Online ticketing overhaul for SA

first_imgLocal ticket sales are moving to social media, through an innovative partnership between Tixsa and US-based TicketBiscuit. MEDIA CONTACTS • Michael Canfield  MD, Tixsa  08614 tixsa RELATED ARTICLES • E-commerce now more accessible• Prestigious award for UCT project • Mobile technology for Africa • Healthcare from your mobile • Mobile opportunities in AfricaMark ReidSouth Africa’s online ticketing industry looks set for a major overhaul, with a new social media application becoming available, and more opportunities opening up for smaller players.A partnership between local innovators Tixsa and American company TicketBiscuit has led to the launch of new technology that will enable entertainment lovers to buy tickets directly from fan pages and websites.This is good news for the local ticket industry, which since 1971 has been dominated by Computicket, at that time the first electronic centralised booking system in the world.While the company put South Africa at the forefront of advance ticketing, it also grew to dominate the local ticketing industry, capturing a 96.6% market share by 2010. This monopoly eventually aroused the ire of smaller ticketing companies, which resulted in a case being lodged with the Competition Commission.Complainants claimed that Computicket’s use of long-term contracts and exclusivity clauses stifled competition in the industry and prevented clients from choosing an alternative ticketing source, or even a co-provider. The case is now awaiting a tribunal hearing date.The launch of Tixsa’s new initiative therefore comes at a convenient time, with the possibility of new opportunities opening up in the market.The partnership was announced back in July 2010, just six months after Tixsa started up. Back then TicketBiscuit was looking to expand internationally, and the company’s CEO Jeff Gale said in a statement that the time was right for the two companies to join hands.“The Tixsa team was ready to take advantage of the Fifa World Cup momentum,” he said.Gale added that Tixsa would use an enhanced version of TicketBiscuit’s licenced software. This allows Tixsa to integrate its product into clients’ websites or social media pages in just a few steps, giving them the chance to interact directly with their clients.Because no special hardware is needed, clients can use their existing equipment to speedily set up their new service.Easy set-up and operationTixsa offers a comprehensive box office management system. Services include round-the-clock ticket sales via the Tixsa mobile application or the client’s Facebook page or website.The system also offers completely secure payment processing. Tickets are delivered directly to a mobile phone, or may be printed at home, and each ticket features a unique barcode to prevent fraudulent use.The Tixsa system also delivers automatic event updates to the client’s website, and offers realtime sales reports, on demand. User details may be extracted and used for email campaigns and other relationship-building exercises.In addition to tickets, the sale of related merchandise is also possible. For instance, the client can offer packages that include a concert ticket, a t-shirt and a CD, or just the ticket. This adds value to the customer’s purchase and increases the vendor’s income.last_img read more

