered. Furthermore, there were no descriptions of the movies or cast lists. So Iroko Partners has 13 people employed watching movies to provide these things and to create a descriptions database.

    It has attracted 2.2 million unique viewers and 16 million views from 231 countries and all without any marketing. 20% of traffic is from mobiles and 60% of search enquiries come from mobiles in Nigeria. The really telling statistic is that the 6th biggest market is Malaysia and 11th biggest is Nigeria (around 30,000 unique views). With better bandwidth, viewer numbers will inevitably increase in the home of Nollywood. 

    94% of the advertising income comes from 5 countries with the big markets including USA, UK and Canada. Almost all of these views (even in Malaysia) are from the widely distributed Nigerian diaspora. The biggest movie is Blackberry Babes which is a 60 minute movie that has had 900,000 views: “Blackberry didn’t even know it had been made.”

    Njoku noticed that there were a lot of e-mails asking for Genevieve Nnaji movies. She is now so famous that she is only makes a couple of films a year. So he put out a call to producers and directors for Nnaji movies. Within a week, he was running a season of movies with two new movies a day, which was very successful:”Only the Internet could have that kind of immediacy.”

    His next project is expanding into Nigerian music video clips:”The music entertainment space in Nigeria is an absolute mess. One song can be uploaded as many as 20 times. Music sales cannot be verified. We can do that on You Tube (with views). We can tap into a global audience and give money back to the artists. He has signed 40 artists (so far including  El Dee, Kefee, P Square and Bez) and has plans to sign 100 more.

    According to Ayite Gaba, Business Development, Google who is responsible for developing You Tube partners in Sub-Saharan Africa, the advertising income paid to African partners varies between US$10,000-US$1 million:”Views and revenues are largely coming from outside Africa at the moment and we have no sales offices (for You Tube) in Africa at the moment.”

    This business model will only work if you can reach audiences in the low millions, with the majority of them coming from the diaspora. Nollywood is unique content and there is perhaps no other African content that has this kind of “pull” globally or that scale of diaspora.

    However, those that want to prepare themselves for the future (let’s call that the next three years) need to start positioning themselves now. If we use Facebook as proxy for Internet users in Nigeria, only 30,000 of 2.9 million people currently view movies on Iroko but within the next 1-3 years bandwidth will improve to the point where the numbers will go up to at least a million. With better 3G and LTE not far off, many of those will view music clips on their mobile phones (feature and smart).

    One of the early lessons from this platform are that you need to stop using the worst of African business methods (take the money and pay nobody) and start giving money back to those who make content. Another lesson is that it pays to have properly described content in depth that allows you to exploit the “long tail” by curating seasons or special presentations. These opportunities can spotted through feedback via e-mail and SMS.

    At this point, the African business temptation is to see the launch of endless copy-cat sites like this. It won’t work unless you can persuade the content producers that you’re serious and have the means to connect to diaspora audiences. Iroko’s money comes from the large number of viewers it gets without marketing: other content will need to fight for its place with different kinds of marketing to achieve these numbers. But if you have access to archive catalogues, now is the moment to start thinking about whether there is a platform that could distribute your content successfully online.


    New video clips on Balancing Act’s You Tube Channel:

    Jason Njoku, CEO, Iroko Partners on distributing Nollywood and Nigerian Music using You Tube

    Emma Kaye, CEO, Bozza on South African townships creating their own online content

    Julian VanPlato, CEO, Trans Digital Media on a new live streaming mobile service for Africa

    Sami Leino, COO, Spinlet on the launch of an "iTunes" for Africa

    Ofer Ronen, Business Development Director - Broadcast, Gilat Satcom on its move into African broadcast services

    South Africa: Styli Charalambous, Managing Director, The Daily Maverick on its new iPad subscription service

    Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on:
    @BalancingActAfr

     

content

  • Nigeria recently hosted the semi-final of the 2011 international Emmy Awards for the first time. Catherine Agbo writes on the relevance of that milestone to the motion picture industry

    The profile of Nigeria was taken a notch higher recently when the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) secured the right for the country to host the semi-final events of the 39th edition of the international Emmy awards.

    The international Emmy Award is a membership based organisation with headquarters in New York. The organisation was formed to recognise excellence in television and global showcase of television talent.

    The event hosted by Nigeria forms an integral part of award’s judging process.
    Director-general of NFVCB, a member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS), who secured the right to host the award on behalf of the country said that the platform would provide a platform to lift the Nigerian industry’s fortunes.

    According to the NFVCB, films produced in the country account for a considerable per cent of the box office takings in Africa. Only last year, President Goodluck Jonathan, provided a $200 million grant for the entertainment industry in recognition of the importance of the industry to the growth and development of Nigeria.

    The award of the hosting right to the country through NFVCB for the prestigious 2011 International Emmy Awards Semi-Final is therefore perceived as a fall-out of that recognition.

    While screenings are very much the heart of the international Emmy awards, thousands of industry heavyweights enter the award for the benefits derivable from it.
    The coming of the semi-final judging events to Nigeria, according to Mba, is to involve Nigeria as a country in the scheme of IATAS, particularly with a view to increasing membership of Nigerians and their entries for the Emmy awards. The right to host the event is an implication that the academy has recognised the country as a thriving home entertainment industry and/or market and also realises that there are great opportunities to be harnessed therein.
    Speaking at the event, Mba said that the time had come for Nigeria which prides herself as the second largest producer of films in Africa to begin to produce for the world as people would judge their works according to what they see.

    He called on producers to take advantage of such international opportunities to showcase themselves to the world. Speaking on the benefits of hosting the event, Emmy Awards representative, Anikka Sellz, said that it would increase the profile of the country among contemporaries in international television and also expose producers to programmes they would ordinarily not see.

    Being a member of IATAS allows the producers of a country to see what work is going on in other parts of the world. It also makes it easier to look for co-production opportunities as they interact with their counterparts from other countries. During such interactions, new possibilities can emerge, more areas of cooperation can be discovered, better exchange of ideas can happen-in terms of techniques and also finance. And there must also be a reversal of roles.

    Going by this opportunity, if Nigeria eventually becomes a member of the academy, the country could also have a day with the academy, following one of IATAS initiatives, which is the Academy Day. On such a day, 100 members of the academy could be taken to Nigeria where they would get a chance to learn about Nigerian TV, government and the performing arts in the country. The Academy has done same in Mexico and Beijing and did one in Berlin recently.

