Lifetime (DStv 131) launched on Tuesday evening on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa and across the rest of Africa, upping the competition for female viewers and increasing the choices when it comes to drama, made-for-TV movies, scripted reality shows and factual entertainment programming.
Lifetime enters a TV channel field fast getting crowded.
The new channel from A+E Network UK will compete for DStv Premium bouquet viewers' attention along with channels like Discovery Networks International's TLC Entertainment and ID: Investigation Discovery, Universal Networks' E! Entertainment and even SABC3 undergoing a schedule and content revamp.
A+E Networks UK - a joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB - already delivered the History and Crime+Investigation channels to DStv and the female focused channel now hopes to attract eyeballs to its mix of melodrama movies, spicy new reality shows like Dance Moms and Shahs of Sunset and dramas like Suits and Orphan Black.
A+E Networks UK plans on launching ad sales on Lifetime from October this year.
Lifetime will be investing in local reality television production in South Africa to beef up the channel's schedule from 2015, and is also looking to appoint local staff to help in the operational side of the channel as South Africa and the rest of the African continent's pay-TV market continues to sizzle with rapid expansion driven by ongoing strong subscriber growth.
Lifetime launched on Tuesday evening at the same time as a media launch event for the channel took place at Shine Studios in Braamfontein.
"Our vision is to be the fastest-growing television portfolio in each of our markets and the launch of Lifetime brings us one step closer to achieving that vision here in Africa," Tom Davidson (above), the managing director of A+E Networks UK told TV executives, TV critics and journalists, advertising executives and ad buyers Tuesday evening.
In a statement Tom Davidson added that "the launch of Lifetime in Africa is exciting for us and marks a key moment in our continuing investment in this market," saying that he's "confident that Lifetime will appeal to African audiences".
Mark Rayner (above), the chief operating officer (COO) of MultiChoice South Africa said at the launch event that Lifetime will bring content to DStv's female audiences "that will inspire with a winning formula of quality scripted dramas, Lifetime Original Movies and factual entertainment shows".
"We believe there's a real gap in the South African market for Lifetime, a female centric entertainment channel that offers a variety of original content," said Mark Rayner.
"We're confident that the powerful stories told on Lifetime will speak to our customers, uplifting them on a daily basis".
Heather Jones (below), the vice president for programming at A+E Networks UK told guests at the Lifetime launch that the channel has an "amazing schedule, packed with exciting, entertaining and engaging content" for viewers.
"I'm really confident that our brand-new channel will be a big hit with DStv viewers".
"The schedule is packed with fresh, powerful stories and addictive entertainment featuring some of Hollywood's biggest stars, both in front of, and behind the camera. At launch all of our programmes are exclusive premieres in Africa," said Heather Jones.
"We will be announcing more brand-new blockbuster dramas in the coming months. We will also be bringing you a number of live music concerts which we think will be really popular here in Africa".
"We're very keen to start making local content here, which will air on Lifetime from 2015," said Heather Jones. "We're currently finalising a deal on our first big entertainment commission, so we hope to bring you more news on that in the coming weeks".
In a statement Dean Possenniskie, the managing director for A+E Networks for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region added that "in less than two years we have launched Lifetime in more than 60 countries outside the US and during 2014 we will add over 50 more".
"Lifetime brings a unique offering to DStv viewers, and we believe our new channel will play a leading role in the current African female-skewing pay-TV space."
ALSO READ: In pictures: Orange is the new black on Lifetime on DStv at the media launch of A+E Networks UK's new channel in SA and Africa.