Viewers in the United Kingdom's TV viewers will lose eNCA from tomorrow, Friday 31 October at 06:00 when the South African 24-hour TV news channel goes dark, the end of its inter-continental expansion on satellite television.
e.tv and eNCA are mired in a scandalous management meltdown with CEO Marcel Golding and COO Bronwyn Keene-Young suddenly both out the door and questions swirling about the credibility of its news offering and allegations of political interference in its news coverage.
Behind the scenes eNCA is going through changes. eNCA quietly cancelled its Africa news bulletin, Africa Edition two months ago when Chris Maroleng left.
Meanwhile eNCA's contract for possible renewal is up with MultiChoice on which eNCA is available exclusively on DStv, and where it is the most watched of all the 24-hour TV news channels available in South Africa.
Maxwell Nonge, the managing director of Platco Digital which runs the OpenView HD (OVHD) free-to-air satellite platform, earlier this month said that he wants eNCA to become available on OVHD as well.
When TV with Thinus asked about it earlier this month, eNCA's managing director Patrick Conroy responded to a media enquiry saying that "contract negotiations are confidential and regrettably we will be unable to discuss these matters with the media until such a time as it is appropriate to do so."
Asked today why eNCA is suddenly being cut from SKY, eNCA responded by saying that "the reasons behind the move is part of the company's efforts to respond to changes in the way news media is consumed in a digital world".
"We know we have a loyal audience on SKY who will be upset by the decision," says Patrick Conroy, and that eNCA "regrets that very much. However the reality is that satellite broadcasting is expensive and we have to look at cost effective alternatives such as live streaming".
"Our news content will still be globally accessible just through alternative platforms," says Patrick Conroy, like www.Livestation.com where people outside of South Africa can watch it.
eNCA says it is exploring "alternative platforms" so that viewers are able to easily watch the service on their TV's, including an app on Samsung's Smart TV which will be launched, according to the news channel, before the end of the year.
South African TV news insiders have been gossiping that eNCA allegedly has spent so much money on covering the Oscar Pistorius trial this year that most of the travel budget for the financial year has been blown.
"It means that news teams can't actually really travel in the regions where they're based and can only do 'local' stories in the cities they're based," said one.