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Issue no 2003 - 7 May 2015

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  • Picture above: Christoph Limmer, Vice President, Global Sales and Commercial Development, for broadcast services at Eutelsat.


    Eutelsat has been pretty active in providing satellite capacity to African countries, both on the telecoms and broadcast segments. As Africa rather belatedly accelerates the transition to digital TV, Eutelsat has made quite a few announcements showing that the operator is consolidating its position as the key player in that field.

    Balancing Act’s Senior Analyst Sylvain Beletre talked to Christoph Limmer, Vice President, Global Sales and Commercial Development, for broadcast services at Eutelsat.

    Prior to his current assignment, Christoph Limmer held various positions including at competitor SES Astra, where he was Senior Director, Market Development and Marketing.

    His experience with broadcasting, digitisation, consumer equipment manufacturers and installers around the world enabled him to get a solid understanding of the respective industry, media and regulatory environments as well as what all these things meant for Africa.

    Q: What is Eutelsat's positioning today in Africa, within the broadcast sector?

     Christoph Limmer: Over the last two years I’ve witnessed the highest ever demand for broadcast services in Africa, and the prospects for further growth are strong. Of all my professional experience in Africa these are without doubt the most exciting times. Satellites are a core infrastructure in the digital broadcasting environment, both for feeding head-ends and reaching viewers beyond terrestrial on a direct-to-home basis. Our satellites are today broadcasting 1,100 TV channels, representing over 50% of satellite channels on the African continent*. We work with all major pay-TV providers in Africa, including MultiChoice, Azam, Canal+ in the Indian Ocean, StarTimes, Strong Media SMO, ZAP/Zon, Zuku TV and we see new players continuing to emerge. We’ve recently added five African TV as new clients of Eutelsat: Arewa 24, Impact TV, TVT, Burkina Info TV and VoxAfrica Afrique.

    To serve the market, we have progressively built satellite television neighbourhoods that each address specific African regions and offer compelling content to attract an audience. The 36° East neighbourhood occupied by the EUTELSAT 36A and B satellites is where we started, over 15 years ago. Covering sub-Saharan Africa, these satellites are the chosen platform for MultiChoice (north of South Africa) and the Portuguese-language Zap platform. Building on this success, we have opened three further neighbourhoods: 16° East, occupied by EUTELSAT 16A and collocated with Amos-5 at 17° East, is fast ramping up to be a key point of reference for African and international free-to-air and pay content in West Africa and Indian Ocean islands. 7° East, occupied by the EUTELSAT 7A and 7B satellites and selected by Azam TV has rapidly made a big impact in southwestern Africa. The fourth, most recent neighbourhood is 70° East where we leverage the high power of the EUTELSAT 70B satellite for DTH reception in an area including Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya. Each position serves clearly delineated markets with its roadmap for growth.” 



    Q: So what is Eutelsat’s secret to its growing success in Africa?

    Christoph Limmer: We want to be perceived as a company that goes beyond selling services. We are driving projects shaping a strong DTH environment that include dedicated marketing and distribution strategies, roadshows across the continent, technical training for installers and marketing agreements with TV set manufacturers such as Samsung. We try to better understand local challenges and propose customised solutions. We define market entry and expansion strategies for national and international broadcasters and help to bring content, including local content which is an essential component of digital transition. Eutelsat’s DNA is also one of strong partnerships with other operators and this drove the agreement we announced in November last year with Amos to combine our strengths and offer Africa’s broadcast community the full benefits of our expertise.

     Q: Where is the market going? 

    Christoph Limmer: Besides pay TV and the progressive addition of High-Definition channels, we see increasing interest from free-to-air channels to target the growing middle class in a number of African countries: from South Africa, West Africa – e.g. Ghana, Nigeria – to the Indian Ocean. East Africa, with Kenya and Tanzania, hold continued strong potential, while Ethiopia, Sudan and DRC are probably the next frontiers. Today, we carry over 100 free-to-air channels across Africa. Besides those trends we are moving to a multi-technology audiovisual access landscape.»

    Q: What are your key challenges in Africa?

    Christoph Limmer: Some of the key challenges are behind us. For example, we see decision-makers much more educated and motivated on the stakes for digital broadcasting than 2 years ago. They have fully integrated that DTT will happen with the help of satellites. There are still some financial and copyright infringement issues, but the market is very dynamic and open to trying new solutions.

    Q: In terms of the digital transition in broadcasting, what solutions are you proposing?

    Christoph Limmer: Our goal is to help drive the digitization process and contribute to building and growing a dynamic and sustainable broadcasting sector across the Africa continent. Through our experience in other regions of the world that have completed analogue switch-off and achieved 100% coverage, we are convinced that hybrid terrestrial-satellite solutions are the right mix and a cost-saver for Africa. Satellite has both timing and coverage advantages. We can deploy digital infrastructure quickly and we can provide blanket reach of a region thereby limiting the massive investment in terrestrial towers to cover the last mile.

    Note: *Cross-checking with Balancing Act’s data at the end of April 2015, Eutelsat contributes to broadcasting the top 10 pay TV providers in Africa, representing a contribution to carry signals to around 9 million households over 16 million pay TV households in total.


    “Creators and Innovators in Africa at the crossroads between Culture and Technology.”
    So far 925 people have subscribed to Smart Monkey TV’s web TV channel which uploads 10-15 video clip interviews a month, covering African TV, Film, VoD, social media  and media.
    Should you be one of those subscribers? Find out on this link.

    Video Clip Interviews - This week:

    Emma Kaye, Bozza on raising GBP0.5 million its African content marketplace

    James Brown & Michael Jackson live in Lagos - Andrew Eborn Octopus TV on performing holograms

    Hypolite Bouabre on the public launch of Ivorian music producer David Monsoh's BeBlack TV

    Arseny Veber, Earth TV on streaming live one of the best views in Africa to the world

    Mohamed Omran, Mediasat on the launch of Libya's Arraed TV, a channel offering more neutral news

    Amos Neumann, Armoza Formats on selling The Package TV format into Ghana and Tanzania

    Uche Iwuchukwu on the launch of Udala Media's SVoD platform for African and Caribbean Users

    David Forbes on his documentary about an Ndebele women shot over 20 years of her life

    Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen on his film Invasion 1897 - The British remove the last King of Africa

    Writer Tom Rowlands-Rees on Kenneth Gyang's Confusion Na Wa and their latest film project

    For news updates, follow us on Twitter: @BalancingActAct


  • Israeli distributor Keshet International has sold the American version of its hidden camera prank show Deal With It into Comedy Central Africa.

    The Viacom Media Networks International channel picked up seasons one and two of the series, exec produced by Howie Mandel (pictured, at the 2012 Realscreen Summit) and hosted by Theo Von (Last Comic Standing).

    In the series, contestants must pull pranks on unsuspecting companions with no time to prepare, while being coached by celebrity guests.

    The U.S. version of Deal With It has also been sold to Comedy Central UK, Mediacorp Singapore’s Channel 5, Multishow in Brazil and CMT in Canada.

    Read more from Real Screen 27 April 2015 here:

  • Multichoice says that its will be celebrating Africa Day on 25 May with Africa-inspired content from sports, movies, fashion, lifestyle news and documentaries. Homegrown content on Africa Magic Family, Africa Magic World and Africa Magic Epic is available, with favourites like 53Extra on Mondays at 19:30 hrs CAT, Jara every Wednesday at 21:00 hrs CAT and Star Gist, which airs weekdays at 20:00 hrs CAT.

