Monday, March 31, 2014

Discovery launching the new ID Xtra channel in Africa, Middle East and parts of Europe; is ID Xtra also coming to South Africa?

Discovery Networks International (DNI) will be launching a brand-new Discovery channel, ID Extra, tomorrow (1 April) in the Africa, Middle East and parts of Europe region with at least 105 markets which will get and add ID Xtra during the course of 2014.

TV with Thinus enquired, but it is not yet clear whether ID Xtra - a spin-off from the existing ID: Investigation Discovery channel - will be added by MultiChoice's DStv and, or, On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat in South Africa.

Both of the South African pay-TV platforms currently carry DNI's Investigation Discovery channel.

Similar to ID: Investigation Discovery, ID Xtra, will also be a channel with a female-skewed programming offering, and where it is added in Africa, the Middle East as well as Central and Eastern Europe, ID Xtra will sit along the existing ID: Investigation Discovery channel.

ID Xtra is available in standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD).

"After the successful roll-out of TLC, we are now expanding our proposition for female viewers with ID Xtra," says Kasia Kieli, the president and managing director for Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region, in a statement.

"We believe the channel provides our distribution partners with truly unique content from the Mystery and Suspense genre and strengthens our portfolio, making it the best offer in pay-TV today".

"Mystery and Suspense is one of the fastest growing genres in pay-TV and Discovery is in pole position leading the category," says Paul Welling, the senior vice president and head of channels at Discovery Networks CEEMEA.

Meanwhile the Discovery Channel (DStv 120) was by now supposed to have switched to an HD channel on MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa.

 Discovery Networks International and MultiChoice promised subscribers and the industry in November 2013 that Discovery would become Discovery HD within the first quarter of 2014 - pegging it for sometime between January and March 2014.

It has not happened and DNI and MultiChoice have not announced a new date or a new official time frame for the Discovery channel's HD upgrade.

For the time being Discovery continues to be shown in SD. Discovery HD Showcase (DStv 172) which would have been discontinued as a TV channel, therefore continues to run on the DStv platform.