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Issue no. 186 - 29 August 2014

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  • In Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - The start of the media campaign for the 24th edition of the Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), to be held from February 28 to March 7, 2015, was given over to a press conference in Ouagadougou.

    Under the theme: "African Cinema: production and dissemination in the digital age", this edition has embodied the historic decision to open the official competition of FESPACO to digital format, explained Managing Director, Michel Ouedraogo.

    According to the Managing Director, Michel Ouedraogo, this edition will be the major innovations including, among others, the introduction of digital technology in the competition of feature films. He said that steps have been taken to improve applicability of these innovations and twenty feature films will be used for that purpose.

    Emphasizing that 3000 attendees are expected to attend the celebration of cinema, Ouedraogo announced that the estimated budget for the 24th festival edition is estimated at 1.2 billion CFA francs and that his institution is able to handle 60 to 70% of this amount. More on this story here.

  • Marking its fifth original production this year, leading pay-TV network, OSN, today unveiled a brand-new health reality show specially tailored for Arab viewers, Saudi Doctors (Atibaa w Akhtar), which premiered on 1st May, 2014 exclusively on OSN Ya Hala!HD, OSN’s flagship premium Arabic entertainment channel.

    A novel concept, Saudi Doctors will shed light on everyday health and lifestyle issues while demystifying common misconceptions and myths in an informative and entertaining reality-themed format. Reinforcing OSN’s commitment to promoting health and wellbeing across the region as part of its CSR initiative ‘Live More,’ the first episode puts the spotlight on the coronavirus – an issue of huge concern across the region. Other episode subjects range from depression and glaucoma to child abuse, white poisons and the importance of orthopedic and mental wellbeing plus, maintaining one’s health during the holy month of Ramadan.

    The brand new show will be hosted by renowned doctors, Dr. Abdullah Al kchel (Cardiac Surgeon), Dr. Wael Daghistani (Plastic Surgeon), Dr. Tariq Al Asbali (Ophthalmologist), Dr. Ahmed Bin Nasser (Orthopaedic Surgeon); and Samira Al Ghamdy (psychologist).

    Khulud Abu Homos said: “Saudi Doctors is a novel concept and OSN is proud to launch the first health reality show that will not only educate viewers on health and wellbeing but will also encourage positive lifestyle changes in an entertaining format.”

    Saudi Doctors presents one health topic per episode, analysing different symptoms, its causes, the diagnosis, and recommendations including simple cures and preventive measures in an entertaining format. In addition to Saudi Doctors, other health related programmes on OSN Ya Hala!HD include Aishha Bi Shakl Tani and Love Clinic all centered around promoting healthy living and making smart lifestyle choices.

    The doctors also support OSN’s Live More CSR initiative through on-air messages providing simple tips on how to stay healthy and fit. The network has launched a number of initiatives to support its ‘Live More’ campaign, including an extensive on-air campaign that illustrates how simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
     
    Source: OSN.com

  • Win A Home is an exciting new property-related reality show starting on 21 August, at 8pm on SABC3.

    Win A Home, brought to you by Private Property, is a brand-new show presented by three of South Africa's most charismatic television personalities: Cindy Nell-Roberts, Tumi Voster and Maps Maponyane.

    Each episode offers a look inside a gorgeous South African home, while furnishing viewers with design and décor tips straight from the experts. There's also a gripping décor competition between four design apprentices, as well as the evolution of an apartment that's transformed from an empty shell into an enviable home worth more than R6m and which will be given away to a viewer in the final episode. In short, when we say that Win A Home has it all - including several stylish kitchen sinks! - we mean it.

    Read more in this story here.

    Source: Private Property 18 August 2014

  • The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) partnered with UIA 2014 and Architect Africa Film Festival to present architecture films in Durban during the 25th International Union of Architects World Congress of Architects (UIA 2014).

    The event was held at the ICC in Durban from 3-7 August 2014. This is the first time that this congress is being held in Southern Africa and 5000 delegates are expected from around the world.

    Film is an invaluable medium for the preservation of the built heritage of cities, the exploration of challenges within an urban environment and the documenting of achievements.

    A stream of feature films, as well as several short films, were showcased at the UIA 2014 to inspire and entertain audiences, and generate conversations around issues relevant to the Congress themes of Resilience, Ecology and Values.

    For more information, and details on screening go to  the website.

  • On August 18, a group of South African and international legal experts worked with South African filmmakers to better understand their rights as users as well as creators under copyright law. The meeting focused on actions filmmakers can take to use and expand user rights in South Africa that are necessary to fully enable the vibrant filmmaking industry that already exists, and to support emerging artists. 
    Full story here:

    BloombergTV Africa broadcasts “Africa Trending: Retro Fashion and Contemporary Art”. It’s all the rage – retro fashion is on the rise across the continent, we speak to fashionista Kenya Hunt about the latest trends. African art prices have doubled over the last three years, we visit the Artists Alliance Gallery in Accra and talent-scout Anshu Bahanda explains the increasing demand for contemporary West African art. And in our social media roundup we take a look at what's trending and getting you the viewer talking. Remember to follow the show on Twitter: @AfricaTrending. Watch an episode here:

broadcast

  • The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF) and the service provider, Nielsen Media Research signed a new multi-year Television Audience Measurement Survey (TAMS) agreement on 22 May 2014.