    Through the hosting of the event, it is expected that Nigeria will be exposed to a wider global audience, just as the judges who were picked from professionals within the country would also have the opportunity to meet and interact with their counterparts in other parts of the world and also help up their game in the practice.
    According to Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, Assistant Director Corporate Affairs, NFVCB and Coordinator, International Emmy Awards semi-final judging event, the size of TV production in Nigeria is considerable and the NFVCB would like to see this number rise many folds in the near future, so that there will be more exchange of ideas from Nigeria with players from the rest of the world.

    Usually, the Academy has about 700 jurors to judge regional content from around the world, from beginning of March to end of September. And they go through a rigorous process to select the semi-finalists. Then, a new set of judges selects the finalists and you have four nominees from each category out of which the winner comes out. Sometimes, an Emmy can be won merely on the basis of good acting. And for now, no one can say there is a dearth of talent in Nollywood.

    Although broadcast television remains one of the most popular forms of entertainment and information, the sub-sector is faced with a myriad of challenges which range from poor programme packages to poor editing and poor picture quality. Despite this, the average Nigerian still spends an average of 20 hours a week, watching their favourite television programmes.

    The question often is why has Nigeria remained in this deplorable state despite many years of local content programming? Gone with the wind are the days when people looked forward to and followed closely television series such as ‘Cock Crow at Dawn’, ‘Village Headmaster’, ‘The New Masquerade’, ‘Samanja’, ‘Ichoku’, and many more, which were produced and funded by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). The times were later to change as many producers were forced to stop ongoing series midway and close shop as NTA doubled the price of airtime for programmes it had not commissioned.

    With the event just concluded in Nigeria, Nigerians will be exposed to the modern trends in television programming as well as new techniques. The hosting of this event, therefore, is to open the eyes of Nigerian industry players, corporate or individual, to the need for a change in the practice to avoid having low production as documentaries, operas, films or videos on Nigerian Television for a long time to come.

    Chairman, NTA board of directors, Ibrahim Buba, who was one of the judges, described the hosting of the event as the best thing to happen to television programming in Nigeria. He said that for him, it was the highest point of his career in television journalism, which spans several decades. Buba advised Nigerians to take motion picture production seriously as from the screening of the entries received for the 2011 awards, he had come to realise that Nigeria was still several notches below where it deserved to be in motion picture production.

  • Movie producers are expected to submit their work for second Ghana Movie Awards ceremony which is slated for 25 December 2011. The closing date for the submission of entries is 15 October 2011.

    Speaking at the launch of the awards, ace Actor and President of the Ghana Movie Awards committee David Dontoh said even though the maiden edition of the awards was fraught with challenges, this year’s event will see a marked improvement.

    “We are very much aware that most people were not very pleased with the award system last year and the fact that, three people were supposed to share one car as a prize. That is expected in the beginning of every project. This year promises to be exciting. Instead of the normal one day event, we will be holding the event for three days to enable us meet the expectations of all," he said.

    He noted that the categories for this year’s event will be broadened to cover many deserved areas. To make the event even richer, Multi TV’s Cine Afrik channel is partnering this year’s event. Programmes Director for Multi TV, Abdulai Awudu said Multi TV was proud to be associated with this year’s event explaining that “it’s the dawn of a new day for the African Film Industry as more and more creative minds are showcasing their artistic works in the Production of great African Films and Content – a passion Cine Afrik shares”.

    He expressed optimism that the station’s association with the events will go a long way to promote Ghanaian movies across the West African sub-region where Multi TV is readily available to over 250 million viewers and counting.

    Last year’s event saw actor and comedian, Agya Koo and his contemporary Rose Mensah popularly known as Kyeiwaa wining the top awards in the local language category, with Majid Michel and Jackie Appiah leading the pack for the English category. The launch was attended by leading actors and actresses like Nadia Buari, Van Vicker, Majid Michel, Rose Mensah and other industry players.

    myjoyonline
  • In order to advance professionalism and develop the industry in the country, media practitioners have been advised to critically publish and broadcast well researched and balanced news stories to attract readers and listeners

    The advice was offered by Alphonse Nkusi, a media and political analyst at the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council (RGAC), in an interview with The New Times at the sidelines of a meeting to discuss self regulation of the media as one of the factors in the development of the industry.

    During the meeting at Telecom house in Kigali, some participants pointed out that some media houses in the country are crippled by lack of finances, swaying some reporters to publish stories in exchange for bribes.

    They mentioned that when a reporter is bribed, he or she cannot publish a well balanced story as this would mean that the story is in favour of those offering inducements.

    “You should engage in research and publish well-balanced news. You need to value what you’re producing because if you produce things that are not worthwhile, you will not get clients to advertise with your media house.

    “If readers or listeners realise that your news is poor, your media house will lose the market. Therefore, media houses should know that nationals have the capacity to differentiate what is news and what is not”.

    The media expert further challenged reporters who do not research for quality stories and instead resort to covering conferences and workshops. He added that this degrades the value of the media.

    The New Times
  • Mukunda Michael Dewil, whose screenplay Vehicle 19 made it on to Hollywood's 2010 hit list for the year's 'best original screenplay', is directing the action thriller in Johannesburg with international star Paul Walker (Fast and Furious) in the lead. Walker is also the executive producer.

    Walker's character 'Michael' unwittingly pick up the wrong rental vehicle, having just got off a long haul flight. He soon realises that he is the target of a police force that will use any means necessary to stop him and the tied-up female 'passenger' he discovers in the trunk, from getting to the courthouse to testify against the corrupt chief.

    K5 International is handling all international rights and Rena Ronson at UTA is handling North American rights. K5 has already sold the film to Optimum Releasing in the UK, Kinowelt in Germany, MadMen in Australia and Falcon Films in the Middle East.

    Producer Peter Safran and Ryan Haidarian, former head of production and development at the National Film and Video Foundation, joins Dewil, who directed Retribution. The producers will use Safran Company and Forefront Media Group respectively. Gary King of Picture Tree Films (which represents Dewil's commercial work) co-produces. Miles Goodall is director of photography. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa is financing the production.

    The cast includes Owen Sejake (Tsotsi, Shake Hands with the Devil), Naima McLean (BBC's Wild at Heart) and Tshepo Maseko (More Than Just a Game).

