Issue no 67 12th November 2009

top story

  • As Africa’s broadcast industry moves from time-based programming to thematic channels, viewers will stop asking “What time’s the news on?” and start saying “What’s my news channel?” Thematic programming also opens up the potential for TV broadcasters to address niche markets in a way that African vernacular radio stations have done in more liberalized markets. One of this new generation of niche TV channels is Ochre Media’s Saffron TV. Russell Southwood spoke last week to Stan Joseph and Alet Bensch of Ochre Media.

    Ochre Media is one Africa’s top 5 production companies and has been in existence for 15 years. It has done everything from childrens’ programming to multimedia. It produced South Africa’s first mobile soap So Like Life – where characters receive SMS and it was very interactive – and is about to produce a new one called Why Choice? Episodes last only 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

    It launched Saffron TV, a Pay TV channel aimed at South Africa’s Indian market, in September 2008. Multichoice was looking around for a home-grown channel to put alongside the Hindi language Zee TV. Initially it was hard to make a programme of a standard Ochre was happy with but viewers were very loyal and the channel got better and better.

    The channel carries a mixture of lifestyle, entertainment, Bollywood news, food and cooking, fitnesstravel, community new and fashion. Of these, cooking is the most popular followed by Bollywood news. The channel draws both male and female viewers. Cooking is very popular with male viewers and there is a fashion programme aimed at men. The channel is open to DStv premium subscribers over the weekends.

    The channel costs ZAR180 and there are three options: North and South India, North Only and South India only. North India is Hindi language with a Bollywood programming and South India is Gujerati and Tamil language. There is a large Tamil community in South Africa. The first two options have attracted 44,000 subscribers and the latter 4,000 subscribers.

    Although there is currently no research, Ochre estimates that there are around 480,000 viewers and the highest viewing figures are in the open slot on the weekend. But there is a lot of potential for growth as there are 450,000 Indian subscribers amongst DStv’s 1.6 million subscriber base.

    The business model for the channel is to attract advertising but with a recession and without good research, progress has been slow. Ochre’s Stan Joseph told us:”We’re in the hundreds of thousands of rand per month but we should in the long term be able to attract an income of R6.5 million a year. The advertising revenues are on an upward trend and we’ve done a lot of our own advertising to get profile and convey the image of the channel out there.”

    Initially it sold advertising only to advertising agencies but is now starting to sell directly to smaller businesses within the community selling things like fashion, jewelry and cars. According to Joseph:”These are people who don’t usually advertise and our pitch to them is that ‘You’re part of the channel’. But the big numbers will come from ad agencies for accounts like Mazda, Nokia, Aquafresh and Cell C.” The rate card is R1,500 per 30 seconds in the open slot and R600 for an equivalent amount of time in the rest of the schedule.

    But as Alet Bensch pointed, there is an issue of research for niche channels: they arte just too small to get on the radar of research systems designed for mass audience channels:”DStv by themselves have only a small share of the people on the AMPS panel and therefore Indian viewers are likely to be an even smaller share of the panel. DStv is launching its own panel DStv Eye and we’ll become part of that so by March next year, we’ll have better data.”

    The local production elements of the channel cost about R4 a minute to make but Ochre outsources these to other companies who can meet this price point.

    Ochre is already looking at other channel ideas that will address other niches in the new broadcast landscape and is already beginning to sell Saffron TV to other broadcasters in Africa. For example, the Nigerian Cable Africa Network will start carrying the channel from March 2010.


  • Channel 3 of Senegal’s public broadcaster RTS last Thursday in St Louis launched a programme called Nguélawal Nawet (Winter Wind) to promote health awareness in the national language Wolof, according to a report from APS.

    With the financial support of USAID, the series will run to 168 episodes and support public health awareness of a range of diseases including: sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS as well as tuberculosis, which can be combated by changes in diet.

    A cette occasion, le producteur technique de l'émission réalisée grâce au soutien de l'USAID par le biais de l'ADEMAS, Mansour Sow, a affirmé que Saint-Louis est la première étape d'une tournée qui va intéresser d'autres capitales régionales.

    But the programme is not intended to be dull. According to its maker, M.Sow:”With this broadcast, you laugh and you learn.” Channel 3’s Station Head Thierno Diallo thanked USAID for its financial support to produce a programme that supported public health. Foshwah Karnes of USAID said he hoped this kind of targeted programming would give everybody some funny moments.

    Agence de Presse Senegalaise

  • Hollywood is taking a renewed interest in South Africa these days. A century after D.W. Griffith filmed his 13-minute black and white silent fable "The Zulu's Heart," South Africa and the U.S. film industry appear to be entering a new phase in their complex, sometimes tortuous relationship.

    This year, at least three films with one type of Hollywood connection or another to South Africa have opened or will be opening in theaters. Like a great many of the films made by South Africans in recent decades, they not surprisingly are preoccupied with race and class relations, either as text or subtext.

    The most unconventional is last summer's hit "District 9," directed and co-written by Neill Blomkamp, a native South African now based in Vancouver. Produced by Peter Jackson, it's a science fiction tale about persecuted space aliens that's also a thinly veiled allegory of South Africa under apartheid.

    Steve Jacobs' “Disgrace” was adapted from Nobel Prize-winning author J.M. Coetzee’s tough novel and released this fall. It stars John Malkovich as a middle-age Cape Town professor who becomes exiled within his own country as he adjusts to the challenges of post-apartheid's topsy-turvy social realities. The movie received substantial financing from government sources in Australia, where Coetzee now lives.

