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Hat-trick for SA animation

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Revolting Rhymes scored a hat-trick this weekend, winning Best Storytelling at the Shanghai International Film and TV Festival, then Best Animation at the World Banff Media Festival in Canada, and finally the Cristal for Best TV Production at Annecy in France.

Produced by Magic Light Pictures, Revolting Rhymes was animated at Magic Light’s Berlin studio and Cape Town’s Triggerfish Animation.   Revolting Rhymes is an adaptation of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake’s classic book of surprising fairytales. The animation premiered on BBC One at Christmas 2016, opened the New York International Children’s Film Festival in February 2017, and won Best Animated Short at TIFF Kids in Toronto, Canada last month.

Triggerfish’s Mike Buckland and Sarah Scrimgeour also presented at Annecy on Revolting Rhymes’ post-production pipeline – an honour in itself.

This is the second year in a row that Triggerfish has worked on a project which has won at Shanghai, BANFF and Annecy, following the success of Stick Man, an adaptation of the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler classic, also produced by Magic Light Pictures for the BBC. Stick Man went on to win 11 international awards, including four at Kidscreen.

Triggerfish’s hat-trick follows just days after the release of the National Film and Video Foundation’s (NFVF) second Economic Impact Assessment on the South African film industry, which found that the sector’s GDP contribution had increased from R3.5billion in 2013 to R5.4billion in 2016.

“With South Africa officially in recession, it’s more important than ever that our economy finds new avenues for growth,” says Triggerfish Animation CEO Stuart Forrest. “The animation sector is still the smallest part of the film industry, according to the NFVF’s study, but our three awards on three continents this weekend are further proof that we are punching above our weight. We believe that with continued government support, animation can become a key, job-intensive growth sector in South Africa.”

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At Annecy, Triggerfish also pitched Mama K’s Super 4 as part of Animation du Monde. Created by Zambia’s Malenga Mulendema, the show follows four African teenagers who are recruited for the low-budget superhero operation of a former secret agent. Mama K’s Super 4 is a result of the Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company and The Department of Trade and Industry.

Triggerfish is currently animating an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Highway Rat, their third BBC One Christmas collaboration with Magic Light Pictures.

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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