Issue no 8 11 July 2007

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  • Two new African content channels – one in the USA and the other in the UK - are fighting hard to get the attention of Africa’s diaspora populations. Early results from both seem to show a significant preference for IP-TV as a delivery mechanism, particularly amongst younger users. Although user figures are modest, both companies are looking at global rather than territory rights, thus breaking down more traditional industry approaches by using IP-TV. All this is good news for Africa’s film and TV industries as the payments being made for global rights should be a significant additional financial shot-in-the-arm for programme and film producers and directors. Russell Southwood looks at what’s happening.

    African diasporas – Africans living outside their country of origin - range in scale from the size of a small country to something more akin to the size of a small town. At the larger end, according to Migrant Information Source, there are 2.2 million Moroccans living in Europe. On a smaller scale, in 2002 there were 1 million African foreign born citizens in the United States . Obviously this headline figure breaks down into smaller country communities. In the same year, there were approximately 139,500 Nigerians and 108,000 Egyptians, followed by 87,500 Ethiopians, and 70,000 South Africans. And these figures will have increased from the point this census was conducted in 2002.

    According to a survey by US pollsters Horowitz Associates, 71% of the African-born and 22% of African-American respondents indicated that they access African content online or on television. Based on these figures, US-based African channel Africast calculates that the “addressable” market is the 8 million US homes with broadband access lived in by African-born or African-American citizens. Therefore Africast has set itself a five year target of reaching 240,000 subscribers who would then generate for it some $60 million in annual revenues. It is currently rather coy about subscription levels but says that these have reached “the thousands”.

    Africast (www.africast.tv) is run by a Ghanaian-American called John Sarpong and describes itself as “the world’s leading subscription-based broadcaster of African ethnic television over broadband as measured by the number of African ethnic channels under agreement (40 channels from 25 African countries as of June 2007)”. Africast has secured the rights (mostly exclusive) to distribute television and film content, sports and music from Africa.

    Approximately 70-75% of current subscribers are Africans living in the USA and Europe and the remaining 15-20% are non-Africans like African-Americans. As Sarpong says:”We define this (latter) category as ‘African culture fans’”. Interestingly around 40% use their laptops to access material and these tend to be the younger users. The rest are families who watch the television in the more traditional setting of the living room.

    Its set-top box costs US$125 although this is discounted with various packaged offers. There are two bouquets: basic at US$15.95 a month for 10 channels from African countries and a premium offer at US$19.95 a month which adds an African movie channel, a music video channel and a general entertainment channel. Africast sees its main competitors as JumpTV, Africa Channel, Globecast and ABN America.

    Africast is currently based in Huntington, Connecticut. The company operates a low-cost “virtual” office environment, with 20 full and part time employees and subcontracts many services such as hosting, studio work, and telephone answering services to third-parties. The company’s Africa NOC/transmission center is located in Accra, Ghana, where a staff of ten people oversees downlinking, editing, transcoding and uplinking of African television channels to the Africast distribution center in the United States located in Plainview, New York. The television content is then distributed to subscribers via the Internet. The facility in Ghana currently operates eight downlinking antennae for receiving African television signals and one mega-antenna for uplinking signals to the United States.

    Africast subscribers watch programming directly on their PC (ITV) or purchase a set-top box from the Company to watch programming on their television set via broadband Internet (IP-TV). For subscribers who do not have credit cards or prefer to pay by cash, the Company offers the Africast prepay TV cards distributed at over 6,500 selected retailers in North America and Europe. Its streaming speed for IP-TV is 750 kbps.

    Although buying rights in the fragmented African market is never easy, Africast has its own dedicated team according to Sarpong:” We have consultants and our own employees and we engage various channel partners and get rights to content that way. We also have VOD with movies on a pay per view basis which we have done through specific film producers and directors”. The film producer generally sells the DVD and theatrical rights to someone else and Africast buys the IP-TV rights. These costs between $1000-10,000, depending on the type of film. This is usually paid as a mixture of advance and revenue share on income made.

    It has ambitious plans to increase its reach:”In about 45 days time, we are going to penetrate the Church market. We will do VOD for each Church partner. Church members can then subscribe to the basic channel to get their Church’s sermons for free. We will then give a proportion of the subscription income to the Church. This will appeal to African-Americans”.

    It also intends to go into Africa and will add global Black-focused channels for its offer there:”We want to work strategically with ISPs. You need a minimum of 750 kbps download speed and there are not too many African ISPs that offer connections of that throughput. It would be aimed at individuals who would choose to go for a higher speed connection in order to get IP-TV. We would target Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa and expand into Kenya and other countries after those three”.

    It is very close to finalising a US$10 million investment and this will see the company scale up more quickly. Sarpong says:”There has been a tremendous amount of interest from investors. These investors have seen the money that was made when Viacom bought BET and it was the same when TeleMundo (a Hispanic channel) was bought by NBC”.

    The African Movie Channel (AMC) is a UK-based company run by two former Nigerian computers engineers. It has recently made its movies available online at www.africanmoviechannel.com. According to AMC’s Yinka Maungbo:”Hundreds of Nollywood and other African movies are now just a mouse-click away, for viewers to watch on their PC and TV whenever they like! Viewers can enjoy the fine works of some of Africa's best producers and directors, including Tunde Kelani, Charles Novia, Fred Amata, Chico Ejiro, Paul Igwe, and many more.” All content is in English, or sub-titled in English.

    The African Movie Channel launched as a Video-On-Demand TV channel in the UK on the Homechoice platform (now Tiscali TV) in April 2006. But last month it decided to quit Tiscali TV as this more traditional alternative delivery method was not reaching its core audience. As Mayungbo observed:”It doesn’t have the footprint of BskyB. It only covers London and Stevenage and subscribers have to live close to the phone exchange. We had between 3-500 subscribers on Homechoice paying £9.99 per month for which they were offered 20 movies per month. Also it has no plans to roll out into the predominantly Black areas. Online began to out-perform the TV version within a month and this was the final nail in the coffin for our relationship with Tiscali TV”.

    He is an ardent proponent of IP-TV because it gives you content choices that are not constrained by the idea of scheduled TV:”You can see streaming movies immediately. The quality is pretty much what you’d get on TV or DVD. We do a 1 meg per second streaming speed compared to the 600 kbps from others. It’s so good that you can connect your laptop to your TV and not tell the difference. We currently have 4,000 registered users. Registered means that they have watched a pay-for film”.

