Monday, October 24, 2011

BREAKING. eNews furious after eNews Channel disappears off DStv; viewers clueless and upset after the news channel freezes.

You're reading it here first.

MultiChoice's DStv ''froze'' South African pay TV operator's most popular 24 hour TV news channel today with no explanation as to why it happened or what is going on.

The disappearance today just after 14:00 of the eNews Channel (DStv 403) - the most watched TV news channel in South Africa - left viewers first puzzled and then fuming, on the day that big news broke about the ousting of South Africa's national police commissioner and a major cabinet reshuffle.

eNews is blaming MultiChoice's DStv engineers who were, according to the broadcaster, unable to switch-over to the supposed back-up system after a massive signal failure occured. MultiChoice told TV with Thinus that it first have to find out what happened before the platform can comment.

The eNews Channel wasn't able to broadcast from just after 14:00 today. Late today eNews had to issue an apology. ''eNews apologises to viewers after being off the air for 47 minutes,'' the broadcaster said in a statement released late today. The major signal failure of the eNews Channel occured at 14:08, causing a frozen image of the channel for an hour while big South African news was breaking.

Although a second redundant line - a so-called back-up - to MultiChoice was operational, eNews says that ''DStv were unable to switch over immediately''. According to eNews ''usually the switch over to the second signal would only take a few seconds, or minutes at most'' but viewers were left channel-less for an hour. ''DStv regrettably took longer than expected to switch over,'' Rob Brown, head of technical operations for the eNews Channel, said in the statement the channel issued.

eNews is fuming - and so are viewers. 'We are very disappointed that the switch over took so long,'' says Patrick Conroy, group head of news at eNews. ''We have redundancy lines in place for just this kind of problem and should never have been off air. We have received numerous complaints from viewers, which is entirely understandable.''

While MultiChoice is yet to respond to what happened and why MultiChoice wasn't able to make the switch immediately, eNews is compiling a report while engineers are planning to take up the matter with DStv management.

Meanwhile a high ranking eNews insider tells TV with Thinus that eNews feels ''embarrassed'' and ''let down''. ''It also exposes vulnerabilities in what is supposed to never happen - vulnerabilities in what is considered the back-up plan. Interesting conversations are going to be taking place because of what happened today.''