    This agreement will run for the next five years, with a tripartite agreement between the three parties running for the duration of 2014. The NAB and SAARF will oversee research conducted by Nielsen throughout this year.

    Because of the NAB's resignation from SAARF, the TAMS contract will continue between the NAB and Nielsen from 2015. TAMS will therefore be uninterrupted until the contract term ends in 2019.

    Read the full story here. 

  • Over its BBC World News Monthly Highlights, BBC World will broadcast “Connected Cities” including cities in Africa.

    Urbanisation is the defining trend of the 21st Century. The rate and extent of this trend, especially in Asia and Africa, is unprecedented in human history.

    The scale of city building needed within the next few decades is going to be extraordinarily challenging. We will have to future-proof our urban space, harness the latest technology and wired infrastructure, as well as adapt our older cities and be smarter about how we monitor aspects of city life. In this episode we head to the connected city of Songdo in South Korea and speak to the Executive Vice President of Cisco, Wim Elfrink, in San Francisco.

    Source: BBC World News, 21 August 2014.

  • Over the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Television channel beIN SPORTS monopolized live matches’ dissemination: the pleasure of the poor confiscated by the rich - A climate of resentment prevailed in the popular media in Tunisia, particularly those young people. It is also the case in all Arab countries because of what they call the diktat of television 'Bein Sport' monopolizing the broadcast of football matches of the Brazilian world cup. beIN SPORTS made the Cup available to its subscribers for $ 350 for the decoder, a sum far beyond the means of most poor and unemployed Arab youth. Read more here.

    As the official broadcast media partner for the Africa Utopia Festival held at London’s Southbank Centre, The Africa Channel joins in the celebration with a weekend that explores all things creative in our Africa Utopia Weekender from Saturday the 13th-Sunday the 14th of September 2014.

    The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has given notice to all licensees and stakeholders that the Reasons Document for the ICASA General Licence Fees Regulations, 2012 as amended has been finalised and published on 7 August 2014. Read more here.

distribution

  • Dubai, UAE-based OSN - the region’s leading pay-TV network - launched  premium online TV platform, ‘Go by OSN’.

    Growing Internet consumption and multi-platform viewing trends spur OSN’s digital expansion.

    Tapping into the growing appetite for digitised information and entertainment, the region’s leading pay-TV network, OSN, is set to revolutionise the entertainment sector with the launch of ‘Go by OSN’, the new premium online TV service. For only US$10 per month, subscribers can enjoy thousands of hours of premium entertainment including Hollywood blockbusters, critically-acclaimed Arabic productions, award-winning TV series and popular kids content, contract and commitment-free, in just a few clicks. ‘Go by OSN’ is compatible with all Internet providers, and is available on fixed, wifi, 3G, and 4G mobile broadband across 24 countries in the MENA region. The service is currently available on PC’s and Macs, smartphones, and tablets and will soon be launched on Smart TV’s and gaming consoles.

    David Butorac, Chief Executive Officer, OSN, said: “We are witnessing one of the biggest shifts in technology since the launch of the internet with mobile devices playing an increasingly important role in people’s lives today - especially the
    youth. As a pioneer of pay-TV, OSN has always believed in pushing the frontiers to achieve excellence in the region’s burgeoning television sector. With the launch of ‘Go,’ not only is OSN setting another benchmark, but we are creating a
    platform that reflects the changing viewing habits of consumers across the region.”

    “With internet users across the region expected to reach over 400 million by 2015 and over 200 million people in the region currently below the age of 25, the potential for online TV streaming is tremendous. With ‘Go’, we are creating a
    new entertainment choice for those who traditionally have been depending on online video channels for content that is often illegitimate or low quality.”

    With internet penetration of over 40% in the region, alongside mobile phone internet user penetration at an average of 54%, Butorac is confident ‘Go by OSN’ will strongly appeal to the fast growing ‘internet’ generation. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE alone, smart phone penetration is at 79% and 72% respectively, while mobile internet access through smartphones stands at 84% and 83% respectively. Countries like Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are also witnessing faster mobile broadband growth compared to fixed broadband.

    Emad Morcos, SVP – Business Development and Digital at OSN adds: “There is no other service in the market that has multiple Hollywood studio deals which enables ‘Go’ to play host to the most critically-acclaimed and diversified Western
    and Arabic content. This coupled with our strong line-up of Arabic productions and movies makes ‘Go’ an irresistible product.”

    “Technology and consumer demands are changing quickly and ‘Go’ has thrust us into an exciting wave of rapid digital growth following the success of our awardwinning catch-up service, OSN Play. Over the next few months, we will continue to invest in the world of digital so that we deliver the best in online entertainment.”