    Anna-Maria Monticelli, the screenwriter and producer of "Disgrace" (and wife of its director), said she believes that the film speaks to issues of tolerance, reconciliation and socioeconomic justice that resonate both within and outside South Africa. "It is for smart people, this film," she said. "It's pushing you to go places where you've not necessarily been before and to understand."

    Opening next month will be Clint Eastwood's "Invictus," a historical drama about the upset win by South Africa in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which helped unite blacks and whites during the crucial early months of Nelson Mandela's presidency. It stars Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, the team captain.

    In an interview, one of the film's producers, Lori McCreary, who also co-produced the 1993 South Africa-set film "Bopha!" -- which her Revelations Entertainment production company partner Freeman directed -- called the country "a great place to make films." Among the factors she cited were a favorable currency exchange rate, a variety of arresting shooting locations and one of Africa's deepest pools of talent. More than 200 of the 240 crew members and 62 of 70 actors who worked on "Invictus" were South African, she added.

    "The U.S. is more interested in South Africa than at any point probably since the '94 election," McCreary said. "The world is looking at South Africa." As for the coincidences of timing and subject matter between "Invictus" and this summer's World Cup, she said, "I wish I could say it was planned. I think it's fortuitous for us."

    A fourth film, Anthony Fabian's “Skin,” a British-South African production that recently opened in U.S. theaters, relates the improbable-but-true story of Sandra Laing, a South African woman whose mixed-race ancestry wreaked havoc on her sense of personal identity and her family relations. It stars Sophie Okonedo and Sam Neill as the girl's conflicted father.

    These foreign and semi-foreign films join a growing number of home-grown South African movies grappling with the country's painful race-relations legacy, including Gavin Hood's "Tsotsi" (2005), shot in Johannesburg and a Soweto township, about the enduring hardships and disillusionments of the post-apartheid era. Adapted from a novel by playwright Athol Fugard, it won the Academy Award for best foreign language film.

    South Africa appears eager to attract more Hollywood and foreign production. Cape Town Film Studios, Cape Town Film Studios billed as the first Hollywood-quality production studio to be built in southern Africa, is under construction and expects to produce its first movie next year.

    Located on the outskirts of Cape Town, the new private facility will comprise 75,000 square feet of sound stages, plus support facilities, workshops and production offices, said Nico Dekker, chief executive officer. Dekker, who will be visiting several Hollywood film companies this month, said the studios would provide a base for South African filmmakers and visiting crews. It is receiving financial support from the municipal, provincial and federal governments, a mark of the country's enthusiasm in promoting film production.

    "If you go 10 years back, there were hardly any foreign features shooting in South Africa or doing post-production or production of any kind," Dekker said. "We are now entering the more mature phase where South Africa can offer the full spectrum of production and even talent."

    Dekker specifically credits "District 9" with showing "our colleagues in Hollywood" that a mainly South African cast and crew could make a $30-million feature film with the look of a $100-million movie. He said the movie served as "a big wake-up call" for what South African filmmakers, both independently and in league with outsiders, may be capable of in the post-apartheid era.

    Hollywood's attention toward South Africa has waxed and waned in the century since Griffith shot his short film, which the independent filmmaker Peter Davis in his 1996 book "In Darkest Hollywood: Exploring the Jungles of Cinema's South Africa" named as the first Western-made movie about South Africa. The movie is a caricatured story of a "good" Zulu, a noble savage who rescues a Boer mother and daughter from being killed by a band of barbaric "bad" Zulus.

    A number of problematic Hollywood film genres, notably the black-white "buddy" movie such as "In the Heat of the Night" with Sidney Poitier (1967) have cropped up in films dealing with South Africa. In "The Wilby Conspiracy" (1975), Poitier was paired as a South African revolutionary who teams with a white Englishman ( Michael Caine) to thwart a racist Afrikaner cop.

    This black-white friendship trope resurfaced during the end-of-apartheid period in such films as Richard Attenborough's fact-based "Cry Freedom" (1987), which focuses on the relationship between the white journalist Donald Woods ( Kevin Kline) and the slain black activist Steve Biko ( Denzel Washington); and Euzhan Palcy's "A Dry White Season" (1989), about the call to conscience of a white school teacher ( Donald Sutherland).

    Critics and scholars differ over whether such parallels point to an inventive repackaging of familiar genres or a myopic Hollywood projection of one country's social reality onto that of another. Critics have argued that friendships and social contact between blacks and whites during the apartheid epoch were almost unknown and these relationships are misleading and anachronistic. And since these movies were made almost entirely by white and non-South African directors, the argument continues, blacks had no opportunity to offer an alternative cinematic vision of race relations.

    The other criticism made by Davis and others is that Hollywood, foreign and expatriate white South African filmmakers related their South African stories almost exclusively through the eyes of white protagonists while relegating black Africans to the role of "exotics" and ciphers, typically as villains, noble savages or faithful servants -- the same roles they tended to occupy in Hollywood.

    Perhaps no movie suggests the difficulties of representing South Africa in film, let alone of predicting how global audiences will respond to those depictions, better than "The Gods Must Be Crazy" (1980). Jamie Uys' film, shot in Botswana and South Africa, about an isolated bushman's picaresque journey to get rid of a Coca-Cola bottle that's been dropped from an airplane, was an international smash that spawned several sequels. Yet the debate goes on over whether the film panders to an image of black Africans as childlike and naive or whether the movie offers a smartly satiric and prescient view of African racial politics and creeping globalization.

