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e.tv is South Africa’s biggest independent, free-to-air television channel. With over 16 million viewers, e.tv appeals to all races, ages and income groups and is the most viewed English language channel in the country.

OpenView HD reaches 1 million homes

South Africa’s fastest-growing TV satellite operator, OpenView HD, has surpassed the 1 million decoder activation mark, firmly establishing it as the second-largest satellite TV provider in South Africa – but easily the largest subscription-free service.

The “million milestone’ is a significant achievement for OpenView HD, with the company only having been in operation for less than four years. Although uptake of the OpenView HD set-top-boxes was initially slow, numbers soared when two 24-hour movie channels and an additional entertainment channel from sister company e.tv were added to the bouquet. The OpenView HD bouquet currently comprises 17 channels, with more set to be added in coming months.

With a retail price of R399 for a decoder, OpenView HD grew its market share 101% in the 2016/17 financial year. Managing director, Patrick Conroy, says South Africans want quality entertainment that is affordable. “We do not charge monthly fees, so this means South Africans do not have to keep paying for their home entertainment after they have bought our decoder. This combination of a low cost decoder and good programming has been the secret to our success. It is a good start and we are confident we will reach two million households in 2019,” says Conroy.

OpenView HD is operated by Platco Digital, which forms part of the eMedia group of companies.

Local series Easy Money gets into the world of pyramid schemes

Easy Money is a new show on e.tv inspired by real-life events and now-infamous pyramid schemes, seeking to answer the question: “Why do we fall for pyramid schemes?’  The drama series tells a story of a young teacher, Khosi (Xoli Zondi), who gets involved in a pyramid scheme run by a company called Pharaoh Investments. The show is framed by the insightful narration of Khosi’s only son, Moagi, which forms the backbone to guide the audience through a turbulent period during which mother, wife and school teacher Khosi makes decisions which affect her life – and the lives of all those around her.

“e.tv is excited to bring Easy Money to viewers’ screens, soon,’ says e.tv managing director Marlon Davids. “Quizzical Pictures have worked tirelessly to deliver a high-quality and entertaining drama series that will entertain our viewers.’

Taking on the lead role of Khosi, a school teacher who enjoys a good standing in the community, is Xoli Zondi. Tumelo Don Mosenye will play Justice, Khosi’s husband and father to Moagi portrayed by Paballo Khoza. Noxee Maqashalala who was previously on e.tv’s The Kingdom – Ukhakhayi will take on the role of Zee, Khosi’s older sister. Tinah Mnumzana will play Moagi’s nanny Naledi. Andrea Dondolo will play a helper who is currently the treasurer in the community stokvel. Rhythm City’s Connie Chiume returns to the e.tv family and plays Gloria, a teacher and colleague to Khosi who makes a massive investment into the scheme.

Scandal!
actress Sive Mabuya will take on the lead role of Dipuo, recruiter at Pharaoh Investments. Mr Eddy, CEO of Pharaoh Investments will be played by legendary actor, David Dennis. Austin Shandu plays Mr. Eddy’s right hand man and professional scammer, Leano. Dipuo and Leano are the tag-team that work and fish for investors on behalf of Mr. Eddy.

Viewers will also see the likes Jerry Phele as Amos, the community construction worker. Gold Diggers actor Thabo Malema joins the ensemble cast as the jovial Collins, who is best friends with Zee. The rest of the stellar cast includes  Sibongile Nojila and Jose Domingos

Catch the dangerous journey of Khosi as Easy Money premieres on Tuesday, 12 September 2017 at 21h30 on e.tv and eHD on OpenView HD

e.tv gives local producers a chance to shine

As part of the 2018 centennial celebrations in honour of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, e.tv is giving independent producers a chance to submit documentary proposals about an individual or group which they believe capture the spirit and values of Madiba.

Producers from the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West are invited to submit a proposal for a 23 minute documentary to e.tv by 18 of August 2017.

The channel is celebrating what the stalwart stood for. e.tv has a long history of providing a platform for authentic local storytelling. The documentary has to relay a message that is proudly South African and no less than 15% of the dialogue must be in languages other than English which are unique to the province.

Proposal requirements:

– A detailed treatment of the proposed documentary;
– A description of the locations where the documentary is to be shot and the names of individuals to be interviewed;
– Proposed name/s of the presenter or commentator, if any;
– Production budget incorporating a detailed description on personnel, equipment and resource requirements;
– Information which confirms that the key personnel working on the documentary are based in the province concerned.

