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At the AfricaCom international congress, Orange (Orange.com) is partnering with itel (itel-mobile.com), the leading mobile brand in Africa and, once again, with KaiOS Technologies, maker of the leading operating system for smart feature phone KaiOS, to launch a new 4G version of the Sanza Phone, “Sanza XL”. From December 2019, this mobile phone with voice recognition functionalities will be on offer for around 28 US dollars in seven countries in Africa and the Middle-East: Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Jordan, Mali and Senegal. Other Orange Group countries will follow in 2020.

 

The simplicity of a feature phone combined with the advanced functionality of a smartphone, at an affordable price

The Sanza XL has a bigger screen than the Sanza at 2.8’, an improved 2 Megapixel camera, 4 GB of internal memory for more storage and high-speed 4G access, while retaining excellent battery life of up to 7 days depending on usage.

The device enables access to over two hundred essential applications, including: WhatsApp to send voice messages in any language, Boomplay, YouTube, Facebook and the Google Assistant to control certain device functions with your voice.

Orange applications will also be available on the phone: My Orange, Orange Money and Livescreen to enable users to keep up-to-date on their favourite topics.

In Africa, price is often an obstacle to purchasing a mobile phone and, by extension, accessing the internet. This is why the Sanza XL will be on sale for around 28 USD and will be progressively launched in 7 countries, followed by the other Orange Group countries in 2020. By extending the Sanza range with the Sanza XL, Orange, a champion of digital inclusion in Africa and the Middle East, is reasserting its commitment to supporting its customers and offering internet access for all.

Orange is present in 19 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has around 125 million customers as of 30 September 2019. With revenues of 5.2 billion euros in 2018, this area is a strategic priority for the Group. Orange Money, its mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 45 million customers. Orange, a multi-service operator and benchmark partner of the digital transformation, provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.

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Over 120 free-to-air television stations, including public broadcasters from 15 African countries, are expected to take part in the next Johannesburg edition of the DISCOP film, television, and digital content market and co-production forum that kicks off from 20th November for three days of intense networking and deal building.

These public broadcasters will be acknowledged and celebrated for their role as the dominant force in the African market where 85% of audiences still actively watch free television.  While the launch of a range of new SVOD services across the continent may dominate discussions, behind streaming’s tech dazzle, the more mundane business of selling content to Africa’s ordinary linear networks is high on DISCOP Johannesburg 2019’s agenda.

 

Contrary to a certain belief, advertising-driven TV remains strong. According to recent reports, the market share of linear ad-supported television, currently 36.7 percent of the overall global market, would actually rise to 40.1 percent by 2025 and more than half of the industry’s global revenues will still be in free-TV six years from now.

 

“All the major streaming and pay-tv services will be attending,” noted Patrick Zuchowicki, General Manager and Founder of DISCOP, who adds, “But pre-market reports point to strong demand for programming from commercial and public broadcasters. The bulk of the business for the vast majority of content suppliers is still in traditional television.”

 

135+ global and regional content sellers and 150+ African independent content producers will take part in a reconfigured market that will go beyond content selling and buying and also cover the co-production of original content. A total of 250+ programmers, acquisition, commissioning, production and marketing executives from 35+ African countries are also expected to attend seeking both finished content, adaptation rights and projects in development.

 

DISCOP JOHANNESBURG 2019’s sidebar conference program will feature focused thematic sessions that will provide an opportunity for a more dynamic, hands-on learning experience. Topics to be covered will include content monetization strategies, the booming animation industry, bringing eSports to television screens, the importance of dubbing, the export of original African content, branded content, and how to tackle disinformation.

 

“There is no question that Pay-TV penetration, access to mobile television and VOD adoption is on the rise.” says Andrew BoozerDISCOP’s Conference Director, who adds, “This is why we have designed a conference program that will help ad-supported TV channels stay at the top of their game and build stronger ties with local talent, up-and-coming producers and advertisers who still  think that linear television is the most powerful ad-medium on the continent.”