    During the transition from apartheid, at least one South African director, Darrell Roodt, turned out a number of movies that skillfully applied a white native son's liberal social conscience to an increasingly Hollywood-friendly template. Roodt's output includes "A Place of Weeping" (1986), "Jobman" (1990), the musical "Sarafina!" (1992), with Whoopi Goldberg, and a remake of "Cry, the Beloved Country" (1995), based on Alan Paton's classic novel, with Richard Harris and James Earl Jones. More recently, with "Zimbabwe" (2008), Roodt turned his camera on the story of a young AIDS orphan struggling to survive with her brother in South Africa's imploding next-door neighbor.

    Experience suggests that the impact of Hollywood on South African film culture may continue to be mixed. Adam Haupt, a senior lecturer at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, said that in the past, American film actors sometimes have been cast in roles that otherwise might've gone to South African performers. He questions whether successful South African filmmakers and actors may be tempted to leave home to pursue the Hollywood dream. And he asks whether Hollywood's relentless quest to market films to the widest possible global audiences will lead to a watering down of South African content.

    Meanwhile, well-regarded contemporary South African (or partly South African) films such as "Tsotsi," Oliver Schmitz's "Hijack Stories" (2000), which raises questions about how U.S. gangster films influence African black male identity, and Ralph Ziman's “Jerusalema” (2008), based on the story of an underworld kingpin, usually struggle to elbow their way into the crowded, costly U.S. and European markets.

    Hollywood has already left a heavy cultural footprint in South Africa, Haupt said. As a teenager, he grew up watching imported U.S. films and television hits such as "Miami Vice." "While the townships were burning, you were getting the latest TV shows." What's more, he said, a country that has produced writers such as Coetzee, Fugard and Nadine Gordimer, plus world-renowned musicians, actors and artists, doesn't need Hollywood to fill some imagined cultural vacuum.

    But if nothing else, Hollywood's renewed attention suggests that a country that used to be "a world apart" (to borrow the title of Chris Menges’ apartheid-era film(film)) is advancing further into global consciousness. "I think it's a bit of a coming of age," Dekker said. "There's a spirit of like we're getting somewhere now."

  • The UK’s public broadcaster the BBC on 11 November transmitted a documentary on the work of Inhambane-based researcher Andrea Marshall, who has discovered that there are two types of manta rays. The documentary, "Andrea: Queen of Mantas", will be the first to show the rays since it was confirmed that the two types of manta exist. Centuries ago sailors called mantas "devil-fish" because of their horned and cloaked appearance. Mantas are cousins of sharks with a wingspan that can reach 7 metres wide.

    The southern coast of Mozambique has one of the world's largest populations of mantas. Off the coast of Inhambane province the mantas visit cleaning stations where small fish nibble at the mantas skin to remove infected and dead cells.

    Andrea Marshall, who is Director of the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna, carried out an experiment using GPS satellite navigation to prove that mantas swim 700 miles across the ocean in 60 days.

    According to Marshall, recent research shows that the population off southern Mozambique has decreased over the last seven years. Marshall told AIM that this "could be related to environmental changes or variation or, more alarmingly, could be due to human influence of some kind such as the rise in water-based tourism or directed fishing pressure".

    Marshall laments that manta rays are not protected in Mozambique, "despite being a unique and valuable resource that presents a point of difference for Mozambican tourism". A particular cause for concern is the rise in the local shark finning industry, as manta ray cartilage and branchial filaments are highly valued in Asia and are used in Chinese bogus medicinal products.

    For Marshall, this lack of protection is the largest threat to manta rays in Mozambique, and she believes that "all of the current information, including Mantas' international conservation status, combined with their economic value suggests strongly that these rays should be officially protected and populations in the region managed according to their respective needs".

  • A24 media provides several pieces of materials to broadcast networks.

    Where will you be on the 11th of June 2010? With slightly over 220 days remaining before the world of football relocates to Africa, the event is gathering pace. How ready is South Africa and will the 5kg gold trophy remain in Africa?

    SA Will Be Ready

     - Johannesburg is the Key host city and will be in the global spotlight during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

    Building for the World Cup

     - Where will you be on the 11th of June 2010? The date is significant to many soccer fans many of whom want to be in South Africa as this is when the World Cup officially begins.

    South Africa is also working hard not to disappoint its expected visitors and is spending half its annual budget - 28 billion US dollars to prepare.

    Countdown to 2010

     - With the first African soil World Cup set to be played out in 2010, South Africa is racing ahead to build its stadiums and infrastructure; all in the hope of adding up to $7 billion to its economy at the end.


     - The vuvuzela and South African football have been associated with each other for almost 10 years.

    Nobody quite knows how exactly the Vuvuzela came about, or who started the trend. But we do know who makes them and that they are going to be extremely busy during the World Cup to meet the high demand.

    An Uncertain Future

     - The world sporting arena will be moving to South Africa next year to witness a world sporting spectacle, the 2010 FIFA World Cup being hosted for the first time in an African soil.

    But before the event, the Rainbow nation has to address many uncertainties ranging from, infrastructure upgrade and the devouring global credit crunch.

    Eco Friendly 2010

     - More pollution! More Waste! More harmful effects! If this doesn’t sound like the 2010 FIFA World Cup, then you are probably one of the many South Africans who are not aware of the negative impact this event will bring.