    The film will be shot on location in and around Johannesburg for five weeks, during which time Dewil's debut feature film 'Retribution' opens on the Ster-Kinekor theatrical circuit on 19 August 2011.

  • - An all-new technology show for tweens and teens, Technorati, is flighting on SABC3 on Saturday mornings, educates viewers on the latest gadgets and technological trends. The 26-part series looks at the coolest technology through the eyes of three teen techno geeks.

    - Two South African films about the lives of extraordinary South Africans will hit the international scene shortly. One is A Million Colours (e'Lollipop II), inspired by the true-life story of the black and white stars of the 1976 film classic e'Lollipop. The other, Wandering Fever follows SA endurance race junkie Ryan Sandes on his three-year quest to run in some of the wildest and most desolate places in the world.

    - On 10 August 2011 in South Africa, Jacaranda 94.2 radio launched “World Cup of Music”, back by listener demand. The channel has selected 32 of the biggest music stars, solo artists and bands from the station and arranged them in 16 sets of duelling duos until 8 September 2011. Jenny Griesel, marketing manager, says "The 180,000 SMS responses we saw in 2010, when Steve Hofmeyr was crowned the World Cup of Music Champion, affirms that this promotion appeals to our audience and offers more than just top of mind to advertisers. "It (…) boasts rewards by keeping people tuned for longer and giving advertisers dedicated access to a prime audience of 25-49 year olds in LSM 7-10. It's the ideal canvas for bottom line results and solid return on investment."

broadcast

  • Vision Group's investment in broadcast is growing tremendously following the launch of an English television station, Urban TV. The new television channel went on air on Saturday.

    Urban is a free-to-air channel available on Channel 43. Scheduled programming will start in November.

    Vision Groups now boasts of three TV stations; TV West, Bukedde TV and now Urban TV. It also owns five radio stations; Bukedde Radio, Etop Radio, Radio Rupiny, Radio West and Xfm.

    The New Vision
  • Minister for Information Samuel Poghisho has defended the licensing of vernacular radio saying they are useful in promoting culture and languages in the country.

    Poghisho said those running vernacular stations should hire qualified personnel who ensure professionalism and adhere to ethics, to avoid misuse of the stations to cause ethnic differences. He said the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation will by the end of this year launch 10 vernacular stations in the country.

    Poghisho said the channels will be used to sensitize people on government issues and other development matters which promote national cohesion and unity. Poghisho was speaking during the launch of Kitwek FM at Eldoret 64 stadium in Eldoret. The station broadcasting in Kalenjin is run by KBC. "It's the content of what is aired that can be a problem. Language is not a problem because even English and Kiswahili can be misused", said Poghisho. He said KBC would launch the first digital broadcasting signal this year as Kenya moves from analogue to digital broadcasting.

    The minister said migration to digital migration from analogue was an international requirement to be met by the year 2015. Poghisho said the media is aware of the changes taking place in the industry. He said each county will be able to set up its own channel for promoting development initiatives like tourism.

    Poghisio said vernacular stations will act as an important tool for conserving people's culture and will also teach young people their languages. He called on KBC, by virtue of being the national broadcaster, to ensure that it has more than the 40 per cent local content as required of all media houses. KBC managing director Waithaka Waihenya said the station is the cheapest in advertising rates.

    Nairobi Star
  • On 17 August 2011, four privately-owned radio stations went off the air for most of the day, on the third climactic day of protests against the government.

    In the early hours of 17 August, only static could be heard from the four stations' assigned frequencies. The situation had Christian broadcaster Harvest FM and independent music and current affairs stations People's Choice FM (PC FM), MoAfrika FM and Thaha-Khube FM (TK FM) off the air. This happened a day after the government held an unusual meeting with at least two of the affected stations.

    At the close of the business day, at least of the two stations' signals had been restored.
    The radio stations had been providing live coverage of protests by factory workers that started on 15 August. The interruptions started less than 24 hours after a meeting between privately-owned radio station managers, the Acting Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and the Chief Executive Officer of the Lesotho Communications Authority.

    During a visit by MISA-Lesotho, Harvest FM Station Manager 'Malichaba Lekhoaba said she was called to the meeting by the Acting Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Communications, Ratokelo Nkoka, who made what she termed "threats", saying that her radio station was going to be "shut down" if it did not "mend (its) ways" as this was a sensitive issue.

    According to Lekhoaba, Nkoka did not specify which areas needed to be "mended". He just said the radio station would be shut down if it continued to broadcast disrespectfully.

    In response to a MISA-Lesotho inquiry, Nkoka said it was just a "bad coincidence" that the radio stations went off the air after their meeting and during the protests. He said that it was a technical issue and that even the national broadcaster Radio Lesotho was affected as the problem was with new FM transmitter equipment, although Radio Lesotho's FM broadcasting was uninterrupted from well before noon.

    Since 15 August, Lesotho has experienced a protest movement headed by striking textile workers demanding higher wages. Opposition leaders were at the forefront of the demonstrations, which turned violent as several people were shot when police opened fire following a clash with protesters.

    MISA-Lesotho calls on the government to respect its repeated promises to abide by press freedom standards, and to both ensure that the four stations are allowed to broadcast without interruptions and to prevent similar situations in the future. The organisation also calls on the government to fully inform the public as to the reasons why the stations went off the air and to allow all parties to fully investigate government claims that the interruptions were due to "technical" failures.

  • Picture this scenario: A wealthy holidaymaker checks their chihuahua into a 'dog hotel' before jetting off into the sun, meanwhile you have to work long hours doing a crummy job and your entire village back home expects you to pay for funerals, weddings and new jeans.

    That's the European reality for hopeful African immigrants. Or so says television series 'Surprising Europe', which is being aired on Al Jazeera English starting this week until October.

    'No more lies about paradise' is the tagline of the TV series. A remarkable choice, because when you watch the first few episodes, you get the impression that lies are the only way to survive in Europe. A man who tries to get a cleaning job, advertises himself as a woman. Another man poses in front of somebody else's car to show his family back home how well he's doing.

    "We're showing people in Africa what life is really like over here," says the presenter of the series, Kenyan-born hiphop artist K-Nel. "We're not showing false pretexts. All the stories in the series are true life experiences. It could happen to any African coming this way."