    ‘Go by OSN’ subscribers will have access to thousands of hours of licensed content including movie catalogues from top Hollywood studios such as Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Paramount and Sony. In addition to the most-sought after television shows, ‘Go by OSN’ users can also access complete box sets of hit series such as Private Practice, Revenge,
    Justified, Cougar Town, among others, all available in their original format, dubbed, or subtitled in Arabic.

    Arabic series fans can enjoy an extensive line-up of Egyptian, Khaleeji, and Turkish shows, in addition to exclusive series during the Holy Month of Ramadan. More than 200 Arabic movies will also be available at launch, making ‘Go by OSN’ the largest premium online movie library. The network will continue to expand its robust line-up on ‘Go by OSN,’ ensuring that subscribers always have new content to watch. Subscribers can also take advantage of dual-device screening, where two different shows can be streamed on separate devices simultaneously while the parental control feature empowers families to choose the content that is viewed.

    At just US$10 per month, subscribers can sign up for ‘Go by OSN’ contract and commitment-free, with an anytime cancellation policy.

    To know more or to activate your seven day free trial, visit go.osn.com and create an account, download the ‘Go By OSN’ app from the android or itunes app store and enjoy!

    Source: OSN.com 

  • Playboy allegedly duped the Independent Communications Authority of SA into granting pay TV station StarSat a licence to broadcast porn movies by saying it would only depict "sex between couples in loving relationships and sexually empowered women", and would not show movies with young girls or violence.

    Instead, the prime time content promoted foursomes, infidelity, unsafe sex and women having extramarital affairs, advocate Darryl Cooke told the Cape Town High Court earlier this week.

    Cooke is representing the Justice Alliance of SA in its bid to have StarSat's licence revoked.

    The alliance has taken the authority and On Digital Media, operating as StarSat, to court to block the airing of porn.

    Cooke said Playboy, which supplies pornographic material to StarSat, also misled Icasa by not revealing that it had been fined three times in six years in the UK for exposing children to porn.

    Exposure to porn at a young age leads to sexual disorder

    "Icasa acted in an illusion. It relied on what it was told by the broadcaster. On Icasa's version, it admits it was misled and does not deny it didn't research Playboy."

    Icasa granted Top TV the licence to air Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice in April last year.

    Read the full story here.

    Source: bizcommunity - 13 August 2014

  • Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry is currently in Los Angeles visiting some of the major film studios in an attempt to persuade the United States to make films in South Africa.

    “There is a number of Hollywood studios that are involved in film-making in South Africa so it was suggested that I go and talk to some of the executives,” said Davies following the US-Africa Leaders Summit.

    The film industry in South Africa accounted for about 25 000 jobs last year, a significant increase when compared with 4 500 almost 12 years ago.

    Source: Screen Africa 12 August 2014

  • On 8 August 2014, the National Film and Video Foundation has released its South African Box Office Report for the first half of the year. The report shows that local productions generated R33 million in revenue, up 43% from the same period in 2013 which generated R23 million. Foreign gross revenue however declined by 10% from R385 million to R348 million, and the total gross revenue fell by 6% from R408 million to R382 million.

    A total of 111 films were released at the box office between 3 January and 28 June, 12 of those were local films. Films that performed well at the Box Office included Amazing Spider Man 2 which earned R21.8 million, followed by Rio 2 (R21.1 million) and X-Men: Days of Future Past with box office takings of R16.9 million. Pad Na Jou Hart was the local film which performed the best in the period under review, receiving over R11 million in gross revenue.

    Times Media (formerly Nu Metro) and Ster Kinekor had the largest market share gaining 46% and 36% respectively. This was followed by United International Pictures with 13% and Crystal Brook 5%. Indigenous Film Distributors received 1% of the market share  however they distributed 5 of the 12 local films. Ster Kinekor distributed 4 while Times Media and United International Pictures distributed 2 and 1 respectively.

    In terms of earnings by genre, Animation was the highest grossing genre with R72 million. In the second place was Action/Adventure grossing R70 million and Drama took the third place with R59 million. Observing the same period last year, Action, Animation and Action/Adventure were the top grossing genres. These are the top three genres that seem to be mostly enjoyed by the audience at the moment and have earned fairly well at the box office.

    The report also revealed that there is some correlation with the number of prints at release and gross revenue. Pad Na Jou Hart which received the highest revenue also received the largest number of prints. Elelwani and the Forgotten Kingdom which received the lowest revenue also received the lowest number of prints at release. Thus indicating films with more prints are more likely to generate higher revenue.

    Click here for a detailed Box Office Report.

  • South Africa: Epic Outdoor Cinemas, represented by Cinevation/Popcorn has secured the rights from the film studio to take the hugely successful, locally produced movie - Pad Na Jou Hart on a roadshow!