iwasshot in Joburg: a city in pictures

first_imgBernard Viljoen and the young photographers from the Twilight Shelter, a boys’ outreach centre. They ramble through Hillbrow in Johannesburg’s inner city in search of beauty and stories captured in a frame. Hard at work in the studio, Viljoen wanted to further the boys’ opportunities, developing a skills transference division to create opportunities for economic growth, social development, and job creation. The project’s success has allowed the team to move into a permanent space at Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg’s teeming central business district. (Images: iwasshot in joburg team) MEDIA CONTACTS • Bernard Viljoen Founder and Director iwasshot Foundation +27 82 922 5674 RELATED ARTICLES • Inner city kids learn about film • Education at the movies • Nikon to nurture young photographers • Uplifting township kids with music • Photos to promote social dialogueMelissa Jane Cook“iwasshot in Joburg is a [South African] business venture established to provide a platform for former street kids who received photography training through the iwasshot FOUNDATION,” says Bernard Viljoen, the architect who founded the three-month project after community service for a boozy misdemeanour.Initially teaching basic photography skills to street children, the project has expanded and now, flash forward, these budding artists receive six months of photography training, using disposable cameras to document their environment.The young photographers from the Twilight Shelter, a boys’ outreach centre, now ramble through Hillbrow in Johannesburg’s inner city in search of beauty and stories captured in a frame.“From there they receive more in-depth digital photography and computer training for another six months. Once they have completed the year they can join the iwasshot brand and start generating their own income,” says Viljoen.At the end of each year, an exhibition showcases the boys’ photography, which also goes on sale. The establishing shot this year shows boys holding disposable cameras, in a strong stance that says “I know what I am doing and I belong here too”.From the shadows, into the lightViljoen says, “… how these boys are transformed, from when they started out to being proud citizens, actively participating in their society, discussing their camera angles, colour and composition, it is incredibly humbling to see”.The project aims to enrich the lives of street kids who have found their calling through a lens. Viljoen wanted to further their opportunities, developing a skills transference division to create opportunities for economic growth, social development, and job creation.Solani Dube, a former student at iwasshotin joburg, says he had no self-esteem; he was” living with no direction”. He had never thought of himself as a “normal human being”, but now he is studying law.The words “I was shot in Joburg” can elicit fear, seeming more suited to a newspaper headline, but Viljoen thought it was an expression of life in Hillbrow, with its violent reputation.“I believed that if a brand is relevant, conceptual and slightly controversial, that it will take off. It did. It has now been four years and we are going strong.”Viljoen says the project aims to “To create quality products; to establish a brand. We want to become part of the South African economy rather than sitting at a robot begging for a hand-out.”The project’s success has allowed the team to move into a permanent space at Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg’s teeming central business district.Toni Sithole, another student, says, “I am moving forward with myself, I am improving, and I am doing something for myself. I see myself in the future as a person, opening new doors for myself. Hillbrow is a new playground for budding photographers.”He also wanted the boys “to find beauty where you thought there was none. If you move your eye, you can see a different world and whatever you see can make an impact on people”.An unfamiliar lifeViljoen is interested in people living on the periphery of society, people who don’t have a voice, but who have experienced so much in their lives.Little previews of city life are exposed in the photographs; glimpses into lives unfamiliar to suburbanites. Shadows reflecting off a leg or a sign are fragments, enticing viewers to look deeper and be witness to a transformation, an invisible human being becoming a person with a voice.Viljoen believes consistency is important with his charges as they have had such volatile, tumultuous lives. So each week, he showed up.He says, “For some of the boys, the project has also meant feeling more at home. There are stories of neglect, abuse, being orphaned. Abandoned in different ways by the families and systems that give children the love, support and nurturing they need. Iwasshotin Joburg is a way to claim something back, to make something of value, to be of value.”Sandile Mdlalose says, “I used to eat out of rubbish dumps and beg. [Now] When people talk to me, they speak to me as if I am a big person. Everyone can do something for themselves; it doesn’t matter where you are from. I believe in myself now, I have a strength that I never had before.”“I tell them the cameras are like our little AK47s,” says Viljoen. “They give us permission to walk the street. If you keep it in your hand it elevates you above the everyday street life.”To Viljoen, Johannesburg is the most interesting, textured city in South Africa.“I’m lucky enough to work almost solely in the heart of the city, and over the years it’s become more striking to me. It’s the synergy of history, drive for success, passion and interesting, warm people that give Joburg a buzz of energy.“If you walk around and experience the space – new and old – you’re always treated to a visual overload. Suburban dwellers, who don’t hit the streets of Joburg, never really see or understand its beauty. They’re blind-shot by unjustified fear.”The snapshots, he says, capture the beauty, intriguing spaces, textures layers, and diverse people of Johannesburg.“Hillbrow is an assault on the senses … the towering blocks of flats draw your eyes upwards and you’re mesmerised by the rainbow-coloured clothing hanging on practically every balcony, the rowdy sounds of street vendors bargaining and schoolchildren laughing and chatting.“There are contrasts … the countless broken window panes glistening in the sun and the vivid colours of the fresh fruit sold by the vendors … the boys see photo opportunities lurking on every corner. Over the years, they’ve produced really powerful images.”Pritchard Ndlovu manages the studio at Arts on Main. He says that the iwasshot space has changed his life; he now has a future and it’s thanks to the lens; “The photos allow the boys to tell stories. It is an incredible initiative that brings joy to the boys and inspires a sense of belonging.”Viljoen adds: “I have succeeded in this if every kid is able to tell a story with their photos – their own — if I can make them feel worthy of sharing it with the world, visually documenting their stories, their observations, their hopes and dreams.”last_img read more