    If reality means working in underpaid jobs, getting unfriendly stares off people in the street and living in grim housing, has the series made it its mission to scare people off? "Not at all, quite the opposite actually," K-Nel is quick to clarify. "But people have to know what to expect. We filmed in Africa and people literally told us they thought Europe is a paradise. That's not the case. Life isn't all shiny and easy over here. You can expect a couple of surprises. They will happen regardless whether you want or not. So you better be psychologically prepared."

    Somebody who clearly wasn't prepared when she came to Europe is Rose from Nigeria. Her story is the almost stereotypical account of a naïve young woman thinking she'll get a good job but ends up being exploited as a prostitute on the streets of Genoa, Italy. "But I have no other choice, because in Nigeria, they're looking up to me," she says. "Me being in Europe means they will have a future. If my mom knew what I am doing here though, it would kill her."

    Rose claims she never heard about forced prostitution in Europe when she was still in Nigeria. "Out of a hundred girls, perhaps ten will have heard a rumour. I certainly hadn't. But even the girls who might suspect they'd end up working on the streets, decide to come to Europe anyway because there are no jobs in Nigeria. Now that I'm in Italy, I see things much clearer. Europe is nothing. It's just for prostitution, that's all."

    Not that Surprising Europe only focuses on the darker side of coming to Europe, K-Nel insists. "We also show the stories of people who've made it and retrace their way to success. And we've tried to put some humour in the series as well. Take the hotel for dogs. In Africa dogs are considered a security measure. They guard your home or shop. Imagine an African coming to Holland and finding that there are proper hotels for dogs, and dogs even have their own passports. When I first came to Europe, my jaw dropped."

  • - The South African Football Association (SAFA) has identified innovative ways to communicate its activities to its wide-ranging constituencies. It has created two television packages to support its new broadcast vision.

    - Take 32 amateur chefs, add them to a steamy kitchen, increase the pressure and watch the temperature rise as South Africa's latest TV reality show takes place to find the top amateur chef team to represent SA in the LG Life Tastes Good Cooking Championship International Final in Turkey in October 2011. 12 Aug 2011 13:24

    - In Kenya, Moa and Pan Africa Group are to be licensed for Digital TV signal distribution. The two more digital signal distribution licenses will be issued before the end of the year according to information PS Bitange Ndemo.

    - In Nigeria, Kogi State will soon join the league of states with its own television station as arrangements have reached advance stage to establish the station.

    - South Africa: Bush Radio, a community station based in the Western Cape for the last 20 years, is facing closure unless it can find urgently needed funds to support its business. It is not only a radio station but provides broadcast training to individuals, radio stations and media institutions in Africa, with a special focus on Southern Africa.

distribution

  • Kiss TV on Friday won the exclusive live soccer rights for the world famous Barclays English Premier League (EPL), the Uefa Champions League, Bundesliga and the Europa League.

    The multi-million shilling deal signed this weekend, gives Kiss TV access to five live games every week including two major live matches every Saturday in the English Premier League and Bundesliga, as well as three weekday games - two Uefa Champions League matches and one Europa Cup match. This is the first time any TV station in the country has won such extensive rights for live football screening.

    Speaking from Old Trafford, Manchester, Martin Khafafa, Group general manager said: "We are firmly pushing Kiss TV to become the station of choice for the average Kenyan. Kenyans love great football and to be able to make the world's best leagues free to Kenyans has been our dream. It's truly amazing." Last season, Kiss TV screened the Uefa Champions League games from January through March and was the Number One most viewed programme on television in it's time segment.

    "Now Kenyans will have all the football in the world available. We are making the properties available for sponsorship and advertising immediately as they are the biggest properties on Kenyan TV, Khafafa added. The live games, pre-game analysis, highlights of all the leagues including even the Spanish La Liga are available for immediate sponsorship as Kiss TV starts airing games this week.

    Nairobi Star
  • South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) has awarded a $277 million, five year television rights deal to the country’s SuperSport satellite channel, operated by media conglomerate Naspers. The deal, which begins in a year’s time, extends the arrangement SuperSport entered into with PSL in 2007, covering the five years to May 2012 at a cost of $200 million (1.6 billion rand).

    “The winning tender…offered composite package that includes internet and mobile rights,” Irvin Khoza, chairman, PSL said. “We need to be clear that it wasn’t just the money that influenced us but [we] looked at the growth and enhancement of our product on our current deal, where we moved from being 30th ranked league in the world to the top 10.”

    Broadcasting about seven live football matches a week, SuperSport sub licenses certain games to the state TV network, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

    This news follows SuperSport’s recent acquisition of broadcasting rights from the Ugandan Super League (USL) for a reported US$5million (sh13 billion) for five years. Coverage of the USL will begin on SuperSports on 9 September.

    The top football leagues in Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Zambia – as well as South Africa – are already covered by the Naspers-owned satellite TV channel.

  • Africa’s first commercial operations using the next generation Digital Video Broadcast standard - DVB-T2 - have been rolled out with the launch of GOtv in Lusaka, Zambia (29 June 2011) and Entebbe/Kampala, Uganda ( 29 August 2011). These launches represent two of the most advanced digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast systems and infrastructures established in Africa and the rest of the world. The DVB-T2 technology used is an upgrade of the outdated T1 technology which was used by first movers in the digital migration.

    GOtv, a product of MultiChoice, is a new digital pay television offering which provides great family entertainment - with channels ranging from news, children’s programming, documentaries, series, sport and movies, its launch signifies the opening up of a new world of digital television entertainment in Africa. Most importantly, GOtv will showcase in digital quality free to air channels in each country of operation.

    Significant investments are being made by MultiChoice Africa and its partners to ensure the latest technology is deployed. GOtv is delivered using new technology which enables the offering to be regionalized - thus delivering a different channel line-up per country in order to truly suit the viewing needs of subscribers in each country.

    GOtv is delivered via satellite to each country where it is redistributed by DTT transmitters. The GOtv roll out are on the DVB-T2 technology standard which allows for up to 20 channels per frequency, this is different from DVB-T1 technology which only allows for 12 channels per frequency. Thus, there is a dramatic improvement on the use of terrestrial frequencies available to countries when DVB-T2 is deployed.

