Issue no 43 27 November 2008

top story

  • Nigeria’s success with its Nollywood film industry is leading to a great deal of soul-searching (see Regulatory News below). The country’s censorship board NFVB has attempted to licence film distributors and is making pronouncements about how Nollywood films should reflect “a more positive Nigerian Image internationally”. Kiszo DuFay learnt his film-making skills at the Hollywood Film Institute but he returned to Nigeria two years ago to make films in his home country and to launch the African Roving Film School as a way of raising skills locally. Russell Southwood spoke to him last week.

    Q: What’s your company Taradome Entertainment Group do?

    It used to be a distribution company but now we do film productions. We want to tell African stories that are done well and we have various projects in development at different stages.

    Q: What are the projects?

    We’ve got three projects that we’re hoping to realise starting next year. We’ve finished scripting two of them. One is Lagos Jumping, a buddy-style movie done in an African way. It deals with drug dealing via South Africa and narrated in the American style.

    The second project is The Drive which is about three African doctors from different parts of the continent who are friends. They attend a medical conference and miss their flight but they have to get back to attend the wedding of one of them. They have to drive to the next country to get another flight and it’s about the obstacles they encounter. It looks at the different prejudices there are about being different Africans.

    The third one is an experimental project using Shakespeare’s Othello to make a psychological thriller and we’ve not finished scripting it yet. It’s a different twist on the relationship between Iago and Othello. We’re trying to do all of them on internationally costed budgets and we’re looking internationally as well as locally for the best possible persons to act and make them.

    Q: How did the African Roving Film School come about?

    It was born out of necessity. When I came back to do production, the skills needed were grossly wanting. I was trained in LA and I thought how can I have an impact on the industry? If you train someone, they’ll never lose that.

    Although we have had difficulties with pricing (the courses) and lack of sponsorship, we are making progress. People are not earning enough money to pay for the training so the courses have run at a loss. We’ve been trying to get international help and are talking to equipment manufacturers about loaning us equipment at a low cost or no charge. But there’s definitely excitement about and a need for training.

    People coming on the course are everything from beginners just wanting to learn from scratch. These include those leaving university, looking to do something in the film industry to professionals who want to come on an advanced course to enhance their skills.

    Q: How do they find the money for the workshops?

    Nollywood spends the equivalent of US$50,000 on a production so writers for example don’t get paid more than US$500 for their contribution. Training is the last thing on their mind. We get some of the training underwritten but it still costs money. And I don’t think it should be free. One thing we’ve focused on is writing skills. How do you develop your script? How do you develop a narrative? You have to be able to tell stories that people are interested in buying internationally. You have to know how to move to a proper template and to create a Grade A production. Then there are questions like: how do you produce something? How do you stop piracy? You need to get the product into the right hands.

    Q: Where do you think the Nigerian film industry will be in five years time?

    It will have produced an Oscar-winning product with great quality and talent. We have have the creative talent: the writers, the actors and the musicians. We haven’t had the proper platform to showcase their talent. These are the kind of people we’d like to go after.

    Q: What’s your own personal background?

    Before coming back two years ago, I’d spent 24 years of my like in the USA. I trained as an electrical engineer and got bored with that. So I did a scriptwriting workshop and acting. Before I came to the USA I was a child actor but was dissuaded from going in that direction because the industry was not really developed at that stage. Anyway, I worked on putting a fibre optic cable from Burbank to Atlanta and got my diploma from the Hollywood Film Institute.

    I came back two years ago because I wanted to do a project on the ground. It’s a huge challenge but the opportunity is here. I want to create a structure that will allow international investors to put money into Nigerian films. They shouldn’t write Nigeria off. If they come here, they wouldn’t be disappointed.


  • A new reality TV show promising lots of cash is set to hit the airwaves across Nigeria soon. Called Endeavour Nigeria Reality TV Show, the programmme, according to organizers, is set to whet viewers' appetite at the beginning of the New Year.

    Nigerians between the ages of 20 and 35 are eligible for the reality show which will soon debut on primetime television and run for 30 days. The setting will be in Calabar and the state governor, Liyel Imoke will be the host of the first program.

    The twelve successful participants will each get N2.5 Million at the end of the program while the Most Valuable Participant will get a Mitsubishi Endeavour 2008 SUV in addition to the N2.5 Million. Meanwhile, an initial 36 shortlisted candidates drawn from different parts of the country will also be given a laptop in addition to a management course in Lagos. It is also noteworthy that unlike other reality TV shows, there will be no evictions but simply a star prize.

    According to Enahoro Oiseomaye, Executive Director of Prime Edge Media Solutions Limited, organizers of the show, Endeavour Nigeria Reality TV Show will set out to showcase the spirit of endurance, selflessness and community development initiatives, values which are uniquely Nigerian.

    "Besides the handsome financial rewards, the candidates will acquire project planning and management skills, public-oriented ideas among other valuable lessons. A thrilling mixture of fun, physical and mental tasks will be infused into the one-month program," added Oiseomaye. The application form costing N2, 500 will soon be available in selected banks nationwide.

    This Day (Lagos) 17 November 2008

  • Currently being broadcast on Link television in the Netherlands is Expedition Unlimited, a reality TV show on the South African adventures of five models and five young people with physical disabilities. The show is a collaboration between South African Tourism and the Netherlands' VSB Fonds and National Committee for International Co-operation and Sustainable Development.