    Africa Magic World is introducing a new hour-long music block showcasing the latest chart-topping hits from across the continent weekdays at 14:00 hrs and 23:55 hrs CAT. Popular Nollywood actress Mercy Johnson is making a comeback in 'Dumebi Goes to School', the sequel to 'Dumebi the Dirty Girl', directed by Tchidi Chikere. 'Dumebi Goes to School' airs on Africa Magic Epic on 24 May at 23:00 hrs CAT.

    For more comedy films, there is Africa Magic Epic, which is showing 'The Three Widows' on 01 May and 'Pawpaw The Guitar Boy' on 27 May at 19:00 hrs CAT.  SuperSport and GOtv will show a variety of exciting sporting content live on the SuperSport Select channels.

    Channel ED on channel 65 shines the spotlight on African-themed documentaries. The International Green and Cinema for Peace Award-winning film 'Big Men' centres on the quest for oil in Ghana by Dallas-based Kosmos. As Ghanaians wait to reap the benefits of oil, the film-makers discover violent resistance down the coast in the Niger Delta, where poor Nigerians have yet to prosper from decades-old oil fields. Big Men airs on the 14 May at 20:00 hrs CAT.

    Source: Telecompaper 1 May 2015

  • Cape Town – The SABC and MultiChoice will launch its rerun entertainment channel, called SABC Encore, on 11 May on channel 156 on DStv at 17:00.

    The launch of SABC Encore, which formerly would have been called SABC Entertainment, forms part of a now controversial deal with the public broadcaster under which the SABC is supposed to supply MultiChoice with two TV channels.

    The SABC launched SABC News (DStv 404) in August 2013 and now SABC Encore will finally start broadcasting from May. It was supposed to start on DStv a few months after SABC News launched but has been delayed.

    SABC News and SABC Encore as TV channels are both essentially a do-over for the SABC.

    The SABC had SABC News International as a struggling 24-hour TV news channel and SABC Africa as a general entertainment channel, running on DStv before they were both shuttered after a few years due to non-performance.

    MultiChoice terminated SABC Africa as a SABC supplied TV channel on DStv at the end of July 2008 with the SABC and MultiChoice which said the channel "is no longer viable" due to poor performance.

    The SABC closed down SABC News International in March 2010 since it became too expensive to operate during the period when the SABC's cash crunch crises and management woes started to escalate.

    In a new contract between MultiChoice and the SABC, signed by the public broadcaster's chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the new two channel deal was signed in 2013 with SABC Encore which is now ready to launch.

    The launch of SABC Encore was largely dependent on the digitisation of the SABC's archives which MultiChoice is helping the public broadcaster with and which forms part of the overall content supply contract.

    Retro gold

    SABC Encore will be a retro, "golden oldies" TV channel, similar to what the M-Net supplied Series Channel was when it launched on DStv and what FOX Retro was when it launched on TopTV, now StarSat. Both those channels with a channel proposition of catering to TV nostalgia lovers, have since been closed down.

    SABC Encore will be filled with old local programming from the SABC archives, mostly titles from the 1980s and 1990s in various genres and in various South African languages.

    "SABC Encore is a celebration of the SABC content which has been produced over the years," Verona Duwarkah, the SABC's group executive in charge of television, told SABC News. "SABC Encore allows us as South Africans to celebrate the past."

    SABC Encore as a TV channel will be available on all of MultiChoice's differently priced DStv bouquets, says the SABC.

    SABC Encore will run from 17:00 to 23:00 on weekdays with programming spanning children's shows like Pumpkin Patch to Afrikaans drama series like Agter Elke Man.

    "The Entertainment channel as it was contractually called, is actually called SABC Encore. It is a celebration of the SABC's content which has been produced over the years," says Duwarkah.

    The channel is made up of all sorts of genres – all from the SABC's archives.

    "Sometimes you'll even laugh at the quality of the actual production in the old days, because we've learnt so much".

    There was no joint statement from the SABC and MultiChoice on Tuesday, as is usual, when the addition and details of a new TV channel on DStv is announced.

    SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to a media enquiry made on Tuesday afternoon asking about SABC Encore.

    MultiChoice spokesperson Jackie Rakitla, asked about SABC Encore on Tuesday afternoon, said MultiChoice welcomes the channel to DStv.

    "We welcome SABC Encore to the DStv platform. Viewers can expect to see some of the SABC's classics when it's launched on channel 156 on 11 May. It will be a real trip down memory lane for parents, who will be able to share watching some golden oldies with their children."

    The launch of SABC Encore takes the SABC back to 5 active TV channels – the two broadcasting on MultiChoice's DStv exclusively – and SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 as analogue TV channels also carried on the satellite TV platforms of On Digital Media's StarSat and the Sabido owned OpenView HD (OVHD) from Platco Digital.

    Controversial contract

    The contract of the SABC's supply of the two channels - SABC News and SABC Encore – to MultiChoice's DStv is currently part of a case before South Africa's Competition Tribunal brought by Caxton, together with Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and the civil society public broadcasting pressure group SOS Coalition.

    They say the contract essentially constitutes a "merger" between MultiChoice and the SABC and that the contract not only gives MultiChoice "undue exclusive access to SABC content", but also places MultiChoice in a position to influence SABC policy.

    Caxton, MMA and the SOS Coalition are arguing that the deal is not in the public interest and that the deal works against the long-term interest of the SABC as well as the South African public.

    MultiChoice says it rejects the allegations and says that there is nothing wrong with its relationship with the SABC. "This is a standard commercial agreement for the supply of two television channels".

    Source: Channel 24  29 April 2015

  • bona-moCaxton Magazines has continued its commiment for its brands to live beyond the printed page with the launch of Caxton Television and its first offering BONA Mo. Positioned as a branded television segment presentation, BONA Mo is an extension of the magazine and not a TV version connecting BONA readers and SABC1 viewers with advertising partners.

    “At Caxton Magazines we do not see ourselves as only producers of magazines,” says Anton Botes, general manager for the Group. “We are in the business of providing relevant, meaningful content that resonates with our readers across our titles; in whatever format they consume it. So television for us is the next logical step in the evolution of our brands.”

    The decision to pilot this initiative with BONA magazine was something that “just made sense” for Botes. “BONA is the most widely-read, paid-for monthly magazine in South Africa and the only one to be available in four languages. So there was no better option than to use this dynamic title for this innovative approach to branded lifestyle content.”

    This approach to providing meaningful and inspiring content in an innovative way is something that is echoed by BONA editor-in-chief, Linda Mali. “BONA is designed to empower and motivate our readers to be who they want to be and all the content we produce needs to remain inspiring to our readers and now our BONA Mo viewers as well. By keeping to our brand pillars of celebrity, food, beauty and fashion, relationship and family and careers and entrepreneurship, we can remain authentic with our content and promote our brands with integrity.”

    Source: My TV News 4 May 2015

  • Motion Story, an independent television and film studio based in Joburg, recently changed focus from iconic brands like Mercedes-Benz, Investec and PwC, to scripted drama after international author and screenwriter, Gareth Crocker joined the studio in 2014. The result is Jongo, the world’s first African superhero television series.

