Four new channels for e.tv

2013-09-04 15:40

Broadcaster e.tv plans to roll out four additional free-to-air TV channels from October as part of its transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT), exactly 15 years after the commercial free-to-air broadcaster started in South Africa.

Besides the regular e.tv channel, the broadcaster intends to launch a kids channel, a movie channel, a so-called African channel focusing on Pan-African programming, as well as what it calls “a local content” channel all under the “e” brand banner.

The four additional e.tv channels will first be available on the planned and new OpenView HD satellite platform, which Platco Digital wants to launch in October.

The new channels form part of e.tv’s group of additional and free TV channels for DTT, which would be available to all viewers who buy a decoder once South Africa migrates from analogue to digital broadcasting, a process long delayed due to government incompetence and lack of leadership.

e.tv didn’t respond to media enquiries as to whether the four new free channels would also be made available on MultiChoice’s DStv and On Digital Media’s TopTV platforms, which are currently carrying the e.tv channel in South Africa.

e.tv didn’t respond to media enquiries as to whether the envisioned new “local content” channel will be compiled from repurposed library content from e.tv’s library of shows, or what the amount of brand-new local content will be on this channel.

In a short statement, e.tv says the new channels will allow the broadcaster “to showcase more diversity” calling itself “the entertainment destination of choice for many South Africans”.

e.tv, the SABC and M-Net face an ever-growing uphill battle as South African broadcasters due to the delay in the switch to digital broadcasting, a process known as digital migration.

As e.tv, the SABC and M-Net all plan to launch and roll out their own additional sets of digital TV channels for which viewers will have to buy a decoder, the position of satellite television in South Africa is becoming ever more entrenched due to the government and the local TV industry’s failure to commercially launch DTT in the country.

As the available TV audience in South Africa keeps fragmenting, broadcasters and experts are concerned that the costly exercise of launching new channels might struggle to find viewers or get them to buy a decoder, since South African consumers, tired of waiting for more TV channels, simply switch straight to satellite TV offerings.

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