    As part of a strategic collaboration between Abu Dhabi Media (ADM) - one of the fastest growing, multi-platform media and entertainment organisations in the Middle East - and OSN, the region’s leading pay-TV network, ADM’s subscription based channels will be available exclusively on OSN from September 1st, 2014.
    Read more here. 

    The two main state television channels 'Libya al-Wataniya' and 'Libya al-Rasmiya' stopped broadcasting on the Egyptian satellite Nilesat. Read more here.

    Discovery Channel has announced the launch of its HD simulcast channel (channel 121) on 30 June 2014 across Africa for Premium DStv subscribers.

investment

  • Outdoor advertising and media company, The Marketing Kraal is working with e.tv to drive awareness for OpenView HD.

    Utilising cost-effective container advertising, the outdoor advertising campaign is not only increasing brand awareness but is also assisting in driving sales for the recently launched OpenView HD platform. The containers have been carefully selected to ensure they are strategically placed across the major townships across the nine provinces of South Africa including major townships such as Soweto, Alexandra, Mamelodi, Gugulethu, Mdantsane, Kwamashu and Umlazi.

    OpenView HD is South Africa's free to view direct to home HD Satellite offering with more than 18 channels that offer endless excitement in local and international entertainment in television programmes which was launched in October 2013.

    We are honoured to have worked with e.tv on this very important marketing campaign and we hope this campaign will go a long way in achieving sustainable brand awareness and generating consumer interest for OpenView HD, says Lebona Moleli, CEO of The Marketing Kraal.

    The Marketing Kraal is a 100% black owned and managed out of home media company based in Midrand, Johannesburg. For more information visit www.themarketingkraal.co.za

    Source: The Marketing Kraal  20 August 2014

  • Naspers Ltd. (NPN)’s debt was cut to junk by Fitch Ratings, which said the cost of expanding Africa’s largest media company is hurting earnings.

    The long-term and short-term issuer default ratings were lowered one level to BB+ from BBB-, and to B from F3, respectively, Fitch said in a statement.

    Naspers reported the slowest annual profit growth in at least six years in June as the company expanded Chinese Internet and African television businesses. Adjusted net income rose 1 percent to 8.6 billion rand ($810 million) in the 12 months through March, in contrast to a 26 percent jump in sales. Cape Town-based Naspers said at the time that it plans to invest in new ventures and to spend “heavily” on adding to existing operations.

    Fitch’s move “wasn’t too much of a surprise,” as “Naspers’s earnings outlook is weak because of its investments,” said Kate Turner-Smith, an analyst at BPI Capital Africa in Cape Town.

    Naspers rose 1.2 percent to 1,432 rand at 5 p.m. in Johannesburg trading, the highest on record.

    The company has been talking with Fitch over the past couple of weeks and is committed to regaining an investment grade rating, Meloy Horn, a Naspers spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

    “This downgrade will have a limited impact on our financing position and borrowing costs in the near future,” she said. “Rather frustratingly the Fitch methodology ignores the value of our listed assets, Tencent and Mail.ru stakes valued at $55 billion, which more than adequately covers our $1.5 billion in net debt.”

    Fitch also lowered Naspers’s senior unsecured debt to BB+ from BBB-. The outlook is stable, meaning the ratings are unlikely to be changed again soon.

    “The downgrade reflects the deterioration in the group’s profitability mainly due to its high development spend as Naspers continues to invest in growth opportunities,” the credit-reporting company said. The move takes into account “higher-than-expected investments in global e-commerce and sub-Saharan pay-TV opportunities.”

    Moody’s Investors Service rates Naspers debt at Baa3, the lowest investment grade, with a stable outlook.

    Source: Bloomberg By Janice Kew and Christopher Spillane  13 August 2014

  • Pay-television broadcaster MultiChoice and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have taken the wraps off a new football competition called the MultiChoice Diski Challenge.

    The three-year agreement, which is being billed as a corporate social investment project by MultiChoice, will provide life skills and leadership development for players.

    A programme to develop broadcasting skills among the youth is also planned. There will be five scholarships for players and production interns.

    The games will be broadcast live or delayed on SuperSport and on community television channels that are broadcast on the DStv platform.

    The Diski Challenge consists of 16 teams, split into two groups of eight teams each, which are representative of the general PSL. The two groups will play each other in an eight-team competition that comprises group stages, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

    …SuperSport will broadcast the Diski Challenge matches live.

    Read the full story here. 

  • First they said they would create compelling local television content in East Africa. We looked on and they did when they helped produce 56 original films in East Africa in a single year. Then asked local film producers to submit their content and we ended up watching our stars and programmes like Mariam Ndagire’s Tendo’s Sisters  and the Ebonies’ Bibaawo on continental television.
     They launched a dedicated Swahili channel for audiences in East Africa and they partnered with SuperSport to build a studio facility in East Africa.

     But all the programmes were scattered on the various Africa Magic channels on their bouquet.  Now Ugandans can watch their own locally-produced programmes on Maisha Magic, a new East African-focussed and dedicated television channel that continental pay television service provider M-Net launches on September 1.

