News Television

Debra Lee, BET Chairman and CEO, on Leading a Company and a Community

Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of Black Entertainment Television, talks about the challenges and successes of her role.

News Television

Channels 24 UK Officially Launched

Viewers can find the new station on Sky Channel 575. Airing on Virgin Media and Freesat will soon follow.

Channels 24 brings African and international news and current affairs content – politics, business, sports, entertainment, lifestyle and health – to viewers in the UK. The launch is part of Channels Television’s strategic plan to move the company’s regional broadcasting to a global level.

Commenting on the station’s launch, co-founder and chairman, John Momoh, said: “We are delighted that we are able to extend our services to the UK. As the world’s fastest-growing continent, international interest in Africa is increasing. The spotlight is on our continent and Africa must rise to the occasion. Channels 24 is the world’s window on Africa”.

UK viewers can already watch Channels 24 on Sky Channel 575, but the station will also be launching on Freesat and Virgin Media soon, bringing African news to over 15 million new viewers across the UK and worldwide.

Channels 24 is produced by Channels Television, Africa’s leading private-sector media outlet based in Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s leading economy, Nigeria.

Channels Television was founded by John and Olusola Momoh over 20 years ago.

With an audience of over 20 million viewers in Nigeria, Channels Television is already one of Africa’s largest private-sector media outlet.

Mrs Momoh, broadcaster and co-founder of Channels Television, told reporters that the station would give authentic news on Africa.

“We are proud of this great achievement as a family, as broadcasters, and as Nigerians. Our story is a triumph of the spirit of African entrepreneurship. We are looking to give viewers around the world access to authentic news on Africa in particular,” she said.

The station is the highest award-winning broadcaster on the continent, having won Nigeria’s ‘Television Station of the Year’ Award nine times in the last 14 years, earning the title ‘Station of the Decade’ in Africa. Channels Television was also crowned as the best television station in Africa by the African Achievers Award Trust in February 2014.

The official launch of the station in the UK was celebrated at a dinner event held at Hotel Café Royal in London.

International News News Television

BET Co-Founder Sheila Johnson Now Shaking things up in Hollywood

BET co-founder Sheila Johnson already made history in television. Now she’s making major moves in Hollywood.

Way back in 1979, Johnson and her then-husband Robert Johnson created the breakthrough network Black Entertainment Television, which was the first ever cable TV franchise targeting African Americans. Then in 2001 the couple sold BET to Viacom in an all-stock deal for $2.9 billion including debt. “Cash from the share sales makes up a large portion of her estimated $700 million net worth,” reports Forbes. Johnson is ranked No. 22 on Forbes new list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.
Since that time Sheila, 66, has been busy on various projects such as opening the Salamander Resort and Spa in Northern Virginia and a hotel management firm. Now she has a passion for film.

“I really believe that African Americans have lost their voice. That’s why you’re seeing what you’re seeing in the general mainstream media. There’s not that area where we can come together and really talk about a Ferguson [Missouri] or talk about what’s going on in the police community and all the racial turmoil. BET was supposed to be that voice. And we don’t have it,” said Johnson, who also owns stakes in three D.C.-based professional sports teams (the NBA’s Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals and the WNBA’s Mystics) and a private jet charter service.

Johnson has also been funding documentaries and films focusing on the African-American experience, including Lee Daniel’s The Butler, in which she was the first investor. Johnson invested $2 million into the production, and then said she wanted to encourage other prominent African-American philanthropists and celebrities to also invest in the film.

It was not only a fulfilling investment, it was a wise one. The Butler earned roughly $200 million at the box office.

Currently Johnson and The Butler producer Pam Williams have partnered on several other projects, including a TV miniseries based on a forthcoming book about Thurgood Marshall’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Other projects include the story of the 1980s Cadillac-favoring “Welfare Queen” who stole multiple identities in order to get more benefits.