Production company requirements:
e.tv will accept programme proposals only from South African production companies which have a registered business address in the province concerned. Production company must provide proof of previous productions completed.
All programme proposals from production companies must include the following
information:
– Name, address and telephone numbers of person representing the company for purposes of the proposal.
– Name and registration number of production company.
– Registered address of company.
– Names, race and gender of shareholders of production company.
– Names, race and gender of directors of production company.
– Names, race and gender of senior personnel at the production company and their positions.
– Details of training initiatives engaged in by the production company over the past 12 months
– Showreel of previously produced content; and copy of the company’s BEE verification certificate.

Proposal and all supporting documentation should be submitted to Proposals@etv.co.za

The submission deadline is 17h00 on 18 August 2017.

NB – if you do not receive feedback on your submission from e.tv by 17h00 on 31 August 2017, please consider your application unsuccessful.

Introducing e.tv’s new daily drama series Broken Vows

This April, e.tv’s weekday 8pm slot has been refreshed with the introduction of a new daily series, Broken Vows. Filled with mystery, intrigue and drama, the series produced by Clive Morris Productions, is a story about family, love, lust, lies, betrayal and dark secrets. Set against the backdrop of a family-owned wedding planning company Yours Truly Wedding Concepts, Broken Vows follows the lives of Gertrude ‘Mam Gerty’ Moswane, her family and staff.

At the helm of the business are the dynamic duo, Azania and Thandi, who are equally beautiful and ambitious. Yours Truly Wedding Concepts are renowned for turning couples’ romantic dreams of their big day into a spectacular reality. It becomes apparent that while they create ‘happily ever afters’ for their clients, their personal lives are often falling apart.

The concept for Broken Vows was pitched to e.tv by Clive Morris Productions and approved after meeting the strategy and scheduling requirements for e.tv. Soon after the approval process was complete, the real work began. Clive Morris Productions, assembled a creative and writing team, began the scripting process, formed a production crew, finalised casting, and finally, production kicked off in February 2017.

Through the collective efforts of e.tv, Clive Morris Productions, the crew and cast, Broken Vows is now on air, offering viewers a high-quality series that is compelling and exciting, with characters viewers will love or hate.

Clive Morris Productions was tasked with bringing great talent to the screen for this series. After an involved and thorough casting process, which featured numerous chemistry tests with actors to ensure the best on screen ensemble, the cast was chosen. Broken Vows boasts a great balance of industry legends, such as Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Thembi Mtshali-Jones, Sello Sebotsane and Nomsa Nene who made her on screen return after a 16-year hiatus. The show has also bagged gifted and fresh talent with the likes of SAFTA award-winning actors Thapelo Mokoena and Mandla Gaduka, as well as viewer favourites Emmanuel Castis and Lehasa Moloi. The talented and striking women on the cast include Enhle Mbali Maphumulo, Jo-Anne Reyneke, and Nambitha Ben-Mazwi.

The production crew includes a variety of departments which work together to make the series a compelling final product for viewers to enjoy. Each unit plays a valuable and necessary part in bringing the magic to screen.

The Art Department has ensured that the show’s various worlds are brought to life by creating beautiful sets that are true to the story environments and characters. Broken Vows is filmed on location and features the stylish Yours Truly Wedding Concepts office set which is on the Midrand residential property of the owner and family matriarch, Mam Gerty. The series also features the Tembisa based home of Lydia, Thandi’s mother and Mam Gerty’s estranged friend and business partner, as well as the homes of Thandi and Azania.

During the show’s editing process, the task of assembling shots into a coherent and well-paced sequence has been thrust upon a carefully picked post-production team. The team includes data wranglers, offline and online editors, and sound designers to name a few. Once each episode has been approved by the series’ producers and the e.tv executive producer, the episodes are sent to e.tv to be tested for quality control, ingested and finally, ready for broadcast.

Catch Broken Vows, weekdays at 20h00 on e.tv.

By Bobo Radu, executive producer, e.tv

Disney Africa concludes major free-TV agreement in South Africa

In line with its commitment to delivering the most compelling, locally relevant and extensive range of content to consumers and broadcasters around the world, Disney Africa has announced an exclusive free-TV deal with e.tv in South Africa.