    Jongo (c) Motion Story 1 Although the show was first introduced at Discop Africa last year, the trailer was recently released along with news that it had secured an Emmy Award-winning distributor in Amsterdam – FCCE – with international broadcast offers already rolling in. The series is written by Crocker, who also co-directs with Fred Wolmarans, and with Nick Keulemans as Cinematographer. Actors’ names have yet to be released.

    Jongo is a comedy drama at heart, following the story of Eli King who becomes superhuman after a crystal is found at the Cradle of Humankind. The mysterious stone is left to him by his father, an enslaved miner who is murdered shortly after escaping the cave. Set in modern-day South Africa and Zambia, Eli must grapple with the powers of the crystal while hunting the men responsible for his father’s death.

    “While Jongo will be sold as an international superhero series, we wanted the show to have a distinctly African soul,” Crocker explains, “Moreover; we wanted to showcase the beauty and dynamism of the continent and of South Africa in particular. Jongo will emphasise all that is wonderful and positive about this great continent of ours. Our vastly experienced production crew has worked in some 30 countries and our cast features diverse and exciting talent from across the continent. While we’re not yet ready to reveal the identity of our lead actors, we are extremely confident that many of these talented people will soon become household names.”

    “With the huge success of drama series at free-to-air channels, digital channels and VOD platforms like Netflix, we automatically see a growing demand for high-quality drama series,” Justus Verkerk, Chief Commercial Officer at FCCE says, “In our constant search for top-quality content, we see more and more great storytellers and high-quality drama productions coming from new territories.

    Jongo (c) Motion Story

    Jongo is one of the best examples of that trend and we’re very confident audiences on the African continent, as well as in Europe and the US, will enjoy the mystery and charm of Jongo. It combines all the elements that the public is looking for: mystery, heart, crime, supernatural powers combined with high-quality drama, thrilling Crav Magra and uplifting dance scenes. Prepare yourself for some serious binge watching!”

    Watch the trailer for Jongo on

    Source: Filmmaker Africa 4 May 2015

  • Cape Town – Disney has decided to do its first ever local South African TV production on the Disney Channel (DStv 303) and is now looking for three TV teens to present I (love) Violetta as a companion show to its Violetta telenovela.

    Disney Africa which runs the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior on MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV platform is now looking for three South African teenagers, between 13 and 18, to present a lifestyle show called I (love) Violetta which will start later this year.

    Similar to SABC1’s YO.TV, SABC2’s Hectic Nine-9 and M-Net’s former KTV youth block, I (love) Violetta will have presenters talking about a wide range of topics, mostly related to the Violetta show, for instance discussing the characters, showcasing choreography and giving fashion advice.

    The new local show will do a new episode weekly and will start later this year to coincide with the new third season of Violetta on the Disney Channel and which is currently in its second season on weekdays at 16:10.

    Regionalised versions of  I (love) Violetta started in October 2014 in Europe.

    Wannabe presenters for I (love) Violetta can enter at until 12 June and have to upload a photo or video to the site, after which selected entrants will be invited for a live audition in front of a judging panel in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

    "Violetta continues to be embraced by audiences and we are thrilled to be partnering with local Disney fans in bringing  I (love) Violetta  to screen later this year," says Christine Service, the senior vice president and country manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa in a statement.

    "We are especially excited to be able to bring a local production to the Disney Channel, a first for South Africa and an amazing opportunity to showcase the immense talent that the country offers."

    Source: Channel 24 5 May 2015

  • This year, the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winning film SELMA will officially open ZIFF 2015 on Thursday, July 18th.

    SELMA is a historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis that forever altered history. The film stars actors David Oyelowo as Dr. King and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson and rapper and actor Common as Bevel.

    SELMA is the ideal film to open this year’s ZIFF – as the theme- Waves and Visions of Hope is perfectly reflected in the underlying message of the film. It has a universal theme of human rights and dignity significant to Africa with its colonial and post-colonial struggles -  Zuku TV Director, Mandy Rogers explains further, `Zuku is extremely proud to be part of and sponsor this world class festival“. As a satellite broadcaster, we are invested in the production and expansion of East African content.’

    In 2014 ZIFF opened up with the Mandela film, Long Walk to Freedom, and honored to open with another international film that focuses on an icon of civil and human rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, in 2015.  SELMA will be an inspirational way to open ZIFF 2015 and to highlight our focus on hope and social change.” The screening of the film on July 18th, the birthdate of Nelson Mandela will bring added significance to the event.

    As a homegrown East African brand under Wananchi Group with TV services that have successfully launched in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia, Zuku is proud and privileged to partner with the Zanzibar International Festival with such international appeal. To have a Paramount Pictures award winning film open the 2015 festival proves that an East African Festival is of international standards.

    The Zanzibar International Film Festival sponsored by ZUKU, will take place between 18th and 26th July 2015 in Stonetown. It is the longest running film-festival in East Africa, with global credibility and instant Pan-African recognition. As in previous years ZIFF will welcome dozens of professional and aspiring film directors, producers from across Africa and the world for 8 days of film, music and cultural celebration.

    Source: Press Release

  • Malawian Film Helps Farmers Cope With Climate Change.
    “Mbeu Yosintha” was made to help farmers and rural communities cope with the effects of climate change, in particular the ever changing rain patterns in South East Africa. The film is a drama using local actors and was devised with Malawian writer Jonathan Mbuna following extensive research with various agricultural NGOs in Malawi.

    A Johannesburg-Based 3D Art Duo Is Animating South Africa’s Izikhothane Subculture See more here:


  • CitizenFour, Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary about whistleblower Edward Snowden, will open the 17th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, running from 4-14 June 2015 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

    Poitras won the Pulitzer in 2014 for her role in helping Snowden expose the widespread abuses of America’s National Security Adminsitration. Citizenfour is a first-person, fly-on-the-wall account of breaking the story of the decade, a real-life thriler unfolding minute-by-minute before our eyes.

    Snowden disturbingly warns: “Know that every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cellphone tower you pass, friend you keep, site you visit, every subject line you type, are in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not.”


    Entertainment Weekly hailed Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck as the best film at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, while Rolling Stone called the authorised documentary of the Nirvana front man “the most intimate rock doc ever.”

    The Salt of the Earth is an exquisite visual ode to Brazilian documentary photographer Sebastião Salgado, co-directed by his son Juliano, and his friend, legendary filmmaker Wim Wenders. Nominated for an Oscar in 2015, it also won the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize in Cannes, among other honours.

    The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to his Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing. Winner of 16 international awards, including in Venice and SXSW, this follow-up on post-genocide Indonesia trails an optometrist who confronts his brother’s murderers in a country that never had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and where the murderers remain in power. Twitch hailed The Look of Silence and The Act of Killing as “perhaps the most important documentary project of the 21st century."


    Produced by South African Steven Markovitz and directed by Sudan’s Hajooj Kuka, Beats of the Antonov won the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival's People’s Choice Award and was hailed as a “true standout” by Variety. A testimony to the power of music to hold a community together, The Beats of the Antonov is a window into the world of the resilient Sudanese farmers, herders and rebels of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, who defiantly continue to tend their lands and celebrate their heritage in the face of government air raids.

    The Dream of Shahrazad, the latest from Emmy winner Francois Verster, looks at the recent revolts in Egypt and Turkey through the lens of the famous story collection, The 1001 Nights. The Dream of Shahrazad is the first South African film to sceen in the prestigious Masters programme of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

    The Shore Break, directed by SAFTA-winner Ryley Grunenwald, is the story of two Pondo cousins from a close-knit rural community who have opposing plans for their homeland on South Africa’s West Coast. It’s a story of eco-tourism versus mining, and of the South African government versus the Pondo king and queen. The Shore Break screened in competition at IDFA and was named the Best Documentary at the 2015 International Environmental Film Festival (FIFE) in Paris.

