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Record for Star Wars pre-ticket sales in SA

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Bookings for one of the most widely anticipated releases of 2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens – have broken records at the Ster-Kinekor box office.

Bookings opened on Monday, 19 October, and a record number of 2 299 tickets were snapped up on the first day. This is the highest number of tickets sold on the first day of bookings’ opening in Ster-Kinekor’s recorded history. Of this total, 1 387 were tickets booked to watch the film in IMAX 3D at Ster-Kinekor’s five IMAX theatres. The previous record for the first day of booking was held by Fifty Shades of Grey earlier this year, with 1 489 bookings.

In the first four days of bookings, from Monday till Thursday this week, this figure had increased to a total of 8 678 pre-ticket sales. Of these, a whopping 5 508 tickets are IMAX 3D tickets, with a further 2 652 tickets secured to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D at Ster-Kinekor cinemas countrywide.

The seventh title in the Star Wars global phenomenon releases at Ster-Kinekor cinemas nationally on Wednesday, 16 December – a public holiday in South Africa, and two days before its official global release.

For a full-on, immersive cinematic experience, the film will be released in IMAX 3D at Ster-Kinekor’s five IMAX theatres: Gateway in Durban, The Grove Mall in Pretoria, Cape Gate in Cape Town, Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth and Cradlestone Mall, west of Johannesburg.

The film is also expected to release at Ster-Kinekor’s sixth IMAX theatre in Eastgate. It is currently under construction as part of the new Ster-Kinekor cinema complex scheduled to open at the shopping mall, east of Johannesburg, in early December.

If you are looking to watch this amazing blockbuster in complete luxury, then book your seats now at one of the seven Ster-Kinekor Cine Prestige sites around the country – The Zone, Sandton and Cradlestone Mall in Johannesburg; The Grove Mall in Pretoria; Gateway in Durban; Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, and Cavendish in Cape Town – and make it a movie experience to savour!

With an exclusive VIP Lounge area, high-class catering to order and huge, red leather chairs that are fully-reclinable, all you have to do is lie back, relax and enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the lap of luxury!

There is already a rush on tickets, so make sure you book yours today… and may the Force be with you!

Arts and Entertainment

Android arrives on SA TVs

The arrival of the first name-brand Android TV in South African stores symbolises the shift to smart TVs, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You probably have a good idea of what operating system (OS) runs on your phone, and may even know the version number. After all, Android and iOS almost define our relationships with our phones.

Not many, on the other hand, know anything about the OS on their TVs. Older TVs don’t even have names for their OS. Newer TVs with Internet connectivity, generally known as smart TVs, all have operating systems, but in most cases do not make a big deal of it. Only Samsung, with its Tizen OS, and LG, with webOS, are well-known. Then again, not all that well-known either.

Before Sony pulled out of the local TV market, it was about to introduce Android, the OS made by Google for smartphones, to the big box. A number of no-name brands have also debuted with Android, but consumers have tended to avoid them precisely because they were such an unknown quantity.

Enter Skyworth. It’s an $8-billion dollar business listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is only beginning to emerge as a presence in the South African market. It bought out Sinotec, the most popular budget big-screen TVs locally, and introduced the parent brand to the country in the last two years.

It keeps costs down because it brings in components from China, but assembles the TV sets at a local factory, thereby avoiding import duties on luxury items. Quality has rarely been an issue for Sinotec devices, and Skyworth seems to be benefiting from its long relationship with retailers.

Continue reading about the first Android TV contender in South Africa.

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SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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