The agreement offers e.tv’s viewers a wide selection of feature films, animated series and shorts, as well as live-action shows from The Walt Disney Studios, Disney•Pixar and ABC Studios. This is in addition to the existing Marvel Studios live action films, animated series, as well as ABC Studios drama and comedy shows aired on e.tv for the very first time last year.

Under this new agreement, e.tv’s viewers are already enjoying the first special programming roll-out this March, with the Disney Princess Month. This includes iconic features such as The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog and Frozen and the hit animated series Sofia the First, broadcast every Saturday.

Across South Africa e.tv viewers will soon be able to enjoy some of Disney’s biggest blockbusters including the Pirates of the Caribbean films, which will air every Saturday night in the month of May. The agreement also includes live action titles such as Cool Runnings, The Pacifier and Sister Act among others. From Disney•Pixar, families will be able to enjoy animated adventures such as Cars, Finding Nemo, Monster’s, Inc. and The Incredibles, together with some of the studio’s shorts such as For The Birds, Jack-Jack Attack and Mike’s New Car.

Joining popular series Mistresses, Devious Maids, Black-ish and How To Get Away With Murder currently on air on e.tv, is the first season of the Shonda Rhimes’ series, The Fixer (known as Scandal outside of South Africa). Starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, the political thriller follows the team that dedicates their lives to protecting and defending the public images of the elite by keeping those secrets under wraps.

Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa, commented: “We are thrilled to extend our relationship with e.tv with this content deal and, in doing so, bring such a diverse offering of hit features and series to viewers. This deal signifies a great step in the development of our content presence in South Africa and we are delighted to be working with e.tv.’

Marlon Davids, MD of e.tv, is thrilled about the relationship with Disney. “e.tv strives to bring the best content to the 7.9 million households that have access to free-to-air television. The partnership with Disney is valued greatly and further ensures that e.tv can bring the most talked about and best content for all ages to our viewers.’ says Davids.

Inside a soap opera production

Soap opera – or soapie – production is a process that’s not for the faint of heart. Being an on-going production without an end, many gruelling hours and sleepless nights are put in to ensure a final product that viewers can engage and become involved with.

e.tv’s long running soapies, Scandal! and Rhythm City, have both been on air for over a decade now. The success lies in the crews behind the cameras, the on-screen talent and the writers who can continuously provide a riveting and dramatic storyline that viewers can relate to. Every single topic ranging from polygamy to drug addiction to murder is covered in the storylines over time on both shows. The two shows are broadcast in prime time slots, with Rhythm City airing at 19h00 and Scandal! at 19h30 every weekday, with both soapies rank as the most watched shows on e.tv.

Scripts

The pressure is always on, with the writers having to always be up to date with local trends and incorporate this within storylines for relevance. The writing teams brainstorm every week to come up with storylines and characters that can deliver interesting and thought-provoking stories that address social issues. Storylines are normally divided into A, B and C storylines. The A storyline is the one that gets the most on-screen focus for a period and is the main story for a period of time. The B and C storylines are ones that are still important to the story and can be the starting point for an A storyline in the future. A storyline’s span can range from four to eight weeks on screen, but the prep and thought that goes into it behind the scenes can take months to prepare. Script writers work around the clock to develop scripts that make sense and are engaging with the characters. Each character has a certain way of portraying themselves on screen and script writers need to be the first to understand the character and personality traits to write convincing lines for the character.

Production

To make the show look as authentic as possible, sets are constructed from scratch with direction from the shows respective art director. Worlds are created to represent the universe within which the story is set. Each and every set, from townships to upscale hotels are all created on site. If certain scenes cannot be filmed on set, locations are sought out to facilitate the look and feel that production is going for. If a wedding or a heist, for example, needs to be shot, it is cheaper and more effective to hire a venue and shoot on location than build a set from scratch. This is a huge task undertaken by art directors to create sets within an allocated budget. Wardrobe directors have a similar role to fill by dressing cast members in relation to their character. This is done by conducting extensive research on the look of the character and their persona, and finding a wardrobe that will represent them best. Sponsorships with retailers or clothing brands are sometimes obtained to facilitate this. Another gruelling aspect of production is the amount of time and effort that goes into hair and make-up. Teams are employed to stay on set and constantly do touch ups on set when filming to ensure the talent look their best at all times on screen.

