Tech brand Stuff is expanding into television with a new show called Stuff on eNCA. The weekly technology and gadget variety show premieres on Friday, 16 April at 9:30.
“Stuff is the same much-loved brand that tells our readers everything they want to know about everything they want,” says Toby Shapshak, Stuff’s publisher and the show’s presenter.
“We’re calling it Stuff on eNCA, in no small part because the acronym is SOE – and who doesn’t want to show government how an SOE should be run,” jokes Shapshak, who has been running small businesses for 20 years.
Stuff on eNCA will give viewers what Stuff readers have been enjoying since Shapshak launched the title in South Africa in 2007: amazing stories about cutting-edge technology and the clever ways it is being used around the world.
The first episode features celebrity comedienne Ruby Wax and University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, the respected scientist who is co-chair of the 4IR presidential commission. Expect to see other high-profile guests and figures, as well as all the usual sexy gadgets and services every Friday night at 9:30pm.
“It’s a wonderful extension of our brand into another platform, which complements our very strong digital and social presence,” says Sally Hudson, Stuff’s business manager.
“During lockdown last year, Stuff’s already strong digital offerings have grown substantially,” she adds. “Like all media houses, we have gone through a transformation to digital – and increased our digital revenue significantly. We’re been braced for this digital change for years and Covid-19 accelerated everything when everybody began working from home.”
Hudson is the executive producer of Stuff Studios, which is producing the show and other productions. Stuff on eNCA is directed by legendary photographer and filmmaker Daron Chatz, with post-production by Five Star Media. “Daron is an amazing talent, as are the youngsters he’s mentored; especially 25-year-old Zane Titizana, who is a rising star,” says Shapshak.
Stuff Studios is already producing a series of webinars about the future of work with Curro Schools and powered by Vox. It also produces a podcast series on governance – hosted by Dr Ivor Chipkin, who literally wrote the book on state capture, based on his seminal academic treatise.
Stuff’s new studio in Braamfontein – in the recently rejuvenated 19 AM building (formerly Rennies House) – has an amazing view of downtown Joburg and fits into 19 AM’s growing reputation as a tech and creative hub. Other tenants include Founders Factory Africa and Explore Data Science Academy.
Stuff Studios is also producing a fintech-themed podcast series, in which Shapshak investigates this rapidly expanding market, especially in Africa. A documentary about how mobile has transformed Africa is another project, based on Shapshak’s extensive experience covering the tech and start-up ecosystems on the continent – based on his 2013 Ted Global talk on how innovation is better in Africa.
Digital content is evolving, and with that should the traditional newsroom. With that in mind, Stuff’s gaming startup – Stuff Plays – hired JR Heath as its new production editor.
Heath brings with him 10 years of experience in digital design and production user-experience. Starting out as a tattoo artist, he is highly sensitive to the permanency of broadcast media, just as you would be to ink in skin. This has elevated his production skills to marry detail-oriented work with deep technical understanding.
While Heath is joining Stuff Plays on a part-time basis, his work in design spans across industries, agencies and disciplines. In his role prior to joining Stuff Plays, Heath lends his production skills to Designerd, facilitating the Information Design Foundation’s live stream talks across professional channels.
Over six months, Stuff Plays has grown its gaming community ta thousand times on game-streaming platform Twitch and regularly broadcasts high-quality gaming content.