    There is a download version of AMC’s movie choice on BT Vision, the UK telco incumbent’s new IP-TV offering. Mayungbo says:”The deal with BT Vision is that we make a selection of movies available and do a revenue share between BT Vision, African Movie Channel and the rights holder. Currently we have 15 films available on the service and we are still the only non-mainstream provider on the service. The Bollywood and Chinese films are not available yet although they will be in the future”.

    It is also currently in talks with Virgin Media:” We are focusing on on-demand rather than broadcast: You want people to be able to watch what they want, when they want to. It offers you a world without the constraints of scheduled TV”.

    Mayungbo thinks that IP-TV is also good for rights-owners, although many of them are suspicious:” We are doing something totally unprecedented. The rights owner is making money every time the content is viewed by the consumer. The contracts tend to be signed on a revenue share basis. This didn’t go down well with the rights holders in the beginning so we had to adapt it slightly by offering an up-front advance and then a revenue share each time the film was viewed”.

    The numbers are currently too small to be more than a slight blip on the radar of most rights-holders but it’s clear that both of these companies are focused on small niche markets that are globally distributed. Interestingly, there do not yet appear to be equivalent diaspora niche channels for French and Portuguese-speaking African diaspora populations. But it’s probably only a matter of time…

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  • Staying Alive, MTV International’s ongoing HIV and AIDS prevention campaign, and African music channel, MTV base, are joining forces to bring its thought-provoking film competition 48fest to Kenya for the first time. The second annual film competition, taking place during the International Women’s Summit in Nairobi from 3-5 July 2007, gives 30 youth delegates from all over the world just 48 hours to write, shoot, edit, and deliver a short film of three minutes on a specific HIV and AIDS issue.

    For its African debut, 48fest Kenya will comprise six teams of five youth delegates to the International Women’s Summit. Each team will be assigned to create a film that focuses on one of five female-driven, HIV and AIDS-themed issues, including the feminization of the disease, access to VCT, female condoms, HIV and pregnancy, and stigma and poverty.

    The teams will be accompanied by MTV technical staff and youth experts based in Kenya, who will serve as mentors to offer balanced assistance and to sharpen their skills across all areas of filmmaking. All short films as well as a documentary of the challenge will be available for broadcast in December for World AIDS Day across all of MTV’s worldwide platforms – on air, online, and on mobile – as well as to third party broadcasters and content distributors rights- and cost-free. The “Best Film” will be announced by influential music video and motion picture director Bryan Barber at an intimate film screening and awards ceremony held at the Hilton Intercontinental, Nairobi on 5 July.

    “48fest Kenya challenges young people to trust their courage, imagination and determination by making compelling short films in just 48 hours,” said Georgia Arnold, Vice President, Public Affairs, MTV Networks International. “The competition stays ahead of the curve by involving both MTV viewers and the core HIV and AIDS community in the creation of art that delivers a truly powerful message to a youth audience.”

    “MTV base Africa is committed to discussing issues that are important to the youth of Africa,” said Alex Okosi, SVP and General Manager, MTV Networks Africa. “Promoting awareness and prevention of HIV and AIDS in Africa is chief among them, but young people often don’t have a voice when it comes to these issues. We are very proud to be hosting the 48fest Kenya and to give our youth the perfect opportunity to voice their thoughts to their peers and the powers that be.”

    The 48fest Kenya films will be made available for broadcast across MTV’s worldwide network of 55 TV channels, 17 mobile TV channels, and more than 60 online properties, including African music channel MTV base (DStv Channel 88). In addition, the shorts will be compiled into a documentary programme, Staying Alive: 48fest Kenya (working title), that will showcase the films as well as behind-the-scenes footage as the young filmmakers progress through their many stages of film production. Viewers can watch streaming coverage of the full competition online at MTV International’s broadband channels. Offered rights-free and cost-free to third party broadcasters, the films and documentary will be available for worldwide broadcast in December for World AIDS Day.

    48fest Kenya comes on the heels of last year’s successful 48fest which took place in Toronto in conjunction with the XVI International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006). Fear and Loathing, a three-minute film about stigma won “Best Film.” The winning team comprised of delegates from Bulgaria, Canada, China, Guyana, India, and Uganda. In addition, all eight films from 48fest won awards at the New York AIDS Film Festival, and one film, The Last Time, was a finalist at the prestigious New York Film Festival.

    48fest Kenya is a partnership between MTV Networks International, UNAIDS, the M-A-C AIDS Fund, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and UNFPA.

  • Optimedia, a local film company, has been selected by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) through its television commissioning system for the production of a local 26-part soapie, Art/Life has exclusively learned. It was apparently a very close call between Optimedia and two other local film companies, Clevercloggs and Homebrewed Productions.

    The soapie, to be known as The Ties That Bind, will be the first-ever proper television series to be done by the national broadcaster after it widely advertised earlier this year for submissions from the local film industry. "It will be a typical Namibian story in which two families prominently feature in their daily lives and escapades, with a black and white sub-story on racism in present-dayNamibia," the owner of Optimedia and producer of the series, Abius Akwaake, revealed last week.

    It is understood that the production contract will exceed N$ 2.3 million at an alleged production fee of N$90,000 (US$13,154) per episode.

    It is understood that American film director, Charles Burnett, responsible for the feature movie 'Where Others Wavered' showing tonight at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, and the creator of the very popular South African soapie 'Generations', Mfundi Vundla, assisted the NBC in its quest for a suitable and quality local series. When asked whether his involvement in the making of 'Where Others Wavered' has anything to do with his company getting the contract from NBC, Akwaake vehemently denied this.

    Feme Oke is an experienced film and television Nigerian writer who works for Optimedia. He had also been the script doctor of the initial script efforts of 'Where Others Wavered' for PACON. "Due to some delays in the signing of the contract with NBC and other technical issues that need to be resolved, shooting on the series will probably start much later than the anticipated starting time of September this year.”

    (New Era (Windhoek), 29 June 2007)

  • The SABC has pulled the plug on in-house production of its award-winning environmental programme 50/50, the longest running local programme in SA's television history. Without warning, all six permanent 50/50 staff members were told last week they were being redeployed, and their union - the Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) - has declared a formal dispute.