On-screen talent

The on-screen talent, who represent a diverse range of characters, are cast with the aim to represent our local heritage and diversity. There are your villains, which the viewers love to hate, that are normally the heart of a storyline. These characters are the ones that entice the drama and are the catalysts for the big event television that keeps viewers glued to the screen. Both Scandal! and Rhythm City have featured some of the biggest local talent playing the villain over the years. Since the inception of both shows, talent such as the SAFTA award winning Masasa Mbangeni, Jamie Bartlett, Sello Maake Ka Ncube and Mduduzi Mabaso have been cast as the villains that viewers just can’t seem to get enough of. The coordination of talent is a massive task that the production coordinator on set takes upon themselves. Scenes need to be constructed and these then need to be scheduled with talent to film. Not all talent is exclusive to the production and can sometimes be working on several other productions at once. Facilitating the scheduling of cast to shoot scenes is no easy task and needs to be treated with care and extreme attention to detail.

The final step

What the viewer sees on screen is normally shot two to three months prior to the broadcast date. This is to ensure that production has enough time to edit and reshoot scenes if necessary. Once an episode is shot, this is presented to the executive producer of the channel to approve or make changes to that episode. Thereafter, the episode is delivered to the channel for broadcast.

All in all, production of a soap opera in South Africa is a massive undertaking, but with the amount of awards that Rhythm City and Scandal! have received over the years, plus the great ratings the shows enjoy on a daily basis, it makes the process well worth it.

By Ziyanda Mngomezulu, head of Local Productions, e.tv

e.tv signs deal with Sony Pictures Television

e.tv has announced a multi-year deal with one of the world’s leading content providers, Sony Pictures Television. This deal will see e.tv constantly broadcasting fresh, high quality international content for free-to-air viewers in South Africa.

Marlon Davids, MD of e.tv says, “This deal with Sony Pictures Television secures some of the biggest international movies and series for the e.tv channels. We pride ourselves in bringing our viewers the best and most talked about content in the world for free.”

The broadcast deal kicks off with Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning series The Blacklist starring James Spader and Megan Boone. The Blacklist will premiere on e.tv on 11 January at 20h30. The crime thriller has been praised by television critics worldwide.

Sony Pictures movie titles, which will be broadcast for the first time on free-to-air television in South Africa, are About Last Night, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Think Like A Man Too, The Equalizer, Elysium, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 and American Hustle. These movie titles will be broadcast in the first quarter of 2017.

New local music drama series to air on e.tv this September

Hustle follows has-been music diva, Kitt, who has lost her mojo after a long and successful career. Kitt released hit after hit to her adoring fan base and performed to sold-out crowds on the biggest stages in the 80s, but now, her career has crashed. She started off – like many great artists – in a performing group with her sister and best friend. Her extraordinary voice and hot ambition made her stand out, and when the chance came to go solo, she grasped it without looking back.

That fame is a distant memory now, but Kitt is trying to make a come-back. Hustle is the chronicle of her bid to return to the top of the charts. Shaking the “has-been’ label proves tougher than she thought – the modern music world is very different to the one she ruled in the 80s.

Hustle features a range of Mzansi talent. Award-winning Brenda Ngxoli takes the lead as Kitt Khambule who shares the screen with Masello Motana (Neo Sithole – Kitt’s sister and Bra X’s wife); Zolisa Xaluva (Xolani “Bra X’ Sithole); Andile Nebulane (notorious record label owner Duma Nkosi); Dineo Ranaka (Duma’s wife Kedibone Nkosi); Lungelo Lubelwana (talented boy from the streets, S’bu); Mothusi Magano (manipulative journalist Maxwell Motene); Carlo Radebe (music promoter Jacob); Angela Sithole (celebrity wannabe Angel); Lethabo Bereng (Kitt’s best friend, Pretty) and Mandisa Nduna (artist, Thuli).

“We are certain that this epic one hour drama series will keep our viewers intrigued,’ says Marlon Davids, MD at e.tv Channels Division. “Fireworx Media executed the story amazingly, showcasing Mzansi’s musical talent. Hustle is a bold drama series inspired by real South African
tales.’

Series producers Fireworx Media previously produced Mzansi Love, which aired on e.tv in 2014. “The self-assured, yet gritty approach to the narrative, coupled with the sheer impact of the talent on screen, makes one sit up and take notice,’ says series director Jahmil Qubeka.