“The men get all the credit for everything. We get airbrushed out of their lives,” she says. “I think that more than anything the perception out there was that I did nothing: That I just sat home and ate bon bons and did nothing but helped the family grow financially or emotionally, and that I think was the most painful part of all.” When she and Robert co-founded BET money was so tight Sheila made money on the side teaching private music lessons. And while she didn’t begin as an executive at BET, she reveals she signed for the company’s first loan and she was one of three original board members.

In 1990 Sheila joined BET full-time as vice president for corporate affairs and in 1991 the Johnsons took the company public making it the first African-American-controlled firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Then in 1990 they took it private.

“It’s champions like (Johnson) who put their money where their mouths are and say, ‘I’m going to keep funding African American voices and TV shows,” says the Butler producer Williams, “and hopefully she’s not alone in that.”

News Television

Venus vs. Mars: West London writer talks about show

By Emily Chudy


Hit TV show Venus vs. Mars is now showing on Sky Living. Getwestlondon chats to contributing writer Delia-Rene Donaldson about the show


Hit TV show Venus vs. Mars is now showing on Sky Living at 11pm every Thursday.

Getwestlondon catches up with a contributing writer of the show, Delia-Rene Donaldson, about Venus vs. Mars and her blog, Vex in the City.

The local writer grew up in Ladbroke Grove, and continues to work within education inHammersmith & Fulham, and Kensington & Chelsea.

The show follows a young, single woman living in London and looking for love.

First released on Youtube in 2012, the show amassed 1m views for the first series, and caught the attention of Sky.

Series one and two have now amalgamated into one series, which will be shown every Thursday at 11pm.

Donaldson said: “Through watching the season you see that she has her flaws and her fair share of bad dates – which have come from my own personal experiences I will admit – I also drew on the fact that a lot of my followers like me speaking about relationships so that they can relate to it as well as learn.

“Venus vs. Mars is the kind of show that everyone within the family can watch together and enjoy, that is something that I thrive upon doing.”

Donaldson first began writing, via her blog Vex in the City, in 2008. The blog is a comical account of the author’s love life, sex and relationships.

“I have always had a passion for writing, and we chose to write a romantic comedy because there is an affluence of negative stereotypes portrayed of people from an ethnic minority,” Donaldson said. “Sky supported our diverse cast and saw the talent and potential within our show.”

The show has received great commercial success, trending on Twitter and hearing much positive feedback from fans and industry professionals.

Donaldson said: “I still continue to write even though I have a full time job within education, as I love working and inspiring young teenagers and helping them pursue a career or passion of the arts.

“I have a Youth summer programme that I run around London during summer, teaching arts and media to students, where they get to create their own videos and films.

“In the future I look to write more shows and content, work with other writers, release a book, continue to work with children and expand my brand, the possibilities are truly endless!”

So tune in and see this local writer’s talent in action!

Venus vs. Mars is on Sky Living and Sky Living HD at 11pm every Thursday.


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News Television

New Season of Naija Bites USA hosted by Esther Alade


Get ready for a fresh new season of Naija Bites! This time set in the City of Dreams, Los Angeles! With a brand spanking new set of guests such as Hollywood stars Mo’Nique, Tasha Smith, Harmony Samuels, J Que and many others! Not only do you have this to look forward to but you can also expect to see a new presenter, Esther Alade!

News Television

Arise News joins Freeview

Arise News has launched on the Freeview DTT platform, taking capacity on Arqiva’s recently launched MPEG-4 multiplex.

The international news channel established by the Nigerian publisher Nduka Obaigbena should reach around 72% of the UK population.

“Today, we reach yet another milestone as we launch on Freeview. ARISE News is committed to covering issues of the day and world events that matter from an uncommon perspective, engaging citizens of the world in an emerging new global order truly representing the experiences of the under-served communities often ignored by conventional media,” said Obaigbena.

“We are delighted to welcome ARISE News to the Freeview platform. Most Freeview HD homes will be able to enjoy the rich cultural and educational content available on the channel. We at Arqiva are committed to broadcasting a variety of content to offer viewers great channel and programme choices,” added Mike Finchen, director, Digital Terrestrial Television, Arqiva.