     The Maisha Magic channel will be screened 24/7 on channel 161 across all DStv viewers. It will predominantly be made up of East African content, though the channel will also include some international programming that have resonance with East African audiences, such as Latin American telenovelas, dubbed into English. 

     Specific programming on the Maisha Magic channel will encompass multiple genres including sitcom, telenovelas, reality, drama and music. Highlights to look out for include comedy shows Mr & Mrs Singh and Mazagazaga and Comedy Club Uganda hosted by Ann Kansiime; the dramas Rush and The Tendo Sisters; the music shows Wakilisha and Beyond the Beat; the Mexican soaps A Love To Remember and Loving You Is All I Wantas well as recent hits such as Konaand Noose of Gold. The Maisha Magic channel will also be the home for all daily highlight programs from Big Brother Africa 9, plus all the live Sunday eviction shows. 

     “Our research demonstrated clearly that our audiences want home-grown entertainment, interspersed with very specific kinds of international content, so we’re working on getting that balance right to ensure that this is in fact a channel made in East Africa, for East Africans, to meet East African tastes,” said Michael Ndetei, Regional Director, M-Net East Africa at the launch of the channel in Nairobi recently.

     Ugandan and East African talent and stories have proven as compelling as those found anywhere else in Africa. This is a fact proven by the success of East African content at the first two Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards.

     Now with MNet’s studio fully functioning, the AfricaMagic Original Films Project well underway producing made-for-TV titles and thier flagship show Mashariki Mix well established, Maisha Magic is likely to take Ugandan and East African television content to the next level.

     “We have been building steadily on its investment in the East African market, centralized in Kenya but with outreach across the region. We have recognized that whilst the AfricaMagic brand has come to represent a powerful philosophy about pan-African cohesion, there is definitely great potential for a customized East African television brand,” said Michael Ndetei, Regional Director, M-Net East Africa, at the launch of the channel in Nairobi recently.
     
    Further, given that the Maisha Magic channel is East African focussed and will be compiled in East Africa, the major benefit is that its scheduling will be harnessed to maximize the prime-time viewing patterns of Ugandan audiences.

    Consequently, on September 24 Africa Magic Swahili will officially become Maisha Magic Swahili. Simultaneously, the Africa Magic Original Films initiative which produced 56 movies in East Africa recently will transform into Maisha Magic Original Films initiative under whose banner a massive 60 more films will be produced before the end of this year.

    Ndetei thanked East African filmmakers and producers for their strong support of  M-Net intiative to promote local content.

    “Our team is focussed on growing the positive relationships we already enjoy with the film, TV and media community across the region; professionals and visionaries who have and are continuing to collaborate with us to establish this exciting new brand.
    Together we are emphatically saying that Maisha Magic is here and it is here to stay!”

    Source: Newvision article By Sebidde Kiryowa 13 August 2014

  • The Africa Channel UK: Tune into our business series “It's Africa's Time”; A 13-part documentary series, focusing on the pioneering work that businesses and charities are doing to help improve society, and encourage skills development within local communities throughout countries in Africa.  Sunday 14th September at 8:30pm

    “TV advertising expenditure will double in … Africa between 2010 and 2020” stated Simon Murray, author of the TV Advertising Forecasts report from digitaltvresearch. Read the full story here.

    StarSat opened its first customer experience centre in Pretoria on Saturday 5 July 2014. It intends opening further centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in the next few months.

    A reality television series, called HiFashion Afrika, has been launched by Faith Nsa of Faith History Productions at a media event in May 2014.

    South Africa: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will continue to improve its incentive scheme for the country's film industry, which contributes R3.5bn to the gross domestic product (GDP).

    South Korean electronics and technology giant Samsung is set to invest US$20-million (nearly R220-million) in a new television factory at the Dube TradePort in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, in order to take advantage of rising demand for consumer goods in Africa. Read the full story here.

regulation & policy

  • The Tunisian government has taken a series of measures including the closure of mosques and media calling for jihad and developping a speech inciting violence in reaction to the recent armed attack linked to al Qaeda groups, which caused the death of 15 soldiers.

    In a statement, the government announced "the immediate closure of mosques  outside the control of the Ministry of Religious Affairs" and places of worship where radical Salafists celebrated for the dead.

    After the popular uprising that brought down the former totalitarian regime, many mosques have fallen into the hands of radicals. In addition, 400 of some 2,000 existing mosques in Tunisia, less than a hundred are out of control of authorities.

    It is in these places that some networks operate for recruiting potential candidates for jihad, particularly in Syria.

    The government also announced "the immediate closure of unlicensed radio and television and turned into spaces for takfir and the call for jihad," without specifying the names or number.

    Read the full story here.

  • Sao Tome and Principe is committed to develop an investment plan for the migration of TV and radio signals from analog to digital, announced the General telecommunications Regulatory Authority (AGER) at the end of June 2014.