    Management has indicated the programme will continue after being outsourced to a commercial production company, but gave staff members no indication of when, how or to whom this was being done. The programme's budget - which is only for six months - runs out in September.

    The move was not unexpected as management had previously tried to can the programme, which has been running for 23 years - one of the few survivors from pre-1994 SABC. But the outcry from the country's environmental community and conservation- loving viewers forced the SABC board to reverse the decision.

    The SABC management last year again indicated that it wanted to outsource 50/50, which about a month ago was moved from its traditional Sunday evening slot to Monday evenings. Ironically, its AR (audience rating) rocketed.

    Bemawu then got involved in a consultation process on behalf of the 50/50 staff members, but in November sent the SABC's labour relations division a 16-page document expressing concern about the process and asking for more information.

    "We place on record, with concern, that it appears as if a decision has already been taken to outsource 50/50 prior to this so-called consultation process and that the SABC is merely trying to mechanically adhere to that procedure," the letter stated. It did not accept that it was in the best interests of 50/50 staff or the SABC to outsource such a "valuable asset". The union says it never had a written response to this letter, as required.

    Instead, the six 50/50 staff members were called in to individual meetings with senior management last week and told they were being redeployed to other SABC units. When they queried this in terms of labour legislation and pointed out that they were entitled to union representation, they were allegedly told that because they would be doing similar work within the organisation and their conditions of service would remain the same, it was management's prerogative to redeploy them and it was not obliged to wait for union involvement.

    Independent producers, some of whom earn their bread and butter by making films with an environmental theme for 50/50, are extremely concerned at the move, as it will fundamentally affect them.

    (Cape Argus (Cape Town), 2 July 2007)

  • The launch of Soweto Community Television this week (see story below) was an important step forward for South African media. But is it sustainable? The problem always with community media is that what it does best - forging community identity and development - is seldom financially viable.

    The dedicated souls who run these operations often have to face tough choices between serving their communities and serving commerce, and only a few have found a successful balance. Community radio has had a rocky road since it was launched in this country post-1994.

    While audiences have grown consistently, and all the stations together command about 20% of the audience, many of the stations have struggled to survive. About 120 have been licensed altogether, and it is believed that about 80 remain on air, although that number changes all the time.

    Some stand out as successes, such as Jozi FM in Soweto and Radio Today in Johannesburg. Mostly, they provide talent for the commercial radio sector, which sucks up any community radio volunteer who shows skill. They often grapple with leadership issues, as a station can be an important resource in a poor or rural community, and their boards are usually made up of representatives of interest groups who know little or nothing about the medium other than that it can be a source of power and influence.

    Radio has the advantage of having relatively low production costs; print has the advantage that there is already a local small advertising market. For television to succeed, it will have to create a new very local market of the sort one sees on local American television stations. This will take time and money.

    But gradually a space is being carved out, and it is one that should be important to the development of the country in which a sense of community identity and support is likely to be critical. The government gives support through the communications department (which sometimes provides equipment) and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), which is a statutory body intended to promote media. The MDDA receives a combination of state and commercial media money, but the government's contribution is too small for the agency to operate at full effectiveness.

    So the arrival of the first major community TV station is a breakthrough. There have previously been religious stations operating on community licences, but this is the first of this general interest sort. Soweto is the place it is most likely to succeed, but the challenges will be enormous. Advertising agencies should take note of the value of these stations for promoting talent, skills, diversity and competition.

    (Business Day (Johannesburg), 4 July 2007)

  • The public is excited. And the buzz suggests that a new pay television service in Uganda will change the face of television. Ugandans, on June 29, received maiden broadcast from Gateway Television (GTV), a subsidiary of UK-based Gateway Telecommunications. It was the first time a pay TV threatened to break the monopoly Multichoice has enjoyed since 1995.

    Riding on $40 million (Shs64.5 billion) investment in Africa, GTV expects to use East African region as launch pad for rolling out to 18 other African countries. And it is the first time GTV is operating in Africa. "We chose East Africa because it presents the best market prospects; it has the lowest pay TV penetration in sub-Saharan," said Daniel Kagwe, the GTV General Manager.

    Viewers will have access to international channels, news, sports, movies, popular series, music, as well as GTV's own channels. But this is not what has got the public excited. GTV recently acquired rights to broadcast 80 per cent of the premiership matches, kicking Multichoice out of its stronghold.

    At a monthly subscription of Shs70,000 (US$44) subscribers can watch their popular sport compared to Shs115, 000 (US$72) subscribers paid monthly to stay connected to Multichoice's premium bouquet.

    GTV's successful bid to broadcast 80 per cent live premiership matches is typical ambush on the competitor's stronghold. Multichoice has built a strong brand around television entertainment with strong focus on sports.

    The exclusive rights to broadcast premiership matches, DStv enjoyed after the collapse of TV Africa turned it into a dominant brand that suffocated any competitor. Arabsat, a pan-Arab pay TV channel, tried to break this dominance but lack of sports channels and its heavy focus on Asian content did not appeal to the majority of Ugandans. However, the entry of GTV in the market threatens to break the dominance. And GTV seems to have done its homework for it attacked its competitor where it hurts most.

    Well aware the popularity of premiership on the African continent and the fact Multichoice's exclusive rights had expired, GTV launched a hostile bid for Category A of premiership rights. Industry analysts say the bid could have been three times more than what Multichoice offered. GTV as a result walked away with category A, Multichoice settled for Category B, and NTV took category C, which catered for free to air TV stations.

    Multichoice will broadcast 20 per cent of the premiership matches, and Nation TV (NTV) will broadcast one live "big match" per week as well as premiership highlights on Monday and previews on Friday. The match details are yet to be released. GTV therefore seeks to use the popularity of premiership to break ground in Africa's pay TV market.

    This ambush has forced Multichoice to look elsewhere to compensate for lost ground. "We have secured rights to screen La-liga, copa America, French league, African Cup of Nations and the UEFA Champions league," said Multichoice Uganda General Manager Charles Hamya. "We believe in competition because it makes us become more efficient and much more customer centric; we are now more focused on the customer because we are trying to retain them," he said.

    While GTV touts Premiership broadcasts as its cash cow, Multichoice maintains that its strength lies elsewhere. "We focus on more than football," said Hamya. "Our strength is in the wide range of products that we offer; we are focussed on developing local content such as Big Brother, Nokia Face of Africa, and Deal or no Deal."