    President of MultiChoice Africa – Collins Khumalo said: “We are investing in the future of the African continent. Together with our partners, we are financing and developing leading DTT technologies and infrastructure to support the development of African economies. Our commitment - as a company born and bred in Africa, and as a pioneer in digital pay media - is to work with our various governments in ensuring that we achieve the developmental goals as well as meet Africa’s goals and objectives as regard to bridging the digital divide and achieving the digital dividend.”

    Ian Barnard, Project Manager for GOtv said “our aim is to deliver digital television for everyone as we roll out DTT networks on the continent. GOtv is an affordable digital pay television offering with exciting local and international channels in great picture and sound quality.”

    Barnard added “As an African business we are truly committed to achieving the best possible roll out of DTT and are working closely with governments and free to air broadcasters in each country. We aim to assist Governments in achieving a speedy migration from analogue to digital by 2015, by increasing the attractiveness and appetite for digital television offering. By using the DVB-T2 standard we are not only ensuring that Africa has the latest technology, but also ensuring that Governments achieve the best possible use of their countries frequencies.”

  • - NewsFlash News Agency, founded in 1995 specifically to provide news to radio stations, including stations that were going on the air for the first time countrywide, has announced that it now reaches more than 2.6 million weekly radio listeners.
    As an independently owned agency, it supplies ready-to-read radio news bulletins, with sound bites, to 37 commercial and community radio stations in South Africa and one in Namibia.

    - Multi Choice's SuperSport and the Ugandan Super League on August 18 launched a partnership deal to broadcast USL on DSTV.

    - In Uganda, Zuku TV announced end of Aug’11 that it was ramping up its roll out in Uganda with the acquisition of broadcast rights for a hugely popular local program.

    - Star Africa Media, branded as Star Times, a Chinese digital television company operating a pay television service, is set to launch three new channels to celebrate their three years of operations in Rwanda.

    - Emerging markets are powering ahead in TV sets’ sales. North America, Western Europe and Japan, which until recently collectively accounted for over half of the global market for new TV sales, will see that statistic diminish to less than 40% by 2015.By contrast, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa and the Middle East will all increase their respective shares in new TV set shipments during the same period. The findings were revealed on 9 Aug. 2011  by the latest update to the Television Shipment Database and Forecast produced by IMS Research. The report, which covers 70 countries, breaks down data by several TV types including LED-LCDs, 3D TVs and connected TVs.

investment

  • $10,000 in financing for pre-production, production and/or post-production on narrative short films has been granted in continental Africa.

    The Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program was conceived to be a unique initiative, with funds earmarked specifically for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence. Once again in 2011, Africa First will be offering participating filmmakers the chance to be awarded $10,000 in financing for pre-production, production and/or post-production on their narrative short film made in continental Africa which taps into the resources of the film industry there.

    In addition to on-site work in Africa, the winning filmmakers of Africa First also participate in a weekend of workshops in New York City with board members. The workshops entail one-on-one discussions with such Focus executives as CEO James Schamus and president of production John Lyons, covering such topics as international distribution and the economics of studio financing; members of the program’s international advisory board of experts in African cinema; producer and Program Director Kisha Cameron-Dingle and Focus Director of Production Matthew Plouffe.

    All filmmakers selected for Africa First retain the copyrights and the distribution rights to their completed shorts, with the exception of North American rights; Focus retains those, as well as the right of first negotiation to productions derived from the shorts, such as a feature-length expansion.

    The Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program was created to foster and develop long-term relationships with some of the most promising up-and-coming filmmakers from continental Africa. Through the financial support of the fund and the mentorship support provided by the Focus Features Africa First Advisory Board, we aim to bring filmmakers into an environment that will allow them to grow as filmmakers with an international audience.

    For more please click here:  and here:

  • The South African Football Association (Safa) values its television rights at between R130-million and R150-million a year, an official revealed this week.

    "The figure is the association's own evaluation after having obviously viewed audience potential," said the official, who asked not to be named.

    "It's difficult because before we couldn't make evaluations based on real figures, and cannot use the previous deal that we had with the SABC as a benchmark for the new one."

    The package would include 60 matches a year for all national teams, including Bafana Bafana, and a proposed magazine programme called Safa TV.

    Safa was hoping to renew its rights with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), after their expiry of their previous deal in March.

    That deal was worth about R30-million, a figure which has risen considerably since South Africa hosted the 2009 Confederations Cup, the 2010 World Cup and the team's climb in the world rankings over the last year.

    The national U-23 team -- Baby Bafana -- and the women's side Banyana Banyana were also impressive over the period, and both stand a strong chance of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

    Safa thought the financially challenged SABC would not be to afford the full amount, and had proposed different packages to suit broadcaster's pocket, the official said.

    The first contained "premium properties", which gave the broadcaster exclusive rights to Bafana, Banyana and the U-23 team.

    The second would add new media and would include working alongside the continental soccer body, the Confederation of African Football (Caf), for the rights of the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifying matches.

    The official said the proposal was in the hands of the SABC and that Safa was waiting for a reply. It could take months to finalise the new deal following management changes at the national broadcaster. "We gave them a package and they asked us to give them time to value it," he said.

    "So, the association said 'fine no problem, come back to us and then we can argue over price. We are offering them about 60 matches, so it's about how many of those they would like."

    Safa had dismissed the idea of moving the national team's matches to satellite television -- following a similar path as the Premier Soccer League (PSL) -- as it wanted to reach a larger audience.

    The multi-billion rand PSL deal was signed with SuperSport International in 2007. A new contract is also reportedly being negotiated. "The money is with SuperSport, but the audience is with the SABC and the target is to reach a broader market in the events of national interest," said the official.

    In a statement issued by Safa on Friday, the association's president Kirsten Nematandani said "principle matters" had been agreed with the national broadcaster. "We await a final quotation on the total revenue to be expected by the association through this exciting new venture," Nematandani said.

    SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told City Press on Sunday that Safa had asked for "a lot of money". The newspaper reported that the live broadcast of Bafana's friendly international against Burkina Faso in Johannesburg on Wednesday could hang in the balance after Safa demanded R5-million from the SABC to broadcast the game. The SABC has already advertised the broadcast of the match's 8.15pm kick-off on SABC 1.

    mg.co.za
  • - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has applied for R6.9-billion in government funding over the next three years, according to the national treasury.