    Expedition Unlimited provides viewers with a glimpse of different worlds - South Africa versus the Netherlands, models versus people with disabilities, the bush, the desert, the sea and mountains.

    "South Africa itself is a prime example of a country full of contrasts and extremes - the ideal place for challenge and adventure. As such, each episode aims to depict South Africa to Dutch consumers as both exotic and challenging, but also accessible and engaging," explains Ilse-Marie Sobering, marketing and communications manager at SA Tourism in the Netherlands.

    In the first episode five teams, comprising one model and one disabled person, were assembled. Over the next nine episodes, the five teams perform a series of challenges at scenic locations throughout SA - including a specially developed tandem bicycle route. While each stage involves cycling, each episode also includes new and uniquely South African challenges as teams compete to gain a head start in the next episode.

    While the race sets out in and ends in Cape Town, where the finale episode takes place, Expedition Unlimited takes teams to a host of exciting locations throughout South Africa as teams compete for the 20,000 euro first prize.

    Biz-Community (Cape Town) 14 November 2008

  • M-Net and Mindshare recently chose The Letter Corporation (TLC) to assist in boosting support of its popular Thursday evening blockbuster series ‘Dirty Sexy Money'. To grab the attention of entertainment-seeking weeknight TV viewers, cheeky creative has been applied to supersized decals in the washrooms of Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro cinemas in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban for a one-month period.

    “After enjoying enormous success with its Ugly Betty, High School Musical, Chuck, Eli Stone and Army Wives washroom campaigns, and as Ugly Betty scooped a Roger Garlick award for the execution, M-Net again relied on Mirror Decals as an element of the Dirty Sexy Money advertising strategy,” says Lee Curtis, TLC's national sales manager.

    The category exclusivity offered by TLC allows advertisers to dominate the washroom environments for the duration of the campaigns throughout 30 of South Africa's most frequented cinema sites. The average monthly traffic through these venues is exceptional, according to TLC, and approximately 90% go to the washroom.

    Dirty Sexy Money is the US hit show about Nick George, who's leading the perfect life as an idealistic lawyer, until his father's suspicious death. The wealthy Darlings family of New York has asked him to take over his father's job as their personal lawyer, but the money that will allow him the freedom to be an altruistic do-gooder is only part of the picture. That same money pulls him into the dubious doings of the Darling clan, proving that you can't be filthy rich without getting a little dirty in the process. Dirty Sexy Money features on M-Net channel 101 each Thursday evening.

  • An international Islamic-focused satellite TV channel that aims to give non-Muslims a better understanding of the faith will be launched in South Africa early next year. The UK-based Islam Channel, which beams to European, Middle Eastern and north African countries, will be broadcast locally on DStv from February.

    With its headquarters in central London, Islam Channel provides alternative news, current affairs and entertainment programming from an Islamic perspective. Broadcast in English, it first took to the air in 2004. It be available on a basic bouquet in South Africa.

    CEO Mohamed Ali said the channel acted as an “interface between Muslims and non-Muslims”. “We decided to come to South Africa because there is a Muslim community here and we are an English-speaking channel that targets English-speaking nations,” said Ali. “We are happy that we reach a wide audience. We have plenty of non-Muslims who watch our channel for the entertainment.

    Ali said the channel was family-oriented with a “no harm, no offence“ policy. Through its annual Global Peace and Unity event in the UK, it tries to stimulate debate and create awareness among different cultures about Islam.

    Ali has also been trying to tackle Islamaphobia through the channel’s programming. “There is a perception in the minds of non-Muslims about the status of women in Islam. We have quite a few programmes run by women, targeting women.”

  • - The world’s most famous teenage couple, Troy (Zac Effron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) have launched an impressive attack on the South Africa box office. Their film High School Musical 3 opened in top spot and took R5.8m in its first week (31 October to 6 November).

    - Filming of the long awaited Hearlines television series Hopeville started in Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga this week. Set to be screened over a six-week period on SABC 2 in late February 2009 the series continues the Heartlines’ tradition of using television to tell stories that will get the nation talking, thinking and acting on good values.

    - It's overs for Egoli, South Africa's first local soapie. The last episode will be broadcast on March 31 2010 - just shy of 18 years after the Edwards family's first appearance on the small screen. Egoli has been a crown jewel on the M-Net schedule for many years. Changing viewership patterns and preferences influenced the decision. Because of the rapidly changing South African television landscape no television programme can exist in this diverse environment forever.

    - The troubled SABC3 reality series Model Millions, of which only two episodes were broadcast - both late - and which has not been aired or produced for weeks, received the final blow on Monday. The money for the find-a-model reality series, which was filmed in Cape Town, had dried up. SABC3 was still not prepared to take any responsibility for the series, the R1m prize money for a lucky viewer, or the collapse of the production, although the channel had broadcast it, and also marketed it with great fanfare before the start of the series.

  • Viasat Broadcasting G Limited an international Entertainment Broadcasting Group is to begin operating in Ghana by the end of the year. Rune Skogeng Chief Executive Officer of the company disclosed this in Accra on Tuesday when management of the company paid a courtesy call on the National Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

    Skogeng said his company would combine both African and international programmes to reach all its audience, especially those between the ages of 15-49 and added that Ghana is its first station in Africa because of the country’s political stability.

    Viasat Broadcasting G Ltd is part of the International Entertainment Broadcasting Group, Modern Times Group MTG AB which is the largest free -TV and satellite premium Pay-TV operator in Scandinavia and the Baltics.