    Samuel Eto’o – Where it All Began

     - He is one of the most prolific strikers in world football today.

    He is notching the goals which are propelling Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to 2010 World Cup qualification. But where did it all begin for Samuel Etoo?

    Eteya Awards

     - ETEYA stands for Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

    The award has been running for 8 years. With the 2010 FIFA World Cup around the corner it’s crucial for SMME’s to take advantage of the flock of tourists it brings with it.

    U17 World Cup Preparations

     - The 2010 world cup draws closer everyday and Africa is anxiously waiting to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

    Bus Rapid Transit

     - South Africa is quickly putting measures in place to ensure millions of visitors who will throng its cities do not regret their stay in the south African country transport is one of the concerns.

    Addidas SA

     - Gavin Cowley is the director of marketing at Adidas South Africa.

    Tasked with marketing a global brand and spearheading the brands 2010 Soccer World Cup strategy, Gavin attributes a large portion of his leadership style to lessons he learnt on the sports field.

    MTN 2010 Launch

     - MTN is Africa’s first global sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

    Recently the mobile network powerhouse unveiled its 2010 campaign. The campaign is going to be rolled out across MTN’s 21 markets in both Africa and the Middle East.

  • - The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) has announced that it will officially launch the ‘Film Friendly Gauteng’ campaign this month (November 2009), positioning the Province as an attractive and competitive film destination.

     - America's cablenews channel, Cable News Network (CNN), has rated Nigeria’s This Day Music Festival among the best in the world.


  • New DSTV access, with over 25 channels at the monthly subscription of N1, 500, with the access, subscribers will pay $10 as monthly subscription emerges. MultiChoice Africa, operator of Africa's pay TV platform DStv, announced the launch of the continent's most accessible pay television package, DStv Access recently. Priced at only $10 per month, Dstv is therefore for family entertainment at the lowest cost in the market.

    According to Joseph Hundah, DStv, the new package is a significant milestone in making premium pay television an everyday reality for homes in Africa and demonstrates MultiChoice Africa's commitment to creating a vibrant and exciting pay television industry in Africa. "We are responding to the needs of a broader television viewing market," he said.

    He said the new bouquet contains over 25 channels and is the result of an expansive research based on the preferences of subscribers and would be subscribers. The DStv pay television service is one of the most cost effective options for family entertainment. We believe that this new bouquet will open up new avenues for both our business and television viewers.

    Multichoice commitment remains focused on providing exceptional customer services to DStv subscribers to ensure that they have access to the finest quality premium content, local and international channels on carefully selected bouquets, designed to meet the viewing needs of the whole family, while ensuring flexible pricing options," Hundah said.

    DStv Access subscribers will have an extensive choice of family entertainment, combining general entertainment, movies, documentaries, news, children's programming, music, religion and sport.

    Among other channels, DStv Access features BBC World, Aljazeera, National Geographic Wild, Fashion TV, Magic World and CNBC Africa as well as Metro TV and GTV. The bouquet will also have two Ugandan free-to-air channels; UBC TV and NTV Uganda and Kenya's KBC and Citizen TV. It will also include specialist foreign language channels namely RAI (Italian) CCTV E&F (Chinese) RTPi (Portuguese) and TV5 Monde Afrique (French). It will also have DStv's acclaimed DMX audio bouquet.

    The DStv Access bouquet will mostly benefit subscribers that periodically want to "downgrade" to a more affordable bouquet, especially during the football dry spells and the times children have gone back to school. It also gives DStv subscribers a wider choice in what bouquet tier they will want to subscribe to. They can still choose from the Premium, Compact and Family bouquets priced at $73, $25 and $19 respectively."

  • Bonisanani, a children's programme produced by Kagiso TV & Communications for SABC 1, has defied the odds by catching and holding viewers in an early morning weekend timeslot. Remarkable AR's of up to 3.3 in the children and teen markets has been achieved.

    The Bonisanani presenters AR's tracked from August to October 2009 show that between 200 000 and 330 000 teenagers are watching the show at 06h30 on a Sunday morning!

    Bonisanani, which means “Let's Talk” - is a magazine/talk show/drama platform for children to talk to children about issues, decisions, choices and their consequences. The show's new facebook page is currently home to 380 members.

    Series director Asania Aphane says, “We constantly battle with the timeslots channel gives us for children's programming, especially if it falls under religion or education, and we are thrilled to see that despite the hour, our viewers are remaining loyal. We want to develop the brand into a national platform for South African children to talk to each other about the issues that confront them.”

    The programme is hosted by a trio of strong talent - Stephanie Sandows, Kgothatso Legwale and Sabelo Mtshali and is in its third season on air.

  • The financial crisis at the SABC and the global recession have hit SA's advertisement production industry, with a 14% decrease in the number of adverts produced in the 2008-09 financial year to April.

    Jacques Stoltz, senior marketing manager for the Gauteng Film Commission, who commissioned the survey with the Commercial Producers Association of SA, said the next set of results of the R1bn industry was expected to show even greater decline.

    He said the effect of the SABC's financial situation only really began to be felt towards the end of the year when companies stopped placing advertising after popular shows were taken off the air. Also of concern to the two industry bodies is that turnover per advert increased 21% during the period surveyed, despite fewer adverts being made, suggesting the industry may be charging too much. The advertising industry relates to film advertising for cinema, television and on-line.