Arise News joins other news channels, BBC News, BBC News HD, Sky News, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera English HD, Al Jazeera Arabic and RT on Freeview.


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News Television

The New Way to Shop on The Africa Channel

BRAND NEW on The Africa Channel,=; The New Way to Shop, a brand new Home Shopping Show, bringing you bargains and low prices on all top Black haircare, makeup and fashion accessories.

This Luster Products Special episode offers an amazing deal; FIVE Hair-care products for just £9.99 plus P&P ! And top tutorials from US family –run company, Luster Products. One of the last remaining Black owned hair care manufacturers com on board to get prices that you won’t find on the high street and top tutorial advice from their technician on how to apply and use the product you might try and buy!

For more information visit:

News Television

Canal+ launches new African channel “A+”

“100% African, A+ is modern, sincere and somewhat optimistic, targeted at the African family audience.” This is how Canal + executives summarised the qualities of their new channel to be launched on 26th October 2014.

After a long silence, Canal+, the dominant Pay TV platform in francophone Africa, is about to launch its A+ channel (“La Grande Chaîne Africain”), “made by Africans for Africans” with high standards as a further step to offer local content for local audiences. A+ will allow it to deliver content better suited to the emerging middle class of the African continent.

Several factors make this a good investment:

*  There will be 750 millions francophones in 2050 and 85% of them will be in Africa, claims a study from the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) published in 2013.

*  «TV content piracy remains high across Africa but proves that there is a need for more quality programmes at more affordable rates», said Jacques du Puy, Chairman of Canal+ Overseas. Canal+ has been working on highly secure decoders at very low prices making piracy much more difficult than in the earlier times.

*  Recent audience surveys reviewed by Balancing Act show that African audiences want more quality local content on TV at affordable rates. The local francophone TV content offer is limited and access to broadband internet is much more limited in many francophone countries as an alternative channel for francophone content.

* Quality African TV programmes cost less to produce than in Europe or North America.

* Canal+ is still doing all right things in France but the company needs to find new growth segments as competition is fierce. Free DTT channels, satellite services, Qatari BeInsport competition for sports matches, over 3000 VoD platforms from Europe, YouTube and Netflix all make further growth in Europe hard to find. Canal+ is the no. 1 payTV platform in Francophone Africa by number of subscribers.

* Local content quotas in Africa and elsewhere (for example, in Brazil) are increasingly covering Pay TV channels.

* Vivendi’s new chairman Vincent Bolloré has a strong presence in Africa and wants to create synergies across the group. If one man has a « user manual » for how to develop the African market, it’s Bolloré! A first step for these kinds of synergies is the channel’s “talent show”, an African version of The Voice in prime time on A +, produced in partnership with Universal Music Group, the music division of Vivendi.

* South African Pay TV Platform giant DStv/MultiChoice has reached 8 millions subscribers on the continent. Aggressive low cost contender Star Times claims over 3 millions subscribers and is now looking at Francophone markets; Canal+ only has 1.3 millions across 30 African countries. The group hopes to recruit twice this number within two years’ time: around 2.6 M. by mid-2016.

* The development of African markets is therefore a priority for the group as it is for several international companies. Over the past 20 years Canal+ has expanded in Africa with 4 levels of packages and 148 channels, radios and services, which implies different offers to suit different tastes. The company has already invested in programmes and channels dedicated to Africa; It’s now time to shift into second gear and launch more dedicated African channels.

Bertrand Meheut, Chief Executive Officer, Canal+ confirmed that «International business currently accounts for 40% of Paris-based Canal+’s earnings and subscribers». Vivendi wants to refocus on its core media business having recently sold its share in French telecommunications operator SFR, African telecoms operator Maroc Telecom and video games developer Activision Blizzard.