    It also operates free TV channels in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and the Balkans and a DTH platform in the Ukraine as well as pay-TV channels in a total of 24 European Countries. MTG is also the major shareholder in Russia's largest independent television broadcaster CTC Media and MTG's TV assets which reaches over 100million people daily.

    Public Agenda (Accra) 21 November 2008

  • Despite previous reports out of Rwanda, the local broadcasting media is yet to enter any form of agreement with French-based SportFive over-the-air television and radio rights for next year's African Youth Championships in Kigali.

    The local organizing committee (Cocan) spokesman Jules Kalisa recently said that nothing official has been reached between the two parties as far as broadcasting live matches to the local audience is concerned.

    "Local radio stations and TVR (Rwanda Television) have not yet acquired broadcasting rights from Sport Five but negotiations are still underway," Kalisa said. It is however reported that Cocan and SportFive will reach a decision on November 28.

    The New Times (Kigali) 18 November 2008

  • The SABC Board and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications share the responsibility of ensuring that South Africa has a credible and successful public broadcaster the chairperson of the SABC Board, Kanyi Mkonza, told the portfolio committee in Cape Town yesterday, 18 November 2008.

    "Nothing should stand in the way of building a sound, credible and viable public broadcaster - we have to build enduring public institutions for the future and in doing this we shall bestow... a lasting legacy of true constitutionalism," Mkonza said during the SABC Board's presentation of the public broadcaster's annual report to the Portfolio Committee.

    The Annual Report for the period April 2007 to March 2008 contained emphases of matter and a qualified audit report. Mkonza explained that current Board's appointment was effective from the beginning of 2008 and that as soon as the seriousness of the financial trouble facing the corporation became apparent the board acted firmly in order to ensure the viability of the public broadcaster.

    Early in March 2008 SABC management presented the Board with a proposed budget deficit of R600 million for the financial year 2008-9; the board refused to accept this proposal and told management to review and reprioritise the proposed budget. This was done and approved on March 25.

    Mkonza said that in April she wrote a memorandum "expressing grave concerns about the unhealthy state of finances of at the SABC. I then convened an extraordinary meeting of the non-executive directors of the board to deal with this situation and hold the GCEO accountable for all that the board was concerned about."

    "What followed was a barrage of attacks on the board including being hauled in front of the committee, print and electronic media attacks eventually culminating in the vote of no confidence expressed by the members of this committee on the board. This was followed by concerted and unrelenting attacks on the integrity of the board," Mkonza said.

    "Despite all attempts of the Board to prevent the implosion of the SABC, we did not get the support that we needed - at that stage we needed to put all hands on deck to put the SABC back in its rightful place, as the sole public broadcaster in the country.

    "The Board needed the unwavering support of the portfolio committee... because we were raising and dealing with the very issues that the portfolio committee has been raising for a long time in its oversight role over the SABC," Mkonza added.

    She also warned that there is no relief in sight for March 2009. She, however, reiterated the Board's commitment to a clean, unqualified audit report that is fully in concert with the noble principles underpinning the values of the public broadcaster such as: objectivity, accuracy, fairness, impartiality and balance.

    Biz-Community (Cape Town) 20 November 2008

  • The Senegalese Government’s Ministry of Information, Telecommunications and ICT announced on 14 November that it will provide resources for a “regional television project” in association with NEPAD and other institutions.

    This ambition emerged while he was talking to Senegal’s Deputies about the budget for his department and he did not give further details. He was responding to questions about the need for national public television to reflect the diversity of cultures in the country and said that companies participating in this initiative would be those “on satellite.”

    On the subject of putting in place a channel to cover Parliament Minister Abdoul Aziz Sow said the responsibility for this project rested with Parliament. Nevertheless he said the Ministry of Information was on the side of parliamentarians on this project and would seek to use its influence to interest donors and partners to see it realised.

    (Source : APS, 15 novembre 2008)

  • - A new South African industry body, the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), was launched during the South Africa Radio Forum 2008, which took place at Johannesburg's Sandton Convention Centre on Friday, 14 November. RAB will guide advertisers and their agencies in the more effective use of radio as an advertising medium as well as advise them on the more effective use of radio as a communications tool.

    - The ANC has called on the SABC to 'resist temptation' in its coverage of political events or face 'corroding' its standing in the public domain. This, after the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal claimed that an SABC journalist had been suspended for not covering a meeting of the Congress of the People (Cope), a party formed an ANC breakaway group. The meeting was expected to addressed by Cope chairman Terror Lekota.


  • The Chinese Government has turned over to the Liberian Government, the newly renovated and expanded facilities of the Liberia Broadcasting System. Wednesday's ceremony also marked the formal launch of the China/LBS Radio Project, under which the Chinese Government has provided a 10-thousand kilowatt FM transmitter to boost the station's radio transmission throughout the country. A second transmitter has also been provided by the Chinese to relay English programs produced by China Radio International throughout Liberia. The transmission will also provide 3-hours of radio programming in Chinese.

    The President reminded the management of the Liberia Broadcasting System to ensure that the station remains objective, neutral, and apolitical in the dissemination of information to the Liberia people, adding, 'concentrate on development.'

    The cost of the LBS-China Aided FM Radio Expansion Project is put at US $4-million. The station is now well placed to cover the entire country with relay outstations in six counties, including Lofa, Bong, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Bomi, and Maryland. The facilities are also equipped with a microwave satellite link, to boost transmitted signals from the System's headquarters in Monrovia to its outstations around the country.