    Stoltz said the industry should make sure it did not price itself out of the market, forcing clients to turn to cheaper markets such as Latin America and Eastern Europe. "The costs of production companies are going up when demand is dropping, and it's worrying that SA could become less competitive when we should be cutting costs. "The currency exchange rate used to be more competitive which made it even cheaper for overseas companies wishing to film commercials here."

    According to the fifth Commercial Producers Industry Survey 2009, which surveyed 34 commercial production companies, mostly members of the Commercial Producers' Association of SA, the total billable value for advertising productions in 2008-09 was R970m. More than 672 adverts were produced, of which 63 were shot in high definition.

    The average budget per advert was just less than R1,5m.

    Gauteng is the most popular location for adverts to be shot, followed by the Western Cape. In the survey, 50% were shot in Gauteng, up from 48% in the previous survey, against 45% in the Western Cape, down from 46%.

    The Western Cape is still the destination of choice, however, for foreign advertising agencies, which means it had a higher turnover than Gauteng, bringing in R583m against Gauteng's R385m. Stoltz said the industry was showing a greater move towards freelancers, in line with global trends.

    It was felt the industry still had a way to go in advancing previously disadvantaged sectors of society, with only 40% of full-time employees being blacks or women, while 89% of part- time employees were previously disadvantaged.

    Business Day

  • On Digital Media and Super5Media are preparing to enter the South African pay-TV market to take on DStv. They have cleared their regulatory hurdles and are gearing up for the last leg of the race to inject competition into the pay-TV market.

    The sector has long been dominated by MultiChoice and many South Africans were looking forward to the possibility of competition. Both ODM and Super5Media have been waiting for the last regulatory boundary to fall, before working towards a commercial service.

    Last year, Super5Media (formerly Telkom Media) and ODM were granted broadcasting licences by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA); however, both companies wanted access to a networking licence.

    The regulator has now given both companies access to the electronic communications network services licence, which allows them to build their own broadcasting networks. Both companies were reluctant to rely on Sentech, which is the carrier for SABC's broadcasting services.

    ODM's head of regulatory affairs, Dimitri Martinis, says the company is pleased with ICASA's decision to award it the licence. Its next plan of action is to begin finalising its network and it expects its commercial service to be live by April next year.

    Click here

    While the company will also use some of Sentech's services, the network will be primarily in ODM's hands. “We have had lots of delays, but we have managed to overcome them and we are excited about getting going,” he says.

    The company has not yet revealed the services it will offer when it goes live. However, Martinis says: “You certainly won't be disappointed with what we will be providing the South African public.”

    Super5Media has also faced its own battles, having changed hands once and tackled similar regulatory trouble as its competitor. It faced the threat of losing the original licence since it was initially granted to Telkom Media. When the company was sold to Chinese broadcaster, Shenzhen Media, the validity of the licence was questioned.

    However, it now has clarity on both its broadcasting and network licence. Super5Media spokesman Chris van Zyl says it will be ready to broadcast commercially by the end of the first half of next year. “The company is pleased with ICASA's decision to grant the licence and is confident that it will provide pay-TV services within the first half of 2010 that will extend competition in the pay-TV market in SA and offer South African TV consumers more choice at attractive prices,” he says.

    Super5Media will offer a range of services, from traditional satellite broadcasting, to IPTV. It was also in discussions with several content providers for entertainment and sports shows that were expected to go live anytime between June and August last year.

    Walking on Water, a niche religious competitor, has also been granted its licence. The company did not respond to ITWeb's queries by the time of publication.

  • - Students of the Department of Mass Communication, Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, Delta State, have asked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John O. Enaohwo, to ensure that the university's FM radio station was completed and commissioned before leaving office later this month.


  • Cinemavault has further bolstered its AFM slate as the market prepares to get underway this week with Neal Sundstrom’s South African football comedy Finding Lenny. South African stand-up comic Barry Hilton stars in the English-language feature about a man with family troubles who coaches a rural team and takes on the might of an evil corporation. The David versus Goliath tale was partly funded by India’s Vistaar Religare Film Fund and produced by Moviworld, whose Tsotsi won the best foreign language Oscar in 2006.

    “It’s the perfect primer for the tide of soccer fever already sweeping across the world prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa,” Cinemavault’s senior vice-president of international distribution Caroline Stern said. “It’s a fun family film that will work in all markets.”

    Vice-president of acquisitions Michael Paszt negotiated the deal with Terry Vallet of Moviworld. “We are thrilled and very excited to have Cinemavault representing Finding Lenny and helping us to spread a bit of African magic to the rest of the world,” Vallet, who produced the film, said. “Cinemavault’s professionalism, efficiency and friendliness have been appreciated and we hope to enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with them.”

  • There’s been filmic pleasure to be had by all in Uganda from 6-14 November when the Amakula Kampala International Film Festival ( took place. The festival went some way to counter the poor distribution of African film-making talent, the audience has been enjoying free screenings and a mobile cinema.

    The Amakula Mobile Cinema offered film screenings to schools and communities in and outside Kampala. The 6th Amakula Kampala International Film Festival included:

    1.9 days of over 200 films from around the world

    2.6th Congress on Eastern African Cinema

    3.Live music dance and story telling performances

    4.Workshops, discussions, Master Class

    5.The Golden Impala Award

    With the challenging theme of "Visionary Histories", the festival theme stressed the importance of looking back into history in order to understand and create a meaningful future.

