Disney's plans for a 24 hour Mandela channel collapsed into disarray last night. Firstly, Winnie raised concerns that DIsney would sanitise the long, hard Mandela struggle for freedom. Then it became clear that Disney had not paid the required "Zuma arrangement fee". Finally, Kim Jong-un, the star of their planned opening broadcast, withdrew, and flew home to deal with pressing family matters.
Sky then surprised the media world when they announced that their Mandela channel will launch tomorrow.
Sky said that, like DIsney, their channel would enable world leaders and ordinary people to tell how Mandela inspired them and how devastated they were to hear of his death. However they said their channel would be much more rounded. They would feature related human interest stories, such as "How I signed through a psychotic episode, and did not stab a world leader on live TV". They would also feature related entertainment programmes, with extensive coverage of township people in bad, multi-coloured jumpers singing and dancing joyously.
Media-watchers said Sky's Mandela channel would be a great success. They had already hired WInnie as a paid cultural adviser, and coughed up their Zuma fee. So no administrative hurdles to jump. Their running costs would be low, because they already had enough Mandela material on film to last a life time. And, crucially, they had secured advance advertising revenue from Funeral DIrectors, DIgital Hearing Aid importers, and manufacturers of bad multi-coloured jumpers. And, icing on the cake, they had a 5 year sponsorship deal with G4S.
Sources close to Sky said the opening broadcast would be sensational - an interview with Princess Catherine, with footage of her in tears when she was informed of Mandela's death. The worldwide viewing numbers for this would be huge.
Disney may now quietly drop their planned Mandela channel. However they have advance plans to open a Soweto-themed Mandela Experience in Florida, which would be a great money-spinner, Mandela's death is the death that keeps on giving.