eNews launches 'daunting' eNCA

Cape Town – The eNews Channel on MultiChoice's DStv platform has changed its name to eNCA with a new mosaic logo depicting the continent of Africa as the independent 24-hour news channel went intercontinental on Monday.

"It's an exciting time for us," said Patrick Conroy, the group head of news at the eNCA about the name and image change.

The eNCA, which started broadcasting in the United Kingdom on the Sky pay-TV platform, remains exactly the same but rebranded in terms of its on-air look and logo to make it more distinct as South Africa's only 24-hour and independent TV news channel.

'Daunting but exciting'

This comes as the SABC announced it plans to launch its own new 24-hour news channel on DStv at the beginning of September, which MultiChoice is helping to fund.

"We are truly excited at the prospects which this change brings," said Conroy. "We're highly motivated, but we're also quite daunted. It's a huge responsibility. It's a daunting but exciting challenge for us.

"The reason for our rebrand is that as the eNews Channel it's very difficult for the brand to travel internationally. We're very well known in South Africa, but we're an unknown entity in North America and Europe.

"We want to be instantaneously recognised as an African news broadcaster. If in the future we expand to North America, Europe, Australasia, we want everyone to be able to instantly recognise where it is that we're from.

"We hope very much that through word of mouth and marketing that South Africans in the United Kingdom will be tuning into us on Sky on channel 518.

"We also however hope to attract a fair number of viewers who are global citizens, people interested in South Africa and Africa. We see anyone as a global citizen from an entrepreneur, businessman, tourist, diplomats, politicians, think tank.

"We want the kind of content and nuance that a local broadcaster such as the eNCA can give you which a foreign broadcaster can't," said Conroy.

"What works for me personally is that we haven't lost what the eNews Channel was. The essential part is still there – we're just now instantly recognisable as coming from Africa and with South African roots."

Special African coverage

eNCA (on DStv channel 403) will from Monday have a very special daily pan-African news broadcast for Sky pay-TV subscribers on channel 518, pulled together by eNCA Africa editor Chris Maroleng and his team.

"Sky subscribers will see it their time from 21:00 to 23:30. That will be repeated later. South African and African viewers will still get to see that same content as well here from 00:00 to 06:00," said Conroy.

"But Sky viewers get that first because we want to see if we can grow the appetite for not just South African news, but from the rest of the African content as well."

Breaking stereotypes

"Often Africa is talked about and covered in the form of stereotypes," said Maroleng. "These stereotypes present Africa as a continent pervaded by doom and gloom. We believe that Africa is more than that. What we have seen in the midst of this global economic recession are countries who strongly perform in terms of GDP."

Maroleng said that the Africa edition on eNCA provides an opportunity to show another side of Africa during primetime to viewers in the United Kingdom.

"That is why I'm excited. That is why my team is excited about the opportunity for us to go out there and not to just begin representing South Africa - but Africa."

The eNCA has bureaus in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya led by Robyn Kriel. "We're in the process of developing a stronger network to gather news and feed that news to us," said Maroleng.

"We as South Africans suffer from a sense of separation from Africa and ourselves. Our goal at the eNCA is not only to close and restate the fact that South Africa is part of Africa, but that we as South Africans are happy to be a part of Africa."

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