Community TV stations withdraw from Act-SA


Two community television stations have withdrawn from the nascent body formed to represent the sector, the Association of Community Television - South Africa (Act-SA). Cape Town TV and 1KZN TV have both resigned from Act-SA, citing unbridgeable differences with the initiative. This leaves Tshwane TV, Soweto TV and Bay TV as the only licensed community broadcasters to participate in the initiative, along with a few other unlicensed community TV groups. Act-SA was initiated more than two years ago in May 2013 when a grouping of community television organizations agreed to the formation of the body. The intention was to form Act-SA as a distinct legal entity which operates on behalf of its members, namey the community television stations licensed as such by ICASA as well as those seeking such licenses.

To this end the participating organizations signed a memorandum of understanding, which outlined their intention to form a legal entity governed by a constitution. The MoU was signed on 29 May 2013, following the election of a steering committee. The mandate of the elected office bearers was to organize the AGM, at which the constitution would be ratified and a leadership elected to take the organization forward. One of the main problems that has led to the demise of the the initiative is that the steering committee failed to organise an AGM, leading to a situation where the initiative lacked legitimacy. This was compounded by a breakdown of trust between members brought about due poor communication, lack of transparency and concerns about the absence of democractic decision-making processes.

While Act-SA members were able to to agree on a 'Charter for Community Television in South Africa' which set out parameters for the ethical operation of community TV stations, the provisions of this document could not be enforced due to the absence of the legitimate oversight body which Act-SA was supposed to become. Meanwhile government spend on the community TV sector, propelled by policy guidelines from the ruling ANC and parliamentary directives, has been wholey inadequate. Government adspend channeled via the GCIS has been wildly disproportionate in favour of certain channels while others have been almost entirely neglected.

Act-SA has not met since March 2014 and the body is to all intents and purposes defunct. 1KZN TV and Cape Town TV resigned from Act-SA on 24 and 25 June 2015 respectively. Cape Town TV and 1KZN TV declare that no decisions or actions by individuals purporting to act on behalf of Act-SA will be in any way representative of or binding on our stations, nor do they represent the community TV sector as a whole.

Source: Press Release 28th July 2015
Urban Brew Studios tasked with first ever Disney Channel local production in South Africa

Urban Brew Studios is honoured to have been commissioned to produce Disney Channel’s first ever South African TV production, Violetta. The weekly companion series for the third season of Disney Channel’s (DStv, Channel 303) number 1-rated hit telenovela Violetta will air this September and see three local presenters talking about a wide range of topics, related to Violetta.
“For a South African production company to be awarded international work is a great achievement in itself, but for that work to come from undoubtedly the biggest family brand in the world, that is an incredible milestone,” said Urban Brew’s Freddy Louw, Executive Producer on Violetta.
He has added that it’s a dream come true for many on the team, “This is a career highlight for many of us. We’re so very proud that the production house’s journey of 25 years in television production has finally put us on the road with Disney.”
Head of Marketing for Walt Disney Company Africa, Deirdre King said they partnered with Urban Brew Studios because of their experience and reputation in the industry, “Urban Brew Studios have experience working with broadcasters and producing a vast range of programming in different formats.  They bring all that local production knowledge, creative and technical expertise and a positive energy to their productions.”
“Violetta is a true fan favourite on Disney Channel. Upon seeing a similar execution of Violetta being produced in Europe, we were excited at the idea of creating a South African version,” continues King. “The show is a great example of the many local activities The Walt Disney Company Africa is bringing to South African audiences. “
Aside from producing the show, Urban Brew Studios has in recent months also been helping Disney stage a talent search for the three Violetta presenters. Hundreds of boys and girls between the ages of 13 – 18 years auditioned in front of a casting panel in the country’s major cities before the final presenters were selected.
Catch a special preview episode of I Love Violetta on 11 September at 17:00, only on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303). The third season of Violetta airs weekdays from 21 September and then I Love Violetta will kick off every Friday from 25 September.

Source: Press Release, 30th July 2015