 

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Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa CEO, South Africa of Naspers reaffirmed the company’s commitment to drive more investment in backing South African tech founders and entrepreneurs, during the panel discussion, “South Africa the Investment Case: Global businesses doing business in South Africa”.

 

The panel, chaired by John McCorry, Bloomberg News Executive Editor, Africa, was part of the 2nd South African Investment Conference that is taking place in Johannesburg from 5 to 7 November.

 

 

“We have never lost sight of the fact that Naspers was founded in South Africa. We are the largest company on the JSE and South Africa is an important market for us,” explained Mahanyele-Dabengwa. “That’s why we established the Naspers Foundry – a South Africa focused tech-business funding initiative — with a ZAR 1.4 billion (roughly $100-million) commitment to back promising entrepreneurs in South Africa.”

 

 

Of the total ZAR 4.6 billion commitment that the company announced last year, which includes the ZAR 1.4 billion for Naspers Foundry, the group has so far invested ZAR 1.3 billion of its original pledge in its existing South Africa businesses Takealot, Mr D Food and Superbalist, as well as Media24 and OLX. Naspers Foundry made its first investment of ZAR 30 million in online cleaning services company, Sweepsouth in June this year. This female founder-led business has created 15,000 jobs for domestic cleaners.

 

 

Naspers is one of the ten largest consumer internet companies in the world and one of the largest technology investors.

“Naspers can bring a unique perspective on global trends given its operations and investments in the consumer internet space in the most populous countries in the world,” she explained. “Our investment strategy for Naspers Foundry is simple and clear. We will partner with exceptional local entrepreneurs to build businesses with high-growth potential that address real societal needs in South Africa and beyond.”

 

 

As CEO for South Africa, Mahanyele-Dabengwa’s focus is to find and develop tech-enabled businesses with the potential to become the next big thing. Foundry will look for promising investments in Naspers’ existing verticals in South Africa’s e-commerce and internet sectors and beyond. These include online classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, among others.

 

 

Mahanyele-Dabengwa said digital platforms were not only the future of doing business in South Africa but were also the means to make job creation more accessible, an opportunity to create a skilled workforce that can compete globally, and to create local products and services that improve the daily lives of ordinary people.

 

 

“We understand digitisation is directly linked to economic potential and that developing new platforms is a means to making South Africa more competitive on the global stage,” she said. “But I also firmly believe that it is not only about the businesses we build; we — as investors and corporate entities — need to make sure that we are supporting the country itself.”

 

 

Mahanyele-Dabengwa said Naspers Foundry’s investments would have to address bigger societal needs and help stimulate the South African economy and tackle youth unemployment, respectively. She believes a unique blend of the best of technology with the best of human endeavour will unlock the full potential of South Africa’s young people.

 

 

To address unemployment in impoverished communities, the company launched Naspers Labs, a social impact programme to help young, unemployed South Africans to open doors to their first employment opportunity. The Labs provide a structured development journey enabling students to realise their potential and tap into online learning platforms, including those that Naspers has invested in, such as Udemy, Codecademy, and SoloLearn. To date more than 1500 youths have passed through the programme with 79% of graduates securing their first job.

 

 

“For me and for Naspers, digital transformation is a means to enable countries such as South Africa to leapfrog legacy structures. Digital enablement can only happen in companies that attract and develop highly talented people with strong digital and analytics capabilities. If we can’t find them, we must develop them,” she said.

“We can no longer say that technology is the future; it is the present. And our investment strategy will make it an economic reality.”

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Radio 2000 broadcast from Chiefs Village

Posted by radio On November - 7 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Kaizer Chiefs will on Friday, 8 November host Radio 2000 for a live broadcast of the Phat Joe and the Family breakfast show from the Kaizer Chiefs Village.

The show hosted by Phat Joe and Nala will mainly focus on the upcoming Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on Saturday taking place at FNB Stadium.

 

Phat Joe will interview prominent Kaizer Chiefs personnel including; Marketing Director Jessica Motaung, Football Manager Bobby Motaung, former player Kaizer Motaung Jnr, Captain Itumeleng Khune and other exciting players.