    The first Amakula Kampala International Film Festival was inaugurated on May 21, 2004. The success of the first festival has secured it a place as an annual event in Kampala. The festival will continue to showcase world cinema both classic and contemporary, with a special focus on African cinema, while bringing international and regional filmmakers together to help create an inspiring and conducive environment for cinema culture. Focused every year on a specific theme the festival will screen films, invite filmmakers to introduce their work, organize workshops and seminars on the practice and theory of film in general and new approaches and developments in Africa in particular, and commission special multi-disciplinary projects in order to inspire an energetic independent culture.

  •   - The African Cinema Conference is a virtual summit focused on the production and distribution of African related films & videos. This Yahoo groups invites members who write in English to discuss current issues, government regulations, festival offerings and other pertinent information as it relates to the distribution of African films and video productions.


  • Eutelsat has plans to launch five more satellites by the end of 2011. The W7 satellite is currently in final stages of preparation for launch on November 23, 2009 from the Baikonour Cosmodrome on a Proton Breeze M rocket operated by International Launch Services (ILS).

    Built for Eutelsat by Thales Alenia Space, Eutelsat’s newest and most powerful satellite to date will be colocated with W4 at 36° East to double resources at one of Eutelsat's fastest-growing neighbourhoods.

    Through a configuration of up to 70 transponders connected to five high-performance fixed and steerable beams, W7 will provide coverage of Russia and sub-Saharan Africa for digital broadcasting services including pay-TV, and add significant resources and flexibility for expanding video and telecommunications markets in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. The satellite will also enhance service provided since 2000 by SESAT 1, which after W7’s entry into service at 36° East will be redeployed at an alternative location.

    Estimated satellite launch schedule

  • On October 29, 2009, Intelsat was selected as the successful bidder at a bankruptcy auction for the ProtoStar I satellite with an all cash offer of $210 million. The acquisition, which is subject to receipt of certain other regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009.

    Upon closing, ProtoStar I, built by Space Systems/Loral, will be re-named Intelsat 25 and transitioned to an Intelsat orbital location in the Atlantic Ocean region, providing incremental satellite capacity to central Africa and other regions. Launched in July 2008, the satellite is expected to have a 16-year life span.

    The satellite, built by Space Systems Loral, has 22 Ku-band and 38 C-band transponders. Upon its launch in July 2008, the satellite was expected to have a 16-year life span.

    “Intelsat continues to demonstrate its ability to execute transactions that enhance the value of its global network,” said Phillip Spector, Intelsat Executive Vice President Business Development and General Counsel. “A healthy, in-orbit satellite is extremely valuable to us given our high fleet utilization. The additional inventory will support future revenue growth and provide resilience. Over the past several years we have enjoyed strong demand for our services in Africa, and this capacity will allow us to support the growth requirements of our customers, including wireless operators and broadband service providers. Because of our operating scale and collection of valuable orbital locations, we will be able to integrate and operate Intelsat 25 with minimal incremental cost, and rapidly build a backlog of revenue for the new satellite.”

    The transaction is subject to certain regulatory and bankruptcy court approvals. Intelsat expects to close the transaction within the next 30 days.

  • - South Africa’s ISP iBurst has introduced a triple-play proof of concept (POC) at the gated community of Monaghan Farm which is situated just north of Lanseria Airport. The triple play concept delivers video, voice, and data services to houses on the estate via an iBurst data centre, situated at the Monaghan Farm admin block. Should the POC be successful, the service will be rolled out to all 279 houses on the estate.

    - Four South African producers were invited to attend the 3rd Film Production Finance Market, which took place in London from Wednesday 21 – Thursday 22 October 2009.

regulation & policy

  • Although Cameroon has over 100 radio and television stations, only three have obtained licences from the Government. The others only have authorisations to enable them operate. These stations are operating contrary to the law on social communication of December 1990 which stipulates that the cost of obtaining a licence for a private radio station stands at FCFA 50 million and FCFA 100 million for a private television station.

    The President Director General of L'Anecdote Group, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga said the law does not favour proprietors of radio and television stations as the cost of obtaining licence is high whereas assistance which the private proprietors receive from government is hardly to FCFA 1million. According to him, the cost is too high and proprietors find it difficult to meet up with the conditions required by government. "Nobody can pay FCFA 100million for a licence when advertisements are not regular," he said. He explained that private radio stations need to pay salaries of journalists, pay bills, etc, which is not easy for them. According to him Satellite Radio has been able to deposit some amount of money for licence but he is presently waiting for the rate to reduce which is one of the recommendations of the National Communication Council.

    According to Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, in order to help the proprietors of private radio and television stations, the government must review the law on audiovisual tax. He said the private radio and television stations must also share the audio visual tax and not only CRTV because they too are rendering service to the public. "It is from there that journalists can be well treated," he said. According to Amougou Belinga, all proprietors of private radio and TV stations appreciate the vision of the new Minister of Communication which holds that there is no public or private media because they have services to render to the public."

  • Chairman/Editor-in-Chief of This Day Newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena, has questioned the relevance of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as a regulator in an age where technology has created a borderless world. Obaigbena was delivering a lecture to participants at the Executive Intelligence Management Course at the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja last week. He called for the merging of the NBC with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) because, according to him, the NBC has lost its relevance because of nature of modern news media.

    The duty of NBC is to regulate and license broadcasting stations but with advent of the Internet, voice and video can be transmitted from anywhere in the world, thereby rendering NBC irrelevant. A merger with the NCC, he advised, would be more appropriate for management, including frequency and spectrum allocations.