    'We are in the process of defining an action plan, a strategy to be submitted to the government so that we can recover lost time', said the PCA AGER, Orlando Fernandes.

    In June 2015, expiration of the time set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the implementation of the migration of television signals and radio from analogue to digital, one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has he recalled.

    …'We recognize the lack of adequately trained human resources. That is why we want to move forward with the recruitment of an international consultant ', announced Orlando Fernandes.

    Read the full story here. 

  • Sixteen actors of South Africa's popular TV soap drama, Generations, have been sacked for staging an "illegal" strike, the public broadcaster and the production company said Monday.

    The cast walked off the set a week ago demanding better pay and royalties. The production company MMSV Productions said in a statement that it had "terminated the contracts of the striking actors".

    South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the cast had ignored two deadlines to return to work over the past week, forcing the broadcaster to order the production house to cancel their contracts.

    "The strike that was on was illegal," Kganyago said on SABC radio SAfm. "We gave a deadline for Wednesday last week, then they did not come back... and we further gave them until today," he said.

    Set in Johannesburg, Generations is South Africa's most viewed and longest running soap, having launched in 1994, the year Nelson Mandela took over the reigns of the country after the end of apartheid.

    SABC said the dismissal of the stars would not disrupt the soap which is aired during prime time, every weekday on television.

    The cast members of the country's leading soap, watched by millions each day, had last year downed tools twice over similar demands.

    Source: AFP, via I-Net Bridge, 19 August 2014.

  • Lawyers for the jailed Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt have today filed appeals against their convictions.
     
    The weaknesses in the case have been widely protested and ridiculed, and much of the public criticism is reflected in the grounds for appeal.
     
    The case will next be heard before the Court of Cassation, which will examine the grounds for hearing a full appeal. A date for the hearing has not yet been set.
     
    Today’s submission to the court rests on the breaches of process in the case.

    These include:
    • Flaws in the arrest procedure
    • The fact that evidence presented in court did not marry with the charges
    • Prosecution expert technical witnesses submitted statements which were somehow verbatim
    • The journalists were accused of editing footage, but without originals, no one could have known whether they were in fact edited
    • The judge’s verdict made mention of lack of accreditation, but this is not a criminal offence
     
    Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, said, "The appeal will lay bare the flaws in the case against Peter, Baher and Mohammed. These are three outstanding journalists who were just doing their jobs, and journalism is not a crime. We look forward to them being exonerated in due course. We will not stop in this quest till they are reunited with their families, and back doing the jobs they love.”
     
    The campaign to free the three - Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste, and Mohammed Fahmy - received a further boost this week when leading international and human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin said they should be released, saying that the case was an example of how to set up a “kangaroo court.”

    Source: Al Jazeera – 21 August  2014.

  • The High Authority for Press and Broadcasting (La Haute Autorité de la Presse et de l’Audiovisuel - HAPA) in charge of media regulation in Mauritania warned  private television channels that have engaged in fundraising campaign to benefit certain charities for humanitarian purposes. Read the full story here.

    The Trade Union Confederation of Workers of Benin (La Confédération syndicale des travailleurs du Bénin - CSTB- the largest confederation by number of members) protested against the mandatory television fee of 3,500 FCFA withhold from wage of Beninese public workers, in a public madia statement .
    Read the full story here.

    In Mali, traders are prohibited from importing analog television sets from July 1, 2014 - The Malian authorities have also banned traders from importing  television sets  not conforming with standards from “l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA)”. Read the full story here.

    Religious leaders in Nelson Mandela Bay are praying the Cape Town High Court will set aside a decision authorising the broadcasting of three pornographic channels on South African television...Read the full story here. 

technology & convergence

  • IBM believes that traditional media and entertainment companies that move fast to embrace and monetise digital channels stand to win back their audiences and their advertising revenue, despite doomsayers who say it is dead.

    Traditional media and entertainment players may be entering crisis mode, as digital channels erode their advertising revenue; bloggers and social media divert their audiences; and the rising cost of content generation puts them at a disadvantage in an age of citizen journalism and content aggregation. There are rising operational costs and an onslaught of competition on the digital front but it is not the end of the road for traditional media.

    The company's media and entertainment (M&E) division sees a slow but steady return of audiences to trusted news providers in the global context.

    After the initial scattering of audiences amid an explosion of new sources of news and entertainment, audiences in developed markets are slowly regrouping around selected, trusted content providers - there will always be a place for quality content.

    …Many M&E companies in South Africa have been too slow to optimise the new channels available to them. As a result, they are losing ground to non-traditional M&E players such as Telcos, marketers and individuals that are producing rich, interactive and targeted content and eroding traditional players' advertising revenue.

    …Digital media presents unlimited opportunities to deliver news faster and make content richer: consider embedded video and audio clips, interactive infographics and links to information about goods and services. Instead of product placement within multimedia clips, marketers could go a step further by linking images and keywords to product information and purchasing options. Content can be tailored to suit individual interests, content consumption patterns and geographic location.

