An M-Net Original: The magic behind local TV content

'A M-Net Original.' (Photo supplied)
'A M-Net Original.' (Photo supplied)

Cape Town - M-Net has started to make it very clear to viewers – irrespective of what channel or platform they might be watching a show on – that they're watching a locally-produced M-Net programme, with all shows now prominently displaying "An M-Net Original" title card at the end.

In response to international and local video streaming services that are growing rapidly and churning out a growing volume of their own TV shows that they market and brand with title cards ranging from "A Netflix Original Series" to "Amazon Original", M-Net is fighting back to make sure pay-TV audiences are aware when a show was created by the premium pay-TV broadcaster in Africa.

While M-Net has been talking about "M-Net originals" for about three years since 2016, it hasn't standardised the title card inclusion or terminology, using various terms, on-air cards and stylistic uses to indicate local programming.

Now M-Net will use "An M-Net Original" at the end of its shows after the credit roll to make it clear to MultiChoice's DStv subscribers, or viewers who see the programming elsewhere in South Africa, Africa or the world, that it's premium-produced local content that was commissioned by and made for M-Net originally.

While moving from earlier permutations like "M-Net Factory," for the first season of The Bachelor South Africa earlier in 2019, M-Net still used the words "An Original Production" but since the new 7th season of Survivor South Africa is using "An M-Net Original" flanked by the M-Net logo and its iconic blue ribbon device.


Asked about the progression of highlighting an M-Net original show, M-Net tells Channel24 that the change to get to "An M-Net Original" now being used to bookend episodes "was an organic progression, keeping in line with global trends".

Why M-Net feels it wants to highlight that a programme is a locally-produced show done specifically for M-Net, M-Net says it "has always been an African industry leader in creating top-notch local content and the wording affirms our position as Africa's leading and most prolific storyteller".

"With the changing global video entertainment environment, our content and brand is now often also available alongside other global content providers."

If a show that was on one of the M-Net channels is for instance broadcast elsewhere in the word – for example on the Africa Channel in the United States or Sky in the United Kingdom that a raft of M-Net programming have been sold to – or becomes available on streaming services like Showmax, the "An M-Net Original" at the end will be included as notification and a reminder to international audiences that they're watching an M-Net show.

"This will be added to all our original local productions," says M-Net when asked whether the inclusion is for all of its local productions or just tentpole shows.

"We aim to tell authentic, original African stories, reflecting the lived experience of our audience. We will soon announce a new slate of programming that is an extension of this vision and will proudly be branded as M-Net Originals," says M-Net.

READ MORE: HBO's sister network Cinemax picks up M-Net's new local drama series

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