    Under terms of an Understanding between China and Liberia, the Government of China will provide maintenance for the facilities for one year, after which Radio China International will contract a Chinese Firm to provide maintenance for an additional four years.

    Liberia Government (Monrovia) 19 November 2008

  • Local films do as well as top international films in SA, but financing remains a struggle. In spite of a generous government rebate, DVD sales have become crucial, delegates at the Gauteng Film Indaba said. In fact, at least one filmmaker — Sello Twala of Music and Film Everywhere — concentrates solely on the DVD market, where he has been successful.

    “Most black people don’t go to cinemas,” he says. “They buy DVDs and watch at home,” he says while explaining his strategy. Millions of households have DVDs, he says. His 2003 film, Moruti wa Tsotsi, made on a budget of R300,000, has made R10.8m in turnover, and sold 300,000 copies.

    “I’d rather sell 300,000 copies at R40 a copy, than 50,000 copies at R100 a copy,” he says. “The only way to eliminate piracy is to compete.”

    From next month, Twalawill ensure the DVDs are available “in every corner of the township”. This includes spaza shops and filling stations. His DVDs are also sold at Edgars, Jet, and Reliable Music Warehouse. “We can sell more than 50,000 copies if the distribution network is right. “The DVD market is growing and it will get bigger,” says Twala.

    “Everything is a gamble. We didn’t know it would be a success, but the distribution was perfect.”

    His advice to filmmakers is to know the target audience. His films use African languages, and target people who have been “denied entertainment”, including shack dwellers and those living in rural areas. “They don’t understand English comedy so much,” he says.

    The trade and industry department announced a film rebate programme in February this year.

    It replaced previous incentives granted to the industry. Up to 35% of costs can now be written off — a move hailed by the industry. However, the rebate can only be claimed once the money has been spent.

    Basil Ford of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) says the IDC is working on a scheme to finance the rebate.

    Many local films cannot qualify for the rebate, because they were made for less than R2,5m, the minimum threshold for investment, says David Wicht of Film Afrika. Wicht says there is a lack of active broadcaster participation in funding feature films.

    Helen Kuun of Ster Kinekor Distribution says recent releases such as Bakgat, Confessions of a Gambler, Jerusalema and Hansie have all done very well. Hansie and Jerusalema were the top earners.

    Jerusalema, which was released on film rather than digital print, has grossed R4m so far, with Hansie (which was released on a combination of film and digital), making just under R4m. By comparison, Bend It Like Beckham, had made R4.2m locally. Bakgat grossed R3.3m. A comparable foreign film, Dude Where’s My Car?, made R2,2m on the local market.

    The only other film in Bakgat’s category is Crazy Monkey: Straight Outta Benoni. Confessions of a Gambler, which was shown at 16 sites, made R500.000, while top-end art house films made between R300,000 and R500,000. “All those films are success stories. For any film, that’s impressive,” Kuun says.

    But a true measure of a film’s success has to take into account the cost of making it. She says Bakgat, which was made for R3m before the government film rebate was announced in February, is likely to have reached break-even point, with 350,000 DVDs sold. “Only a handful of titles sell more than 100,000 units. The successful local titles are evergreen, and keep selling for years and years,” Kuun says.

    Hansie, however, cost R42m to make, and is not yet out on DVD. In order to break even, it will need to travel to other territories.

    Kuun says digital technology means that films can make a profit from showing in only one place. Jerusalema, shot in 2006, was made on a budget of R13m, says the film’s producer Tendeka Matatu. Unlike Confessions of a Gambler, a digital print, Jerusalema was released on film, which pushed up costs. Matatu says the decision to release on film was an aesthetic choice.

    The film had 14 prints, but cinema sites were carefully chosen. Prints could be moved around within complexes and to different sites to maximise returns. Each print averaged about R280,000 in earnings. Jerusalema will also be sold on the international markets.

    He says it appears that turnover of between R2m and R4m is the sweet spot for local filmmakers, but there are different strategies for film and digital. Kuun proposes shortening, or eliminating, the time between cinema and DVD releases, although cinemas were resistant to this strategy.

    Releasing the DVD at the same time, or a day after the cinema release, will be “quicker, better, and cut past piracy”. “What you lose on the cinema sales will be less than what you gain with DVDs,” she says.

  • - The third edition of « Rencontres du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Lomé » (ReCiTel) was launched at the French Cultural Centre on 27 November. The event’s theme was cinema and the protection of the environment.


  • Information and Communications Minister, John Odey, has said Nigeria's movie and advertising industries have the potential to generate about N500 billion annually. Odey said this at the launch of the Nigerian Chapter of the Creative Africa Initiative, a project of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He stressed the need to harness the vast economic potential existing in the country's creative industry which, he noted, still remained untapped.

    "The multiplier effects of developing the sector include wealth and job creation, crime reduction among the youths, as well as numerous social benefits to adults and the society".

    "Besides, Nigeria's primary economic resources, petroleum and natural gas, are exhaustible, but this is not so with the creative industry, as it is driven by human resources which our country, Nigeria, is abundantly blessed with," he said.

    Odey said it was noteworthy that global trade in creative products had grown rapidly to become a multi-billiondollar enterprise, adding that "some of the figures that came out of the UNCTAD Creative Economy Report 2008 showed that international trade in creative goods and services doubled to $424.4 billion in 2005, nearly doubling the 1996 figure of $227.4 billion," he said.