    DSTV also believes its multi-channel product will offer it some leverage over competition. DSTV has 10 sports channels, which means it can show up to 10 live matches. GTV, in contrast, has 3 sports channels and can therefore show a maximum of 3 three live matches despite having rights to broadcast live 80 per cent of all premiership matches.

    This means that commercial clients like hotels, restaurants and bars are best placed to use DStv because of its wider options while domestic subscribers may only want to watch one item at a time. GTV however is not swayed by DStv's multi-channel product. Kagwe said: "We are more focussed on content that meets customer's needs rather than a number of channels that a customer may even never watch. We want to demystify the belief that pay TV is meant for the rich."

    However, Hamya maintains that successful pay-TV businesses are built around a multi-channel TV environment; what appeals to a Ugandan may not appeal to a Kenyan or Nigerian. "You cannot focus on just one market and hope to do pay TV business because the investment is very significant," he said.

    As pay TV stations take on competitive spirit, Free-to-air television stations such as NTV, WBS, UBC TV, are not sleeping either. "We consider GTV and Multichoice to be our competitors because we compete for the same audience," said Victor Ngei, the NTV General Manager.

    He said: "We are strengthening our products as well as well as introducing new programmes to entertain, educate, and inform."

    Although NTV got a bumpy start after the Uganda Broadcasting Council switched off its mast citing "technical violations", it has since weathered the storm and the latest addition of premiership matches onto its wide range of product offering that comprises soaps, drama, movies, among others, has got other free-to-air TVs refocus their programming to meet the ever-changing customer tastes.

    WBS TV and UBC TV have, for instance, partnered with Multichoice Uganda to broadcast some of its programmes in return to giving them advertising revenue. "We feel that is the way of attracting market because people get exposed to quality programming," said Hamya.

    While frantic competition among players in the television industry paints a glossy picture on the burgeoning industry, a close examination reveals a different picture. According to the 2002 Population and Housing Census, 231,366 households owned television sets, accounting for 4.5 per cent of the total number of households. The population, which was estimated at about 24 million at that time, has since increased to about 28 million, according to State of Population report recently released by the Population Secretariat. And the majority of households still opt for free-to-air television stations.

    Independent research done by GTV shows that there are about 1 million households with television sets in Uganda and about 9,000 pay TV subscribers who account for less than 1 per cent of households with televisions sets. This means that about 800,000 households can be lured to pay TV as long the products are attractive enough and prices are not prohibitive.

    "Pay television is not a simple business; we lost money in Uganda for ten years before we could just start making a small profit," Hamya said. "Five years ago we reduced our subscriptions in a hope that people will subscribe and we were actually surprised that people didn't subscribe". Multichoice has sold about 25,000 decoders since it began its operations in Uganda.

    However, its subscribers now oscillate between 12,000 and 14,000 depending on "seasonal changes in demand", according to Hamya. He remains apprehensive of the market growth in Uganda. "We don't think the market will achieve the levels of growth witnessed in the Telecom sector because TV viewership largely depends on disposable income. Until the economy grows we may not register substantial customer growth," Hamya said.

    (The Monitor (Kampala), 3 July 2007)

  • GTV a pan African pay Television has set up its African office in Kenya that will serve as the hub for the whole of the continent via satellite transmission to over 48 countries. GTV at the same time announced a three year strategic partnership with international humanitarian organization Right to Play that will run in parallel with GTV's pan African roll out.

    Through the partnership, GTV and Right to Play will work together in raising awareness about the power of sports for development as well as spreading right to Plays projects through out Africa.

    The US$250 million investment pay TV services provider is expected to bring competition that would gradually lead to lower charges for pay TV in Kenya and rest of Africa.

    The start up price for dish, decoder and Installations including Value added Tax goes for Ksh 16,000 (US$242) with one month free subscription making it one of the cheapest compared to others providing same services in the region. The Pan African pay TV to be rolled out early next month will provide viewers with international channels as well as GTV's own channels developed with local content that will satisfy local taste. GTV services across Africa will run through Gateway Broadcasting Services, a subsidiary of Gateway Communications that provides satellite infrastructure to most telecoms and corporations in Africa.

    (East African Business Week (Kampala), 25 June 2007)

  • The Ministry of Labor has launched an educative radio program on the state-owned Liberia broadcasting system airwave. According to J. Kortu Nyandibo, Acting Director of Public Affairs, the program "Labor Forum" would be aired every Friday at 6:30 P.M. The program which is the first of its kind in the history of the Ministry is intended to educate the public on the function of the Ministry.

    Nyandibo said the program would also seek to promote social dialogue among the tripartite configuration, i.e. the government, employers and workers' associations. The Labor Public Affairs Officer also indicated that efforts were underway to take the program to community radio stations in the leeward counties for the benefit of the targeted audience.

    (The NEWS (Monrovia), 28 June 2007)

  • Community television station SowetoTV will begin broadcasting as the country's first fully-fledged TV station dedicated to one area on Sunday evening. The Independent Communication Authority of SA (Icasa) issued SowetoTV with a 30-day licence limited to covering special events two years ago.

    Three weeks ago, however, the authority acceded to requests from the station and converted its licence to cover a 12-month period of 24-hour coverage. According to SowetoTV head of marketing and sales Deon Botha, the lucrative opportunity to broadcast into the homes of Soweto's 4-million residents had been on hold for some time. He said the station was excited to be in a position to attract advertisers to this lucrative market.

    "We would usually have to apply for a full 30- day licence from Icasa, even if we were only covering an event such as World Aids Day, because we never knew when we would get [permission] to go live. But because we didn't know when approval would come, we set up mobile units that would be ready."

    The station has been running on a "piecemeal" basis for the past three years, surviving on help from volunteers and assistance from retail advertising from corporate business such as Absa and Shoprite Checkers.

    In the short term, Botha said the station would "run without advertising for the first month, just to prove the quality of our product". He predicted advertising for the 11 months after that could generate R5m-R15m in revenue for the station . SowetoTV entered a partnership with the Sowetan newspaper (owned by Johnnic Communications, also part owner of Business Day) and will be airing live news feeds and interviews with Sowetan reporters for breaking news.

    "We will run a news slot every hour , as well as entertainment shows in the evening and children's programmes in the afternoon." When SowetoTV began broadcasting on Sunday, it would be only three weeks after the go-ahead by Icasa, Botha said.