 

There will be great prizes for those who will be at the Village for the Outside Broadcast and listeners at home. Prizes include tickets to the sold-out match, Kaizer Chiefs jerseys and Vodacom hampers.

Supporters are invited to be a part of this exciting collaboration between Amakhosi and Radio 2000 at the Kaizer Chiefs Village from 6am-9am on Friday morning.

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East Coast launches a new digital station

Posted by radio On November - 5 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

East Coast Radio has launched an exciting new digital radio station that will be jam-packed with golden oldies from the early 60’s to the 90’s.

East Coast Gold caters to music lovers who are looking for a music experience that embraces their love of classic hits.

The digital radio station is accessible via the East Coast Radio app and on the station website.

East Coast Radio is the first commercial radio station in South Africa to launch a digital music radio station.

 

East Coast Radio Managing Director, Boni Mchunu said that she is proud of the strides ECR is making.

“At ECR we are committed to innovative, cutting edge offerings and East Coast Gold is a testament to that. It’s a proud moment for us as KZN’s No.1 Hit Music Station to launch something that is the first-of-its-kind and especially to hero this unique music offering. We are extremely excited to launch East Coast Gold and more importantly we look forward to the future as we launch many more of these unique digital stations,” said Mchunu.

Kagiso Media Chief Exec for Radio, Nick Grubb said: “We see that access to streaming channels is starting to grow in the SA market, and they offer an infinite number of new entertainment options to consumers. But we also see high loyalty to FM radio brands that have been a part of listener’ lives for so long. This is an exciting combination of these two factors. Anyone can publish a music channel these days, but ECR will do it radio-style – with their unique flair, talented presenters, and reliable local information.”

The line-up

The digital offering has an exciting line-up planned for listeners.

Veteran radio presenter, Gordon Graham, will helm the breakfast show, weekdays from 6am to 9am. The morning show will include news and traffic reports.

Jane Linley-Thomas brings her colourful personality to the daytime show (weekdays 10am-2pm), while KZN favourite, Damon Beard heads up the drive show (Weekdays 3-7pm).

Radio legend Alex Jay will keep listeners entertained on the weekends.

Sunday Solid Gold will air the best music from the 60’s and 70’s.

East Coast Gold launches officially on Monday, November 4 on the East Coast Radio website and app, which is available free from the App store and Google Play store.

How to stream East Coast Gold 

Via the ECR website

  • Head to the home page
  • Click the black and gold ‘Listen to East Coast Gold’ button
  • Turn up the volume and enjoy

Via the ECR App

  • Search for ‘East Coast Radio’ on your app store

  • Once downloaded, click the red and yellow ECR logo to toggle between the East Coast Radio and East Coast Gold stream

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DStv Now served more than 500,000 unique users during match day.

In addition to the Springboks making history at the 2019 Rugby World Cup Finals this weekend, another revolution has been quietly underway. This year marks the point that live-streaming of sports went mainstream in Africa, breaking all-time online viewing records.

Much like the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign, sport live-streaming had a somewhat rocky road to the final. But when things really counted, streaming delivered a record-breaking performance.

In the opening game, as South Africa faltered against New Zealand, DStv Now had its own challenges with some viewers missing out during the first half of the game. Fast-forward to the Final six weeks later and the situation was dramatically different, with viewing breaking all-time records for concurrent users and throughput, and this was all achieved with no downtime or outages.

Speaking about this, Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice said:

 

 

“Live events are the single biggest challenge a streaming service like DStv Now can face, as the huge number of concurrent users not only puts our systems under unprecedented load, it also strains the systems of the companies downstream from our servers who deliver the stream to customers. It’s fair to assume that the load during the Final was the largest ever seen in Africa, with three times more peak concurrent viewers than in the first game and double the number who watched the 2018 football World Cup Finals. Over the course of the day, we served more than half a million unique users.”

 

 

The number of active DStv Now users is four times higher than just two years ago, and there’s no sign of growth slowing. The number of hours streamed in a single day on the service now regularly tops one million, which is more than 100 years’ worth of viewing for a single person.