    Read the full story here.

    Source:  bizcommunity - Shane Radford 14 August 2014

  • Tuluntulu, one of South Africa's top 10 startup companies this year, has recently launched ten channels that are available 24/7 on mobile.
    The content ranges from international news, African documentaries to fashion and music channels. The app is available on Apple iOS and Google Android App Store.

    Tuluntulu is set to revolutionise mobile broadcast in the developing world by bringing free TV to users, specifically designed to minimize data costs and automatically adjusts picture quality to ensure that video does not buffer or break. It works on 3G, 4G and Edge an early generation mobile phone protocol prevalent in most of Africa. This reportedly gives often-neglected rural users access to the platform, and opens up significant opportunities for educators and entertainers to expand their reach across the continent.

    The app offers users cheap, fast and easy access to mobile video and content creators and advertisers access to a potential audience of millions of people across the continent.

    Viewers do pay data costs, which vary according to mobile network providers. The technology has been specifically designed to minimise data costs and to operate within the limitations of Africa's underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure.

    Africa is at the wrong side of the digital divide, with mobile bandwidth costs amongst the highest in the world, limiting consumers' ability to access content on their phones.

    Most popular sites, such as YouTube, are designed for use in the developed world, where the majority of users have access to Wi-Fi 3G and 4G networks. Site owners presume that users want high quality content; they stream content to users at between 140 kilo-bytes per second (kbps) and 280 kbps, which are too high for most of the developing world's congested networks and low-bandwidth environments. This is why users often spend as much time watching content buffer as they do watching the content itself, incurring costs as their device burns data.

    Tuluntulu overcomes this problem in a number of ways. The technology is rate-adaptive, which means that the rate at which the video streams to the phone adapts to the available bandwidth, which can be as low as 50 kbps. The technology automatically adjusts picture quality to ensure that video does not have to buffer or break. Users can increase video quality with a simple volume-like button, controlling their data costs themselves. Watching video content can cost as little as R5 per hour.

    The platform, Adaptive Real-time Internet Streaming Technology (ARTIST) has been in development for over six years. It is the product of a consortium of researchers and engineers from the CSIR, UCT and East Coast Access (ECA), a BEE Internet service provider. The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) supported the consortium by providing R14.5m funding. Media entrepreneur, Pierre van der Hoven created the company Tuluntulu to take the platform to market. The purpose-built company holds the licence to ARTIST, which has been patented in several countries across the globe.

    "My real excitement is that this technology will unlock video streaming as an industry in Africa. No licenses or new transmitter networks are required, opening the industry up to new players. Of the launch channels, only two are established broadcast TV channels. The rest are new players in the market that would not have had a chance on conventional television platforms. It will open the way for new voices, new content and new business models. The reach offered by this medium can also have a quick and significant impact in areas such as education," said van der Hoven.

    Source: BY Ilse van de Berg for Bizcommunity - 23 July 2014

  • More global content for an African VoD platform: iROKOtv announced last week that it will diversify its catalogue: it is branching out to include Hollywood, Bollywood, Korean and Telenovela television series and movies as part of its offering. - Read the full story here. 

    On 12 September Afrikaans fantasy love story Die Windpomp releases on DVD as well as on Times Media’s Vidi and DStv’s Box Office Video On Demand (VOD) platforms. Producer Chris Roland says, “We’re ecstatic that people who missed the film in the cinema now have an opportunity to see the film on DVD and VOD. Since the cinema release we have been inundated by the public asking how they can see the film.” Read the full story here. 

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  • Announcement by PAMRO

    The conference due to be held in Ghana in August 2014 is now to be re-schedued to August 2015 due to the health concerns and restriction in travel in West Africa. For further information please visit the website here:

    Important events in the African broadcast, film and TV sector

    Sept 25 - Oct 1 2014
    Lights, Camera, Africa! Film Festival 
    The Lights, Camera, Africa! Film Festival, created by arts and culture centre The Life House, takes place at multiple venues in Lagos, Nigeria from 25 September to 1 October. The theme for the 2014 edition will be Legacy, and will highlight perspectives of the diverse tradition of filmmaking in Africa. By partnering with the New York-based African Film Festival, the British Council, Alliance Francaise, the Goethe-Institut and The Ford Foundation as well as developing relationships with industry experts such as Nadia Denton, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Tunde Kelani, Femi Odugbemi and Chika Anadu, the festival aims to offer attendees a diverse and valuable showcase of African cinema.
    Email The Life House, info@thelifehouselagos.com, for more information.

    Oct 2014 (dates tba)
    11th. African Film Festival of Cordoba – FCAT

    Venue: Cordoba, Spain
    The main African film fest in Spain.

    5 to 7 Nov 2014
    DISCOP AFRICA 2014

    Venue: Johannesburg, RSA 
    The biggest African market & creative forum for TV programmes and audiovisual content trade: not to miss.