    (Business Day (Johannesburg), 29 June 2007)

  • Vision Group is to launch a free-to-air television station and an FM radio for Kampala around October this year. Chief Executive Officer Robert Kabushenga said the group will also start a Saturday newspaper by the end of July and a business publication in October.

    The initiatives, he said, were prompted by the pressure from the readers for unique content for Saturday that meets their specific information needs. The radio will focus on information and entertainment, which Kabushenga described as "infotainment".

    The company, he said, had already concluded discussions that will lead to the purchase of ready-to-air television equipment, consisting of a transmitter, generator and a combiner. These are already installed at Kololo. "This means that before this year is done we shall be on air," he said. However, a number of regulatory clearances and collaboration details still need to be concluded with the regulators and the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, he added.

    Kabushenga was speaking on Friday during a ceremony at the head offices of the Group in Kampala's Industrial Area on Friday evening, to mark the end of "a very successful financial year." He described the performance of the company in the last six months as "excellent."

    According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, an independent monitor of newspaper circulation, circulation grew by 6,000 copies during this period. On some days, New Vision outsold its closest competitor by 9,000 copies.

    Website traffic has also continued to grow with over one million unique visitors reading the newspaper online every month over the last quarter. Unique visitors refers to readers who access the newspaper online from different computers connected on the Internet, or IP addresses. Because computers are typically shared, the number of individual visitors is much higher.

    "We have now firmly established our dominant position with a comfortable margin and can build on that for further growth," Kabushenga added. "Our financial performance has been above budget, enabling us to exceed our profit before tax targets. We have recently made a significant tax payment, an indication of our excellent revenue performance. The new products will enable us serve the needs of our customers even better. This should lead to further improvements in our performance in our new financial year 2007/08."

    The CEO added that the newspaper had also introduced other innovations such as the Education and Careers every Wednesday to help readers determine their future. "It is designed to assist them in making decisions that will enhance their chances or those of their children. It is also meant to build on the success of our jobs service and give even more reader value," he stated. The entry of the group into the electronic media, Kabushenga observed, provided an opportunity to the group to become the dominant multimedia player in Uganda and in the region.

    He said the investment into the electronic media was accelerated by the need to serve the advertising needs of customers, who prefer "a one-stop centre for their media solutions." Consequently, Kabushenga noted, the company had made big investments to ensure that clients get the best quality printing services in Uganda.

    "A combination of these media platforms will cement our position as the dominant multimedia house in Uganda." Ssekawungu, who had risen to the position of associate editor, had also been in charge of the rural papers, Etop, Rupiny and Orumuri.

    (New Vision (Kampala), 1 July 2007)

  • Six community radio stations in Liberia have been selected by the Liberia Media Center (LMC) and the Radio Netherlands Training Center (RNTC) to kick start the first phase of a four-year program aimed at providing logistical, technical and professional support to community radio stations.

    The Initiative of Mobile Training of Community Radio (Informotrac for short) aims to strengthen the capacities of select community radio stations in West and Central Africa and is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    An LMC release named the six beneficiary stations as Voice of Tapitta, Radio Kergheamahn and Radio Nimba all in Nimba County. Others are Radio Kakata and Peace FM in Margibi County and Radio Life in Zorzor, Lofa County.

    The program is being implemented in close collaboration with the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. It takes effect in September and will provide studio and broadcast equipment, technical and professional training and basic management and bookkeeping tutorials to the selected stations. The project will in the latter part of the year announce the selection of a new batch of six stations to close up the total number of projected beneficiaries.

    At the same time, RNTC is currently conducting a Training of Trainers workshop for members of the LMC Informotrac team in the Netherlands in preparation for the commencement of the program. The TOT also has in attendance participants from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Guinea.

    The training is being convened at RNTC in Hilversum (the Netherlands) and is expected to focus on the potential and importance of training as a means of increasing the quality and effectiveness of the community radio sector. The month-long TOT program will also focus on the development of skills and techniques for identification of training needs at the strategic, organizational, occupational and individual levels among others.

    (The Inquirer (Monrovia), 6 July 2007)

distribution

  • Lola Kenya Screen is an audiovisual media movement that seeks to place audiovisual media production tools in the hands of children and youth for the advancement of literacy, gender equity, self expression, and democracy in their world. Lola Kenya Screen comprises a production workshop, film exhibition, and audiovisual media platform for marketing, promoting and distributing films all rolled into one. Lola Kenya Screen believe that the comprehension of moving images is a basic skill on a par with what education experts refer to as the 3 Rs—Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic—that contribute to development of societies and nations. Lola Kenya Screen equips children and youth with the skills to understand, appreciate, and create quality audiovisual productions in particular and art in general.

    The production workshops through which it makes the films are held during the annual Lola Kenya Screen in Nairobi. Last year participants made not five but NINE award-winning short animation films. In 2007 it hopes to produce at least TEN shorts that we will then market across the globe. The shorts are made by the filmmakers of today and tomorrow—CHILDREN—and not those of yesterday (Adults!). In future it plans to hold workshops around Kenya, and eastern Africa.

  • The enthusiasm and joy that followed the signing of a multibillion rand soccer deal between the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and SuperSport seems to be fading away, as the SABC is pulling all the stops to challenge what it sees as an 'illegal' and 'unfair' deal. The two parties, SABC and PSL, convened a media briefing yesterday, Wednesday 4 July 2007, at the Westcliff Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg, to inform the media about the latest developments.

    Initially planned to start at 12.30, the briefing only kicked off at 14.45, as the two parties were locked in what could only be described as 'tough', 'intense', and 'bittersweet' negotiations, which followed a range of other subsequent meetings held earlier this week.

    And the media - out in full force - were prepared to wait indefinitely to hear possibly the final outcome of the affair that has spilled so much ink and saliva, and pitted the state-subsidised and politically-supported SABC against the rich-friendly SuperSport and PSL, an organisation branded by some ANC circles as 'unpatriotic'.

    The SABC is pinning its hopes on the arbitration case, which it firmly believes that will be in its favour. PSL Chairman Irvin Khoza said: "If the arbitration case goes in favour of the SABC, it means we will go back to square one, and we will immediately restart negotiations with them during the first three months.

    "If we are not satisfied by their offer, we will then enter the market and find other bidders and later come back to them to see if they can match. Luckily the market has already told us what we are worth, so good luck..."

