TV Guide: Has Mzansi Magic kept us spellbound?

2011-06-18 09:51

Hands up if you tuned into Mzansi Magic in the past year.

I have.

Barely a year ago TV lovers were giggling at the murmurs of a channel which made big promises to deliver on local content – correction, good local content – something the SABC has been inconsistent on for years.

Mzansi Magic promised to shake up the TV industry just when it needed to most – a time when production companies were furious with the SABC, which had not paid them for months.

Mzansi Magic couldn’t have chosen a more opportune moment to launch.

Production companies were angry and viewers were fed American reality TV across the spectrum.

And then, shortly after its launch, Mzansi Magic subjected its viewers to old re-runs and bad B-grade movies – making us all wonder if we had been duped.

Thankfully, after finding its feet the channel experimented with new and exciting content and even launched  stars like Trevor Gumbi and Sibahle Mtongana, proving that there was indeed light at the end of the Mzansi Magic channel.

Programmes such as Headline, Msawawa, the addictive Cooking with Siba, Redi on Mzansi talkshow and the informative Making Of ... series are proving to be hits among viewers – making it a must-watch DStv channel, and one of the top 10 most-watched stations, according to the pay broadcaster.

Channel manager Lebone Maema says Mzansi Magic has spent more than R12 million licensing local feature films, documentaries and bubblegum movies.

Justifying the plague of repeated programmes Maema explains: “South Africa has simply not produced enough films over the past 15 to 20 years.”

This means is that repeats are unfortunately here to stay for a little while longer, and that channel director Yolisa Phahle’s promise thatMzansi Magic would showcase locally produced content with a strong entertainment focus will only be realised in bits and pieces.

Sadly, Mzansi Magic has not lived  up to their “interactive” hype, and claims that the channel “is correctly positioned to appeal to the fastest growing demographic among new subscribers (black and upwardly mobile)” are yet to be met.

However, they are not resting on their proverbial laurels. Over the next few months new shows will be launched, such as the telenovella India: A Love story; It’s for Life, a local sitcom which launches on July 15; and the second season of the Miss South Africa reality series to be launched in September.

With more than 45% of the content being local entertainment, the channel is certainly geared towards its
promises. Repeats aside, Mzansi Magic has grown on me.

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