At a launch event at Le Chatelat Boutique Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, On Digital Media’s satellite pay-TV network StarSat announced the launch of a new, locally produced, medical drama series Maseko Ties.
Maseko Ties, the half-hour soapie which premiered on 5 September 2016, marks the first local drama series broadcast by the StarSat network. The programme is produced by KMP Productions, a part of the KMP Media Group, and joins three other locally produced productions – Puppet Nation, David Kau’s House and Point of Order – currently broadcast on StarSat.
David Makubyane, head of content at StarSat says that the decision to air Maseko Ties came after a look into current television trends and in depth research showed that South African audiences favour the soapie genre. That coupled with the need to present African audiences with a relatable on-screen reference of themselves informed StarSat’s decision to license the series. “As StarSat is a South African and African brand it is very important for us to ensure that our subscribers see themselves on screen. There is no doubt that one of the most popular and most watched genres in South Africa is the drama sub-genre – soap. One of the best genres to reflect society and for people to see a reflection of their lives in an entertaining and engaging manner is the drama genre. We have also consulted trends and research that informs us that drama and localised telenovelas are being consumed more and more by viewers,” explains Makubyane.
While the predominant trend in broadcasting is to commission and own local content, Starsat decided to engage in pre-license deals for its local content so that producers can retain the intellectual property rights, as well as “take advantage of DTi rebates, and government and independent funding support, while we benefit from obtaining fresh first run content,” says Makubyane. “When KMP Media Group approached us with the first episode of Maseko Ties and the storyline of the rest of the series, we realised that this could be a great opportunity of getting a high quality first run drama series, shot professionally at the cost of a license. The decision to license this telenovela was based on the production quality of the first episode shown to us as well as the storyline of the rest of the series.”
Maseko Ties is produced by Dominique Masson and Marguerite Coetsee and directed by Andries van der Merve and Nonny Malete. The show’s cast members include Yonda Thomas, Monnye Kunupi, Amos Ketlele, Tshepo Desando, Mpho Mabaso, Sibusisiwe Jili, Nina Marais and Samela Tyelbooi.
Mike Dearham VP of StarTimes comments: “Local content is very popular with our subscribers and we believe that Maseko Ties will fast become a firm favourite with our viewers. At StarSat we are committed to growing local content and enabling producers to provide high quality local programmes for the pay TV industry. The appetite for local content continues to grow and we will constantly search for new local content to meet the viewing preferences of our subscribers.”