    This Day (Lagos) 12 November 2008

  • Media group Naspers is investigating four staffers employed by its pay-TV operation MultiChoice on suspicion of fraud. The four are accused of defrauding Africa’s largest media company of R11m, according to the group’s 2008 annual report.

    They allegedly manipulated the billing system MultiChoice uses to collect subscription fees, and redirected funds into their personal accounts.

    Naspers head of investor relations Meloy Horn says the employees were based at MultiChoice Africa’s Randburg offices. “The investigation is at a sensitive stage. We are pursuing the matter in the courts and are awaiting a trial date. The case is sub judice.”

    Last year Naspers suspended six employees of Media24, its printing arm, for inflating magazine circulation figures. It paid close to R40m in compensation to advertisers who were affected.

    Rapid TV News

  • -The Moroccan public broadcaster SNRT has become a 0.33% shareholder in SECEMIE, the holding company for Euronews. It joins 22 other shareholders who include: CT (Czech Republic), CyBC (Chypre), ENTV (Algéria), ERT (Greece), ERTT (Tunisia), ERTV (Egypt), France Télévisions (France), NTU (Ukraine), PBS (Malta), RAI (Italy), RTBF (Belgium), RTE (Ireland), RTP (Portugal), RTR (Russie), RTVE (Espagne), RTVSLO (Slovénie), SNRT (Maroc), SSR (Suisse), TMC (Monaco), TV4 (Sweden), TVR (Rumania), YLE (Finland).

regulation & policy

  • Practitioners from the film industry, performing arts, advertising, scholars, and other stakeholders at the Board room of the Eko Hotel, Lagos, took turns recently to appraise the various ways the menace of piracy can be curbed to pave way for a flourishing entertainment industry in Nigeria.

    Tagged, "Development Film in Africa II Conference and the Intellectual Property Rights Workshop, and which ran from Wednesday 13, through Friday, October 15, the highlight of the two-day event was the marking of the 10th anniversary of the Communication for Change(CFC), organizers of the event. It is a Nigerian non-profit development communications outfit, that has produced hard hitting documentaries on African social issues for a number of years, and distributed them across 32 countries.

    Some of the practitioners that delivered incisive papers at the occasion were; Dr. Adewopo, the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission(NCC), Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, Vice-chairman, the Nigerian Communications Commission, Ben Murray Bruce of the media diverse Silverbird Group. Others were, Afolabi Adesanya, Director General, Nigerian Film Corporation, Ego Boyo, Tunde Kilani, and WIPO representative, Ms. Donna Ghelf.

    Also, film experts, Mrs. Andrea Calderwood (UK), producer of Oscar winning film Last King of Scotland, Rob Ezra Doner (US) experienced Hollywood lawyer and financier, member of the Board of Directors of the American Film Marketing Association shared their views on producing commercially successful African feature films which also touch on social, economic and political issues.

    Pulitzer prize winning Journalist, Dele Olojede, celebrated Nigerian Finance and Management expert, Professor Pat Utomi, the Director General of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, award winning Nigerian film maker, Mr. Tunde Kelani, celebrated entertainment entrepreneur and Mr. Toyin Subair of HITv were all in attendance to give their expertise opinion on how to tackle the problem of piracy in Nigeria.

    The workshop focused on how the private and public sectors could boost Nigeria's economy through copyright protection and structured investment in the entertainment industry.

    The sessions also, focused on content development and how Nigeria's internationally celebrated musicians, writers, performing artists, photographers, designers and other industry practitioners could contribute meaningfully to making Nigerian film the best in the world.

    The conference, supported by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission, was designed to provide a framework for structured financing of the Nigerian entertainment industry by looking at case studies of international entertainment financing deals, principles, pitfalls and potentials, in addition to creating in-depth, practical information on intellectual property rights.

    These include chain of basics, establishing ownership, business and legal distribution guidelines, sales and international distribution, copyright exploitation, local and international trends, production and distribution contracts, finance paperwork, lawsuits and pitfalls and also, creating a bridge between the film industry and the best of Nigeria's diverse creative talent in the music, literary, performing arts and visual arts.

    Nollywood has had a huge impact on African consciousness both on the continent and also in the Diaspora, but the industry is not getting enough support, especially from the private sector" explained Sandra Obiago, the Executive Director of Communicating for Change.

    In her remarks, Obiago urged government to recognize that Nigeria's creative industries and Nollywood in particular are the future of the nation's economic stability.

    Obiago, said, as a practitioner in the film industry, CFC is challenged by issues of protecting the nation's intellectual property rights, sourcing sustainable funding for the nation's creative projects, and building a strong institution that can survive and thrive in the Nigerian market place.

    "If we want to meet the Millennium Development Goal by eradicating poverty, getting girls in to schools, cutting down our horrifically high maternal mortality rates and create lasting wealth, then we must build a strong legal and financial framework within which our creativity can be expressed, protected, and used to create jobs, sustain livelihoods, and showcase our rich culture," she challenged stakeholders at the conference.

    We need to put Nigeria on the front burner of international cultural and artistic excellence by using film to showcase the impressive spectrum of our awesome Nigerian art and creativity." She stated.

    Also, in her contribution, Donna Ghelfi, Senior Programme Officer with the Creative Industries Division of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), confirmed the UN agency's commitment to working with Nigerians film makers to collect and track data showing the huge, but presently invisible injection of capital from Nigeria's creative industries into the country's economy.

    Vanguard (Lagos)13 November 2008

  • Nigerian Film and Video Censorship Board (NFVCB) has concluded plans with some stakeholders to use the film industry to fight corruption and engineer development in the country.