Talking about what the company changed to see the turnaround in DStv Now performance between the first and last games of the Rugby World Cup, Ekdahl said:

 

 

“We were disappointed at the problems we experienced early in the tournament. We’d of course done load testing and provisioned plenty of capacity, but we didn’t anticipate how congestion in one specific system could cascade into others. I’m proud of the work our engineering team has done to learn from that mistake, to rework systems architecture, and also work with partners who deliver the stream to customers to sort out bottlenecks affecting image quality. Our customers rightly expect systems to work, and in the face of record-breaking demand during the Final, DStv Now delivered the goods.”

 

The data carried by content delivery network partners during the Final peaked at more than 500 Gbps (more than 4,000 GB of data per minute), another record for DStv Now in Africa.

“This was a major test of our systems and the capacity of distribution networks and ISPs in the region. I’m pleased we came out on top and look forward to working with our partners to beef up streaming ability ready for 10 times and even 100 times the traffic we’re seeing now because the one thing we know for sure is that streaming video is going to keep growing,” concluded Ekdahl.

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Samsung announces strong Q3 2019 Results

Posted by radio On November - 2 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Samsung Electronics today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019. The Company posted KRW 62 trillion (R 806 billion) in consolidated quarterly revenue and KRW 7.78 trillion (R101.2 billion) in quarterly operating profit.

Third quarter profit fell sharply from a year earlier but improved from the previous quarter, as stronger smartphone sales and improved utilization in mobile OLED screens were weighed down by continued weakness in the memory chip market.

 

Both the U.S. dollar and euro strengthened against the Korean won, resulting in about KRW 0.4 trillion (R5.2 billion) in positive effects toward quarterly operating profit, mainly in the component business.

 

Earnings from the Memory Business slumped significantly year-on-year as memory chip prices continued its downward trend amid the industry-wide weakness since the end of 2018. The logic chip business saw demand rise for image sensors and display driver ICs (DDIs), but also suffered from price declines in mobile application processors (APs).

 

The Display Panel Business saw a profit from mobile displays increase YoY with solid sales of OLED screens, improved capacity utilization and reduced costs. However, losses continued in the large panel business due to ongoing capacity expansions in the broader industry.

 

In the Mobile Business, strong sales of the Galaxy Note 10 and A series boosted profit, along with improved margins for mass-market models. The business also expanded its 5G product offerings and launched the Galaxy Fold, demonstrating Samsung’s technology leadership. Meanwhile, the Network Business reported higher earnings YoY on growing commercialization of 5G service in Korea.

 

The Consumer Electronics Division posted a YoY decline in profit from the TV business amid pricing pressure from intensifying competition, despite growing shipment of premium models such as QLED and ultra-large size TVs. Earnings from home appliances rose on increased sales of premium products.

 

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the Company expects demand for components to turn sluggish in general amid weak seasonal effects, while marketing expenses are likely to increase to address year-end smartphone sales.

 

Memory chip demand is seen rising slightly quarter-on-quarter on the back of inventory building by customers in response to global macroeconomic uncertainties. Mobile displays will likely report weaker results in the fourth quarter, as demand falls short of initial expectations for certain premium smartphones and costs increase due to lower utilization in some production lines. Large panel prices are also likely to continue declining.

 

The Company expects fourth-quarter earnings in the Mobile Business to decrease QoQ as marketing costs are set to rise and shipments to decline slightly, with flagship model sales weakening from their post-launch peaks. The Consumer Electronics Division will likely log stronger earnings helped by year-end seasonal demand.

 

For 2020, Samsung expects growing sales in 5G products and foldable devices; the logic chip business is forecast to report accelerated growth as it expands mass production of next-generation extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) based products.

 

However, uncertainties linger over the memory chip market as demand is seen recovering but risks from global industry circumstances persist. As Samsung plans to manage investment and capacity operation flexibly depending on market conditions, DRAM inventory is expected to normalize in the first half of 2020. The Company also remains committed to investments to meet demand in the mid-to-long term.