About the lead cast:
Kitt Khambule (Brenda Ngxoli): 
Loved or feared, adored or disliked, but no one who meets her music or her, reacts with moderation. Kitt is an extremist, extremely realised. She’s an outcast who only finds a safe harbour late in her life. Not fitting in makes her great, but it also makes her angry and very lonely. Then again, her anger is what sustains her.

Neo Sithole (Masello Motana): 
She was initially part of the group, but left before they exploded into fame. She always felt more camaraderie with her sister Kitt’s rival, Kedi, but had to support her sister for family’s sake. She always knew her sister was a self-obsessed egotist, even as a child, and when she looks at her now, she keeps thinking what she would have done with the success her sister had achieved.

Kedibone Nkosi (Dineo Ranaka): 
Former member of The Sparrows. The good girl who was betrayed by Kitt, but who made all the correct choices – she married Duma and is a corporate wife & record label executive at Slyza Records. She wants power, recognition, and for Kitt to stay down – and far away!

Duma Nkosi (Andile Nebulane): He handled The Sparrows, where Kitt and Kedi were pitted against each other. This is a man who has seen it all – he can spot talent and then use and abuse it. Talent excites him, but he can’t help squeezing the life out of it. He represents the power in the music industry, as the owner of successful label Slyza Records.

Xolani “Bra X’ Sithole (Zolisa Xaluva): Neo’s devoted husband, a motor mechanic is a simple and honest God-fearing man. His life is turned upside down when his estranged sister-in-law Kitt forces her way back into their lives. Kitt’s presence changes his life dramatically and tests everything he believes about himself.

Maxwell Motene (Mothusi Magano): A journalist who wields his pen like a sword. A small, wizened man aged between 40 and death, Maxwell has the emotional make-up of a perfect agent: manipulative, after a fast buck and with an eye for a deal. Maxwell is also inextricably bound to Neo – in friendship, love and history.

Sibusiso “Sbu” Nzungu (Lungelo Lubelwana): The boy from the streets who could be the most explosive talent South Africa – and the world – has seen. Can he hold it all together and ensure that the threat of a return to prison is kept at bay? He gets his deal with Slyza Records, but everything comes with strings attached.

e.tv works with Disney on an exclusive free-to-air TV programming deal in SA

e.tv has announced an exclusive collaboration with Disney on a free-to-air broadcast deal on South African television. The relationship allows e.tv to broadcast top international and award-winning shows produced by Disney and its subsidiaries from June 2016.

South African viewers will benefit from this exciting relationship from this June when the channel kicks off with a Month of Marvel, showcasing some of the Marvel Studios’ biggest superhero films. For the first time on free-to-air television in South Africa, viewers will be able to watch their favourite superheroes every Sunday at 20h00 in June:

Sunday 5 June at 20h00: Marvel’s Thor
Sunday 12 June at 20h00: Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger
Sunday 19 June at 20h00: Marvel’s The Avengers
Sunday 26 June at 20h00: Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World

e.tv has also secured one of the most popular series from ABC Studios, another subsidiary of Disney, Devious Maids, the hit comedy-drama featuring Ana Ortiz and Dania Ramirez, which will make it’s free-to-air debut on e.tv on Monday, 13 June at 20h30.

“We are very thrilled about this relationship with Disney. Disney produces some of the best content in the world and we want to bring our viewers the best of both local and international content. Viewers can expect more incredible international movies and shows on their screens later in the year,” says Marlon Davids, acting MD for e.tv Channels Division.

e.tv announces new local drama ‘The Alliance’

e.tv is introducing even more local content to South Africans with the launch of a new action drama series, The Alliance, set to premiere on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 21h30.

The Alliance is an eight part series that depicts the life of a popular kingpin, Bra Jay also known as the Reserve Bank Governor of Soweto. Bra Jay has a thirst for power and rules those around him with an iron fist. The action drama puts issues such as organised crime, blood diamonds, drug cartels, money laundering and the damning consequences that come with it all in the spotlight.

The cast will feature South African talent from both the small and big screen. Taking on the role of Bra Jay is Sifiso Simamane. Keneilwe Mtidze, previously on Gold Diggers, portrays the role of Evelyn, Bra Jay’s loving wife with a score to settle.

Comedian, Denzel Edgar plays Tsetse who is part of the Aaliance. Cebile Mlaba takes on the role of Sis Dee. Also part of the cast is South African movie star Owen Sejake who plays Ofentse.

The series is a co-production between Thata Isithombe Productions, Ochre Media and ANTS Multimedia.

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