    Filmed over six years, Nicky Newman’s Brett Bailey – Caught In The Act is a touchingly intimate portrait of the South African artist and his theatre group, Third World Bunfight. It climaxes with the controversial Exhibit B, which was labeled a ‘human zoo’ and sparked protests across Europe. Brett Bailey – Caught In The Act will have its world premiere at Encounters.

    Encounters will also host the world premiere of Wild Dog and Mrs Heart, the new film from festival favorite Riaan Hendricks, whose The Devil’s Lair opened Encounters two years ago. Wild Dog is a tender observational film about two inspectors from Animal Welfare Helderberg, who dare to care despite having to euthanise healthy dogs and cats every day.

    Other films in the exciting Encounters line-up include :

    • the award-winning Approaching The Elephant, an observational film about the launch of the Teddy McArdle Free School in New Jersey, America, where classes are voluntary and rules created by democratic vote;
    • the award-winning Pixadores, about Brazilian graffiti artists from the slums who both fascinate and flummox the Berlin Biennale;
    • Coming of Age, Teboho Edkins’ picturesque ode to youth, set in the snow-capped Lesotho mountains;
    • Michael Madsen’s The Visit, a unique documentary about an event that has never taken place – humanity’s first encounter with intelligent life from space;
    • Stanley Nelson’s definitive Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution;
    • Between The Devil and The Deep, about the death of an alleged perlemoen smuggler in Hawston, near Hermanus;
    • The Siren of Faso Fani looks at the causes responsible for a textile factory closing in Burkina Faso, through the eyes of the community affected. The Hollywood Reporter called it a “tragic tale of globalization and its discontents, though one with the promise of a happy ending.";
    • El Gort focuses on hay truck workers crisscrossing a post-revolutionary Tunisia where not enough has changed.
    Africa’s most prestigious documentary festival runs from 4-14 June 2015 in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

    Keep an eye on for updates and the final programme.

    Encounters is made possible through the support of the National Film and Video Foundation South Africa (NFVF) and HCI Foundation.

    Source: Filmcontact 28 April 2015

  • Following a new deal signed in April 2015 with StarTimes, the international Pay TV operator, UK based broadcaster, African Movie Channel (AMC) today launched its latest offering, African Movie Channel Series (AMC Series) on the StarTimes DTT and StarSat DTH African television platforms.

    AMC Series is a premium African entertainment channel showcasing the best and award-winning TV soaps, comedy and drama from Nigeria, peppered with some of the best series from all over Africa, 24 hours a day for the whole family.

    The carriage agreement allows StarTimes’ 5 million subscribers across 14 countries in sub-saharan Africa enjoy the 24-hour linear channel for the first time. This second channel from AMC complements the already phenomenally popular African Movie Channel that has been on the StarTimes DTT and StarSat DTH platforms since 2012. Both channels together provide the full package of unparalleled top-tier Nollywood and African TV programming.

    StartTimes’ subscribers will be entertained with series like Heaven’s Gate, The 5 Brides, Spider, Eye Opener, Twisted Fate, and Riddle, as well as classy contemporary modern TV series starring accomplished Nollywood actors like Victor Olaotan and Jocelyn Dumas in Allison’s Stand. Viewers will also not miss out on the latest episodes of that all-time African household favourite, Clinic Matters.

    As part of AMC’s largely organic growth, AMC Series channel viewers will also have exclusive access to various in-house productions. Future programming will feature new dramas, sitcoms and comedies alongside celebrity and entertainment TV shows that will resonate with its broad spectrum of viewers.

    Yvonne Dublin-Green, AMC’s Channel Manager in London commented: “AMC Series is a pioneering new channel that will satisfy the growing appetite for African TV serial content. Nollywood movies are already a proven hit worldwide and a new channel providing exclusively African TV series content was a natural progression for us”.

    Chinwe Chukwudire, AMC’s Brand Manager – Africa based in AMC’s Lagos office added: “AMC has long established itself as a key player in the broadcast of Nollywood and African movies. The launch of AMC Series on StarTimes comes with a promise to our new audience that they will never be starved of visually beautiful and real African drama”.

    AMC Series is available in the Classic bouquet from today 1st May 2015, on StarTimes DTT channel 072, and StarSat DTH channel 134.

    Source: Company Press Release

  • Mediatech Africa, the largest media and entertainment technology trade show for southern Africa, will be staged this year from 15 to 17 July at the TicketPro Dome at Northgate, Johannesburg.

    Staged biennially, Mediatech Africa presents the latest technologies and trends to southern Africa’s broadcast and film sector and rapidly-growing live event and AV system integration industries.

    This trade fair allows thousands of decision-makers in these key industries to discover new trends, solutions and service providers and assess top technologies from manufacturers and distributors locally and around the world; in an environment that allows for hands-on testing, live demos and product shoot-outs, a conference and extensive networking opportunities.

    Source: Press Release

  • NEW YORK — Four TV and web series that explode myths, expose hidden trauma and empower the black community moved a big step closer to the small screen after taking home $50,000 to $150,000 in prize money for pilot development from the National Black Programming Consortium’s inaugural Pitch Black event April 23.

    Panels of judges selected the projects, which focus on topics such as black fathers, surfers in Senegal, Detroit high-schoolers and mental illness tinged with the supernatural, after a day of pitches by eight finalists in a new incubator, NBPC 360. Winners were evaluated on technical and artistic merit, social and cultural relevance, creative team and compatibility with PBS at a time when the network is exploring ways to attract a younger and more diverse audience.

    These projects “will bring vitally needed fresh perspectives and new voices to public media [and] vibrant, engaging stories about the black experience to American audiences,” said NBPC Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz.

    The winners:

     My Africa Is, a television documentary series from Nosarieme Garrick and Hassatou Diallo, which tells dynamic and diverse stories of African youth culture that challenge tired stereotypes of the African continent; Street Cred, by Sultan Sharrief and Oren Goldenberg, a reality television show following 12 Detroit high school students who master tasks in entertainment production to win internships on the set of a feature film; Pixie Dust from Damon Colquhoun and Shertease Wheeler, a scripted web series that is an urban fantasy about a magical 13-year-old girl and her mentally ill mother; and POPS by Garland McLaurin and Jason Samuels, a documentary web series that explores and celebrates black fatherhood, attempting to reframe media focus on the absence of black men in their children’s lives.

    Each team will use its prize money to produce pilots over the next six months with the help of an executive producer or producing TV station. Then, with NBPC’s support, they’ll pursue broadcast and distribution opportunities.

    Projects were selected by two panels of industry professionals. TV and broadcast judges were Kathryn Lo of PBS, director of program development, independent film and the syndicated service PBS Plus; filmmaker Llewellyn Smith of Vital Pictures in Boston; and Liz Cheng, g.m. of WGBH-TV. Judging the web portion of the competition were Karim Ahmad, senior digital content strategist for Independent Television Service; Nicole Eley-Carr, PBS senior manager of digital content strategy and partnerships; and filmmaker and producer Topper Carew, currently a visiting researcher/scholar at MIT Media Lab.