Canal+ has deployed a quickly expanding distribution network in Africa of 1200 PoS, which includes, to date: Canal+ La Boutique own stores (27 shops), Partner stores (>200), Approved distributors (>1,000) and extra points of sale specialising in the sale of top-up cards (>1,500).

The adoption of lower subscription rates with no strings attached also allowed Canal+ to swell its audience. Today, the French group has 1.3 million subscribers (equivalent to an audience of about 7 millions), which is three times more than three years ago. Pretty soon, Canal+ estimates its real potential audience at around 12 million people, and over 2 million subscribers.

To produce this new TV channel, a team of ten people from six nationalities will be working from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The channel will be led by executives located in a suburb of Paris and in Abidjan including Damiano Malchiodi, who led the group thematic channels (, Planète justice, Planète No Limit, etc.). The team will work along the 500 marketing employees the company already deployed in eight countries and over 1000 employees at Canal+ Overseas. The invested budget for the new channel represents several million euros.

Content-wise, A + is an entertainment channel which promises local series, reality TV, magazines and a few movies. A+ grid should comprise about 40% of programmes produced in Francophone African, another 40% from Anglophone and Lusophone Africa. The rest – 20% – will be focused on Black culture and being purchased outside the continent, for example in the United States (e.g. Moesha) or Europe. Overall, the channel will aim at 80% of programmes to be made in Africa and the remaining 20% coming from other regions.

A+ will broadcast anglophone series and films from Africa’s two largest audiovisual production centres, South Africa and “Nollywood” Nigeria, said M. du Puy. Additional programmes will come from Ghana and Kenya will also be dubbed into French.

A+ grid will offer 70% of series including saga hits “Ma Famille”, “Kadie Jolie” (Burkina Faso), “Adams Apples” (Ghana), “The Wild” (RSA) or “Docteur Boris” (Côte d’Ivoire), feature films, original programmes produced in Senegal (“Tundu Wundu”), Central (“Aimé Malgré Lui”) and Gabon (“Pango & Wally”). In 2015, the channel also hopes to create an event with popular Angolan series “Windeck” and the sequel to “Ma Famille” (Côte d’Ivoire) rebranded « Ma grande famille » which will expand its clan with actors from all over Africa. Magazines will feature “Island Africa Talent” (music), Blackamorphose (fashion style) and Star Chef.

This new paid TV channel will be included in Canal+ and CanalSat basic package and air live 24hx24h on two time zones, one for West Africa, the other for Central Africa. The basic subscription package costs CFA F 5000 per month (about 7.6 Euros, USD 10.40).

For Canal+, return on investment remains the same, based on a hybrid revenue model: subscription fees and advertising (15-20% initially, 80% in the long run). Canal+ could help shape up the advertising market by commissioning more regular TV audience surveys and by attracting large companies to advertise across Africa. The media group will also invest in digital services. Lastly, Canal+ wants to help boost global distribution of quality African TV programmes.

Will this new channel become a serious competitor to local public and private channels? Absolutely not  according to François Deplanck. SVP channels and content for CANAL+ OVERSEAS, M. Deplanck ensures that the positioning of A+ opens up competitive moves, and creations into other profitable niches such as sports, children, nature, cooking, history or information for pan-African and national channels, thereby excluding all unfair competition. Furthermore Canal+ envisages programmes’ exchanges, co-productions, local programme acquisition and even programme sales’ partnerships with African broadcasters.

A+ is rather good news for Africa: it will certainly put a bit of pressure on other broadcasters to innovate, generate more regular media audience surveys, attract advertisers and improve local production quality, recruit and train local staff in order to contribute to an improved pan-African media industry.

What’s next?

Canal+ is also looking into DTT in African countries the company is present in, said Jacques du Puy. With its long history and expertise, Canal+ can reduce DTT costs, share infrastructure costs, train local staff, purchase and boost local content creation and provide quality content, the recipe for DTT success.