Watch: Why we’re voting in South Africa’s 2014 elections

first_imgHey, we get a day off work … South African comedians, musicians, actors and ordinary working people have come together for a video campaign to urge everyone in the country, come Wednesday 7 May, to just get out and vote.To find out more about voting, see:Frequently asked questionsA guide to all the political partiesAn elections resource packThe campaign, driven by the Electoral Commission of South Africa, features celebrities such as Lira, Zolani Mahola and Joey Rasdien. It also gives voice to less famous South Africans. From what they say, voting in a democracy means a lot more than just a day off work.Watch a selection of videos from the campaign:Compiled by Mary Alexanderlast_img read more

Battle of the DIY Social Networks: Ning, vibEngine, PeopleAggregator

first_imgTags:#Analysis#social networks#web There are a number of DIY social network services on the market, and in this postwe’ll take a look at 3 of them – Ning, vibEngine and PeopleAggregator. By DIY, we meanservices that allow you to create a custom social network for any topic. These servicescan be either hosted or based on your own server. In many ways, these services representthe second generation of social networks, after Friendster, MySpace and Facebook. Youcould argue virtual worlds are ‘next generation’ too, but in any case custom socialnetworks are certainly a step up from proprietary SNS like MySpace and Facebook.Ning Let’s start with the most familiar such service, Ning. It’s the most talked about and was founded by MarcAndreessen of Netscape fame. Ning started out in a flurry of web2.0 hype in October 2005 as a mashup builder tool, but the current incarnation of Ning isstyled as “Your Own Social Network for Anything”. This Monday Ning announced a whoppinginvestment round of $44 Million. Andreessen noted in his blog thatNing will be “substantially expanding our product plans — we have a long list offeatures and product capabilities we plan to add as fast as we possibly can”. So the $44Mwill allow them to “staff up” and pump out those new features, as well as scale forexpected growth.Ning claims to have 71,531social networks so far. Examples of Ning-based social networks are the Smashing Pumpkins SN (with 450 members) and Rawkus (a hiphop community with 3,500 members).PeopleAggregator One of the first custom social networkservices was Marc Canter’s PeopleAggregator(disclosure: I used to do some consulting work for PA a year or so ago). Marc Canter haslong held a vision for, and evangelized on his blog and at events, an open social networkservice – with an emphasis on open. It’s fair to say that Ning has muscled in on this market and gotten more pressthan PeopleAggregator over the past year or two. Nevertheless, PeopleAggregator is a solidoffering and has implemented many of the ideas and features that Canter has been talkingabout for years – for example the notion of an “identity hub”. It is both an open sourceSocial Network solution that can be downloaded and even forked, while at the same timebeing a white label offering and a free hosted service. PeopleAggregator has a mix of free and paid options. See our post a year agofor more details.Many PA social networks are white label, but a couple of public examples are GT Channel and Connect at EconSM.vibEngine The third service we’ll discuss here is vibEngine,from Vibe Capital. Originally based in Perth,Australia, the founders Clay and Rachel Cook are now firmly planted in Silicon Valley –in fact right down the road from Mr Techcrunch himself! Perhaps they figured that tocompete with Andreessen and his formidable Silicon Valley network, they needed to be at the center of the action too.The main difference between Ning and vibEngine is that Ning is a free, automated andeasy-to-use solution, whereas vibEngine styles itself as a “professional tailoredsolution”. In other words, vibEngine is a white label offering (it’s not free) and theywill help set up custom social networks for their customers. PeopleAggregator is a mixbetween the two. Another subtle difference with vibEngine is that it specializes inproviding “ranked-advice communities”. I spoke to Clay Cook about vibEngine, because atfirst I couldn’t see how they are competing with Ning or even PeopleAggregator – as itdoesn’t have a free offering. Clay explained that their aim is “to build many whollyowned subsidiaries” that use the vibEngine technology. They also plan to licensevibEngine to large existing websites and startups. Currently they have 2 wholly ownedsubsidiaries – Minti (a social network for parents)and Refurber (ironically, a social network for DIYfolks), both of which were founded by Clay and his wife Rachel. The pair also recentlylaunched a partner license site at buildinginlondon.com (a social network for Londonhomeowners). There are plans for more such partnerships and licensed sites.ConclusionWhat all of these services have in common is that they provide a bundle of tools forcreating a social network – complete with all the ‘web 2.0’ features you can think of,such as blogs, photo sharing, video sharing, RSS, tags, personal messaging, email,friends lists, discussions, privacy options, etc. There is no real ‘winner’ whencomparing the three services we’ve mentioned in this post – Ning, vibEngine,PeopleAggregator. Each has its specific market and each is differentiated well from theothers. It’s certainly an interesting market though and, with the social networking crazeshowing no signs of slowing, one that will only grow.What do you think of each of these services? If you have used one (or more) of them,please leave a comment telling us about your experience. Indeed, how many custom-made social networks are you currently a member of? richard macmanus The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationcenter_img Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Behind The Screen With Maori: Pariah