    - TV channel broadcasting continued to drive growth for satellite operators in 2010, with over 29,000 TV channels distributed by satellite worldwide, according to Euroconsult. Growth in the number of channels broadcast was supported by 15 new satellite pay-TV platforms which were launched in emerging regions, for a total of 126 satellite TV platforms serving around 155 million subscribers worldwide.

regulation & policy

  • The SA Revenue Service (Sars) has come out in strong defence of a new ad valorem duty on computer monitors, saying it’s meant to protect the television industry, despite strong opposition to the new tax.

    Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay says it is government policy to protect the local TV industry in “an effort to achieve domestic investment, value addition and employment”.

    In April, a 7% ad valorem tax, which previously only applied to imported television sets and which was scrapped seven years ago, was reintroduced on computer monitors, because some companies were importing them without TV components and adding these locally to avoid the tax.

    The result is more expensive monitors in an industry that’s meant to be trying to make its products as cheap as possible to get more South Africans online.

    Lackay says that due to constant changes in technology, monitors and TVs have “largely become interchangeable in their application”.

    “This poses challenges from a legislative and administrative point of view and it makes it difficult to give effect to trade and tax policy,” he says. “Different duty structures in this instance led to the abuse of legislation, which undermined government policy.”

    Lackay says “unscrupulous importers” were found to be declaring imports as computer monitors to avoid the duty. These devices then made their way into the local TV market “to the detriment of the local television industry”.

    The ad valorem duty for monitors and TVs of a specified size “was aligned” in the hope of preventing “further abuse”. Lackay says that because there is no longer any tax benefit in clearing televisions as monitors “this alignment is a step closer to giving effect to government policy”.

    The changes, he says, might “lead to the payment of ad valorem duty on larger monitors on one hand and the non-payment of ad valorem duty on smaller TVs. However, this is due to the convergence of technologies in these particular industries.”

    On 13 May, the International Trade Administration Commission of SA invited the computer and TV industries “to engage with government agencies, including Sars, with regard to the payment of unintended taxes – that is, on goods not manufactured locally — provided that a clear distinction could be made between computer equipment and television equipment”.

    Lackay says that from Sars’s discussions it appears that some industry players are “reorganising their business and are considering importing parts for assembling computer monitors and televisions”.

    “This shift in the industry indicates that the legislative changes may positively impact domestic investment and employment,” he says. “Aligned with this natural development in the industry, government is willing to consider the development of the computer monitor industry in a similar way as the television industry.”

    TechCentral
  • President Jacob Zuma today, 5 August 2011, held his first consultative meeting with media owners, representing both print and the broadcasting industry. The meeting took place in Pretoria.

    President Zuma welcomed the interaction with this important sector of South Africa's society, remarking that their "products from newspapers, magazines, to radio stations and television channels, provided a platform and mirror to project South African life and society."

    A number of issues were discussed including government's proposal to withdraw alcohol advertising. The President said government was concerned about the negative impact of alcohol abuse on society, especially on the poor, and needed to act to mitigate the problem. The industry leaders felt the advertising withdrawal might seriously impact on jobs and business. It was agreed that this matter needs to be debated further between the two parties.

    There had also been some concerns regarding government's centralised advertising. Government clarified that such a decision was a cost saving measure on the part of government and not a punitive one based on the content of print media. It was explained that the bulk buying decision was made as early as 1998.

    The media owners appraised the President of their own challenges in the industry including regulatory constraints which they wanted to discuss further. It was agreed that another session would be held soon, focusing on the media as a business, hosted by the Department of Communications.

    The meeting appreciated a presentation by Economic Development Minister, Mr Ebrahim Patel on the New Growth Path and several ideas were put forward on how to implement and communicate the programme better, and to mobilise society to ensure success.

    The meeting was introductory and set the tone for future engagements between the two parties, which would focus more on pressing issues such as media diversity and transformation, development and training as well as how media and government would work together to further strengthen Brand South Africa.

    The meeting was attended by more than 30 media owners and managers, led by Print Media SA Chairperson, Prakash Desai and National Association of Broadcasters Chairperson, Karen Willenberg.

    President Zuma was accompanied by the Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister, Collins Chabane, Deputy Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Dina Pule and Deputy Communications Minister, Obed Bapela.


    In a BuaNews article on 5 August 2011, it was reported that President Jacob Zuma has stressed the importance of diversity and transformation in the country's media industry, saying ownership should reflect the country's demographics.
  • - Local radio stations in Ghana have been urged to refocus their reporting and discussions on basic issues that affect their communities rather than allowing national issues to dominate their stations' programming. This was contained in a statement signed and issued by Prof. Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on 10 August 2011.

    - Farah Hassan Sahal, 45, a “Radio Simba” staff member was killed by a sniper last week in the midst of fighting between insurgents and the Somali government and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in Mogadishu, report the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

    - The Gambian state security agency forced radio station Taranga FM to drop its popular news and current affairs programs for the second time this year, local journalists said.

technology & convergence

  • The Ugandan government has halted a USD74 million loan from the Import and Export Bank of China (EXIM) that was to be used to fund a digital migration project. Although the Ugandan government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chinese government, the deputy secretary to the treasury announced the cessation of the deal, citing instructions from the Prime Minister.

    The terms of the loan stipulate that Huawei must be the vendor to supply the equipment and complete the installation, side stepping the tender process that would allow other companies to compete for the contract. The prices quoted by Huawei and the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) were called into question by the leader of the opposition Nandala Mafabi, who claims that the total amount quoted is more than double needed, and for some items more than four times more expensive than it should be.

    Mafabi claimed that an independent industry expert estimated the deal to be worth between USD20 million and USD28 million, rising to USD30 million if the ‘very best’ equipment is used. UBC claimed that the cost of setting up a system to handle TV for Kampala and upcountry areas was USD5.8 million, but Mafabi argued the amount was closer to USD1.2 million. Local paper New Vision claims that other TV operators have spent the equivalent of UGX1 billion (USD365,000) to migrate to a digital technology.

    Uganda is due to migrate from analogue to digital television by the end of 2012 but the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) believes that UBC, the country’s sole national operator, and the only licensed digital broadcaster, will not be ready in time for the deadline.

    The Ugandan government has become increasingly wary of dealing with the Chinese government after a recent controversy surrounding a similar deal to install fibre-optic cabling, also funded by EXIM and carried out by Huawei, was discovered to have been overpriced and utilised incorrect equipment.

    Telegeography
  • Kenyan pay television service provider Multichoice Kenya has launched a new mobile decoder into the Kenyan market that will enable its subscribers have access to mobile television services.