    "Technology has changed the media. I wonder what the role of the NBC is anymore since all videos and voice can be delivered online. Then what are they regulating or licensing? NBC's time is gone. What we need is merging it with the NCC so that together they can properly manage frequencies," he said.

    "Because the Internet is not fully developed, it is a place for the good, the bad and even the ugly. Citizen journalism flourishes and all sorts of character and character assassination occur online and little can be done about it. If you shut down a website today, hundreds spring up the next week. So how would NBC handle this new media?" he added. Even though all sorts of information are disseminated through various websites, those which are credible and are strongest will be branded and remain reliable sources, he said.

    The advent of the Internet, he said, has presented fresh challenges to the security agencies because their training and technology might not be adequate to tackle the challenges presented by the new media, "which moves at the speed of light". "Do our security agencies have the training, the technology, the budget and the wherewithal to handle this new challenge?" he queried.

  • - Buganda MPs on Friday accused the government of curtailing their efforts to table a motion for the immediate reopening of Central Broadcasting Services [CBS] radio.

    - The National Union of Somali Journalists has strongly condemned a wave of arrests of journalists and media house raids across Southern Somali regions last week.

     - The Extraordinary conference of African Union ministers in charge of communication and information technologies (CITMC) closes with adoption of Oliver Tambo declaration

    The extraordinary conference of African Union Ministers in charge of communication and Information technologies (CITMC) has come to a close in Johannesburg. The one day conference of Ministers was preceded by a meeting of experts in ICT which was held from 2-4 November. The Ministerial conference ended with the adoption (with amendments) of the Oliver Tambo Declaration, Johannesburg 2009 which lays out commitments by Member States of the African Union in the development of ICT, recommendations for the way forward and directives for the African Union to follow up. The Ministers also adopted the report of experts. The Oliver Tambo Declaration will be posted on the AU website once all amendments have been incorporated. For any further details, contact Wynne Musabayana on 0825888045 or Richard Mantu on 0724881520

    - Information and Communications Minister Dora Akunyili has said the ministry will make recommendations to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the call for the merger of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) before the end of December.

technology & convergence

  • Last week Data Telecom Service (DTS), a subsidiary of the telco incumbent, Telma, launched a new Internet TV service called Moov Live. “With this new multimedia service, it is possible to follow the following stations - TVM, MATV, Viva, RDJ and MaFM – on our portal,” said Christophe Boix, D-G of the company.

    Therefore whenever viewers were unable to get in front of a TV screen, they could watch their favorite programmes and TV series wherever they were, either in their office or their home.The service will form part of a Triple Play offer that will include the Internet TV service Moov Live, a fixed line and an Internet subscription.

    DTS says it has seen the success of these services elsewhere in the world and has as part of its company objectives the development of technology in Madagascar. This service has been made possible by the provision of broadband over the backbone of the national incumbent Telma.

  • The new multipurpose Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, purpose built for the FIFA 2010 World Cup, will have a voice, data, cabling, satellite master antenna television and computer network, as well as printing and server solutions. The tender to provide these systems was awarded to Bytes Communication Systems, with Watson Mattheus in association with WSP Consulting Engineers, as the consulting engineers.

    Stringent technology requirements were set by FIFA. The stadium also has specific technology needs to enable it to provide international standard services to visitors, such as always on access to a variety of communication solutions, as well as broadcasting capability. The multimillion-Rand project is in the final stages of implementation, and will be completed well in advance of the World Cup to allow adequate time for testing.

    The company is installing the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise solution as the basis for the network. This is an integrated, interactive communications solution set that combines both traditional and Internet-based telephony to deliver a full multimedia communication suite on a single platform. The data network is made up of a redundant solution with core switches and edge switches to provide flexible, scalable edge switching with gigabit speeds.

    "We are pleased to have been awarded the tender for the converged communications network on this project due to our national support capability and ability to provide turnkey solutions for our clients," says George Isaacson at Bytes Communication Systems. "The company is able to provide all aspects of technology for the stadium, in conjunction with strategic partners, and meet the stringent requirements of the project. We also pride ourselves on our ability to provide added value through our services.”


  • - South Africans without DSTV will not see high-definition TV until after 2012. Seven million South Africans will not experience high-definition TV if the current digital migration regulations remain the same.

    *15-16 November 2009

    IPTV World Forum Middle East & Africa -

    venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel - Dubai.

    Established as the world's leading event on IPTV, this is a must-attend conference and exhibition in he diaries of all Telcos, TV and content executives. IPTV has evolved and telcos pursuing a television strategy across Middle East & Africa can launch with more sophisticated television services than witnessed during early-adopter deployments in Europe and North America, with more personalisation and cross-platform, multi-screen delivery among the obvious targets. Regional telcos have the chance to demonstrate their ambition to win, and not just play, in the Pay TV marketplace.

    Featuring Over 80 Speakers and 20 Service providers, the conference will also hold 2-Day Post-Conference Training Course. The event is organised by Informa Telecoms & Media.

    *4th December 2009

    Auteur Experimental Short Film Festival -

    venue: Labia on Kloof, Cape Town, SA.

    Submission closes 28th November 2009. Auteur Experimental Short Film Festival is inviting entries from newly graduated film school students.

    If your short film is no longer than 10 minutes and produced entirely by film school students or newly graduated students, then we'd love to have your submission.

    The short film festival runs for one evening only.

    * January 2010 (date TBC)

    Nigeria, India plan joint film festival

    venue: Nigeria.