    And when a sad-looking Imtiaz Patel, SuperSport CEO, unexpectedly burst into the hall from nowhere, he was asked by the media if he believed 'his' deal is safe. "Yes, it is," he said hesitantly and uninterestingly.

    But judging by the smiling and optimistic look of SABC executives Dali Mpofu (group CEO), Mvuzo Mbebe (CE of content enterprises) and Kaizer Kganyago (head of communications), and the stony and silenced faces of Kaizer Motaung, Trevor Phillips and Ntambi Ravele, there was no doubt that Patel was wondering if it was only a matter of time before the SuperSport deal was 'struck off the roll'.

    When asked by Bizcommunity.com if he thought the SABC could win the arbitration case, Kganyago replied: "We would not be here and taking this dispute further if that was not the case."

    However, nobody knows when the arbitration 'winner' and 'loser' will be announced. "It could be tomorrow, next week or next year," Mbebe said.

    Nevertheless, Dr Khoza insists that the SuperSport deal still stands [at least for now]. "This deal is for the betterment of soccer in South Africa, as it improves the quality of the product we are about to deliver in the near future.

    "Again, I will state it clearly that this deal was signed not with the intent to prejudice and enrich anyone, but to balance the interests of all parties, including those of whom do not own decoders," Dr Khoza added.

    Mpofu said: "While the arbitration case is still pending, we thought that we should meet with the PSL to resolve some 'legal and technical' issues, try to patch up our differences and find interim solutions as the soccer season approaches.

    "However, we have to say that our wish is to (re) acquire those free-to-air broadcast rights and not share them with anyone."

    According to PSL, a total of 140 games - including all cup finals - out of 275 have been made available to all free-to-air channels, but so far the SABC has refused to say how many games they intend to broadcast, let alone enter to an agreement with SuperSport.

    "We will issue a public statement about this matter as soon as it has been resolved," Mpofu said.

    Lawyers from the three parties, SuperSport, SABC and PSL, were still locked in an intense meeting at the Westcliff Hotel later into the night to sort out various issues pertaining to the deal.

    Asked by Bizcommunity.com late last night about the outcome of the lawyers' meeting and what exactly was being sorted out, SABC's Kganyago refused to comment, saying: "I have not been part of these meetings since the beginning, so I do not know the outcome of this one and I also do not know what was being discussed."

    Definitely, the public broadcaster is playing mind games, one source close to Auckland Park hinted, adding: "We should stop wasting resources and time and team up with SuperSport for the people's sake, as the battle has already been lost." But, as far as Mpofu and his acolytes are concerned, the war is not over yet. So watch this space!

    (Biz-Community (Cape Town), 5 July 2007)

investment

  • The Win-Win-Group, Namibia's first Marketing, Communication and Learning Consultancy, is pleased to announce that, as part of their vision to change the hearts and minds of Namibians, a smart-partnership agreement has been signed between itself and Zula Entertainment.

    At the signing ceremony in Windhoek, Ulrich Hanstein, the Win-Win-Group director: Client Service and New Business, said: "The signing of this agreement is significant in that it shows the group's commitment to identify and embrace partnerships with credible Namibian businesses and business persons who have the necessary skills and talents to support our staff complement of 17 people".

    He added: "Together with the other directors of the group, we are pleased that the management of Zula Entertainment and their Executive chairman, Penda Hangala, is committed to the group and acknowledges our vision to change the way corporate companies and businesses advertise and market their products and services in Namibia".

    "We are already entrenched in the various regions of Namibia through our school activities, through this smart-partnership agreement. With the assistance of the group, we will be able to elevate our activities which will allow us to further showcase Namibian business by adding value to their bottom lines, develop people and uplift communities," said Penda.

    Zula Entertainment is a management and promotions company with vast experience in the organizing and overseeing of dance and musical shows, fashion shows and various other related production activities, including television and radio.

    (New Era (Windhoek), 29 June 2007)

  • The Standard Group Limited has entered into negotiations with a leading African media company, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), for a strategic partnership. On Friday, SABC Managing Director Dr Snuki Zikalala met with The Standard Group Chief Operating Officer, Paul Wanyagah at the KTN offices in Nairobi.

    The Group's Editorial Director, Kwendo Opanga and KTN's Managing Editor, Katua Nzile, attended the discussions. Zikalala said his organisation was in the process of rolling out a Pan African News channel, which will reduce over reliance on major international news organisations that depended on parachute journalism.

    "Africa has been portrayed as a dark continent that is plagued by war and disasters. We want to be an alternative voice," said Zikalala. He pointed out that some of the media organisations have distorted Africa's image and filed stories from countries where they had no reporters. "We are better-placed to cover Zimbabwe than CNN or BBC who have no journalists there. It is time Africa shed off the colonial mentality of over dependence on foreigners for news," he said. The new channel, whose testing starts today, targets four million viewers across the continent and will open bureaux in Africa and in the Diaspora.

    (East African Standard (Nairobi), 7 July 2007)

regulation & policy

  • Nigeria's leading independent broadcast network says it will take the government to court next week after authorities demolished three new station facilities in the capital, Abuja. African Independent Television (AIT) plans to sue for damages after the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), a local government entity, last week bulldozed without warning three structures, including a digital studio, a technical operations office, and a common room for news anchors.

    The FCT said the station contravened city planning rules and encroached on neighboring property when it built the structures over the past year, Issa Shuaid, FCT director for urban development, told CPJ. He also accused the station of using commercial premises for residential purposes.

    The FCT charges regarding the land encroachment were announced for the first time on the day of the demolition, said Ladi Lawal, head of operations for Dar Communications, AIT's parent company. He denied the other charges, saying the station altered its building plans in July 2006 at the direction of authorities, who then inspected the site on several occasions.

    AIT Chairman Raymond Dokpesi said he believes the demolition was politically motivated and was intended to intimidate the station because of its critical coverage during the recent elections in May. The station, for instance, aired a public forum during which members of Nigeria's assembly critically appraised former President Olusegun Obasanjo's tenure. AIT, which broadcasts across Africa, has several other facilities in Lagos and Abuja.

    "We are deeply disturbed by this arbitrary demolition," said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "African Independent Television had no chance to defend itself against the charges brought by the authorities. Given the station's history of critical reporting, it is hard to escape the conclusion that there is more behind the razing of its new offices than a planning code violation."