 

The System LSI Business will introduce differentiated 5G System-on-Chip products and high-resolution sensors, while the Foundry Business will seek to diversify its client base and expand production from the 5nm and 7nm EUV processes.

 

In Displays, Samsung plans to leverage its leadership in mobile screens, offering power-efficient and slimmer products to capture demand from 5G and other premium products. It will also transform its large panel business to focus on quantum-dot (QD) displays, with the existing LCD business addressing value-added products such as ultra-large and 8K TVs as well as high-end monitors.

 

The Mobile Business aims to improve profitability through enhanced leadership in premium products such as 5G and foldable devices as well as the improved mass-model line-up. The Network Business will further its efforts to expand its 5G business globally including the United States and Japan.

In the Consumer Electronics Division, the Company will continue to lead the premium TV market by expanding the adoption of QLED 8K and ultra-large models and offer stronger line-ups of innovative home appliances such as Bespoke products.

 

Semiconductor Demand to Remain Solid Amid Uncertainties

The Semiconductor Business posted consolidated revenue of KRW 17.59 trillion (R228 billion) and operating profit of KRW 3.05 trillion (R39 billion) for the quarter.

 

For NAND, demand showed stronger growth than expected driven by new smartphone launches and the continued trend toward higher density memory, as well as increased adoption of solid-state drives for PCs and expansion of high-density storage for server customers.

 

For DRAM, demand from all applications has greatly increased due to strong seasonal effects as well as inventory restocking at customers responding to global macroeconomic factors such as tariff issues and semiconductor-material export regulations. For servers, demand rose mainly for high-capacity products, while for PCs, replacement demand for corporate systems also increased ahead of the end of support for Windows 7. For mobile, demand was driven by a higher portion of smartphones with storage over 8GB.

 

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter for NAND, demand for high-capacity storage is expected to remain robust and prices are expected to rebound across all applications. For SSD, data centres are expected to adopt high-density, high-performance products, while for mobile, the trend of higher density storage is expected to continue with the launch of new high-end models. The Company will focus on strengthening competitiveness in the premium market and enhance technology leadership and profitability by transitioning to 6th-generation V-NAND within this year.

 

For the fourth quarter outlook for DRAM, although there may be some impact from recent inventory restocking at customers, overall demand is likely to remain solid and to show some increase QoQ. For servers, demand from data centres will continue to be solid supported by high-density products, while for PCs, overall demand will be similar to that of the third quarter. For mobile, continuing trend to high-density products with the launch of new 5G smartphones is expected to help demand remain solid. The Company will focus on enhancing technological leadership by expanding high-capacity product sales for servers and actively responding to early demand for mobile LPDDR5.

 

Looking ahead to 2020, while challenging to provide a detailed forecast due to ongoing uncertainties involving macroeconomic issues, there are positive signs on the demand outlook from data centre customers, while the expansion of 5G smartphones is expected to continue to lead the higher density trends. However, demand for 2020 should be viewed with caution as uncertainties remain in the macroeconomic environment. As such, the Company plans to focus more on flexible investment and capacity operation depending on market conditions.

 

For the System LSI Business, earnings improved as demand increased for high-resolution image sensors and mobile APs/PMICs/OLED DDIs for flagship smartphones. The Company strengthened its technology leadership by being the first to commercialize 108-mega pixel sensors.

 

In the fourth quarter, while demand for high-resolution image sensors such as 64Mp and 108Mp products will continue to increase, earnings are likely to remain flat from the previous quarter due to weaker demand for mobile APs and DDIs. For 2020, the Company will expand its line-up of differentiated products such as 5G System-on-Chips produced on EUV 5/7nm process and high-resolution products such as 108Mp and above sensors.

 

For the Foundry Business, earnings increased from the previous quarter driven by demand for mobile APs based on the EUV 7nm process and high-resolution image sensors. In particular, the Company completed the tape-out of the EUV 5nm process and secured new orders for 5nm-based consumer products.