    11th-13th November 2014
    AfricaCast/Africacom

    Venue: Cape Town Convention Centre (picture below), South Africa
    AfricaCast will continue to bring together the growing number of Sub-Saharan Africa’s major broadcasters, content owners, telcos, investors, cable companies and pay TV providers. AfricaCom is the largest telecoms and IT event in Africa.


    exact dates tba, Novembre 2014

    Film Africa 2014

    Venue: London, UK.
    The UK’s largest annual festival of African cinema and culture. Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s annual festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent. Every year, Film Africa brings London audiences a core programme of fiction and documentary films alongside a vibrant series of accompanying events, including director Q&As, panel discussions, talks, workshops, master classes, family activities and Film Africa LIVE! music nights.
    exact dates tba, Novembre 2014

    Kenya International Film Festival 2014 (KIFF)
    Venue: Kenya.

    15 to 17 July 2015
    Mediatech Africa 2013

    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.

     

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  • Loeries Radio, Television, Film and Video judging panel announced

    Patrick Baron, Executive Creative Director of McCann in Australia will chair the Radio, Television, Film and Video panel for the Loeries.

    Last year Baron was honoured by the Advertising Age USA as the world's No.1 Creative Director and Art Director. He is also the only Australian creative director and art director to have had work awarded by TED.

    Baron will also be speaking at the DStv Seminar of Creativity during Loeries Creative Week Cape Town on 19 September. Joining Baron at the Seminar and on the judging panel is Regional judge Ali Ali, Film Director and Founder of Elephant in Cairo. Ali took home a Cannes Gold Lion this year for directing a two-for-one movie ticket campaign offer from telecommunications company Du.

    The panel:

    •    Patrick Baron (chairman) - Executive Creative Director, McCann Australia
    •    Ali Ali (regional judge) - Film Director
    •    Ahmed Tilly - Executive Creative Director, Black River FC
    •    Brett Morris - Chief Executive Officer, FCB
    •    Chris Gotz - Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy Cape Town
    •    Jenny Glover - Joint Executive Creative Director, Net#work BBDO
    •    Justin Gomes - Executive Creative Director, FoxP2
    •    Kirk Gainsford - Executive Creative Director, Lowe Cape Town
    •    Rob McLennan - Creative Founding Partner, King James II
    •    Rui Alves - Executive Creative Director, Y&R SA
    •    Xolisa Dyeshana - Executive Creative Director, Joe Public
    •    Pete Case - Founder & CEO, Gloo
    •    Michael Middleton - Director, Jump

    Judging takes place during Loeries Creative Week Cape Town from 15 to 21 September 2014. Finalists will be announced during the week and winners will be announced on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 September at the 36th Annual Loerie Awards at the CTICC.

    Check out the full Creative Week programme at loeries.com.

    'Trace' media Group which specializes in music and sport announced the appointment of Victor Bannerman-Chedid as Chief Operating Officer in charge of the coordination of operational services for all the Group's activities in Africa.
    Read the full story here. 

  • 2014 review: OTT trends in Africa

    In the second of a series of interviews taking the temperature of African connected entertainment in advance of this year’s AfricaCast, IP&TV News catches up with Simbarashe Mabasha, director at the Afrikan Dust Media Group.
    IP&TV News: Hi Simbarashe. In the year that’s passed since AfricaCast 2013, what have been the most significant advances has OTT made in the regional ecosystem?
    A: The most significant advances in the past year have been the increase in Afro-centric or Afro-focused Video-on-Demand services. The other significant advance has been traditional broadcasters and telco companies entering the OTT space with their own music and video streaming services. Read the full story here. 

    The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), have vacancies for South Africa-United Kingdom Seasons Project Manager and Project Coordinator

    The South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) - Call For Entries Extention here: 2014 review: OTT trends in Africa

    In the second of a series of interviews taking the temperature of African connected entertainment in advance of this year’s AfricaCast, IP&TV News catches up with Simbarashe Mabasha, director at the Afrikan Dust Media Group.
    IP&TV News: Hi Simbarashe. In the year that’s passed since AfricaCast 2013, what have been the most significant advances has OTT made in the regional ecosystem?
    A: The most significant advances in the past year have been the increase in Afro-centric or Afro-focused Video-on-Demand services. The other significant advance has been traditional broadcasters and telco companies entering the OTT space with their own music and video streaming services. Read the full story here.

    The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), have vacancies for South Africa-United Kingdom Seasons Project Manager and Project Coordinator

    The South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) - Call For Entries Extention here:

    APO Media Awards open for only two more weeks

    The APO Media Awards close for entries on 1 September 2014 for stories about Africa that were broadcast or published between January and August 2014.
    The first prize is $6,000, one laptop, one intercontinental flight ticket to a destination of your choice and one year of access to over 600 airport VIP lounges worldwide. The second-place winner will be awarded $300 a month for one year and the third-place winner will receive $200 a month for one year. For more, go to www.apo-opa.com.

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