DStv CULLS DISCOVERY'S ANIMAL PLANET

Thursday, May 8, 2014

With 'room for improvement' the M-Net Series Zone channel on DStv is adding drama to give viewers a bigger variety of content.

M-Net Series Zone (DStv 115) - the snubbed and somewhat-stepchild of the M-Net Series trio of channels - is getting attention and content improvement to help lift the underperforming entertainment channel from M-Net on DStv's satellite pay-TV platform.

When M-Net Series split to become three channels on MultiChoice's DStv service in July 2013, DStv subscribers on lower bouquets were instantly - and justifiably - very upset about the perceived "downgrade".

TV shows and series that they were able to watch on M-Net Series as a single channel, suddenly disappeared with the launch of M-Net Series Zone - the TV channel they now had access to.

M-Net responded swiftly to the criticism to return and make available on M-Net Series Zone the TV series and programmes viewers on lower DStv bouquets were busy watching.

Since July 2013, grumblings about the channel proposition and offering of M-Net Series Zone has however continued - although not as vocal as during the flare-up just after launch when DStv subscribers demanded immediate corrective steps.

M-Net Series Zone viewers and DStv subscribers continued to feel that M-Net Series Zone is no longer a must-watch destination TV channel, that shows that should be on it no longer are shown, that the scheduling is problematic, that the programming is erratic and obtuse (seemingly random omnibus repeats littered the schedule), and that shows took too long to appear on the schedule.

Viewers voted with their eyeballs and M-Net Series Zone viewership sagged and lagged - something M-Net is trying to fix.

M-Net Series Zone has started to make changes both to the programming and scheduling, as well as the tempo of rolling out shows on M-Net Series Zone - the kind of shows, and how quickly they're going to be shown, as part of a refocused effort to improve the channel.

TV with Thinus asked M-Net whether M-Net Series Zone is being "revamped" or "restructured" as a TV channel in terms of improving the offering on on-air content and how soon its being shown after being on M-Net (DStv 101) and M-Net Series Showcase (DStv 113).

"M-Net is constantly looking at ways to improve our channels with compelling new content and more great shows," says Pierre Cloete, director of the M-Net and M-Net Series channels.

"Recently, we ascertained that M-Net Series Zone needed more drama series to give viewers a bigger variety of content. The shows are still being broadcast on M-Net Series Zone after their screenings on M-Net or M-Net Series Showcase, but within the first pay-TV window, making it 'first' to DStv Compact viewers," says Pierre Cloete.

Asked whether it's correct to say that M-Net Series Zone has not been performing to expectation or not performing in terms of the viewership that M-Net or DStv would have wanted to, he says that "it's true that there's room for improvement".

"We want to grow audiences on M-Net Series Zone as much as possible," says Pierre Cloete.

"We think M-Net Series Zone is an excellent TV channel with the very best shows from the United States".

"We have made scheduling improvements such as adding an additional drama slot at 19:30 and we are also embarking on a new marketing drive and campaign to promote the great content on the channel and to entice potential viewers to try out the channel".