 

In the fourth quarter, the Company expects to generate solid earnings on mass production of EUV 7nm products, while setting up 4nm design infrastructures for future growth. For 2020, demand for mobile APs/modes/RFs and high-resolution image sensors is expected to increase significantly on the back of the growing 5G market. The Company will accelerate the diversification of its customer base by expanding orders for 5G/AI/Auto/IoT/Power and fingerprint recognition applications and strive to complete the development of the GAA 3-nano process.

 

Display Business Improves on Demand for Flexible OLED

The Display Panel Business posted KRW 9.26 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 1.17 trillion (R15 billion) in operating profit for the third quarter. Overall display earnings improved QoQ thanks to strong sales of small to mid-sized OLED panels despite a weak performance in the large display business.

 

Mobile display earnings increased amid favourable seasonal effects, led by higher demand from major customers and improved OLED utilization rates. Large displays took a hit from a continued decline in LCD panel prices.

 

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, mobile display profitability is expected to decline due to a product mix change and a cost increase from lower utilization of some production lines. Samsung will strive to enhance profitability by improving production efficiency and expanding the adoption of cutting-edge technology.

 

Large displays are also likely to see weak profitability for the fourth quarter as it continues to face falling demand and dropping price. Samsung will seek to secure profitability with product diversification including monitors and PIDs.

 

In 2020, for the mobile display business, demand for OLED screens is seen to grow steadily with wider adoption of 5G smartphones despite intensified competition. The Company will continue to focus on expanding sales and boosting utilization with a broader customer base and stronger cost competitiveness. Additionally, Samsung will aim to actively address the demand for foldable display panels and minimize seasonal impacts with wider applications.

 

For large displays, Samsung will look to realign its business structure to focus on QD-Display. It will continue to secure profitability by expanding sales of value-added products such as ultra-large panels, 8K TVs and premium monitors.

 

Galaxy Note 10 Props Up Mobile Business Earnings; 5G Momentum Driver in 2020

The IT & Mobile Communications Business posted KRW 29.25 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 2.92 trillion (R37.9 billion) in operating profit for the September quarter.

 

Mobile earnings in the third quarter improved significantly QoQ on robust shipments of the flagship Galaxy Note 10, a better product mix and higher profitability in the mass-market segment. The Galaxy Note 10 in the third quarter exceeded its predecessor’s sales performance, presenting double-digit growth in volume. Cost reduction brought on by the completion of the A-series line-up transition also contributed to improved profitability.

 

Notably, in the third quarter, the Company firmed up its global technology leadership with the expansion of 5G smartphones, in addition to the launch of the Galaxy Fold featuring a new form factor.

 

For the Network Business, the Company continued expanding 5G coverage in South Korea and shipments for LTE expansion outside the country.

 

In the fourth quarter, while mobile demand is expected to decline YoY on seasonal effects and persistent global economic uncertainties, the Company’s mass-market smartphones, including the new A-series, are projected to maintain solid sales. However, Samsung expects profit to decrease due to dissipating new model effects of the Galaxy Note10 and increasing marketing costs under strong seasonality.

 

Looking ahead to 2020, consumer demand for 5G devices is expected to rise as 5G networks expand globally, while competition is likely to remain fierce. The Company plans to offer more 5G devices and foldable products to enhance its competitiveness and build a foundation for further growth. For the Network business in the fourth quarter and the coming year, the Company will remain an active player in expanding South Korea’s 5G coverage and foster growth in other global markets like the United States and Japan.

 

Premium TVs, Innovations Such as Bespoke Key Focus for Consumer Electronics

The Consumer Electronics Division, comprised of the Visual Display and Digital Appliances businesses, recorded KRW 10.93 trillion (R142 billion) in consolidated revenue and KRW 0.55 trillion (R7.1 billion) in operating profit for the third quarter of 2019.

 

Profits for TVs were down slightly in annual terms in the third quarter due to heightened price competition, but strong sales of premium TVs such as QLED and ultra-large models helped the division maintain revenue growth compared to a year ago.