The launch of digital terrestrial television (DTT) across Africa from mid-2015 could bring Canal+ Afrique a wider audience: DTT would, according to the group, put the subscription price down to CFA francs 3 000-4 000/month, more affordable for households with a layer of free national channels. Canal+ can bring huge expertise, training and investments to African nations who wish to launch successful DTT: content and digital technology are kings in this equation, and Canal+ certainly is a king of content and technology.

When the market gets ready, Canal+ SVOD could be deployed across Africa…but not too late since Balancing Act has already identified over 70 VoD platforms. The other opportunity is to take a multiplay route in partnership with national telecoms services providers.

If A+ becomes successful and by popular demand, Canal+ could also launch other themed channels from Africa broadcast to the World: one could imagine A+Sports, A+E (Enfants for children) or A+E for edutainment.

News Television UK

Angie Le Mar: Going all the Way – Tuesday 1st July, 8pm OHTV

Radio Television Whats On

Media Watch: Sunday 22nd June – Friday 27th June 2014


BBC World Service

9.06am: The Forum: Forgiveness

Samira Ahmed explores the complexity of forgiveness. What effect does it have in the aftermath of violent crime, conflict or injustice? Is it possible without remorse and is there any crime that is beyond forgiveness?

With the Rev’d Mpho Tutu, co-author with her father Archbishop Desmond Tutu of a book about forgiving; author and teacher Michael McGirr, and Marina Cantacuzino, former journalist and founder of The Forgiveness Project.


BBC World Service

10.32am: Global Business: What Does the Future Hold for the African Economy

The African Development Bank is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Donald Kaberuka has been president of the AfDB for the past decade and has been responsible for major changes in the bank’s strategy for development and poverty reduction. There is more emphasis on the growth of the private sector, and on the importance of major infrastructure developments in areas such as road, railways, power plants and communications. Kaberuka says infrastructure is crucial in promoting regional integration in Africa.

Donald Kaberuka talks to Peter Day about the key issues facing a continent with rapidly growing economies – including the critical importance of improving domestic trade links, tackling the image of corruption, Africa’s youth and the controversies of Chinese investment.



BBC World Service

7.06pm: Global Beats: Ghana

Eight up-and-coming Ghanaian musicians perform songs especially for the BBC and talk about what inspires them in Ghana and beyond. Efya, queen of Afro pop, was discovered through a talent show, and recently nominated for the World Music Awards. Kyekyeku is giving a modern twist to traditional palm wine music and making Ghanaians chuckle with his witty lyrics. There’s also Yaa Pono, with a unique rocking rap, and Ayisoba, with his distinctive gruff voice and northern style, plus gospel artist Cwesi Oteng.

The programme is presented by Rita Ray, respected London DJ and authority on African music, who is originally from Ghana herself.



7.30pm:  Talk to Aljazeera: Doyin Okupe

Why has the Government in Nigeria been unable to defeat Boka Haram?



10.20pm: Venus & Serena

A profile of tennis stars the Williams sisters, telling the story of their rise to stardom and following them throughout 2011, which proved to be a demanding year. Venus struggled with autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome, while Serena was working her way back to fitness after suffering a pulmonary embolism in 2010 caused by stepping on broken glass in a restaurant





8pm: Rise of the Continents: Africa

Geologist Professor Iain Stewart examines key moments in the development of the world’s major land masses. He begins by looking at how Africa was formed from the wreckage of a long-lost supercontinent, with its landmarks, mineral wealth and wildlife providing clues that help piece together the story of its creation. He also reveals how this deep history has left its mark on modern day Africa and the world





9pm: Stacy Dooley: The Truth about Domestic Violence

With one in four women and one in six men in the UK suffering abuse in their lifetimes, the presenter looks into domestic violence in young people’s relationships. She speaks to victims and perpetrators to try to understand the issues surrounding the attacks, and joins Lancashire police officers as they tackle some of the 9,000 cases of abuse they investigate every year.

Stacey also talks to Home Secretary Theresa May and gains access to the National Centre of Domestic Violence