    AIT has been the target of frequent harassment in connection with its broadcasts. In April, intelligence agents raided its studios in Abuja after the station aired a paid political program that was critical of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

    (Committee to Protect Journalists (New York), 26 June 2007)

  • RSF has protested the attacks on journalists by the Congolese security services during ceremonies on 30 June 2007 marking the 47th anniversary of the country's independence.

    "This type of incident is repeating itself too often in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At a time when some of their officers have abused their power or used violence, the security forces should no longer benefit from the benevolence of the authorities. The Congolese army should no longer be able to behave with impunity like a state within the state," the organisation said.

    Esther Wakilongo, a journalist with privately-owned Vision Shala Television (VSTV), was detained by Lieutenant-Colonel Anicet Muhimuzi, head of intelligence for the national police, while she was covering the parade organised for the anniversary of the country's independence in Bukavu (the largest city in South Kivu province, in the country's east). Although she presented her press card, the lieutenant-colonel seized her camera on the grounds that she did not possess "the badge granting authorisation to take pictures."

    Despite the protests of the journalist, who was unaware of the existence of such a badge, Anicet Muhimuzi took the camera away with him. He added that she could recover it two days later at the police station. Since then, her equipment has still not been returned to her. The security services in Bukavu had in fact, on the occasion of the parade, produced badges that they distributed to journalists of their choice. All those who had been refused a badge found themselves forbidden from taking pictures or conducting interviews.

    Meanwhile, RSF's partner organisation, Journaliste en danger (JED), reported that on the same day Ernest Mukuli, a reporter with the privately-owned broadcaster Radio Télévision Amani (RTA) in Kisangani, was beaten by members of the presidential guard (see IFEX alert of 3 July 2007).

    (Reporters sans Frontières (Paris), 6 July 2007)

more

  • Hon. Ansu Kaikai of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Friday allegedly threatened to shut down Radio Wanjei in Pujehun and have its Station Manager arrested if he allowed members of the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) in the Diaspora to sensitize its membership about the August polls on the radio.

    The SLPP parliamentary candidate for Pujehun district, who is facing an uphill task to retain his seat, ordered the Station Manager to either call off the programme or the police would arrest him. Patrick Samu, a youth activist in Pujehun stated that after 45 minutes of fruitful discussion on the way forward for the district and why the people should vote PMDC and not the ruling SLPP, the radio suddenly went off air.

    "The programme was immediately stopped and the panelists were informed that the programme cannot be continued because Ansu Kaikai said so. The group, all senior members of the opposition PMDC, had a two hour contract with the management of the station to sensitize the people of Pujehun about the elections through telephone conferencing," Samu said.

    This is the second attack against the freedom of the press in less than a week, a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Sierra Leone is a signatory. Five days ago, the editor of Freetown's Standard Times newspaper, Philip Neville, was arrested and charged with seditious libel. Sylvester Suaray, a member of PMDC who was one of the callers from London stated that all the programme did was inform the people what the SLPP failed do for the past 10 years.

    "We reminded our people of the fact that our district was the first to be free of rebels but yet still there is no development in the district. The houses are falling down despite the fact that the SLPP promised them roofing to rebuild their houses. When several villages were flooded couple of years ago, all President Kabbah could offer them was 4 bags of rice and a bag of sugar," Suaray said.

    The PMDC has lodged an informal complaint to the Director of Community Radio Network (CORNET), Isaac Massaquoi noting how Kaikai disrupted their programme. CORNET was the organization that established Radio Wanjei. Hon. Kaikai told Concord Times that the callers on the programme, who are based outside the jurisdiction of the country, were making wide allegations about the government and the SLPP. "As a trustee of the station I called the manager to suggest to him if they are recording the programme. The person in charge told that all their recorders were faulty. I advised them to use their professionalism in order to avoid slander," he said, adding that the person in charge stopped the programme.

    (Concord Times (Freetown), 3 July 2007)

  • Heavily armed government soldiers stormed the center of the Shabelle Media Network, a local radio based in Mogadishu for the second time today alone, arresting one of the Radio's security staff. The soldiers have entered the radio station claiming that they are going to search weapons. They seemed to occupy the station, ordering all the staff and the administration of the Shabelle radio to go out.

    Somali police men ordering the people to hand up near second Street Of Bakaraha Market in Somali capital on Friday. Some of the soldiers intruded the live studio of the radio as the 4:00pm news program was on air. "When I got out of the live studio and wanted to enter the recording studio, I faced two soldiers pointing at me their guns open, one of themshouted 'raise your hands' as I was criminal, I really shocked and I was not expecting that soldiers may simply enter a live studio," said Jamal Ahmed Osman, the afternoon program producer.

    When the soldiers went into the studio, they threatened news caster Abdinor Mohamed Kadiye who was at that time in live broadcasting. "I was near to die when one of them tried to kill me when I told them that I had no weapons and in a live broadcasting but fortunately one of the soldiers held the gun with the one who wanted to kill me," said Kediye.

    Also Abdirashid Ahmed Rashka, among the Shabelle journalists was threatened to be arrested. "I got very shocked and covered all my body with sweat when red eyes, unkindly soldier chewing khat on his right cheek intimidated me that I will be arrested if a single pistol found in the station," said Ahmed who was very frightened. Fartun Ahmed Hassan, the radio's cashier was also very terrified when the soldiers entered her office ordering her to leave there.

    "They came and ordered me to give them the key of the treasure, and they also dispersed some of the radio's costumers waiting for service, I really became very dazed when one of them pointed at me his gun saying he will kill me if a gun found in the office," said Fartun.

    "I have narrowly survived automatic gunshots fired at me by the Somali troops. I went to buy dinner and I was coming back to my work when suddenly the troops fired at me. The bullets hit two beverages of Coca-cola bottles in my paper-bag. I survived," said Shabelle webmaster, Babul Nor.

    The Shabelle management condemned the move by the government soldiers which they stormed the radio station as irresponsible and beyond the international law.

    (Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu), 6 July 2007)

  • Alex Okosi, formerly Vice President & General Manager, MTV Networks Africa, has been promoted to the new role of Senior Vice President & Managing Director, MTV Networks Africa. The appointment was announced today by Alex Ferrari, Chief Operating Officer, MTV Networks International.