first_imgPariah – Adepero Oduye & Charles Parnell(Courtesy of Pariah) By now you’ve more than likely heard about the narrative feature film directed by NYU grad Dee Rees—Pariah. The film, which had its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival last January, has since received much deserved critical acclaim for its sensitive and emotionally-gripping portrayal of protagonist Alike’s coming-of-age and –out as a queer teen. Set in Brooklyn, Pariah tells the story of a 17-year-old girl preoccupied with poetry and searching for romantic love. As she begins to embrace her sexuality and commence that awkward crawl towards adulthood, Alike battles her conventional parents and more flamboyant peers, all the while managing to continually progress toward a graceful freedom that she can call her own. This film is not a tragic tale, and contrary to a few mentions in the urban blogosphere—it is not “Precious 2.0.” Pariah is lovingly and masterfully crafted. Rees has surrounded herself with a team of über-talented filmmakers including executive producer Spike Lee, cinematographer Bradford Young (who received an award at Sundance for his work on the film), producer Nekisa Cooper and actors Adepero Oduye (Alike), Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell among others—the entire cast is stellar. The characters are all three-dimensional and smash open stereotypes. It’s not easy to love or hate any character outright. The costumes are seamless and the art direction is subtle and captivating. Cinematographer Young recently gave an interview in Shadow & Act where he discussed the visual aesthetic of the film and the importance of discovering new ways to present black bodies at their most beautiful. The overall effect of the film is not one that is overwrought, but rather has a fine sense of balance. In our jaded times, Rees has managed to construct a story that hasn’t yet been told in this manner, that pulls on our hearts in all the right ways and encourages us to love ourselves (and our families)—whole. Insider tip: There will be a special tastemakers screening on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30pm at the Ritz East (125 S. 2nd Street). Philly 360° has a few tickets available! Follow Philly 360° on Twitter for a chance to win. Pariah opens in Philadelphia on Friday January 13 Landmark Theatres: Ritz At The Bourse 5 400 Ranstead Street (Old City) Philadelphia, PA 19106last_img read more

Bips, Esha Gupta, Tamanna sport bikinis in Humshakals

first_imgIn Sajid Khan’s “Humshakals”, Bipasha Basu, Esha Gupta and Tamannaah will be seen sporting bikinis.Apart from selecting the right kind of bikini for themselves, the trio has worked really hard to get the perfect body to carry the two-piece ensemble well.Hot bodies! Esha, Tamanna & Bips look colourful in their skimpy bikinis.A source said: “Bipasha, Esha and Tamannaah will be seen sporting bikinis in one sequence in the film. They have carried it effortlessly. Sajid has always had a bikini sequence in his films and ‘Humshakals’ is no exception.””The sequence will surely add an oomph factor to the film,” the source added.The movie also stars Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor.Produced by Vashu Bhagnani and presented by Fox Star Studios, the movie will release June 20.last_img read more