Two channels on DStv going dark from June

Watching TV during lockdown. (Photo: Getty Images)
Watching TV during lockdown. (Photo: Getty Images)

At the end of this month, DStv subscribers are losing SABC Encore (DStv 156) the rerun channel from the South African public broadcaster and the Sundance TV (DStv 108) film channel.

The two channels are ending along with ITV Choice that has also been axed from the end of this month.

SABC Encore, a rerun channel programmed with library stock from the SABC archives, was originally part of a two-channel deal that later became controversial between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster over alleged digital TV policy influence peddling.

SABC Encore launched in mid-May 2015 on DStv with big fanfare from the SABC and a bizarre SABC Encore launch event. It's not yet clear whether SABC Encore will continue to run as a TV channel despite its removal from MultiChoice DStv and whether it might become a stand-alone digital terrestrial television (DTT) channel only.

The SABC tells Channel24 that "The SABC can confirm that SABC Encore, which was launched on the DStv platform channel 156 on 11 May 2015, is coming to an end at the end of this month. The corporation is at this stage, exploring more avenues to ensure that our audiences continue to enjoy the broadcast of SABC's premium vintage programmes on alternative platforms."

Sundance TV launched with fanfare in mid-May 2017 on DStv as a replacement for the removed AMC channel but remained a niche film channel destination with low viewership. AMCNI UK hasn't yet responded with an answer to a media enquiry that was made on Tuesday morning; the response will be added once received.

MultiChoice in a response says that "The MultiChoice Group can confirm that SABC Encore and AMC Networks' Sundance TV will no longer be available on the DStv platform from 1 June 2020".

"MultiChoice's contract with the SABC for SABC Encore will not be renewed – as agreed by both respective parties, as per their contract which included a non-renewal option. Sundance TV will no longer be broadcast by MultiChoice as the contract between MultiChoice and the channel providers AMC Networks has come to an end."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24