    The new mobile decoder dubbed Drifta, targeted at mobile television enthusiasts will see subscribers within the firm's mobile network coverage areas in Nairobi, Mombasa and their environs have access to various DStv channels.

    The launch of the new mobile service by Multichoice Kenya comes on the background of stiffening competition in the Kenyan pay television market. The entry of players like Wananchi Group through its Zuku brand and giant telecoms operator Bharti Airtel who have announced their intention to enter into the Pay TV market once a monopoly of the South African Pay TV subsidiary has seen the race for pay TV subscribers in Kenya hot up.

    Felix Onyango, General manager of Digital Mobile Television Kenya limited (DMTV) which has partnered with Multichoice Kenya to provide the new product, said it was unveiled as a response to the need for Kenyans to get traditional pay TV services 'on-the-go'.

    "We are responding to Kenyans' increasingly mobile culture. Kenyans can now enjoy television anytime, anywhere," he said. Onyango said the new product would ride on the success of earlier introduced mobile television services in the country by DStv and DMTV.

    In 2008, DStv in partnership with DMTV introduced DStv Mobile on the Digital Video Broadcast - Hand held (DVB-H), which is a broadcast medium that allows for the digital terrestrial broadcast of live television channels to mobile phones.

    Stephen Isaboke, the general manager of Multichoice Kenya hailed the new product saying it would enable subscribers enjoy Pay TV services better by controlling their television viewing. He noted that new technology was key to enhancing Pay TV viewership.

    "The development and introduction of new technology is key to ensuring that DStv subscribers get more enjoyment and control of their television viewing," he said.

    There are two types of the Drifta mobile TV decorder: one which works like an internet modem and connects laptops and PCs and the second type which works with a variety of devices such as iPhones and iPads.

  • - In Benin, Robert Aouad, CEO of Isocel Benin has told Balancing Act that he plans on setting up a 1000 m2 data centre in the country. The centre could be ideal for audiovisual companies to launch VoD platforms and serve clients in the region, which could include Nigeria. The centre will be able to host and back up large video catalogues and keep video archives safe. Aouad can be contacted via Balancing Act by mailing Sylvain Beletre: sbeletre@balancingact-africa.com

    - Kenya: Ground breaking for Kenya's multi-billion Shilling dream Konza technology city on a 5,000-acre site south of Nairobi is scheduled for September 2011 Successful project execution will make the Konza ICT park Eastern Africa's first and only technopolis – a city built specifically for technology firms. Similar cities already exist in Malaysia (PutraJaya), Panama (Pacifico), the Philippines (Subic-Clark) and China (Shenzhen).

    - Algoa FM is reportedly the first South African radio station outside of Gauteng and the Free State to introduce Dynamic RDS (Radio Data System), which carries information on the song being played, the artist and the show. RDS radios automatically stay tuned to the radio station of choice and usually show the details on an LCD screen on the radio.

more

  • July - Sept. 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC

    Venue: NYC, USA
    Outdoor Summer Screenings in NYC Parks. Featuring dance, music, food and of course films. AFF programs year-round; therefore, AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    For more information please visit here:

    27 August - 4 September 2011 (final date tba)
    Zimbabwe International Film Festival

    Competitive for features, shorts, documentary with 12 ‘Mweya Awards’ in different categories.
    zimfilmfest@zol.co.zw

    31 August - 10 September 2011
    Mostra de Venise

    Tel: [+39] 041 5218706
    Fax: [+39] 041 5218879
    For more information please visit here:
    indoffice@labiennale.org

    11 - 14 Septembre 2011
    HighwayAfrica 2011
    Venue: Rhodes Uni., Grahamstown, SA.

    A show focused on journalism and new multimedia. For fourteen years the Highway Africa conference has been at the centre of Africa’s debates on journalism and new media. The conference has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world. For more information please visit here:

    3 - 8 Octobre 2011
    « Festival du Court Métrage Méditerranéen de Tanger »
    Venue: Tangier, Morocco

    A festival focused on short films.
    E-mail : ccm@menara.ma

    5 - 9 October 2011
    Africa in the Picture
    Venue: Bioscoop het Ketelhuis in Amsterdam, NL

    Tel:[+31] 20 622 7 151
    Fax:[+31] 20 627 15 44
    For more information please visit here:
    info@aitp.nl

    20 - 22 October 2011
    ZAFAA 2011 - The Zulu African Film Academy Awards
    Venue: London, UK

    Closing Date for Entries is Friday May 20th 2011.
    African Film Festival & Academy Awards
    For more information please visit here:

    21 - 29 October 2011
    Cinemed (« le Festival du cinéma méditerranéen »)
    Venue: 78, av. du Pirée - 34000 Montpellier - France

    Tel. +33 (0) 499 13 73 73
    Fax +33 (0) 499 13 73 74
    info@cinemed.tm.fr
    Deadline: 8 July 2011
    For more information please visit here:

    21 - 30 October 2011 (tbc)
    Kenya International Film Festival (KIFF)

    P.O. Box 76417 – 00508
    Nairobi
    Tel:[+254] 2 201 05 26
    Fax:[+254] 722 897 216
    For more information please visit here:

    25-28 October 2011
    CDN WORLD SUMMIT 2011
    Venue, Hilton Paddington Hotel, London

    The 3rd annual CDN World Summit promises to be the largest and most comprehensive CDN event ever. We are pleased to announce our partnership with BT Wholesale as the host operator and those already confirmed to the stellar line up which will include over 80 speakers.The full value chain is represented including content providers, broadcast operators, traditional and telco CDNs, represented by industry leaders such as; FilmFlex Movies, BT Wholesale and AT&T.
    For more information please visit here:

    26 - 31 October 2011
    Annual Tricontinental Human Rights Film Festival

    27 Palmer Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town, 7945 – South Africa
    Tel: [+27] 21 788 5462 - Fax: [+27] 21 788 5469
    For more information please visit here:

    29 October - 6 November 2011
    Festival Amakula Kampala
    Venue: Uganda, Kampala

    Tel: [+256] 41 427 35 32
    For more information please visit here:
    info@amakula.com

    27 October – 6 November 2011
    Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival
    Venue: Edinburgh's Filmhouse cinema

    The UK's largest African Film Festival
    For more information please visit here:

    31 October - 7 November 2011
    Out In Africa
    South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Venue: various, see website

    For more information please visit here:

    1st & 2nd November, 2011
    IP&TV Forum MENA 2011
    Venue: Dubai

    The advantages that potential IP&TV operators in the Middle East and Africa have over their Western counterparts are the opportunities to build the most up-to-date and effective networks, the common language and tradition for much of the region and a culture that encourages high rates of TV consumption. By attending the conference you will not only learn about the latest developments in the TV industry, but also make deals face to face, do business, partner and network with senior decision makers from regional and international operators, satellite providers, cable providers, content aggregators and broadcasters.
    For further information or to download a brochure please click here:

    9th - 10th November, 2011
    Africa Cast
    Venue: Cape Town, South Africa

    AfricaCast is a new event organised jointly by Informa’s Com World Series and IP&TV World Series to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s broadcasting market. The two day summit will bring decision makers from the entire value chain, including broadcasters, satellite providers, cable companies, regulators, content providers & producers, and production facilities.
    For further information please click here:

    16th - 17th November, 2011
    OTTtv World Summit
    Venue: London

    Building on the success of the 2010 Summit, the OTTtv World Summit 2011 will grow further and look into the future of TV delivery as well as the positioning of OTTtv to help monetise the “premium TV models”. This Summit is the only dedicated event addressing the strategic opportunities in the OTT space in the world where you can hear from directors of projects and first hand testimonials about the mounting success of OTT platforms and strategies to penetrate pay TV markets.For further information please click here:

    25 November - 4- December of 2011
    International Film Schools Festival  - 34es « Rencontres Henri Langlois »
    Venue: TAP
    (theatre auditorium de Poitiers) in Poitiers (France).
    The Festival organiser invites African film students to join is. The Festival gathers about 15000 participants and about 100 professionals. A trade market is held on the side (includes CineSud).
    For more information please visit here:

    30 November - 3 December 2011
    MYCONTENT, 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    Venue: Dubai

    MYCONTENT - (exhibition & conference) in dedicated to the Middle East & North Africa. It is MENA region’s 2nd entertainment content marketplace which will be held in conjunction with 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    For more information please visit here:

    4-5 July 2012,
    Broadcast & Film Africa,
    Venue: Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    The conference provides the platform for industry leaders shaping broadcast and film industries to share their knowledge and perspectives with peers from throughout the region. The exhibition provides manufacturers and dealers the opportunity to showcase their latest products and services and connect with the decision-makers in the African broadcast and film-making markets. For the conference Call for Papers log on to the organiser’s website here and to book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

  • Gagasi 99.5FM has appointed Vukile Zondi as its new Programmes Manager with effect from 01 September 2011. The station has also announced that it is getting an additional transmitter that will cover areas like Ladysmith, Greytown, Mooi River and other surrounding towns. It's going to be the first time that Gagasi 99.5FM will be able to broadcast in these areas.

    Ashlea Evans joined the CNBC Africa Cape Town bureau, where she has taken over the position of reporter.

    President Goodluck Jonathan, Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola and his Edo state counterpart Adams Oshiomhole, described the death of the veteran actor, Sam Loco-Efe, as a great loss to the state and the nation’s movie industry. Condoling with the family of Sam Loko over the death of the veteran actor, Jonathan said the deceased was the leading figure in the country’s film industry and assisted in boosting the profile of Nigerian actors on the contemporary scenario.

  • SAFTAS - NFVF Call for entry

    The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) organizers of the popular industry awards, South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAS) calls for local productions to submit their entries for 2012. The entries open on Wednesday 3rd of August 2011 and will close on Monday 5th of September 2011.
    .Only South African films or television productions/programmes that have been produced and publicly exhibited or broadcast between 1st of April 2010 until the 31st of July 2011 are eligible for entry.

    Since its official launch in 2005, the SAFTAS has been successfully managed under the custodianship of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). The broadcasters M-Net, e.tv, Top TV and SABC; distributors, Ster Kinekor, indigenous Films and Nu Metro play an important role in supporting the awards.

    The SAFTA are an industry initiative governed by a body of industry representatives SASFED, SABC, e.tv, M-Net and the NFVF and is managed by the custodianship of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) under whose values the essence of the awards are encapsulated, those of Creativity, Freedom of expression, Entrepreneurship and Equitable redress.

    "The SAFTAS has truly become the premiere platform for recognizing talent in the industry. Since its inception the awards have grown from strength to strength attracting representatives from government, private sector and the industry. We encourage all eligible productions to participate in order to continue elevating the film and television status of our country," says Karen Son NFVF Acting CEO.

    The SAFTAS has since its inception honoured individuals and productions in the following categories: TV Non-fiction, TV Fiction, Feature Films, Short Films Student Films and Animation with Special Lifetime achievement awards given to those esteemed individuals who have long served the industry in various categories.

    As with the previous years the public will play a pivotal role in the Soapie category by voting for their best soapie. Previous winners of this category include Generations and Seven de Laan.
    Click here to obtain the Rules and Guidelines. All the entries should be submitted through an online entry system which can be found on the SAFTA Entries website. Closing date 05th of September 2011 16h00.

    The judging panels will this year be made up of previous SAFTAS winners and nominees from the past 5 years. This is in a bid to begin the development of the SA Film & TV Academy. As with previous years, the judging process will be overseen and verified by independent auditors.

    The winners will be presented with the official SAFTA trophy, the Golden Horn, at a glittering ceremony in February 2012 that will host the cream of South African talent, leading personalities, key government and private sector, VIP's and media.

    The SAFTAS honour, celebrate and promote the creativity, quality and excellence of South African Film and Television talent and productions, and encourage entrepreneurship and the development of new talent within the industry.

    For more information email Communications & Public Affairs Naomi Mokhele or project coordinator Carla Dias.

    Call for entry: 84th Annual Academy Awards - Best Foreign Language Film Award

    Call for South African Entries – Deadline for submissions: 31 August 2011 16h00
    South African filmmakers are invited to submit their feature films for consideration into the 84th Annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards for Best Foreign Language Film Category.
    .

    Entries for Filminute - the international one-minute film festival that challenges filmmakers, writers, animators, artists, designers, and creative producers to develop and submit the world's best one-minute films - close on 20 August 2011.
    View the posts on www.facebook.com/filminute and download entry forms click here:

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