    INDIAN and Nigerian governments have concluded plans to host a joint film festival for Bollywood and Nollywood to commemorate the 60th and 50th independence anniversaries of both countries respectively. The festival, which is scheduled to take place by January 2010, is expected to serve as a vehicle for strengthening the cultural and economic ties that have existed between the two countries over the years.

    Mahesh Sachdev, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria said the result of the partnership would benefit 1.1 billion people in India and 140 million Nigerians.

    *22nd till 28th February 2010

    Aluta Film Festival

    venue: Kimberley, South Africa.

    Call for Entries: The organisers of the Aluta Film Festival, South African premier township cinema event, are calling for entries from South African and International filmmakers for 2010, the 7th edition of the festival.

    Deadline: November

    Categories: Features; documentaries; animation; short films

    Requirements: Preview: DVD PAL. Screening: 16mm, 35mm and video

    Awards: Aluta! Revolution Awards

    Fees: None

    Administrative address: 18985 Guttenburg Pitse Street, John Mampe. Phase One, Galeshewe, Kimberley 8300, South Africa

    Tel: +27 (0)76 853 1214

    Fax: +27 (0)86 513 7783

    Festival Administrator: Nandipha Shwababa

    *24-26 February 2010


    Venue: Pullman Teranga hotel in Dakar, Senegal.

    Film and TV content trade show, one of the most important event for the development of audiovisual content business in sub-saharan Africa fueled by overall growth in disposable income and advertising spending, the ongoing switchover process, strong broadband deployment, a fast-growing home-video marketplace, the construction of multiplex cinemas and the emergence of IPTV.

    * February 2010 (date TBC)

    SAFTA 2010 -

    The 4th South African Film and Television Awards. The closing date for entry submission was July 30 2009.

    Formats include:

    - For the Feature Film, Made for TV Movie, Documentary, Television Non Fiction, Short Film, And Student Sections

    - In the Television Fiction section: TV Drama, TV Soap, Mini Series and TV Comedy

    * 17-27 March 2010

    Cape Winelands Film Festival 2010 -

    venue: Cape Town

    One of South Africa’s largest film festivals, Cape Winelands Film Festival has announced an official call for entries.

    South African artist Paul Emmanuel’s film was selected as the winner of the Africa-In-Motion Short Film Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Artist Paul Emmanuel’s acclaimed non-narrative art film, 3SAI: A Rite Of Passage was selected by unanimous vote by a jury of film experts as the winning entry for the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Africa-in-Motion Film Festival 2009. It was shown on 26 October at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse Cinema. This short film was originally selected as one of 7 short films from over 60 submissions from 22 African countries.

    The film will now be seen by a wide audience and will be screened at various international venues as part of Africa-in-Motion. The winner was selected by a jury, consisting of acclaimed Algerian filmmaker Amor Hakkar; filmmaker, presenter and writer Zina Saro-Wiwa; director of the Scottish Documentary Institute, Noe Mendelle; and high profile film critic, writer and producer Mark Cousins.

    South Africa - DTI Minister Dr. Rob Davies announces goverment help for film industry Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies, in his speech at last month's CFC AGM was full of praise for the film industry. The minister commented on the extraordinary growth of the film industry over the last few years, the quality of films emerging out of the country, and the important results received as a direct consequence of private and public sector investment in the industry.

    Minister Davies gave a report back on the DTI incentive scheme, which has seen the qualified production expenditure grow from R36 million per annum in 2004 to R500 million, which generated economic activity of R5.8 billion. Over the same period, 78 000 cast and crew jobs were created, as well as a further 108 000 jobs in various support services.

    However, the minister acknowledged the current crisis facing the industry, which has resulted in the number of DTI projects using the rebates declining from 21 in 2008 to 12 in 2009. To address this, the DTI will be restructuring the payment structure of its incentive scheme, so rebates will be paid at defined milestones spread across the production, as opposed to the end of production which has been the case until now.

    `Where we see films with particular merit, such as films with historical or cultural importance, we can stretch this beyond the basic rules,` added Minister Davies.

    The DTI will also be looking at restructuring the requirements of the DTI rebate, where production companies will have to conform to a minimum level 5 BEE in order to access funds.

    He added that productions shooting in Cape Town locations will benefit by outsourcing some of their work to local companies, as this will add to their BEE scorecard.

    The minister added that companies requiring cash-flow support can apply for bridging finance from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which has a crisis fund available for any enterprise suffering the effects of the crisis. This will see R3 billion distributed over the next three years.

    Author: South AfricaBusiness and Finance

    CNN Africa Media Awards

    Ben Okiror wrote in The New Vision on 6 November 2009: "On its 15th year running, the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2010 Awards will be held in Uganda. This year, the most prestigious media event in Africa attracted entries from 38 African countries and the gala, held in Durban, South Africa, was broadcast in 44 African countries and beyond.

    CNN International and MultiChoice this week officially launched the awards, whose winners will be announced in Kampala, come May 2010. Tony Maddox, the vice-president and managing director of CNN, said it was fitting that the awards are held in Uganda, "a country that has produced many success stories and winners in the competition's history."

    All finalists receive a cash prize and each category winner also receives a laptop and a printer, while the overall winner receives an additional cash prize and a trip to the CNN centre in Atlanta. The competition is open to African journalists across the print, television, internet, photographic and radio media.

    Full details on how to enter can be found at A number of Ugandans have won various awards, including the top most accolade, won by The Observer's Richard Kavuma in 2007."

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