    The event, at the Greene Space in New York Public Radio’s headquarters, drew top executives from CPB, PBS, the World channel, ITVS, POV and WNET as well as representatives from HBO, A&E, Fox, BET, Tribeca All Access and Third World Newsreel.

    Fields-Cruz described Pitch Black as more than a financing tool. It’s about developing partnerships and connections, she said, and “investing in the long-term success of these talented media makers so the world we live in is reflected both in front of and behind the camera.”

    With My Africa Is, Garrick, who is from Nigeria, and Diallo, from Guinea, introduce viewers “to the Africa we know,” where vibrant and innovative youth culture across 54 countries upends the threadbare African narrative of “violence, poverty and safari.”

    The two needed $250,000 for a pilot shot in Nairobi and $2.6 million for a series of eight half-hour broadcast episodes. They’re targeting a global audience ages 15 to 35.

    Street Cred, which had already raised $60,000, needed another $215,000 for a pilot and $1.8 million for 13 episodes of a reality show that creator Sharrief described as a cross between The Biggest Loser and The Apprentice, with a public broadcasting twist.

    The kids he casts have tough lives, he said, “but don’t pity them. They’re strong. They have all these skills, patience, persistence, determination, management, organization, conflict resolution. The show translates these innate abilities into a professional context and showcases their power.”

    He’s aiming for young viewers ages 13 to 30 and women ages 35 to 60.

    Lo liked the injection of straight-up reality programming in Street Cred, noting that PBS doesn’t do much of that. “We call it reality-esque,” she said.

    Executives and producers in the room also welcomed the sole scripted offering, the web series Pixie Dust, to a network where original American drama is scarce.
    Judges Kathryn Lo, Liz Cheng and Llewellyn Smith react to a contestant.

    “We’ve been running focus groups on innovative ways to move forward, and this is exactly what we’re talking about,” said Lesley Norman, production executive at New York’s WNET.

    Pixie Dust sought $215,000 for a first season of 10 five-minute episodes following an intense, mystical mother-daughter relationship, targeting women ages 16 to 36.

    “We need to get more people in the black community aware of mental illness. We need to get more people in the black community to a therapist,” said Colquhoun, getting a big laugh from the mostly African-American crowd.

    “There’s a large audience that won’t watch a documentary because it feels like taking their medicine,” Ahmad said. “But they will watch something like this.”

    And web series POPS showcases socioeconomically diverse black men raising children “in a society that has low expectations for black fathers and families,” said creator McLaurin. “It’s a large population that has been demonized or ignored.”

    The show has partnered with Black Male Engagement, a national support network, and also wants to create an online web portal for black fathers.

    “It’s not just a show, it’s a movement,” Carew said.

    McLaurin was looking for $250,000 for 21 short episodes, seven each to follow three dads.

    The four other projects in competition included Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project, an interactive medley about the largely forgotten Black Renaissance in Washington, D.C., in the first half of the 1900s; Chronicle, an online animated graphic novel following the adventures of black historical figures; The Life’s Essentials Docu-Series, a TV show where celebrities and everyday Americans engage with older relatives; and The Newark Project, a television series about that troubled city’s school reform.

    An encouraging reception from the crowd augured well that some of these would find backers as well.

    NBPC’s Fields-Cruz said her Harlem-based nonprofit had already decided to back three of the eight projects regardless of who won. Cheng was scoping out content for WGBH’s World channel. Ingrid Kopp, director of digital initiatives at the Tribeca Film Institute, urged presenters to apply for grants before Tribeca’s current funding round closes May 12.

    NBPC 360 is partnering with lead station WNET, WTTW in Chicago, WYES in New Orleans, KQED in San Francisco, WGBH/World, American Public Television, National Minority Consortia, South Carolina’s ETV network, BritDoc, POV, ITVS, IFP Made in New York, Tribeca Film Institute, NYC Media, PGA Diversity and Silicon Harlem.

    The incubator program opened last October with a call for submissions, which generated 163 entries. Then came a weekly webinar series on the video business and a live-stream event about trends in public television.

    Eight finalists were invited to join the incubator, a mentored six-week intensive boot camp with hands-on training and preparation for the pitch and pilot phase, culminating in Pitch Black.

    Source: 28 April 2015

  • TV Connect, a connected entertainment event, has announced the winners of the 2015 TV Connect Awards. The award ceremony was held at the Gherkin in Central London, and celebrated the industry’s continued efforts to innovate and transform 4K, cloud TV, multiscreen, OTT, TV Everywhere, VoD and more.

    Winners included market leading players and the best new emerging talent in the connected TV industry. The awards aim to reward new solutions and technologies that provide more immersive TV experiences for consumers, generate new monetisation opportunities and improve delivery to new devices.

    Joanna Jones, events director at Informa Telecoms and Media, commented, “On behalf of Informa and the judging panel, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the winners and all those who were nominated in the 11 categories. The breadth and depth of the entries received proves that great leaps continue to happen in the industry, transforming how video is created, consumed and interacted with. As video continues to transcend the traditional ‘living room’ viewing model, it is inspiring to watch companies accelerate this process and create exciting, immersive and targeted experiences for consumers in every location and on every device.”

    The 2015 TV Connect Award Winners are:
    Best TV Experience Enhancement: iFeelSmart with Andromeda
    Best Multiscreen TV Service: Swisscom AG with Swisscom TV 2.0
    Best Multiscreen TV Solution: Huawei Technologies LLC with Huawei VideoEverywhere Solution
    Best Network Technology for IP TV & OTT TV: Harmonic with IP Video to All Screens Solution
    Best Service Delivery Platform for IP TV & OTT TV: SeaChange International with SeaChange Rave
    Best TV App: Screenz with Screenz Real Time Platform – for Rising Star
    Best TV Consumer Device: AirTies with Air4920
    Best TV Everywhere Service: Virgin Media with Virgin TV Anywhere
    Best Cloud or CDN Service Delivery: Akamai Technologies with Akamai Adaptive Media Delivery service
    Best Live Online TV Service or Solution: SKY Deutschland AG with Sky Online
    Best Component or Enabler: Marvell Technology Group Ltd with ARMADA 1500 PRO 4K

    Source: Screen Africa  5 May 2015

  • In June 2015 AfricAvenir screens a number of African films at the Goethe-Centre, Hope Initiatives Southern Africa (HISA) Community Centre and Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) in Windhoek.

    On Saturday, 27 June 2015 at 19h00, AfricAvenir and Spoken Word screens Ghanaian documentary The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo, directed Yaba Badoe. The screening, made possible through financial support of the Finnish Embassy in Namibia, takes place at the Goethe-Centre in Windhoek. The film celebrates an acclaimed Pan-African feminist, poet, playwright and novelist and provides a fascinating insight into her life.

    Namibian Spoken Word artists will perform/recite some of Ama Ata Aidoo’s work before the screening of the movie. Tickets cost N$30.

    On Friday 5 June, at 14h30 at the HISA Community Centre and on Saturday 6 June, at 10h00 at the cinema of the FNCC, AfricAvenir in partnership with FNCC and HISA screens South African short film KanyeKanye. The family film is a modern day Romeo and Juliet story based in a small township where many years ago, two best friends had a childish argument about which apple is better: the red or the green. Directed by Miklas Manneke, Kanyekanye has won a number of awards including Best Student Film Award at the South African Film and Television Awards and the Best Children's Film Award at the Uppsala International Short Film Festival in Sweden.

