TV guide: Vuzu hits the right notes

2010-07-23 12:19

About 18 months ago, I sat at a table with some of the best in the biz – from ­director of programming ­Yolisa Phahle to the ­popular Nonhle Thema. I listened to them wax lyrical about South Africa’s first interactive television channel that would be launched on DStv.

The point of the discussion was to come up with a name for the channel. I happened to be in the group that came up with the nonsensical ­sounding Vuzu.

At the time, I was not entirely sold on the name or the concept of the channel.

This week, Vuzu celebrates its first birthday.

The channel has tried to achieve all the goals it set out a year ago: to be entertaining, cutting edge and fun.

Among its programmes is the ­global phenomenon Vampire Diaries, which is on par (with regard to ­episodes) with the rest of the world. The channel also carries the current season of Gossip Girl and has kept old favourites such as The Simpsons and South Park.

Vuzu has succeeded in bringing in some of the best reality shows on the market, including Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Crew, I Want To Work For Diddy and My ­Antonio.

But the channel’s most notable ­success has been its own ­productions, such as Cream Cartel and Vixens. While the content of the shows may not appeal to everybody, the ­production is top notch.

V Entertainment, which is the channel’s signature show, could use a little polishing, particularly the video content that focuses on celebrity news like the E! Entertainment ­channel.

The presenters of V Entertainment, however, are establishing a following with viewers by making themselves accessible to the public on platforms such as Twitter and ­Facebook. This is where the channel is succeeding in penetrating the ever-evolving urban youth market.

The channel is also involved in the hosting of some cool events, including the Ne-Yo concert, where it engages further with its audience.

Yes, I know it sounds like I am an ambassador championing the channel, but the truth is that Vuzu is trying to take TV into a new, hip and cool era. It deserves brownie points for that.

The channel is an example of what can happen when proper planning, the right platform and a hefty budget are combined and put to good use.

Happy Birthday, V!

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