 

In the fourth quarter, the Company forecasts TV demand will soften YoY on downside risks including global economic sluggishness and unfavourable foreign exchange rates stemming from trade protectionist practices. To mitigate the fallout from these risks, the Company plans to expand sales of QLED TVs and broaden the line-up of super-large screen products, cementing its leading position in the premium market. For 2020, TV demand will likely bounce back on global sports events like the Olympic Games in Tokyo while the Company plans to seek new business growth from 8K TVs and MicroLED TVs.

 

Digital appliances saw increased earnings in the third quarter from a year ago on new product releases like the customizable Bespoke refrigerator. Demand in developed markets in North America and Europe was stagnant but this was offset by sales in emerging market countries including India.

 

For the December quarter, the Company plans to boost sales of products such as dryers and Air Dressers (garment refreshers) while simultaneously launching year-end, peak season promotion events. In the year ahead, demand will grow centred around emerging market countries, while the Company is expected to expand its premium line-up with other Bespoke products and strengthen its B2B business.

 

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It’s a night for the stars in Andalusia, Spain as the MTV Awards come to its shores for the fourth time.

The MTV European Music Awards brings together musicians from all four corners of the globe in a lavish night of musical performances. Expect to see big names such as Akon, Nail Horan from One Direction fame, Finders Keepers singer Mabel, former Oasis front man Liam Gallagher and One Kiss singer Dua Lipa. Singer and songwriter Ariane Grande is definitely feeling euphoric with seven nominations in hand, the most for a single artist, followed by Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Shawn Mendez who have each bagged six nominations.

 

 

Latin powerhouse Becky G will perform and host and with her repertoire of talent, the evening is bound to be a festival of jubilation, dance and pure giddiness. At only 22 years old, Becky G has come a long way since she was discovered in 2011 after making cover versions of popular songs and posting them online. Last year she walked away with two awards from the Latin American Music Awards and one of her career highlights has to be touring with American Idol judge Katy Perry, a former EMA host herself. And if you can’t shake off that bugging feeling that says: “I’ve seen Becky G on a TV series”, that’s because you have – on Empire with Lucious and Cookie Lyon.

 

 

Nigerian singer Burna Boy is among six African artists nominated in the Best African Act category. Lifting the South African flag high is rapper Nasty C and “Charlotte” hit maker Prince Kaybee.

Watch the MTV EMA’s on Sunday 3 November on MTV (130) at 20:00

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Understanding video quality when streaming

Posted by radio On October - 31 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

It’s really frustrating when streaming video goes fuzzy and pixelated or sometimes stops playing altogether. Why does this happen, and why does it seem worse at peak times?

 

Starting with the basics, streaming video is delivered over the internet. Every few seconds, our streaming apps test the speed of the viewer’s internet connection and based on that we send higher or lower resolution video packets. Put simply, a slow connection generally means lower video quality and a faster connection supports higher video quality. If the speed is really slow, the video will stop altogether (the dreaded buffering spinning wheel).

My video quality was fine, but as soon as the big game started it fell apart – so the problem is clearly with your service, right? 

We plan ahead for big games and make sure we’ve got enough capacity, so no that isn’t likely to be the cause. The simplest explanation for video quality falling during high demand times is congestion downstream from our servers, and there could be a number of factors causing that.

An example of how congestion affects someone connecting via mobile is that lots of people are accessing the same mobile base station at the same time (e.g. as the game starts) and because the base station has limited capacity, the quality of the mobile connection drops.

We use world-class CDN (content distribution network) providers like Akamai, and these companies specialise in delivering the highest possible video stream to the end-user. Under extremely high load situations, even CDN companies can run into capacity constraints or can run into bottlenecks elsewhere in the system. More information on this here.

That’s rubbish! YouTube is fine but DStv Now looks terrible, so clearly the problem is with your service. 