    On Wednesday 10 June 2015 at 18h30, AfricAvenir screens Angolan documentary Agostinho Neto, directed by veteran Angolan filmmaker Orlando Fortunato de Oliveira. Fortunato will be in attendance and will host a Q & A session after the screening. The screening takes place at the FNCC and tickets are available for N$20.

    Contact AfricAvenir Windhoek on 0855630949 or email for more information.

    Source: Screen Africa 30 April 2015

  • Internationally renowned actress Leleti Khumalo, known for her leading roles in the movie and stage play “Sarafina” and “Yesterday” which was nominated in the 2005 Academy awards for the Best Foreign Language film has been confirmed as one of the official guest to attend the 2015 Zanzibar International Film Festival in July.


  • Following a new deal signed in April 2015 with StarTimes, UK based broadcaster African Movie Channel (AMC) has launched its latest offering, African Movie Channel Series (AMC Series) on the StarTimes DTT and StarSat DTH African television platforms.

    AMC Series is a premium African entertainment channel showcasing the best and award-winning TV soaps, comedy and drama from Nigeria, peppered with some of the best series from all over Africa, 24 hours a day for the whole family.

    The carriage agreement allows StarTimes’ 5 million subscribers across 14 countries in sub-saharan Africa enjoy the 24-hour linear channel for the first time. This second channel from AMC complements the already phenomenally popular African Movie Channel that has been on the StarTimes DTT and StarSat DTH platforms since 2012. Both channels together provide the full package of unparalleled top-tier Nollywood and African TV programming.

    Source: IPTV News 1 May 2015

regulation & policy

  • StarTimes TV subscribers in Kenya with existing dish kits can now access StarTimes satellite TV service by acquiring a full High Definition (HD) decoder at just Shs 9999 upon subscribing to a bouquet of choice for Shs 1500.

    This is after the digital television company revised the product cost and monthly subscription fees for its satellite TV service in a bid to making it more accessible to viewers.

    The company has also dropped the cost of its super bouquet which will now be retailing at shs 1, 799 per month down from 2, 299 with access to over 95 local and international channels. Smart bouquets will go for Shs 899 per month down from 1,799 with access to over 67  local and international channels while other bouquets will include Chinese and Indian to retail at shs 1799 and 899 respectively.

    StarTimes has also introduced an affordable bouquet known as Nova to retail at Shs 299 with over 35 local and international channels and with the HD decoder viewers can watch 5 months of Nova bouquet, 50 days Smart bouquet or 25 days Super bouquet.

    Speaking during the unveiling of the the new offers, StarTimes Sales Director Mr. Anderson Gichuru noted that the company is keen to ensure that the company can afford and access digital television both in urban and rural areas especially those which currently have a weak or no digital terrestrial signal as the StarTimes satellite now covers 100% of the country.

    “Our new satellite television service offer is expected to enable more Kenyans afford and access digital television no matter their location in the country,” noted Mr. Gichuru.

    The new Satellite television policy also comes with a drop in the full installation price where Kenyans will only part wityh Shs 2000 to acquire a Dish, LNB, 20m cable and accessories and in addition to the 2, 4999 HD and initial subscription fees the total is Shs 4, 499; a 31% drop from previous cost which was Shs 6, 499.

    Source: Techmoran 28 Aril 2015

  • A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed May 21, 2015 to rule on an application filed in objection to the suit seeking to restrain Multichoice Nigeria Limited from increasing subscription fees on the Digital Satellite television being operated by it.

    Two Lagos-based legal practitioners,  Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji, had filed the class action on behalf of themselves and all other DStv subscribers across the country.

    The plaintiffs were seeking an order of the court restraining MultiChoice from implementing the 20 per cent increment on DStv subscription rate which began on April 1, 2015.

    They also want the court to compel the National Broadcasting Commission to regulate the activities of MultiChoice so as to prevent what they described as arbitrary increment in subscription rates.

    They specifically want an implementation of the  pay-per-view scheme in Nigeria, whereby subscribers would only pay for programmes they watched, as is being done in other parts of the world where MultiChoice operates.

    But MultiChoice, through its lawyer, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), filed a preliminary objection, urging the court to decline jurisdiction and discountenance the reliefs being sought by the plaintiffs.

    Canvassing argument at the Tuesday’s proceeding, Onigbanjo maintained that the plaintiffs had no cause of action, adding that a court did not have the power to regulate the price of services that a business was offering to its customers.

    He pointed the attention of the court to MultiChoice’s conditions or terms of agreement, especially clauses 40 and 41 stating that “Multichoice Nigeria may, from time to time, change the fees payable to Multichoice Nigeria for the Multichoice Service by way of general amendment.”

    Onigbanjo said, “My Lord, the country, Nigeria operates a free market economy; neither the government nor the court can regulate prices. How do you now say, for instance, that one bread is more expensive than the other and then ask the court to order the baker of the more expensive bread to go out of the market?”

    Onigbanjo argued further that there was no existing law in Nigeria empowering the NBC to regulate the prices of services that satellite television operators in the country were offering to their customers.

    “The NBC Act does not say that any satellite television operators in the country cannot increase their prices.

    “I therefore humbly ask that the plaintiffs’ suit be struck out for being grossly unmeritorious. We will not be asking for cost because they are our subscribers,” Onigbanjo submitted.

    Justice C.J. Aneke adjourned till May 21 to rule on the objection.

    Earlier at the proceeding, counsel for the plaintiffs, Yemi Salma, had reminded the court that there was a pending application for committal filed against the Managing Director and the Public Relations Officer of Multichoice, Mr. John Ugbe and Caroline Oghuma respectively.

    Salma said the said committal application asking the court to jail Ugbe and Oghuma for allegedly disobeying an order of the court should be taken first before any other thing on Tuesday.

    Aneke had on April 2, 2015 made an interim order restraining MultiChoice from implementing the 20 per cent increment in subscription rate on DStv, pending the determination of the suit; but the plaintiffs alleged that the order was shunned.

    “My Lord, the application for contempt must be taken first. My Lord, this position has been severally adopted by the court, even by the Court of Appeal,” Salma said.

    But in opposition, Onigbanjo said the jurisdiction of the court had been challenged and that that had to be settled first before the court could even make any order.

    Besides, he reminded the court that the matter was specifically adjourned for the hearing of his client’s preliminary objection, arguing that the court did not have the power to overrule itself.

    He argued, “My Lord, a court without jurisdiction that goes on to act, does whatever it does in futility. If a court does not have jurisdiction, where does the power for committal come from?”

    Aneke upheld Onigbanjo’s submission and therefore heard MultiChoice’s premilinary objection ahead of the application for committal.

    Source: Communications Week 6 May 2015

  • An alliance of civil society and industry associations has issued a firm call for the Film and Publications Board (‘the Board’) to withdraw its draft Online Content Regulation Policy, which was released for public comment on 4 March 2015. According to a press release issued by the group, the call for the withdrawal is based on the “unconstitutional, unlawful and unworkable nature of the draft, as well as the fact that it ignores several related Government processes.”

    Sekoetlane Phamodi, coordinator at the SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition explained, “We all accept the need to address the ease with which children are able to access pornography and other inappropriate content on the internet as well as the extension of current offline classification undertaken by the Board into the online environment. This is a critical debate already taking place within the South African Law Reform Commission and the ICT Policy Review Process.