    At a stakeholders' forum held in Enugu, the Board said it was aware of the place of the video industry in waging a successful war against social maladies in the country.

    A senior official of the Board, Mr Obiora Chukwu Mba, who is Special Assistant to the Director-General said it was possible to use the film industry to grow the economy, social life and good that the industry can bring about.

    Noting that other countries had achieved a high level of development through the film industry, Mba said this was also possible for Nigeria.

    To achieve this, the Board, in collaboration with other stakeholders will be introducing special prizes for home video films with creative and effective integrity.

    According to the Co-ordinator of the project titled "Good Governance Through Anti-Corruption Programming", Mr Chibuzo Ekwekwuo said prizes will be endowed on ideals in respect of which specific public institutions and agencies are established.

    "Our aim is to mobilize a minimum of 10 cash prizes and not less than N5 million, and N2 million for the first place and runner ups each per annum.

    "Each of the prizes will be endowed for an integrity ideal, value or model that the endowing agency best wishes to portray", he said.

    Ekwekwuo disclosed that part of the plan is to seek specific regulatory bodies to endow specific prizes, such as the ICPC, EFCC and the NFVCB, adding that these bodies have already confirmed readiness to endow prizes.

    Under the arrangement, some of the films will depict life in public service in Nigeria, modeling what is right and wrong in conflict of interest situations.

    Such film will also show how wrong doing in public service can bring disastrous personal consequences, as well as the temporary gains of wrong conduct and the long time disasters that it often brings.

    Actors and actresses, including film makers and directors who attended the forum, while commending the idea expressed the likely difficulty that may be experienced during such programme.

    For instance, a film producer, Afam Okereke said the likely difficulty could be in sourcing relevant materials from reputable institutions.

    Long time actor, Chief Chika Okpara, ( aka Chief Zebrudaya), who pointed out that corruption has eaten deep in all fabrics of life in the country, including the film industry said that the current programme if implemented can assist in stamping out corruption in the society.He opined that the organizers of the forum can consider organizing a workshop where working groups can come up with story ideas that can change the system in the country.

    This Day (Lagos) 17 November 2008

  • - Armed Somali government troops have put in the jail the director Warsan radio station in the south-western town of Baidoa on Tuesday night, journalists said.

technology & convergence

  • From your TV set and decoder, to your coffee machine - yes your coffee machine! - your house lights, your home theatre set-up, and many more, the latest PVR remote control unit from MultiChoice, has the ability to control all of this, with the touch of a button.

    The uniqueness of the universal remote, apart from it array of functionalities, is that it can be programmed to operate various brands of consumer electronic devices. Low-end universal remotes can only control a set number of devices determined by their manufacturer, while mid- and high-end universal remotes allow the user to program in new control codes to the remote.

    “This remarkable piece of equipment in your TV environment has the potential to bring about enormous changes to your entertainment lifestyle” says MultiChoice’s Chief Technology Officer Gerdus van Eeden.

    The ergonomic design ensures easy navigation and understanding of the various functions that the remote control can process. Not that long ago the battle of the remote control was a common household dilemma, as to which favourite DStv channel should be viewed. Today that battle has been resolved with the XtraView solution, and the functionality of the remote control has now evolved to ending the dilemma of multiple remotes versus one remote control unit.

    The functionality for the control of the PVR remote control remains the same as that of the previous remote, with upgraded functionalities, facilitating ease of use. The universal remote can operate six different modes namely TV 1 and TV2 (for PVR functionalities) and four other devices or equipment in the home.

    “This technology opens up a whole new world of interactivity that delivers on our promise to keep giving our customers so much more… so much more now extends beyond your TV and decoder to your wider entertainment lifestyle, and beyond even that and into your home… to include, if need be, even your coffee machine,” says Van Eeden

    MultiChoice’s dynamic technology platform and excellent bouquet of channels, built around compelling and premium movie and sports channels, has resulted in the company building a significant television business across South Africa, broadcasting more than 80 video, over 40 audio and 28 radio channels and more than 6 interactive channels, 24 hours a day on its DStv platform.

  • Myth and misunderstanding is leading to digital mayhem in the industry, whereby agencies are being accused by digital behemoth Google of committing fraud or, at the very least, irresponsible accounting with their clients cash online. As a result, Google announced today, Friday, 14 November 2008, that it would be 'Google certifying' five key agencies leading this space in 2009.

    Google South Africa country manager Stafford Masie addressed a media/client roundtable this morning in Johannesburg and explained his horror at the way some media and advertising agencies were bamboozling their clients as to the cost of online Google campaigns, "adding on 17 - 37% markups" in some cases and not allowing clients to see the true value or results of their Google adwords campaigns, "because they were too complicated for the client to understand".

    "The agencies are getting away with murder," said Masie, admitting that he knew his comments were provocative. "We are aiming to be disruptive. Marketers are being taken for a ride." Google therefore intends to level the playing field a bit by introducing 'Google certified agencies' in 2009 to work hand-in-hand strategically with clients, due to the financial "killing some agencies are making off ill-informed clients".

    "There won't be more than five of them (agencies), to build necessary capability and understanding, so when they go to clients, they position digital correctly." Masie said the lack of cohesion and understanding in the media and marketing industry, and among the bigger and medium sized ad agencies of the digital ecosystem, was causing confusion and not helping with the understanding of digital in SA.

