South African retailers saw strong sales during the week of Black Friday this year. Panel television unit sales experienced 47% growth and smartphone sales leaped 63% compared to the same week in 2016, according to point of sale tracking data from GfK South Africa.
The value of panel televisions sold during the week was up 41% over the comparable week in 2016, while the value of smartphone sales climbed by 34%.
The growth in panel television sales built on massive success in 2016, when sales during the Black Friday week climbed 105% over 2015 and value rose by 111%. Smartphones enjoyed an even stronger Black Friday week in 2017 than in 2016, when unit sales went up 18% and value rose by 31%.
Traditional retailers claimed the lion’s share of Black Friday week sales, accounting for 98.3% of television units sold and 97.2% of the value of televisions sold during the week. Online retailers grew their Black Friday TV sales by 32% and their TV revenues by 36%, accounting for 1.7% of units sold and 2.8% of value.
Online retail accounted for 2% of smartphone unit sales and 4% of value for the week, a growth of 72% and 47% respectively. Around 98% of smartphone sales and 96% of smartphone value went through offline retail.
“This was the strongest Black Friday to date for consumer electronic sales in South Africa and it confirms that this US-imported sales frenzy is now a massive day in the annual retail calendar. While online Black Friday sales remain small compared to those through physical retail, they are growing and ecommerce retailers enjoy larger transaction sizes than physical stores,” says Nikolay Dolgov, General Manager, Point of Sales Tracking at GfK South Africa.
“We have seen similar Black Friday trends unfold in South Africa to those observed in markets such as the UK—including the event stretching into a week-long festival of specials and promotions, and a move among retailers to offer specials on highly desired phones, computers and TVs during the week rather than simply trying to shift old stock.”
Eugene Kaspersky posts from 2050
In his imagined blog entry from the year 2050, the Kaspersky Lab founder imagines an era of digital immunity
In recent years, digital systems have moved up to a whole new level. No longer assistants making life easier for us mere mortals, they’ve become the basis of civilisation — the very framework keeping the world functioning properly in 2050.
This quantum leap forward has generated new requirements for the reliability and stability of artificial intelligence. Although some cyberthreats still haven’t become extinct since the romantic era around the turn of the century, they’re now dangerous only to outliers who for some reason reject modern standards of digital immunity.
The situation in many ways resembles the fight against human diseases. Thanks to the success of vaccines, the terrible epidemics that once devastated entire cities in the twentieth century are a thing of the past.
However, that’s where the resemblance ends. For humans, diseases like the plague or smallpox have been replaced by new, highly resistant “post-vaccination” diseases; but for the machines, things have turned out much better. This is largely because the initial designers of digital immunity made all the right preparations for it in advance. In doing so, what helped them in particular was borrowing the systemic approaches of living systems and humans.
One of the pillars of cyber-immunity today is digital intuition, the ability of AI systems to make the right decisions in conditions where the source data are clearly insufficient to make a rational choice.
But there’s no mysticism here: Digital intuition is merely the logical continuation of the idea of machine learning. When the number and complexity of related self-learning systems exceeds a certain threshold, the quality of decision-making rises to a whole new level — a level that’s completely elusive to rational understanding. An “intuitive solution” results fromthe superimposition of the experience of a huge number of machine-learning models, much like the result of the calculations of a quantum computer.
So, as you can see, it has been digital intuition, with its ability to instantly, correctly respond to unknown challenges that has helped build the digital security standards of this new era.
M-Net to film Deon Meyer novel
A television adaptation of Deon Meyer’s crime novel Trackers is to be co-produced by M-Net, Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, and HBO subsidiary Cinemax, which will also distribute the drama series worldwide.
“Trackers is an unprecedented scripted television venture and MultiChoice and M-Net are proud to chart out new territory … allowing local and international talent to combine their world-class story-telling and production skills,” says MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment, Yolisa Phahle.
HBO, Cinemax, and M-Net also launched a Producers Apprenticeship programme last year when the Cinemax series Warrior, coming to M-Net in July, was filmed in South Africa. Some other Cinemax originals screened on M-Net include Banshee, The Knick and Strike Back.
“Cinemax is delighted to partner with M-Net and ZDF in bringing Deon Meyer’s unforgettable characters and storytelling—all so richly rooted in the people and spectacular geography of South Africa—to screens around the world,” says Len Amato, President, HBO Films, Miniseries, and Cinemax.
Filming for Trackers has already started in locations across South Africa and the co-production partners have been working together on all aspects of production
Deon Meyer, whose award-winning crime novels have been translated into more than 20 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide, serves as a supervising screenwriter and co-producer; British writer Robert Thorogood (Death in Paradise) is the showrunner. The team of South African writers on the project includes the Mitchell’s Plain playwright, screenwriter and director Amy Jephta (Die Ellen Pakkies Story) and local writer/directors Kelsey Egen and Jozua Malherbe.
The cast for the six-part miniseries includes Ed Stoppard, Rolanda Marais, James Alexander and Thapelo Mokoena.
Trackers will make its debut on M-Net 101 in October 2019 and will also be available on MultiChoice’s on-demand service, Showmax. The six-part drama series is produced by UK production company Three River Studios as well as South Africa’s Scene 23.