    Okosi’s promotion recognises his substantial contribution to creating and growing MTV’s multimedia entertainment portfolio in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes 6 music and kids’ TV channels across the MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon brands.

    Nigerian-born Okosi joined MTV Networks International in 2003 and was the architect of the launch of MTV base, MTV’s first bespoke channel for Africa, subsequently leading it to become the most widely distributed music and youth channel in the region. The channel reaches an estimated 50 million viewers in sub-Saharan Africa via its 24-hour satellite pay-TV channel and terrestrial TV blocks and serves as a compelling new medium for advertisers and brands targeting the mass African youth demographic.

    In his expanded role, Okosi is responsible for all aspects of MTV Networks Africa’s business operations, with the ongoing task of growing MTVNI’s brands in key territories as well as launching viable radio, mobile and online offerings that will resonate with consumers in Africa.

    Alex Ferrari said: “Alex’s knowledge and insights into the African marketplace are critical to ensuring MTV Networks’ ongoing growth in the continent, and he continues to prove that he has what it takes to drive our success in the region.”

    Okosi is a 9-year veteran of MTV Networks, joining the MTV New York team in 1998 where he worked in the Sponsorship Development and Trade Marketing group, before joining the MTV Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing team in Los Angeles in 2000. Prior to joining MTV Networks Africa, he worked for MTV Networks International, as a key member of the International Business Development and Strategy team, culminating in the development of the Africa business.

  • The 7th Annual Tiburon International Film Festival (TIFF) will be held March 13-21, 2008 in Tiburon, California, a showcase for the independent films and filmmakers from around the world.

    Submissions are open to all genres of film: Fiction, documentary, short, animation, experimental, TV film, children, sports, music video, student….from any nation in the world.

    In March 2007, TIFF showed more than 250 films from 90 countries from 3000 plus submissions.

    The festival has honored many great filmmakers like: Orson Welles, Sam Pekinpah, Luchino Visconti, Charlie Chaplin, Santiago Alvarez, John Frankenheimer, George Stevens, Malcolm McDowell, James Coburn, Saul Zaentz, Brad Bird, Paul Mazursky, Mark Rydell .....

    The films submitted to the Tiburon International Film Festival are eligible to win the Golden Reel Award in several categories: Best Fiction, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Short, Best Animation, Best Children Film, Best Student Film, Best Music Video, Best Sports Film .....and the winners of all categories will be announced during a formal ceremony at the end of the Festival.

    http://tiburonfilmfestival.com/submitFilm.php

technology & convergence

  • Eutelsat Communications last week announced the conclusion of a five-year contract for capacity on its W3A satellite with Gateway Broadcast Services, which is preparing to launch an innovative new pay-TV platform for sub-Saharan Africa.

    Called GTV, the platform will use Ku-band capacity connected to the African beam on W3A to broadcast direct to homes via satellite in up to 48 sub-Saharan African countries. GTV will initially launch a 15 channel service which will be uplinked to one transponder on W3A from Eutelsat's teleport in Rambouillet, near Paris.

    GTV's objective is to offer a widely accessible pay-TV service providing a choice of high quality television programming at an affordable subscription price. The phased rollout of GTV began in East Africa in late June, to be followed closely by launches in Ghana, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. GTV has been designed to vastly increase the numbers of pay-TV subscribers in Africa.

    In addition to international films, popular series, music, sport and religious programming GTV will carry locally-produced content from across the African continent. The service will address the growing popularity of European football in Africa, including live broadcast rights to 80 per cent of the UK's Barclays' Premier League football matches for 48 sub-Saharan African countries.

    Reception will be possible in every corner of GTV's target markets with a 90cm dish, a set-top decoder and any colour television. The service will be encrypted using NDS encryption.

    Julian McIntyre, Managing Director of Gateway Broadcasting Services, said, "Africa currently represents the least penetrated pay-TV market in the world, but there is a huge appetite for the premium news, sport and entertainment that pay-TV offers. Eutelsat's single, high-powered footprint across the continent will help us to dramatically increase the accessibility of high quality pay-TV to millions of viewers."

    Commenting the contract with Gateway Broadcast Services Olivier Milliès-Lacroix, Eutelsat's Commercial Director, said: "We are delighted to have secured the confidence of Gateway Broadcast Services for uplinking and broadcasting GTV to homes across sub-Saharan Africa. From its 7 degrees East orbital location our W3A satellite provides premium reach to GTV's target markets combined with high power for Direct-to-Home reception. Its selection by GTV underscores its growing contribution to the development of digital services across Africa."

  • Multichoice's decision to cater for deaf people by including subtitles in its bouquet, announced last week, has received mixed reactions from deaf personalities who are concerned that its reach will be limited to the rich. A small group of deaf and hard of hearing people, nominated by DeafSA, is testing subtitling software on the DStv personal video recorder. They form part of a field trial before the final review of subtitling software is released to the broader customer base, scheduled for October.

    Nenio Mbazima, a deaf television film director and owner of Kala Picture Factory, said : "What MultiChoice is planning to do will not change anything as many deaf people cannot afford the cost of a DStv decoder and subscriptions.

    "I think they are just wasting their time and money. It is companies like SABC and e.tv , which are free to view, which should be doing what MultiChoice plans to do." Carla Zille, who is hard of hearing and a deaf mentor from the Hi Hopes Programme based at the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies, said she was puzzled as to why SA was so far behind the rest of the world in terms of catering for the deaf.

    Guy McIlroy of the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies said: "As a deaf parent, I would love to have more access to films that have subtitles. Trust me, I know how easy it is to misread someone's lips."

    MultiChoice corporate affairs GM Jackie Rakita said: "Our interactions with the deaf and hard of hearing community imparted valuable information as well as a greater understanding of the daily hurdles that they face." Subtitling is already available on some M-Net movie channels.

    (Business Day (Johannesburg), 2 July 2007)

    § SACOMM CONFERENCE 2007 : The African Landscape (19th-21st September 2007, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa)

    § Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Namibia gala dinner – Media Awards (June 30th 2007, Windhoek, Namibia)

    § 4th Amakula Kampala International Film Festival (May 1-13, 2007, Kenya)

    § 19th SAB Environmental Journalists of the Year Awards (11th October 2007, Johannesburg)

    § Marekebisho Media Awards (6th July 2007, Nairobi)

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