    "Agencies are worried about us. We are being disruptive... but they go in, they bill clients incorrectly. There is fraud happening. What really peeves me, is they say: 'Give us R100 000 and we'll sort it out... trust me'. They will not disclose to clients what their Google campaigns entail."

    When blogged and tweeted the above news feed live from the event this morning, Twitter flamed with immediate comment. One tweet asked: "Another revenue stream for Google - how much will those five certified agencies have to cough up for the privilege?"

    When the question was put live to Masie during the roundtable debate, he answered: "We are not only going to work with these agencies, we won't be a cartel... The certification will cost nothing. People get us wrong. This is not about making money - this is to ensure that we will build referential agencies - so there is a model in the industry that people can follow. We will have experts out there to enable various Google tools... we will provide training on all the tools. We want to broadly empower the industry."

    He said the intention was not to incur additional revenue. "The objective is the following: the industry is very fragmented. We are going to educate the industry, share our tools and knowledge with the industry. But to bring the two together, we are going to take the first step."

    The fact is that the continued digital divide is costing clients cold hard cash, and as FNB media director Gisele Wertheim-Aymes, who participated in the debate, pointed out, the onus is on marketers to upskill themselves in order to brief their agencies correctly - and keep them in check.

    "Clients get involved in digital very little. They leave it up to the agencies. There is a huge challenge in digital. Major media buying companies are not geared up at all for digital, let alone Google. They are outsourcing to smaller agencies who can do it - but it adds additional steps to the process. It delays the response to opportunities online."

    She pointed out that SA users were transacting heavily on banking websites, using search heavily. FNB has in fact shifted ad spend from banner advertising into search (which is unfortunately not tracked by Adindex).

    "The big challenge for the industry and for clients is to get their head around this and take it seriously and know how Google works and have people inside your organisation that can make it work. There is not a model that lends itself to it. The whole media model has changed online. Clients have to start treating this digital space far more seriously. When things happen quickly, in now time, real time, you can't wait 10 days for a plan. You have to be agile to capitalise on opportunities online."

    As Masie points out, big agencies don't have strong digital competencies inhouse and the big and medium agencies don't have the agility needed to act on opportunities as they happen. Marketers are asking questions around who do they target, where do they start?

    And this is why Google will be empowering key agencies in this space, he says, as well as training marketers and agencies in general going forward on the various Google tools, search engine optimisation (SEO) and key search word advertising.

    "Agencies are making money out of this innuendo and mystery in the digital space. Google is trying to fix this with education," he emphasised.

    Wertheim-Aymes, denying she is only 'Googleyed', remarked that Google was a catalyst in the industry and had created a consciousness of what is going around out there in the digital space.

    "Look at how people use the internet. Digital has to be put on the agenda - spend is below global levels. If you are a good marketer you will put digital on the agenda along with face-to-face promotional events in kraals in rural areas if that is what your brand requires. The responsibility rests with marketers. Technology is changing the world. It is not just up to the agencies. Technology changed the US Presidential election. This is a changing world. Understanding digital and how Google enables that will give a clever marketer the edge. We cannot escape it."



  • - The independent electronic publication Tunisnews ( ) has announced that its site was the target of a hacking attack on 5 November 2008, and that the administrators of the site have succeeded in overcoming the attack. The Tunisnews site was the target of a similar act of hacking last April, which rendered it inaccessible for several days.

    - Entertainment programming company Endemol announced the appointment of Levern Engel and Sivan Pillay as joint MDs of Endemol South Africa last week, Wednesday, 12 November 2008. Engel and Pillay take up their new roles with immediate effect.

    - M-Net has appointed Biola Adekanbi as its new Channel Director: Africa with immediate effect.

    - A documentary about Youssou N’dour called "I bring what is love" premiered Sunday evening during the IDFA festival in Amsterdam. The documentary starts with the song: 'New Africa' which exemplifies the singer’s belief in the strength of the continent.

    Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s Multimesh Broadcasting which is planning a cable TV operation in Nigeria received the International Star Award in the Gold Category from Business Initiative Directions.

    Angola: Luanda Film Festival

    November 22-29, 2008

    The event is intended to stimulate cultural cooperation, particularly in the field of cinema, between local and foreign producers and directors and re-launch the system of production and distribution of cinema in the country. Addressing the launch ceremony, Miguel Hurst said that Angolan Government intends to award prizes to films screened in Angola, both local and foreign, seeking to increment the production of movies in the country. With the expected participation of local and foreign movies, the festival will comprise competitive, non-competitive categories and parallel activities.

    A conference by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

    The Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum 2009 (3rd - 5th February 2009), Johannesburg, South Africa

    Digital broadcasting in Africa is ready to enter a new era, are you ready to take full advantage? To respond successfully your organisations needs to make use the new opportunities for commerce, interactivity, content creation and service delivery.

    Join Africa's leading experts, policy makers and innovative business leaders at this exclusive forum. Get unmissible guidance on the future of the digital migration and make the contacts that could transform your business for years to come.

    Already confirmed are speakers including;

    - Lynn Mansfield, Chairperson, SADIBA

    - Lara Kantor, Chairperson, Digital Dzonga

    - Anton Lan, Business Development Director, Altech UEC

    - Dimitri Martins, Head, Regulatory Affairs, On Digital Media

    Slamdance Africa Film Festival Short Documentary Competition

    Slamdance International Film Festival is coming to Cape Town for the first time on February 28th 2009 with 40 unseen docs, features, animations and shorts and with it a call to entries for our short documentary film competition.

