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SA animation up for Emmy

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Revolting Rhymes has been nominated in the Animation category at the International Emmy Kids Awards, where it’s up against Oddbods, Siesta Z, and Trude’s Flatmate.

Produced by Magic Light Pictures, Revolting Rhymes was animated at Magic Light’s Berlin studio and Cape Town’s Triggerfish Animation.

This means South African companies are now up for a hat-trick at the International Emmys, as Penguin Films’ Disney Cookabout is nominated for Non-Scripted Entertainment at the Kids Awards, while Is’thunzi’s Thuso Mbedu learned last month she is a nominee for Best Performance by an Actress.

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Directed by Jakob Schuh (The Gruffalo) and Jan Lachauer (Room on the Broom), Revolting Rhymes is an adaptation of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake’s classic book of surprising fairytales. It’s voiced by a stellar cast that includes Dominic West (The Affair) as The Wolf; Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) as Red Riding Hood; and Gemma Chan (Humans) as Snow White.

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Since premiering on BBC One at Christmas 2016, Revolting Rhymes has racked up four international awards: Best Animated Short at TIFF Kids and Best Animation at the World Banff Media Festival in Canada; Best Storytelling at Shanghai International Film and TV Festival in China; and the Cristal for Best TV Production at Annecy in France, the world’s premier animation festival.

The International Emmy Kids Awards will be presented at MIPTV in Cannes on 10 April 2018.

Last week, the BBC released the first image from Magic Light Pictures’ third collaboration with Triggerfish: an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Highway Rat, a swashbuckling tale of bandits and biscuits the whole family will enjoy. David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) leads an impressive cast as The Highway Rat.

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Stick Man, Magic Light Pictures’ previous Donaldson/Scheffler production animated at Triggerfish, premiered on BBC One on Christmas Day 2015 to record ratings of 9.3 million viewers, with an overall 41 percent audience share, the fourth highest rated programme of the day. The film also won critical praise and a raft of global industry awards including the Annecy Crystal and a BAFTA nomination.

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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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