    “We do not, however, accept the appropriateness of this document as a starting point for this debate as it is premature and indicates a lack of understanding of the manner in which content is distributed online. The failure to define key terms or to provide workable definitions for others creates confusion in interpreting the scope of application of the document, but it appears that the Board wishes, effectively, to classify the internet.”

    The allied organisations have called on the Board to withdraw the draft policy pending the finalisation of the SALRC process and future debate around the amendment or replacement of the Films and Publications Act.

    The deadline for submissions on the draft policy is 8 July 2015.

    Source: Screen Africa 5 May 2015

technology & convergence

  • Online entertainment magazine Nigerian Entertainment Today (NET) has launched ORIN, a music streaming service designed to allow users access to exclusive Nigerian and African music content faster and to help artists and labels reach new audiences. It aims to provide uninterrupted entertainment to the millions of young people around the world who are passionate about Nigerian music.

    The new music service was announced by its founder, Ayeni Adekunle, at the Nigerian Entertainment Conference in Lagos on Wednesday 22 April. 

    With plans to revolutionize the audio-visual streaming experience and business model for the growing African music market, ORIN merges the best features of established streaming service providers with social functionality and data gathering and analytics functions.

    Boasting a library made up of 100% African content, ORIN is targeted at the African music listener, with over 5000 audio tracks and 1000 videos already present on this rapidly expanding library. In the next 12 months, the audio library is expected to surpass 100 000 tracks as new content and older content in non-digital formats are added. Available on PC, Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms, ORIN is making a deliberate play to capture the rapidly-expanding market of Africans with a smartphone or personal computer with internet access. 

    Combining the functionality of established streaming services like Spotify, ORIN incorporates social media functionality into its unique experience, resulting in a three-way merger of content streaming, social connections and conversations, and data analytics and content marketing tools. All this useful and wide-ranging functionality is brought together under a simple user interface reminiscent of a typical social networking site. At the heart of ORIN is user customization. Rather than algorithm-generated playlists or paid music curators, users organize and structure their own playlists making use of the vast music and video library. This service is 100% free to use as ORIN is backed by advertising revenue - and it even pays royalties to artists. The result of this is a deceptively simple-looking website and app with numerous possibilities. 

    No doubt taking into account the high cost of mobile data packages and often-sluggish connection speeds in Africa, ORIN incorporates online as well as offline streaming modes that permit users to listen to their playlists offline without downloading mp3 files that deprive artists of royalties. It also incorporates automatic detection of connection speed and assigns streaming bandwidth accordingly, with special formatting to avoid loss of audio quality. A useful geo-location feature is embedded in ORIN to give artists, labels and brands a picture of the geographical spread of content, which helps in decisions regarding recording, touring and marketing communication. Even upcoming artists are able to make use of the social media functionality to popularize their music and earn some money in the process. 

    ORIN is an exciting new development in the African music industry. If successful, it will not only deliver the best streaming experience available to the African market, but will also change the definition of social media and blur the lines between social networking and multimedia content use. Users can sign up at

    Source: Music Africa 25 April 2015

  • Wananchi Group’s subsidiary SimbaNet has added voice and TV services to its fibre-based Internet offering in a move aimed at growing its market share among small and medium-sized firms (SMEs).

    The company said it had previously targeted large firms with fibre optic connections.

    SimbaNet has now enhanced its services to include web hosting, domain name registration, basic TV, Internet protocol telephony, security management and cloud disaster recovery tailored for the SMEs.

    Read the full story in Business Daily here.

  • Bamba TV will give new set-top boxes for free to customers whose BAMBA decoders have malfunctioned due to power problems.

    "Please contact Bamba customer service to get a brand new decoder replacement if you have blown your decoder," Bamba TV general manager Danny Mucira said yesterday.

    He said they have received complains that some BAMBA CA-1 decoders have blown up adding that the problem occurred because some customers used a wrong type of power adaptor to connect the decoder with power.

    "We would like to reinforce that BAMBA CA-1 set-top box is a high specification innovation box that uses a five volt adaptor in order to conserve power," said Mucira.

    He said there are cases where users of BAMBA CA 1 blew up the device after connecting a 12 volts power supply that is meant for other types of set top boxes that they had initially bought.

    "Connecting the BAMBA CA 1 using a 12V adaptor will lead to a higher power supplied than what the box is set up for which results in the motherboard getting burnt. We are appealing to the public to ensure that they use the power adaptor that is supplied with the box to avoid this inconvenience," he said.

    He said Bamba TV is experiencing a high demand in the market adding that fresh supplies of decoders will be in the market next month.

    "Since the launch of the service in December we have expanded the network to cover over 80 per cent of the country. We now have 10 Bamba sites that cover most of the country and we are planning to roll out another 10 sites by end of July 2015," he said.

    Source: The Star 28 April 2015

  • Multichoice Ghana said the price of the Explora decoder has been reduced from GHC 1,182 to GHC 850. New subscribers without the accessories will also get a fully installed Explora decoder for GHC 1,199 instead of GHC 1,530. Thanks to a financing partnership with UT Bank, customers and qualified individuals may buy decoders on instalments over six months. Customers need to meet the bank's credit terms and provide an ID with passport pictures. Credit applications will be processed within 48 hours.

    The new DStv Explora decoder is a PVR which gives viewers more control to personalise their viewing. Subscribers can save up to 220 hours of content, view one programme while recording  another, pause live TV for up to two hours, retain buffering when changing channels, conduct word searches and personalise themes.

    The DStv Explora offers other features such as film rental service DStv BoxOffice, DStv CatchUp and the DStvNow app, which lets subscribers watch content on their laptop when their power is off.

    Source: Telecompaper  1 May 2015


  • Call for entries: Loeries’ new music video category

    With the rise of music television channels and online platforms such as Youtube, songs today are seen as much as they are heard. Music videos are therefore becoming increasingly vital in developing an artist’s image and career. In recent years, thriving music video industries have developed all over the continent - including in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere - and talented video producers have become an integral part of the music industry.

    In recognition of this fact, the Loeries - Africa and the Middle East’s premier creative industry awards - have created a dedicated category for music videos. The organisers are calling on music video producers from all over Africa and the Middle East to enter their music videos from the past year before the deadline of 15 May 2015.

    Loeries® Creative Week™ is a festival of innovation, excellence and creativity. The Loeries were first held in 1978 as a mechanism to support and grow television advertising. Since then, the Loeries have become recognised as the most prestigious award in the region and have expanded to encompass all areas of brand communication, from the traditional  forms of television, radio, print and communication design (including brand identity, architecture & interior design, package & publication design, motion graphic design), direct marketing, PR, non-broadcast video, live events, sponsorship, digital communication and integrated campaigns, to include service design, effective creativity and the Ubuntu Award for Sustainable Marketing.

    The annual event will this year be hosted in Durban from 10-16 August. Both judging and the Awards will take place at the Durban ICC, with all additional events along the Durban beachfront. Key official events include the DStv International Seminar of Creativity, an Expo, Student Portfolio Day and the black-tie Awards Ceremonies (on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 August) as well as complementary parties. See the full programme here.

    In order to cater for the growing number of excellent music videos coming out of the region, a dedicated category specifically for this medium has been created this year.  “We reward creative excellence,” says Loeries CEO Andrew Human. “The addition of this dynamic and exciting new category aims to celebrate the innovation, skill and hard work behind the videos and caters to the growing number of music videos coming out of the region.”