    It is looking for 10 short (10 min Max) documentaries shot in Cape Town about Cape Town. Doc entries can be experimental, avante garde, verite, animated or reportage as long as the budget are below R500 and made within the last 12 months.

    The winner gets a spot at the Slamdance International Film fest in Park City in 2010.

    Please drop off the DVD’s at the Labia Theatre on Orange front office by Jan 10th, there is no entrance fee and the 10 films will be announced on Jan 30 ‘09.

    Call for Entries to the Wild Talk Africa Film Festival

    The call for Roscar entries is now open. The competition is open to all wildlife, travel and cultural productions. Building on the success from last year’s Awards, six new categories have been added. The Festival will run from 19 – 23 April 2009.

    The categories are now:

    Best Editing - Awarded to the production which displays the most creative editing style.

    Best Cinematography - Awarded to the production which displays the most exceptional camerawork.

    Best Production with a Limited Budget - Awarded to the best production with a budget of less than R5 000 per minute (approximately $650 or £330 per minute).

    Best Children’s Production - Awarded to the best natural history production produced for a children’s audience, aged 12 and under, which stimulates an interest in the natural world.

    Best Environmental and Conservation/Campaign Production- Awarded to the best production which contributes to the awareness of environmental and conservation issues facing the natural world. The production must convey a conservation message and/or a ‘Call to Action’.

    Best Eco-Tourism, Travel and/or Culture Production - Awarded to the best production which promotes tourism of a place, town or country through the use of cultural aspects and wildlife.

    Best Use of Music - Awarded to the production which has the best original music score.

    Best Script - Awarded to the production which, through the use of original storytelling, creates a captivating script.

    Best Series - Awarded to the best series with a natural history theme.

    Best Sound Design - Awarded to the production which, through the creative combination of production mixing, sound editing and post-production mixing, displays an inventive use of sound.

    Best Newcomer - Awarded to a first-time producer (or filmmaker) in the natural history filmmaking arena. To qualify as a newcomer, a filmmaker should have only been producing films or documentaries from January 2007 onwards.

    Outstanding Achievement for African Wildlife Filmmaker - The production shows the unique relationship between Africa’s people and animals. This category can only be entered by a national of an African country.

    ROSCAR Gala Event

    The ROSCAR Awards will be awarded to filmmakers at a gala event held during the Festival. The prestigious evening event promises to be a highlight as tribute is paid to filmmakers for the outstanding contributions that they are making in the natural history arena.

    To submit your production for a ROSCAR Award, click onto for the entry form and rules. The entry fee is R350 per entry and the deadline for entries is 28 November 2008. All film entries will be listed in the Festival Directory.

    The Durban International Film Festival has announced that its landmark 30th edition will take place from 22 July to 2 August 2009.

    The festival will present over 200 screenings of films from around the world, with a special focus on films from South African and Africa . Screenings will take place throughout Durban including township areas where cinemas are non-existent. The festival will also offer an extensive seminar and workshop programme featuring local and international filmmakers, and 2009 will see the return of the very successful Talent Campus Durban.

    The festival calls for entries - feature films, short films and documentaries are all welcome. The festival does have a competition component. The deadline for entries is 31 March 2009 for short films and documentaries; 15 April 2009 for feature films. Early submissions are encouraged.

    The entry form is available on the web:

    Invitation to tender for consultancy services: Broadcasting audience survey

    The Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA or Authority) invites tenders from interested parties to provide consultancy services to undertake audicence survey of the broadcasting industry in Botswana.

    The BTA is also the Secretariat to the National Broadcasting Board (NBB) in terms of Section 9 of the Broadcasting Act (Cap 72:04). Amongst others, the functions of the Secretariat are to advise the Board on technical matters emanating from its regulatory functions. Section 10 (b) mandates the NBB to exercise control over and to supervise broadcasting activities, including the relaying of radio and television programmes from places in and out of Botswana to places in and outside Botswana.

    The BTA therefore intends to carry out a broadcasting survey to establish the extend and nature of television and radio audieces in Botswana since the introduction of competition in the broadcasting sector in Botswana. The bidding consultancy firms should have experience in carrying out broadcasting audience surveys especially in developing markets.

    Tender documents with an outline of the scope of work can be collected from the BTA office from 17th November 2008. Bidders are required to pay a non-refundable fee of Two Thousand Pula (BWP 2 000.00) VAT inclusive or its convertible foreign currency equivalent.

    The tender documents could also be obtained through e-mail upon proof of payment of the said fee to the BTA account which would be given upon request.

    Bid documents should be submitted in a soft copy together with one(01) original plus five(05) copies (hard copies) enclosed in separate plain inner envelopes and marked “original” and “copies” as appropriate, sealed in one plain outer cover labeled “TENDER FOR THE BROADCASTING AUDIENCE SURVEY IN BOTSWANA” and properly addressed to the Authority at the following address:

    The Chief Executive

    Botswana Telecommunications Authority

    Plot 206/207 Independence Avenue

    Private Bag 00495



    Bids should reach the BTA not later than 12:00 hours, (GMT+2) on 9thJanuary 2009 and the bids will be opened on the same day at 12:05 hours at the BTA offices in the presence of bidders or their representatives.

    Interested bidders may obtain further information from:

    Mr Caiphus Moletsane

    Tel: +267 395 7755

    Fax: +267 395 7976


    The Authority’s working hours are between 07:30 – 12:45 hrs and 13:45 - 17:00 hours (GMT+2) from Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.

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