Great point! The key here is supplying pre-recorded content is different from supplying live content. In the case of YouTube or Showmax or Netflix, shows can be stored (the technical term is ‘cached’) close to the customer. In the case of live content, we’re taking the stream from Japan and distributing it in South Africa without the same ability to pre-load it as close as possible to the customer, so any bottlenecks downstream from our servers can have an impact on video quality. The other obvious difference is with YouTube or Showmax or Netflix, people aren’t all watching exactly the same thing at the same time – which presents a whole bunch of technical challenges.

So are you saying you can’t or won’t fix it?

Live streaming with huge numbers of concurrent users is a technical challenge that video services worldwide are grappling with – if it were as simple as just increasing capacity we’d most definitely have done that long ago. But we’re not backing down – we’re working with content distribution networks and others, and we are making headway.

What should I do?

To test if the issue is related to your ISP, one approach is to temporarily switch to mobile data (or to a fixed connection if you’re currently on mobile) and see if there is a change in quality. Obviously the other connection may also be congested but certainly if the quality improves you’ll have an indication that it may be worth speaking to the ISP or changing to another ISP.

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DISCOP Joburg Enters Esports Arena

Posted by radio On October - 31 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

The organizers of DISCOP have announced a new initiative that will bring the world of professional competitive gaming closer to TV screens across Africa.  This program will showcase the esports experience to broadcasters and brands who understand that television is still the most powerful advertising medium in Africa.

Global video gaming competitions have grown from a nascent idea to a powerhouse industry, with millions of fans watching individuals and teams compete for tens of millions of dollars in prize money. In conjunction with DISCOMICS, and its partners across the continent, ICON Comics & Games Convention, Nairobi Comic-Convention, Pro Series Gaming, and the African Animation Network will present a brand new, broadcast-partnered initiative to explore the potential of e-Sports in Africa — and provide two video gamers a chance to take on the world’s best.

 

The world of professional competitive gaming therefore, is now firmly on the agenda at DISCOP JOHANNEBUG 2019, taking place from November 20-22nd at the Sandton Convention Centre, in a session entitled ‘Bringing Video Gaming to Screens,’ to be jointly hosted by Nick WILSON, President of the AFRICAN Animation Network, Les ALLEN, President of the ICON Comics and Games Convention, and Thomas IMBOYA, President of the NAIROBI Comic Convention and Pro Series Gaming, he biggest esports competition organisers in East Africa.

 

China, South Korea, North America, and Europe have emerged as the main hubs for the burgeoning competitive esports scene. The industry is far smaller in Africa, but it is starting to gather pace with start-ups springing up across the continent to produce games with African themes. The continent had 23 million video game players in 2014, and that reached 500 million in 2018, largely due to the rapid penetration of smartphones. In South Africa, esports stars earned close to $300,000 in 2018, up 6.8% on the previous year.

 

The games market itself has grown from $105 million to $570 million in the same four-year period. In Kenya, the video games market was worth over $50m in 2016 and is expected to double by 2021. Combine that with hardware sales and gaming is already a billion-dollar business in Africa.

 

“The world of sports entertainment is changing, and esports is the star player,” says Patrick Zuchowicki, President of DISCOP who adds, “DISCOP is waking up to video gaming competition’s potential. We will help broadcasters and content producers learn more about this new ecosystem to woo audiences. Not just gamer addicts. But everyone from nine years old to 45”.

 

The two-hour session will explore how the rise of competitive gaming will disrupt the traditional notions of sports broadcasting. eSports broadcast will evolve into something entirely different and much more interactive than what television viewers have seen in the past. Questions to be tackled will include the difficulty of broadcasting video gaming competitions, the growth of physical venues for eSports, how technology can make eSports more interactive, and comparisons to traditional sports.

 

“Depending on the way they watch eSports, audiences and their friends sitting in the same room are getting something different out of it. It’s a different interaction model around video game than it is around traditional sports, which have a much higher barrier,” says Nick Wilson, President of the African Animation Network, who adds, “We are still at the beginning of eSports broadcast and a lot of competitions are not properly set up to be captured on video. But the rise of competitive gaming in Africa reveals pent-up demand from a new generation of African gamers and we can expect more games to come to screens.”

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