    How to enter

    This year entries from the whole region of Africa and the Middle East have access to all the categories. However there will be a separate section during the awards ceremonies for Africa and the Middle East. This year all work that has been created specifically for and to run in Africa or the Middle East, irrespective of where the work was produced, is now eligible to enter. Also, all work conceptualized by companies based in Africa or the Middle East, no matter where the work is flighted, can also enter.

        Entries in the Music Video category must have aired commercially between 1 June 2014 and 31 May 2015.
        Entries should demonstrate quality of execution, originality, relevance to the market and the artist’s brand.
        All entries (excluding student work) must be commercially published, launched or aired to a substantial audience within the eligibility period. 

    The work will be judged and awarded during Loeries® Creative Week™.  Entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

        Innovation (is it fresh and groundbreaking?);
        Execution (is it well-executed and beautifully crafted?); and
        Relevance (is it relevant to the brand, the market and the medium?).

    In summary, your entry needs to demonstrate that the work is worthy of a Loerie award. Produce outstanding work, and present it well, and you’ll add more ‘birds’ to your trophy cabinet - and more clients to your portfolio!

    The deadline for entries is 15 May 2015.

    For more details on how to enter and the fees for doing so, please visit the Loeries website, email or call the Loeries office on +27 11 447 6889.

    Source: Mucis Africa 30 April 2015

    Masterclass: Writing the TV Drama Series

    The Hummingbird Group and Zeropoint Studios present a series of TV and animation related masterclasses by global leaders in the industry. The next session will be hosted by Pamela Douglas, an award-winning writer who is highly acclaimed in the television drama genre.

    The Writing the TV Drama Series masterclass will cover the following topics:

    Part 1: Overview of American TV Drama Series
    • Why American TV series are successful
    • How the TV business works
    • How shows work: Working on staff, the ladder and the Writers Room
    • How an individual succeeds in writing for television
    Part 2: Creating Original Series
    • How new shows are created
    • Optimal ways of constructing TV pilots
    • Screening: Clips from the beginnings of several pilots, with analysis
    Day 1: Afternoon
    • Screening and analysis: Breaking Bad pilot
    • Following screening: Q & A – open discussion
    • If time: One/two pitches of original series from the group with discussion
    The three day workshop will run from 5 to 7 June 2015 in Johannesburg and will cost R5500.

    Douglas will also offer a second round of Masterclasses – The Future of TV. This workshop will examine the changing landscape of TV and cover new outlets; how they affect job opportunities; as well as the form, style and subjects of scripts. The masterclass will also look at examples from Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, and generate discussion around interactive television and virtual reality.

    This two day workshop will run from 9 to 10 June 2015 in Johannesburg and will cost R3500.

    Tickets for all five days can be purchased at R7000.

    Interested participants have until Monday to book at 2014 prices, which are as follows:
    Writing the TV Drama Series: R4500
    The Future of TV: R2500
    All five days: R5500

    Contact Natasje van Niekerk at or Amanda Matutu at for bookings and more information.

    TCFF call for SA entries

    In 2015 the Tri Continental Human Rights Film Festival, which runs in September, is changing the way they do things. They are running a travelling film festival that will visit five cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Grahamstown and Mbombela. The festival will run for four days in each city, across several venues.

    TCFF are currently looking for social impact documentaries by South African filmmakers. They are expecting a vibrant festival where diverse audiences are engaged through debates and panel discussions around the story and the filmmaking.
    Where possible, TCFF want filmmakers to lead these discussions and to share the research, passion and understanding they have of the story they have told with festival audiences.

    Deadline for entry is 15 June 2015.

    To submit and for more information about the festival in 2015, visit the TCFF website.

  • MultiChoice Africa appoints new CEO

    MultiChoice Africa has appointed Tim Jacobs, formerly chief financial officer of the pay-TV segment at MultiChoice, as the new CEO, replacing Nico Meyer who left the company for “personal reasons”.

    Meyer left the group’s employ on 31 March, MultiChoice’s GM for corporate affairs Jackie Rakitla told Techcentral. Jacobs took on the Africa CEO role effective from April 2015.

    Jacobs is a former chief operations officer at SA Taxi and group chief financial officer at Transaction Capital. Between 2001 and 2009, he served as group finance chief at Nampak. He joined MultiChoice in 2013 as chief financial officer of MultiChoice South Africa Holdings. A qualified chartered accountant, he was then appointed director of finance for MultiChoice South Africa Holdings and joined the MultiChoice South Africa board in April 2014.

    Meyer, who describes himself as a “CEO on sabbatical” on his LinkedIn profile, had worked at MultiChoice since 1998. He was appointed CEO of MultiChoice Africa in February 2012.

    Source: ITNews Africa 27 April 2015

  • 13 - 24 May 2015
    68e edition of Festival de Cannes

    Cannes, France

    26 - 27 May 2015
    Satcom and Connected Africa 2015
    The Sandton Convention Centre - Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa
    An event mainly focused on satellite communications.

    2 - 4 June 2015
    Discop Africa Abidjan 2015
    Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, a 5 stars hôtel in Côte d'Ivoire 
    THE African market & creative forum for TV programmes and audiovisual content trade in francophone Africa: A must go! conferences, trade floor, debates, meeting rooms...Around 400 participants expected this year. Country of honor: South Africa to boost co-productions between South Africa and Côte d'Ivoire. Organised by Basic Lead.

    4 au 7 June 2015
    Nollywood Week Paris

    The 3rd. edition of the now popular Nigerian film festical in Paris (Festival du Cinéma Nigérian à Paris), France.

    17-19 June 2015
    Convergence Africa World 2015

    Kenya (Nairobi) - Oshwal Centre (Parklands)
    Organised by Exhibitions India Group (EIG) 

    20-22 June, 2015
    Natpe 2015

    conference and trade show - Film and TV.
    Miami, USA
    Source: Natpe

    15 to 17 July 2015
    Mediatech Africa 2015

    Venue: Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg, South Africa
    The biennial advanced technology trade show has positioned itself as the largest and most prestigious event of its kind in Africa for the media and entertainment industries.

    23 - 26 August 2014
    The 16th PAMRO meeting and All Africa Media Research Conference
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    “Media Research for One Continent”
    Updates on media audience research activities from countries from all parts of Africa and the rest of the world will be given.
    “Presentations will address a wide range of subjects such as Television audience research methodologies, as well as the measurement/status of Radio, Print, Internet and Outdoor research in Africa.”
    This year market segmentation will also be a focal point of the conference.

    10-15 September 2015
    IBC Amsterdam

    Big! global meeting place for everyone engaged in creating, managing and delivering the future of electronic media, entertainment technology and content. Featuring an influential conference and world-class exhibition, IBC immerses 55,000+ professionals from over 170 countries...

    5 - 8 Oct. 2015

    Cannes, France

    4 to 6 November 2015

    Venue: Johannesburg - The Dome @NorthGate Johannesburg, RSA

    The biggest African market & creative forum for TV programmes and audiovisual content trade: not to miss. Around 1500 participants. Organised by Basic Lead.

    17 – 19 November 2015
    AfricaCom / AfricaCast / TV Connect Africa 2015

    The largest annual meeting of ICT, telecoms and broadcast professionals for Africa. A 'must attend'. AfricaCom welcomes the re-launch of the AfricaCast event as TV Connect Africa.
    About 8000 participants. 
    Organiser: Informa

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